Connected TV

Is What You C(TV) What You Get? Buyers Want More Content-Level Transparency

When will reporting and transparency catch up with the pace of streaming’s evolution?

Is What You C(TV) What You Get? Buyers Want More Content-Level Transparency

3 Min Read

In industry circles, the talk of the town right now is transparency—where advertisers are getting it, and where they’re not. Buyers have grown frustrated with the lack of information on where, when, and in what context their campaigns are airing. At the moment, they may get content-level reporting, like genre and ratings, and in some individual cases, points like duration, series, episodes, or titles, but as Matthew Kramer, Head of Brand Investment at Media.Monks told Adweek, “It’s a crawl, walk, run, and we’re still very much crawling … we’ve seen baby steps … but not enough to extinguish the concerns.”

What’s holding publishers back from providing media buyers with as much information as possible? After all, knowledge is power; the more data advertisers have, the better decisions they can make. In that sense, it’s a selling point for publishers looking to build a customer base in the long term—buyers want to work with whoever can give them the info they need. But publishers have been slow to share this data, simply because they haven’t needed to. High demand for limited Connected TV (CTV) inventory has given platforms the upper hand; when you can keep your cards close to your chest, why wouldn’t you? But now the CTV landscape is heating up, and competition may eventually force their hand.  “Once you give any power away, that’s a Pandora’s box that is never closed again,” said David Nyurenberg, OTT & Digital Video Lead at Rain the Growth Agency.

Taking Notes From Performance TV’s Playbook

How do we know things are moving in the right direction? Early adopters are one sign. Some of the biggest players are rolling out additional features to alleviate buyers’ concerns, or in other cases, to consolidate their adtech infrastructure altogether. Paramount, for example—whose Paramount+ is one of the few platforms that offer buyers post-campaign show-level data—announced their techstack consolidation to “…make intelligent ad decisions across every [demand standpoint]: direct I/O, programmatic guaranteed, private marketplaces, indirect lanes,” said Paramount SVP of Ad Operations, Jarred Willichinsky. NBCUniversal gives advertisers the top 10 performing shows for their CTV campaigns based on audience viewership, but not at the household device level. Even Smart TV manufacturers like Samsung and Roku are following suit.

But could it also be that CTV adtech platforms are raising the bar on what transparency should look like? No one knows how long it’ll take for CTV content-level reporting to become table stakes (like it is for Linear TV), but we know advertisers like what they see in their current CTV reporting—and the insights they’re getting and using to make better buying decisions may very well be changing their expectations at the content level, too. Take performance marketing solutions like MNTN, for example. Offering a reporting suite that helps media buyers connect the dots from viewer to screen (and even beyond that to other devices), provides insights into the networks ads ran and the performance tied to those networks. Knowledge might be power, but it’s data that holds the key to opening doors for media buyers and new entrants to the CTV space—and that’s something we should all get behind.

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