A 360 view of video advertising: Webinar Q&A

02 August By IAS Team
video advertising

Video content consumption is more fluid than ever across screens.  In our Virtual Panel titled A 360 View of Video Advertising, IAS sat down with industry leaders from Innovid, FreeWheel Advertisers, and NBCU to discuss the opportunities and challenges from a converged video world and stressed the importance of partnerships in order to scale the latest Connected TV (CTV) environment.

Please find answers below to questions asked during the Q&A section:

1. What is the difference between OTT and CTV?

The two terms OTT (Over-The-Top) and CTV (Connected TV) are often conflated, causing confusion across the industry.  When it comes to digital video advertising, our advice is to delineate between the content type and the environment.

Content Type Is it an episode of your favorite TV show, a news clip, or a sporting event? Full Episode Programs and long-form video content can be consumed across screens. 

Environment Is the video being watched on a desktop, a mobile device or a connected TV? Connected TV is a TV screen, but unlike linear television, which requires a cable (think Spectrum or Xfinity) or Satellite (like DISH) subscription, a Connected TV is accessible through the following:

  • CTV Devices: Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Amazon FireTV Stick, and Roku
  • Game Consoles: Playstation, Xbox
  • Smart TVs: TVs from manufacturers like Samsung or LG,  with digital capabilities to connect to the internet to access video content through pre-installed apps TVs from manufacturers like Samsung or LG,  with digital capabilities to

Most companies are adopting the IAB’s definition from its Guide to Digital Video AdvertisingThe IAB definition is focused on the big screen, and describes OTT as a “device that can connect to a TV (or functionality within the TV itself) to facilitate the delivery of internet-based video content (i.e. streaming boxes, media streaming devices, smart TVs, and gaming consoles).

Note that if an advertiser’s goal is reach, some OTT sellers are packaging content that includes a combination of small and large screens.  If you are after the “living room experience” or augmenting your linear TV buy and decide to invest in CTV, make sure that you ask for proof that your ad was played to completion on a connected TV device.

2. How can brands, agencies, publishers unlock the value of CTV?

Connected TV (CTV) offers marketers a highly effective opportunity to make direct connections with their customers.  However, as digital ad spend shift towards this environment, so will the attention of fraudsters and their effort to capitalize on unprotected environments like CTV. Everyone in the advertising ecosystem has a responsibility to ensure the brand’s investment and reputation is protected in all digital environments. Brands need to know what they’re buying and that their media investment is driving business outcomes. In addition to working together to agree on standards and accelerate adoption of those standards,  agencies and publishers need to continue providing trust and transparency and provide automation tools to scale this new environment.

3. What can marketers do to diminish fraud fears and take advantage of CTV?

Ask questions to make sure that you understand the inventory you’re buying and that you’ll get visibility into where your ads ran. Here’s a review of the practical recommendations we provided in our last OTT Webinar Q&A.

  • Avoid higher IVT (invallid traffic)  rates by making sure that you and your media partner are aligned on the definition of what you’re buying.
  • Favor direct publisher relationships and those who provide more transparency until the industry unlocks scalable measurement across all inventory sources.
  • Foster the adoption of the VAST 4.1 and above, which introduce essential elements for scalable measurement. 

4. What responsibility do supply sources have in ensuring that they are not providing fraudsters a platform to defraud buyers? 

Media suppliers provide a platform for brands to effectively connect with their consumers. These suppliers have a responsibility to buyers to provide engaging content and delivering it to real people in the intended environment. Several suppliers are partnering with industry bodies to prevent their platforms from being used to defraud buyers.  Their goal is to create a basic set of technical requirements to safeguard against this.

Publishers can take a couple of steps to ensure and demonstrate that their supply is both validated and verified, with no option for fraud:

  1. In any instance of buy-side validation, the client IP address should be sent, rather than the server IP address. 
  2. The actual user agent (which identifies the exact device) should be passed to the server to avoid spoofing.
  3. Generally speaking, Publishers should try to support the most recent IAB standards, whether we’re talking about Open Measurement or VAST 4.x . For the latter, they don’t have to support the entire spec, there’s a small subset of macros and recommendation that will go a long way to fight fraudsters.

5. What’s your take on viewability measurement on CTV? 

Viewability is not possible today as javascript, which is required for viewability measurement, is not universally supported in the Connected TV (CTV) environment.  Measurement will require the industry to set standards for this new environment.

6. What is your take on brand safety in CTV? 

Apps are used in Connected TV (CTV) environments, but there is no centralized app store or naming convention like there is in mobile.  IAS is researching signals required from publishers to analyze content for brand risk.

7. Could you speak to the ITP issues on iOS?

ITP (Intelligent Tracking Prevention) applies to Safari browser tracking.  Connected TV (CTV) ad impressions are not impacted by ITP.

8. One big issue in OTT is CTV buys being inadvertently delivered to smaller screens like desktop and mobile. Does your fraud detection solution measure this?

This is an important issue given the high demand for CTV (connected TV) inventory, making it one, if not the most, lucrative channel for video advertising. The current manifestation of fraud in the market is mainly spoofing the device, aka, converting a desktop and mobile inventory to be perceived as CTV.  Leading video platforms like Innovid can provide this measurement and IAS’s solution verifies the completion of your ad in a connected TV environment.

9. Could you speak to the importance of competition in your ad stack?

eMarketer predicts digital ad spend to grow half a trillion dollars by 2023.  Digital’s accelerated growth provides marketers endless opportunities to engage with consumers, but also attracts bad actors who are capitalizing on this shift in media consumption.  Competition not only fuels innovation and speed at which these innovations are delivered to market. Companies focused on solving the same challenges provide a platform for standardization, which is a key ingredient for scaling new environments like CTV (Connected TV).

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