Connected TV (CTV) is taking the programmatic industry by storm. “The CTV gold rush” is our new blog series which looks at some of the most prevalent challenges within CTV, and how to overcome them. With some great research-based insights and plenty of tips, you’ll come away armed with more knowledge and better CTV strategies. Check out the other blogs in this series and discover more about evolving viewership trends, and how to find your most valuable audience on CTV.
Connected TV (CTV) has become a major player in digital marketing, with big dollars up for grabs. But thanks to plenty of bad actors, a lack of selling transparency, and a lack of buying knowledge, CTV is full of murky processes and bad practices. We’ll look at what the issues are, and how marketers can combat them.
CTV’s first big issue? Fraud.
Misleading tactics can be used to falsely report the number of impressions for a CTV campaign. The most common type is bot fraud. This is where fake TV devices are used to mimic viewership, when – in reality – the ad was never seen by human eyes. It poses a huge risk for marketers, as measurements might not be ‘measuring’ anything.
Unfortunately, fraud is on the rise. DV’s Global Insights Report found that CTV bot fraud surged by 69% in 2022 (compared to 2021), and unprotected campaigns experienced a fraud rate of 11.2%, compared to just 0.6% for protected campaigns. Since 2020, the number of CTV fraud schemes and variants detected annually has tripled.
So, how can you combat fraud? The best defense is to buy inventory solely on a private marketplace (PMP). But while this ensures quality, this brings us to the next issue: app bundling.
App bundling can create big challenges.
App bundling is when networks or platforms sell their CTV inventory via a PMP, identified via an ID that’s bought directly through the DSP. Since bundle IDs are manually created, they aren’t regulated and aren’t guaranteed to be unique. This results in a number of problems.
Firstly, there’s no flexibility. Advertisers are often forced to buy a bundle from premium publishers, even if they just want a specific app or show.
Secondly, the bundle ID itself tells you nothing about the inventory included. To see what’s included, you’d have to manually look up the URL. Bundle IDs can also include a variety of the different levels of app quality and audiences. This can be a mixture of:
- TV Everywhere apps, which are previous cable or broadcast channels (like Fox or Discovery), who own their own original content and now run a CTV app. These are considered the most premium.
- SVOD (subscription-video-on-demand) apps such as Hulu. These premium subscription-based apps have some ad space available. These apps usually have some amount of original content too.
- AVOD (advertising-video-on-demand) apps, otherwise known as FAST (free ad-supported TV). This includes the likes of Tubi or Pluto which often license TV content from other sources.
- Digital pure-play apps, such as Newsy, WatchFree or Cheddar. These either license content from elsewhere or aggregate short form video content. On free apps, the content is also more likely to run on public CTV, like in gyms or other public spaces. Attention is low and the sound is likely turned off.
And thirdly, even once you know what’s included, you may not know what percentage of your impressions are being allocated across the bundle. Up to 90% of your spend could be served on digital pure-play apps and you wouldn’t know.
When we consider that many networks have 100+ bundle IDs (and growing), most marketers simply don’t have the time to get into the details of app and genre level and check the quality of new and existing IDs.
But there are questions you can ask your CTV partners to ensure you’re getting the transparency you need:
- Do you run via PMPs or Open Exchange?
- Do you provide transparent reporting at the app and genre level?
- Can you provide me the % breakout per app that my ads are being delivered on?
- What % of my campaign is being delivered on OTT vs. CTV?
- How do you determine the CTV app mix that will best hit my objectives?
- Do you include inventory on any public CTVs?
- What is your rate of fraudulent impressions and how do you tackle fraud?
Getting answers to these questions is a great starting point. Armed with some valuable insights, you can really get to grips with combating fraud and make the most of your campaigns.
Get in touch for more details on how to get transparent CTV campaign reporting.
MiQ’s approach to programmatic supply
Want to know what makes our approach to programmatic supply so good? Let’s get into it. The foundation to our entire approach is the fact we’re truly platform and inventory agnostic. We proactively work with the best inventory providers in the market which means we’re flexible, and constantly a step ahead (if not two).
We also operate on a refined list of SSPs and publishers. This is all based on previous performance, industry reputation, trust, and human auditing. And we thoroughly vet our sellers before testing and activation. We simply won’t work with anyone who has a history of ad fraud, reselling or intermediaries. If there’s foul play, there’s no partnership.
Plus, we’re actively working to make 100% of our supply direct-only (meaning no intermediaries). So far, we’ve curated over 2000 direct-to-publisher (or SSP) private marketplace deals categorized by IAB category, price point, and brand suitability. This means that inventory being supplied and transacted on is 100% brand-safe, and it’ll perform up to the MiQ gold standard.
And thanks to MiQ’s Intelligence Hub, you’ll have transparent campaign reporting and insights at your fingertips. Via your own dashboard, you’ll be able to see a breakdown of impressions, view-through rate by the exact app and content genre served. At any point, you can have any information you need. We don’t keep any secrets.