Content transparency and quality are largest obstacles to CTV growth

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Amid fast-growing interest and investment in Connected TV (CTV) across the UK and Europe, a new report, The Power and Potential of CTV in Europe, has revealed that CTV advertising still suffers from a lack of transparency and need for quality verification.

Only 30% of advertisers and publishers have full transparency into where ad placements appear, and 27% never or rarely have insight into the brand suitability of the shows ads run alongside.

These findings are part of a study conducted by DoubleVerify, a software platform for digital media measurement, data, and analytics, in collaboration with IAB Europe, the European-level association for the digital advertising and marketing ecosystem.

The report, which surveyed over 420 senior advertiser and publisher executives, complements the results of an analysis conducted by DV last year, which found that one third of impressions are served into CTV environments where TVs are turned off.

This wasted digital investment on a hyper-premium channel is compounded by a sharp rise in CTV ad fraud schemes — which tripled between 2020 and 2022. Meanwhile, demand for CTV continues to grow beyond what individual broadcasters alone can serve.

Transparency and quality issues

Transparency and measurement were cited by respondents as key issues, with a major challenge for both advertisers and publishers being the availability and quality of measurement data on CTV.

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However, the report notes that, while verification on CTV buys is being increasingly considered to support quality outcomes, only 37% of advertisers and 41% of publishers have fraud protection.

Meanwhile, only 44% of advertisers and 39% of publishers are measuring whether their ads have been viewed.

Despite these obstacles, optimism surrounding CTV remains high. 95% of advertisers and 89% of publishers strongly believe that addressability and actionability are on the horizon for CTV, which will help advertisers drive outcomes from their campaigns and continue to fuel greater publisher investment.

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For advertisers, CTV is an attractive channel that provides an opportunity to access premium programming at scale — expanding and augmenting audiences they may already reach on linear TV. Half (51%) of respondents cited scale as one of their key priorities.

And while CPMs on CTV are typically higher than those of other digital channels, 51% of advertisers also see investing in CTV as a way to achieve cost efficiencies compared with linear TV.

For publishers, the focus is on providing high-quality inventory and qualified audiences to expand yield and deepen revenue. The top priority for 51% of publisher respondents is convincing new partners to begin advertising on CTV.

This is closely followed by increasing CTV revenues with new (46%) and existing clients (45%), and extending audiences (38%) to help their advertiser partners amplify their reach.

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“The burgeoning CTV market will be a lightning rod for European brands in 2024, and the results of this report clearly indicate that media buyers are swiftly aligning their strategies to accommodate the unique objectives and opportunities the medium supports,” said Nick Reid, SVP & Managing Director EMEA at DoubleVerify.

“In the face of this expansion, transparency is a critical limiting factor for more sure-footed investment and reliable results.

“As we collaborate with IAB Europe to promote transparency and quality verification, I am excited to see how advertisers and publishers will work to set the stage for the next phase of European CTV.”

Helen Mussard, Chief Marketing Officer at IAB Europe, said: “Our report with DoubleVerify confirms there is good reason to be optimistic that CTV advertising will see continued growth in the UK and Europe, and media planners should be looking eagerly at how CTV advertising can augment and drive results.

“However, it has also shone a light on a glaring need for verification and greater quality control. Once addressed, brands will be able to enjoy the full benefits of this transformative channel.”

Olya Dyachuk, Global Media & Data Director, The Heineken Company, said: “CTV shows strong potential in markets with robust retailer data availability and capabilities, serving as a catalyst for driving revenue.

“Unlocking this potential hinges on integration at media planning and execution levels and incorporation of CTV into the media mix seamlessly alongside traditional AV and Programmatic Online Video.

“Planning for high quality inventory, contextual relevance, and brilliant fit-for-purpose creative are also critical for success in the CTV space. This unified approach allows for optimum attention, resulting in better mental availability and maximum brand impact.”

Alex Thomas, Director, Brand Safety & Responsible Investment, GroupM, said: “Understanding precisely where your advertisement is placed and having the ability to drive optimisation is as crucial as ever for brands.

“The CTV landscape has historically grappled with fragmentation and technological limitations, hindering the development of these vital elements through the ecosystem.

“While progress has been made, it’s evident there is still room for further advancement, which is key to reducing brand safety and suitability concerns across CTV.”

The DV and IAB report explores the state of CTV adoption throughout the UK and Europe, what advertisers and publishers can hope to get out of their investments, what they can expect over the next few years, and what challenges they face in CTV adoption.

This includes a data-driven assessment of CTV quality, transparency and brand suitability.

Spokespeople from the following organisations provided qualitative contributions to the report: The Heineken Group, easyJet, Samsung Ads EMEA, Omnicom Media Group UK, GroupM, the7stars, e-dialog, Jellyfish, Microsoft Advertising, Magnite, PubMatic and Yahoo.