Much Work Must Be Done Before Digital Video And TV Can Converge

On TV And Video” is a column exploring opportunities and challenges in advanced TV and video.

Today’s column is written by Jeff Lucas, head of Americas sales at Oath.

The TV and digital video advertising industry is in the midst of a major transformation. Consumers are overwhelmingly cross-platform, engaging with multiple devices at the same time. What’s more, premium content is no longer exclusive to TV, but available from a trusted ecosystem. Today, brands matter and trust matters to deliver the best possible video experience for consumers and advertisers alike.

As a result, combining TV inventory with digital video spend is becoming a key strategy for brand marketers. In the 10 years since the IAB staged the first NewFront, we’re seeing that line between TV and digital, between the upfronts and NewFronts, blur like never before.

But as we look forward to a more integrated future, where both consumers and marketers approach TV and digital video as one, it’s clear there’s much work to be done.

A holistic approach to ad buying

The demand for digital video advertising has skyrocketed, but linear TV continues to play an important role in a brand’s media spend. A recent survey of agencies involved in TV and digital ad buying suggests that 85% view TV and digital video as extremely (30%) or somewhat (55%) complementary. Yet, the ad-buying landscape today does not mirror that sentiment; it’s highly fragmented.

There are no longer one or two mediums for reaching consumers. Advertisers are under increased pressure to reach viewers across smart TVs, computers, mobile devices and tablets. To do this effectively, we need a more unified approach to video ad buying that takes advantage of TV and digital inventory and ensures buying is informed by data, to help advertisers make smart decisions.

At the same time, advertisers must better understand their target audiences. What devices do they most frequently use? Are they prime-time TV viewers, over-the-top (OTT) anytime mobile viewers or both? This understanding will in turn help advertisers make more informed decisions about where and how they buy their ads. As the lines between TV and video continue to blur for consumers, it’s time marketers start thinking more holistically on the back end.

It’s time for standardized measurement

The diversification of devices has paved the way for a number of new measurement technologies and metrics. In fact, the growth of digital video is opening new doors for comprehensive attention metrics that look at viewability, engaged time in-view and ROI. However, measurement models still lack standardization across TV, OTT services and digital video.

On one hand, we have digital video’s census-based and data-driven approach, and on the other, we have traditional TV’s panel-based gross rating points, which has been around for decades. But with the shifting landscape – the rise of advanced TV, the increase in video opportunities based on consumer consumption habits and the proliferation of content and devices – we need to bridge that gap.

Marketers know that measurement is critical, but it can be tough to connect the dots. Until we have a standardized cross-media, cross-device measurement solution, this will continue to be a major barrier for advertisers looking to make big investment decisions.

The fight for transparency and trust persists

In today’s converging video marketplace, transparency and trust continue to be top-of-mind for advertisers. As new OTT formats and advanced TV take shape, we’re starting to see an even greater focus on viewability. That’s why it’s crucial both advertisers and media sellers be open to third-party verification.

Advertisers should commit to only working with partners that allow accredited, third-party measurement services to complement the tools they develop in-house.

What’s next? 

TV and digital will only continue to assimilate, based on consumer behavior. It’s up to agencies, brands, publishers and tech providers to work together to create more holistic ad-buying workflows, measurement tools and safeguards. Fortunately, some organizations, including the Trustworthy Accountability Group, IAB and ANA, have been hard at work establishing initiatives to tackle fraud and increase transparency. Take Ads.txt, for example, which is creating greater transparency in the video inventory supply chain.

In the recent NewFronts, we saw a new playing field with opportunities for advertisers that bridge the gap between TV and digital video. As we move toward a more unified approach, keeping these issues top-of-mind will be crucial to our growth as an industry. It’s on all of us to help drive a safe marketplace for cross-platform advertising that delivers quality results.

Follow Oath (@oath) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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