Simplifying CTV Advertising With Currencies and Co-Viewing


The rise of CTV comes with challenges, such as co-viewing and a lack of defined currencies. Chris Kelly, CEO, Upwave, shares how major players in the advertising industry are trying to solve these problems and have agreed upon currencies to provide a realistic assessment of how CTV ads drive real business outcomes.

If you’re old enough, you may remember aimlessly flicking through the television, complaining that nothing was on because the TV channels, not you, decided what they would play. That’s one of the reasons why many people are excited about the rise of CTV, which has produced a gold rush of original content, easily accessible new and classic movies, and more sports than ever.

According to Insider Intelligence, the long-awaited inflection point has arrived: Non-pay TV households will exceed pay-TV households in 2023Opens a new window . While the COVID-19 pandemic indeed had a hand in accelerating CTV viewing, it’s been a long-time coming.

The era of CTV is here, and it is increasingly ad supported. Every significant platform now offers a lower-cost tier with ads to appeal to budget-conscious consumers, an increasingly important tactic in times of economic uncertainty. The proliferation of CTV publishers that offer ad-supported models points to it being the ideal medium for brands to reach lean-back consumers, increasingly through programmatic buying.

The Era of CTV

Another reason CTV is so hot: is the cookies’ slow march toward obsolescence. Performance marketers initially gravitated towards CTV as a way to deploy their spending, and now brand marketers are getting into the game as well, for a good reason. CTV is an extension of linear TV’s lean-back experience: a brand builder’s paradise.

That CTV’s rise has coincided with the degradation of the cookie only heightens the former’s appeal. And yet, greater attention to CTV as a marketing platform magnifies the lingering issues that have not yet been solved.

The biggest challenge during CTV’s golden age has always been a lack of a defined currency (or currencies) that ensure buyers and sellers have an agreed-upon metric to settle payment for an ad.

The issue has arisen due to the fragmentation of CTV publishers and their usage of different measurements, making it hard for advertisers to compare their multi-channel campaigns accurately. While some platforms offer broad reach, most advertisers will work with several publishers on any campaign, with each one having its own way of counting.

Agreeing on how to evaluate ads and by which metrics will make transactions easier and unleash a wave of new CTV advertising investment. Solving the currency issue required strong collaboration between competitors. After years of discussion, the major broadcasters have joined forces to create the Joint Industry CommitteeOpens a new window to establish and formalize currencies and standards.

The committee’s announced plans include the following:

  • Engaging a third-party audit firm to verify streaming viewership.
  • Creating a measurement certification process for third-party vendors.
  • Creating a programmer data set based on OpenAP infrastructure data.

See More: Shoppable Media is Coming To a TV Near You

Marketers Take 

In our conversations with marketers, they don’t want energy spent only on more accurate ways of counting ad views by age and gender without helping to understand how those ads drive brand and business outcomes. Therefore, all currency providers must be prepared to tie their data to outcomes. Without that connection, nothing else matters. After all, we’re just talking about counting. We don’t want to repeat the mistakes of the digital sphere, where all eyeballs were treated alike.

Marketers have told us that they want (and need) to understand the behavioral groups they’re reaching. They want outcomes married to currencies, which can’t happen without deeper, more advanced audience verification (e.g., are beer ads reaching beer drinkers–leading to a higher likelihood of a beer sale in the end–not just young men?).

This means the industry also needs to solve the co-viewing problem where individuals in households likely share one connected TV or streaming device to watch a majority of their CTV. Imagine a household of two parents and two teenage kids. When an ad is served to that household, was it seen by one person, four people, or some number in between? A solution for whole-home co-viewing is imperative, as knowing how many people are watching is harder.

And still, counting is not enough. We need to be able to target accurately and know who these people are.

Knowing who you’re targeting on mobile and desktop has traditionally been easier than CTV because of cookies and people likely owning an individual computer and mobile device.

By creating agreed-upon currencies, we can accurately settle advertising transactions on CTV. And by knowing what an audience is worth, we can solve co-viewership. Then, the value of CTV rises dramatically. As a member of the advertising and measurement community, we’re hoping the Nielsen One and the JIC announcements get marketers closer to the definitive outcomes that make CTV much more valuable overnight. They certainly move the conversation forward and the collective industry closer to solving these thorny issues. 

But it will likely require more input from and collaboration with the major players in the advertising industry to solve these issues that prevent a real assessment of how CTV ads begin the path to purchase to drive real business outcomes. We need to know the value of a viewer across all publishers, get as close as possible to knowing who that viewer is, and what outcome was generated. Only then will CTV truly live up to its potential as one of the world’s most valuable advertising platforms.

What is your take on solving currencies and co-viewing and how it will shape CTV advertising? Share with us on FacebookOpens a new window , TwitterOpens a new window , and LinkedInOpens a new window . We’d love to hear from you! 

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