Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

The Digital Voice Mic Drops: Brand Metrics’ Robby Kraai on the outlook for CTV

‘Mic Drops’ is a new series of industry interviews conducted by The Digital Voice™.

Here, we meet Robby Kraai, Head of CTV at Brand Metrics, to learn what went on at CTV Connect 2024 in New York, and the priorities he sees for CTV this year. 

Hot on the heels of CTV Connect this March, what were your main takeaways from the summit?

This year’s event was the first ever CTV Connect summit and it is such a timely addition to the adtech events calendar. The conference provided a platform to share ideas, and of course to discuss the challenges associated with bringing digital advertising fully into the world of TV streaming. As such, there wasn’t one central topic, but a lot of different companies coming together in an exploratory way.  It was a good opportunity to see what others in the industry are doing and experiencing.

I was particularly interested in the IAB events, and hearing about innovations around assigning singular ad IDs to give a more accurate picture of user exposure to an ad across multiple platforms, as well as for frequency capping purposes. Enhancement of the ad attribution space is much needed. 

What are the current challenges in CTV?

There are three main issues we need to address in order to fulfil the potential of the CTV  in 2024:

  • Measurability: This was one theme that came as no surprise – the need for more cohesive measurement tools to better understand the impact of ads within CTV. The lack of fully standardised technological solutions in this space makes it difficult to achieve the kind of transparency we would like. First, for instance, we need to agree on naming conventions. But then also, as mentioned above, having consistent identifiers – specifically singular ad IDs – would make it significantly easier to track the consumption (viewability) and performance (attention) of an ad placement across different systems, and we are seeing steps towards this. 

The IAB in particular talked about the work of its advisory group to help make this happen through the use of an API. And in fact there are some options out there that offer a level of standardisation, such as the IAB’s VAST, but they’re not universally adopted and still have some flaws to iron out. 

  • Interactivity: As consumers, we all use a remote control when watching televised content, so there’s a huge opportunity for advertisers to connect those dots to enable the interactive element within CTV more comprehensively. There is definitely progress being made, and some key players driving that progress, such as Brightline. But there is work to be done to further evolve the SDKs [software development kits] available to publishers to enable that integration with existing apps or video players, and thus enable interaction with ads themselves, through QR codes for instance.
  • Optimising programmatic for CTV: As CTV is still a relatively unknown prospect to some publishers, inevitably there is some hesitancy about sharing the data needed to be able to run programmatic ads effectively through this channel. In truth, this is more driven by mindset than the solutions per se, as we move away from counting clicks to exploring a whole new ecosystem. The opportunity is considerable and as publishers become more comfortable with CTV, we will be able to realise its potential more fully. 

What are the most promising international markets for CTV?

It was interesting to hear the industry’s perception of how CTV is expanding, and being adopted, across different markets and regions. As we’re finding at Brand Metrics, the US has grown into a large market and is now working on more innovative ways to make CTV work harder. Canada is another big one, and I think everybody is under-estimating the number of people using CTV there. Meanwhile, in the UK, The Netherlands, and perhaps even across Europe in general, there’s more demand than supply – although there is also variance between different markets within the region. 

Given the relative newness of CTV, and the caution with which some publishers approach it, the ability to measure ad efficacy is limited in part by the lack of metadata made available and in part by the lack of standardised technology to enable measurement. But I think industry gatherings like CTV Connect continue to drive innovation and encourage a more collaborative approach to take the channel to new heights in 2024.