Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

The NDA Roundtable PART 3: Meeting the measurement challenge of CTV advertising

NDA recently ran  a roundtable discussing connected TV and the opportunities it presents. On the roundtable, we heard the thoughts of Pete Markey, Chief Marketing Officer at Boots; Melissa Blaha, Head of Product, Data and Analytics at Finecast; Daniel White, Group Director, EMEA at DoubleVerify; Andy Jones, Head of Agency Development at Samsung Ads; Alex Debenham-Burton, VP, Head of Reservation Media at Essence Global; Rhys McLachlan, Director of Advanced Advertising at ITV; and Charlie Glyn, Ad Technology Lead at 4 Sales (Channel 4).

(Part one of this roundtable writeup is here and part 2 is here.)

One of the most common things we talk about, as an industry, when it comes to advertising is measurement. With the rapid growth of connected TV (CTV), we are faced with the challenge of finding ways to accurately measure the usual things we look out for around factors such as reach and attribution. 

“It would be easy to fall into the same pitfalls that digital did. There are so many ways that you can measure things. If you’re going to use a way of measurement, you have to be clear on why you’re using it, and not just using it because you can measure it,” said Channel 4’s Glyn.

“From a linear perspective, for TV and broadcast, there’s been that one common currency of measurement. That’s massively expanding with the emergence of CTV. There are almost two areas: your performance measurement, but also your ad verification and fraud – these things are just as important. And, regardless of whether you’re a top-class broadcaster or in that long tail, it’s an important part of what we do and how we, as publishers, expand in CTV.”

The right measure

Finecast has its own solution to dealing with the measurement issues surrounding CTV, using geo keys to measure across the space, but the company is well-aware of the challenges that exist.

“There are some unique challenges in the CTV space, because there isn’t that standardisation. There isn’t a consistent set of data that you can use to measure a campaign,” said Finecast’s Blaha. “Things like attribution are more difficult as you’re trying to find one metric to use across your whole CTV and linear landscape. 

“But we look at it as an opportunity to reassess what success looks like, rather than looking at it as a measurement challenge. And, because we’re using geo keys as a basis for our measurement, we’re still able to represent that success to clients dependent on the outcome, regardless of the KPI that they’re looking to measure. So, we’ve been able to avoid the challenges in the CTV measurement space right now by finding a consistent key to use across all of our measurement.”

DoubleVerify’s White highlighted the fact that it is also essential to ensure that advertisers are monitoring and protecting against fraud to ensure that their media dollars aren’t going to waste, because “More money is going to CTV, it’s an easier area to exploit, and fraudsters are exploiting it. Therefore, sophisticated fraud schemes are becoming even more of a concern for advertisers,” explained White.

“True viewability measurement is nearly impossible to achieve in CTV right now, even though the industry is working on it. For the time being, DV does provide a proxy for viewability measurement to help advertisers monitor if their ads are being viewed. There is a common misconception that all CTV ads are viewable. For example, if you’ve plugged a smart device into your TV, that smart device can operate in the background and it’s running ads, sometimes whether or not the TV is switched on. So, there’s a challenge there that we’ve identified, and we can now flag that to brands and advertisers. This isn’t malicious behaviour on anyone’s part, it’s simply a technical challenge.”

But what CTV isn’t lacking is huge amounts of data – the problem is finding ways to bring the data together from across the video landscape. But this could all be set to change with the UK TV industry’s first unified advertising metric across linear and video-on-demand.

“The data is there, and how you fuse it together is obviously going to be questioned. And, unless we get a single-source panel, which I’m not sure will ever happen, it’s all we can do,” Essence’s Debenham-Burton shared.

“We’re working with the likes of Audience Project, using the technology we’ve got via TechEdge, and blending the gaps. Broadcast is always the issue, because we can’t third-party track anything. But, obviously, you’ve got CFlight coming in. It will be really interesting to see the data that comes out of that, and look at how we can ingest some of that data.”

ITV’s McLachlan added: “Collectively, the broadcasters are going to market with CFlight in quarter four. But, if you think about how long that’s taken to get off the production line, it gives an indication of the complexities of the challenges we have needed to solve here. It’s a really important first step. It’s the broadcasters aligning and collaborating on a set of standards that will for the first time provide advertisers with the ability to understand every single view of view of the viewer, and how that’s driving the KPIs – like reach and frequency – as a proxy for what I assume are other business outcomes. But it’s nascent and I think what we need to do is capitalise on the energy around that to pick up momentum and explore other areas.”

Getting the creative juices flowing

In addition to measurement and data, we often hear the word ‘creativity’ get thrown around – and, with CTV, there is “a whole world of possibility creatively”, according to Boots’ Markey.

“For me, as a brand owner, it becomes interesting around how segmented you go and how many edits you do. So, the speed to market and the need to produce high-quality creative, but to tailor that is going to be an interesting challenge,” said Markey. “I think there’s something interesting around how we, as a brand, could work more directly with media owners. We’ve worked with both Channel 4 and ITV in the past to produce broadcastable content, where you see there could be a role for the media owners to help you produce some of that at scale together. 

“It’s another fantastic opportunity. It’s just going to be a tension point between the cost and quality dynamic and then how tailored you go and what you do.”

For Samsung’s Jones, the key to creativity in CTV is about “ensuring the message is still reaching the right people”.

“Ultimately, you are going to be linking those that have been exposed to those who have actually purchased your product. That is where huge creativity is coming in. There’s a great opportunity around shoppable dynamic ads – we’ve got our native ad units as well,” Jones explained.

“But the creativity is making sure that the ad is working as hard as it possibly can, and that’s backed up with ad delivery to the right people and heavily measured. Let’s not try to reinvent the wheel. TV is incredibly impactful, and there’s so much data to back that up now.”