The Shift to Streaming Is Now a Lock – And That Means CTV Ads Are About to Get Much, Much Better

Design created by various tv screens in different colors

By Marni Rommel, Vice President of Business Development at Beachfront.

As the cool kids say, there’s been a vibe shift in 2022 around streaming.

Anyone in the orbit of this year’s Upfronts could feel it: Instead of buzzing about the new shows and post-launch parties at the annual TV confab, everyone was talking about the shift from GRPs to impressions and the ascendance of all things streaming. Case in point, one of the biggest news items of the Upfronts was Amazon picking up Thursday Night Football for Prime Video, where the 2022 live games will be stream-only.

No, linear TV is not dead; according to eMarketer, it still accounts for more than half (53.7%) of total time spent with video. But CTV is slowly catching up with traditional linear TV,  as evidenced by streaming recently outperforming cable and broadcast in terms of time spent viewing. What’s more, ad revenues for CTV are expected to increase 33.1% in 2022 to $18.89 billion. And with both Disney and Netflix’s new ad-supported models slated to arrive in the coming months, suddenly, there are a whole bunch of new reasons to embrace CTV.

CTV is the future of TV, and advertisers know it.

That shift has also brought a raft of innovations and changes that are making CTV advertising and sell-side ad decisioning technology better than ever—to meet and beat what advertisers have come to expect from traditional linear TV. We’re on the cusp of seeing just what CTV can really do for brands and advertisers. These four technology developments signal that the golden age of CTV ads is here:

A level playing field for ad buys – Linear TV has always been fiercely competitive for premium ad space. New tools are “flattening the auction” and giving everyone a fair shot at CTV ad inventory, while allowing media owners to prioritize different deal types and demand relationships. . New tools mean that, for example, you can send a request out to all five supply-side platforms (SSPs) that you’re working with at the same time and get a response back with very little latency. And that means your CTV ad partners can also now manage and effectively execute competitive separation and deduplication rules simultaneously. It’s a game changer.

Cleaner advertising experiences – We’ve all been there. You’re watching streaming TV and see the same three ads again and again and again. Or you get the awkward dead space between breaks. There are a ton of errors. CTV has a bad rap in advertising when it comes to the viewer experience. But that’s changing (and getting better) too. Creative library tools can now work their magic by unwrapping an ad, inspecting it, and then creating a unique ID. Suddenly we can tell it’s the exact same ad even though it came in from different places looking like two different ads. The result for publishers is more assurance and control, and for viewers, a (better than) linear-like ad experience on CTV.

On-the-fly ad pod construction – The ad spaces you see when watching CTV are called ad pods. And what goes into those ad pods often relies on an ad decisioning engine that is responsible for creating the most optimal pod. This is usually based on key advertising or monetization objectives, whether that’s ROI, delivering the best user experience, or upholding competitive separation (or all three). It’s yet another innovation that’s improving both the advertiser and viewer experience.

Better real-time reporting – One of the promises of streaming for advertisers is better measurement and accountability. As with all digital advertising, advertisers want real-time log-level data to inform their decisions. The linear TV small cable marketplace, by comparison, is fragmented and slow. It can take two weeks to understand what inventory is available and months to understand if campaigns were delivered. On CTV, you know almost instantly when it was delivered, and brands can pull their own granular metrics in real time—and use that data to inform future campaigns.

The rise of multi-screen content has forever changed the future of television—and now the experience gap between linear TV and streaming is closing too. And for intrepid brands ready to capitalize on it, the golden age of CTV advertising is finally here.