Here Emma Newman, chief revenue officer EMEA at PubMatic, outlines some of the key learnings from ‘The Future of CTV Advertising in Europe‘, a new report from VideoWeek Research produced in association with PubMatic.
Newman picks out the next steps the industry must take to accelerate CTV maturity, and argues that while we may never have a single European market for CTV, cross-country collaboration will be key for competitiveness and scale.
With time spent watching linear TV decreasing and time spent watching CTV in all its various guises increasing, now is the right time to innovate and develop a suite of CTV advertising solutions that provide consumers with a great user experience, drive performance for brands, and maximise yield for CTV content providers.
Where are we now?
With the number of CTV providers at an all-time high and the market evolving rapidly, we’re in a phase where innovation is key to survival. For established broadcasters, failure to innovate could result in a decrease in value for viewers and advertisers. The challenge is that an established company may have a single line of sight when it comes to success in contrast with this need for innovation. Such a short-term focus hampers innovation as it leaves little room for investment in new technology and the resources required to drive innovation. Newer entrants, like Roku and Hayu, are primed to take advantage of this situation because they are in a position to innovate quickly and their leadership teams are focused on gaining market share.
In many markets, CTV has evolved from broader addressable TV offerings. The combination of this heritage, paired with concentrated high-quality supply and the need to develop a roadmap for CTV first, has meant that programmatic has been an afterthought. The new research ‘The Future of CTV Advertising in Europe’ that PubMatic has commissioned from VideoWeek Research, shows that the sell-side is already building for a future where programmatic advertising will be a driving force for future growth. Furthermore, the findings of the research show that the buy- side sees programmatic advertising as a means of bringing their own data to CTV advertising.
Now is the time to eliminate the gap
At the heart of most ad tech companies’ vision is to transform advertising for the better. This means focusing on user experience, delivering outstanding performance for brands, and helping publishers, and now CTV content providers with maximum yield. Our research has revealed some key areas for the CTV advertising industry to focus on. Five of them included:
- Definitions need to be simplified for buyers and sellers. This will accelerate common best practices and consistency throughout the supply and demand paths.
- Measurement needs to be standardised in a transparent and fair manner.
- Broadcasters need to move beyond the focus on addressable linear TV solutions (e.g. HbbTV, STBs) to develop deep expertise in the app economy. Going forward this will be a major battleground for consumer attention on CTV.
- Collaboration – individual CTV market participants need to understand that success comes from developing solutions and making decisions together, not by fighting for control of e.g. data and measurement.
- Further experimentation, and application of programmatic technologies – especially header bidding – and a more holistic approach to yield is required in order to secure additional spend.
Developing CTV specific header bidding solutions is going to be particularly important because, unlike video ads, CTV ads are served in pods meaning there are two or more sequential ads which need careful management to avoid over exposure of a single ad and competitive separation. Specialised CTV header bidding solutions leverage applicable best practices from video header bidding solutions while also applying logic that solves for the unique challenges CTV advertising presents. Mainstream uptake of specialist CTV header bidding solutions will maximise campaign performance and viewer experience.
It is also important to invest in building internal knowledge of CTV. This could be in the form of training or new hires but without the talent available to guide your customers through the nuances of the channel, again, the value your offer is diminished. The specialists within your organisation should also be actively involved in the current initiatives to define CTV and educating the wider ecosystem. This is more than just positioning as a thought leader, it’s about ensuring that the resulting standards and best practices reflect the requirements of all players, not just the biggest players in the space. By doing so we will create a level playing field, fair competition, and thus increase value.
Innovation is never ‘done’
Successfully navigating change is empowering for businesses as it creates a framework for future growth. In fast-moving industries like digital advertising there is a need for constant change through innovation. Today, we’re swimming against a strong current of change but if the right strategic moves are made, we will find ourselves back in a period of growth which will allow the focus to shift back to revenue.
CTV is a fantastic opportunity across the globe. In Europe, we will see markets developing at different speeds. Furthermore, if early indications come true, we may see individual markets breaking away and creating tailored CTV environments based on fundamental differences in linear TV. This was a recurring theme throughout the interviews for our research and one which deserves great respect. Today, we are a long way from having a single European market for CTV (and we may never quite get there), but it is already well understood that cross-country collaboration is key to enabling competitiveness and scale.