Using automation as a programmatic CTV enabler

Magnite Team

July 12, 2022 | 4 min read

As the tide rises on advertising video on-demand (AVOD) and free ad supported TV (FAST), the role of programmatic technology in the future of TV advertising is evolving. Adtech is transforming the way publishers and content owners build their ad breaks, provide advertisers with greater controls, and drastically improve the streaming experience for their viewers. Content and ad creative metadata has a key part to play in ad serving innovations such as SpringServe’s BingeWatcher product, which automates the creative review process to improve ad experiences and drive campaign success.

Programmatic boost to CTV

Video advertising growth has driven overall programmatic display ad spending significantly in recent years as demand for video impressions has grown and consumer shifts to more streaming has led to more available inventory. According to eMarketer, by 2023 US CTV display ad spending will surpass $19bn accounting for more than 25% of programmatic video ad spend and 13.5% of programmatic digital display. As it continues to grow at double digits – 33% in 2023 – many are looking to adtech to provide enhancements to ad delivery, leveraging automation where possible to provide efficiency, improve ad experiences, and drive profits.

The increase in supply and demand for CTV inventory means more ads getting served, which thereby puts pressure on ad serving processes such as finding the optimal creative to serve in each request. This is where automation is crucial to help publishers better manage their workflows.

Automation boosts programmatic CTV

Historically, large amounts of CTV ad spending has come from upfronts or as part of programmatic guaranteed deals that don’t provide the flexibility that advertisers have become accustomed to in other programmatic display channels. Whilst in the direct world publishers view and approve creative manually, programmatic transactions happen much faster. As programmatic CTV ad investment grows, scalable tools that enable fast, efficient workflows will be critical for content owners to deliver seamless privacy-compliant, brand safe and brand suitable user experiences.

Tools that can provide automated real-time categorization enable publishers to deliver such flexibility, enabling quick and efficient selection of the best creative for each ad pod. Springserve’s BingeWatcher, for instance, is a scalable automated creative review tool for publishers of all sizes that enables them to categorize ad content accurately in real-time to match content to ads, ensuring both contextual relevance whilst respecting rules and regulations. By enriching their content metadata publishers can position themselves for lucrative CTV gains now and in the future.

Creating and scaling quality ad experiences

Given economic headwinds, consumers increasingly want more choice in how they fund their media habits, and as a result ‘ad-lite’ and fully ad supported models will proliferate in CTV. Therefore, the industry challenge is to ensure ad experiences match the quality of the content, ensuring they’re contextually relevant with no repeated or conflicting ads in order to avoid wasted budgets and erosion of consumer trust.

Much focus has been given to ad podding in CTV where publishers are able to sequence together multiple video ads, simulating a TV commercial break. BingeWatcher’s high levels of accuracy in analyzing and categorizing data can improve those ad pods, filling ad slots with contextually relevant, brand appropriate content that ensures creative deduplication and competitive ad separations, whilst respecting regulatory compliance.

Automated categorization of ad content could also help in implementing contextual approaches to CTV ads with increased privacy regulations and needs, tightening the focus on targeting solutions that are free from third party cookies and personally identifiable data. Aligning viewing content with ads could supercharge contextual ad experiences in CTV, which goes hand-in-hand with ensuring creative resonates with audiences regardless of what identifiers are available.

BingeWatcher: A programmatic enabler

With growing AVOD, FAST and live streaming ad opportunities, continuously growing CTV budgets and new buyers investing in the medium, automating programmatic workflows will enable publishers to keep up with the demand. This is why products such as BingeWatcher will be critical to make creative review smarter allowing publishers to screen ads in real-time whilst ensuring they’re classified accurately.

BingeWatcher is a fully-automated, easily scalable and highly flexible technological alternative to the manual process of creative review. BingeWatcher quickly and accurately scans, downloads and analyzes creatives in real-time, then assigns specific creative metadata attributes to each ad, after which it is immediately available in the ad server for consideration in filling an ad request. The ability to confidently vet ad creatives at scale in an automated fashion is a huge benefit to CTV and OTT content owners, saving them time, improving accuracy, with the added viewer experience benefits of audio normalization, ad deduplication, and competitive separation.

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