Home CTV CTV Budgets Could Go To The Open Market – But Only With Enough Transparency

CTV Budgets Could Go To The Open Market – But Only With Enough Transparency


The connected TV ad industry is going programmatic. According to Insider Intelligence, roughly 87% of CTV ad inventory will be transacted programmatically in 2023.

In reality, though, that hefty percentage is nearly all programmatic guaranteed and private marketplace deals.

CTV advertisers often avoid the open exchange because they think it lacks transparency and teems with fraud. But the open market doesn’t have to be a dangerous place for CTV marketers, said Rob Hazan, senior director of product at Index Exchange.

More transparency is making its way into CTV bid requests, including supply source, content genre and, increasingly, show-level transparency.

And the right amount of transparency could make the open exchange a viable place for CTV ad budgets.

AdExchanger caught up with Hazan for a few hot takes.

On CTV open markets: “With more transparency entering the bidstream, we’ll start to see the open market flourish as a way to buy CTV supply. But for that to happen, more show-level data and anti-fraud transparency have to be a part of the bidstream, including signals that indicate a bid request is coming from a legitimate device or app. That transparency is what buyers need to feel safe placing CTV ad budgets in the open market.”

On show-level transparency: “We should all be approaching streaming and CTV, in some ways, similarly to how we approach linear. Understanding the content surrounding an impression is important, and show-level data matters. I don’t know that this data will make its way into the bidstream just yet, but we’ll start to see it appear more and more in post-campaign reporting.”

On CTV’s frequency problem:Frequency problems happen when bid requests for the same inventory come in from multiple sources. It’s not easy for buyers to tell which ad creatives are duplicative before they end up in the same ad pod. This problem is why advertisers are demanding more transparency in bid requests. Instead, content owners bundle their inventory together because they argue buyers will cherry-pick certain inventory otherwise. But this strategy is not a buyer-friendly approach [because, well, buyers don’t know what they’re buying].”

On supply-path optimization: “At Index Exchange, we try not to work with resellers, but as long as vendors are properly authorized within the ads.txt files [which publishers use to enumerate the vendors they allow to sell supply], then they’re legit and we don’t see them as a problem.”

On OpenRTB: “The new OpenRTB 2.6 protocol has guidelines that help prevent supply-side platforms from receiving duplicative ad requests. It suggests that bid requests include content object signals that fully describe the content surrounding ad inventory, such as genre or network, as well as information about the buyer, such as a brand’s name and its vertical. Without standardization for bid requests in CTV, content information is limited to inconsistent strings of information that aren’t reliable for identifying a program.”


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[Editor’s note: As a hypothetical example, one bid request may call out the show “Game of Thrones,” while another simplifies the title as “GoT.”]

On performance TV: “Performance marketers will start buying more CTV supply if more of that inventory becomes biddable. The open market is a playground for performance marketers – it increases scale more cheaply than the premium prices advertisers pay for direct deals.”

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