Over 70 percent of advertisers plan to increase their Connected TV (CTV) budget in 2022. This is the result of a recent study by the German Advertisers Association (Organisation Werbungtreibende im Markenverband, OWM). And no company, according to the top spenders in the German advertising industry, will reduce their CTV budget. That is an extraordinary statement. It proves: CTV is not only THE trending topic in the industry, but it will also grow steadily in the coming years. While Connected TV is already firmly established as a channel in the media mix in the USA, Germany still has a long way to go.
There are several reasons for this: Germans had to get used to online motion pictures via the big screen and we still have some homework to do, especially in the setup for programmatic CTV bookings. But the omens are good: The technical reach in German-speaking countries has increased sharply, and around 35 million households can now be reached via CTV. And there are more and more. The Corona pandemic was also a catalyst for playing online content on the big screen. Streaming is booming, but: The household budget for paid streaming is finite. Nearly two-thirds of viewers watch ad-supported CTV save money.
Currently, device manufacturers like Samsung, LG, Philips & Co-market about 30 percent of CTV reach. Aggregators, publishers, and content suppliers, such as Spiegel and Bunte TV or Rakuten and Waipu TV, account for a good 70 percent. Both share advertising revenues via revenue sharing. For budgets to continue to develop positively in the coming years (at the moment they are increasing by around 20 percent year-on-year), the various players in our market (device manufacturers, aggregators, and publishers) should agree on common standards and a functioning basic framework for programmatic processing. Smart TV devices are still very different, interfaces are not always available, and the entire technical setup is rather complex. Here are four tips to make the Connected TV advertising world easier:
App-ads.txt sounds unfamiliar at first, but it is a helpful file standard from the IAB Tech Lab. It's not a must-have, but it's recommended for any publisher. As an extension of Authorized Digital Sellers (ads.txt), Authorized Digital Sellers for Apps (App-ads.txt) also serves to protect publishers from ad fraud. The App-ads.txt can be used for all apps - mobile, CTV, or other app stores. In this way, ads are only played via the channels that are also authorized. The standard prevents ad fraud and ensures brand safety. For publishers, implementing the App-ads.txt is simple: The files only need to be installed and uploaded to the root domain of the website.
For publishers and advertisers, it's a vexed issue, but for users and fair digital marketing, it's indispensable: The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). There is a solution and a standard from the IAB Tech Lab for this as well: The Transparency and Consent Framework 2.0 (TCF 2.0). And that is exactly the point: Consent. Users must actively consent to the processing of their data. In addition, there is data that is necessary, for example, for a website to function purely technically. These are considered "legitimate interests" and do not require active consent from users. Whereas in the frontend the Consent Management Platform is responsible for this, in the backend there is the so-called IAB TC String. As a communication tool within the framework, it contains all relevant information around user consent. These can be saved once or renewed regularly using login solutions, for example.
The most important instrument is the so-called Identifier for Advertising or IFA for short. According to the IAB, this will be made available by all device manufacturers and app stores. The IFA is the user's digital identity and is created based on their Consent information. Advertisers thus have the opportunity to play out target group-specific ads - completely without personal data. A distinction is made between the device ID, which uniquely refers to a device, and the session ID, which - as the name suggests - contains data for a specific session. Personal data that could identify users in the real world is, of course, not stored.
Targeting strategies for online videos can only be transferred to CTV to a limited extent. While videos on a laptop or smartphone tend to be watched by individuals, CTV has several people sitting in front of the big screen in three-quarters of all cases. Therefore, it makes sense to approach target and interest groups via contextual targeting. To be able to do that, you need exact data about the program. Publishers and device manufacturers alike should therefore ensure that the most accurate information possible about the program is available from the respective interfaces. In live streaming, we use the information from the Electronic Programming Guides (EPGs). They provide information on which channel a format with which content is running at which time. Additional metadata such as scriptwriters, content, and subtitles can also be used via direct integration in the CTV publisher's CMS.
If these four tips are implemented in practice, nothing will stand in the way of successful CTV campaigns. Viewers, at any rate, have thanked us so far with above-average view-through rates. In a campaign for the e-commerce marketplace Etsy, the corresponding figure was 96 percent.
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