I’ve been chatting with smart people at TubeMogul, the demand-side platform, and they’re analyzing trends, seeking to meet customer demand and preparing for the new year. The latest mind in my Prep & Predictions series is TubeMogul Chief Marketing Officer Keith Eadie, who weighed in with his thoughts on what’s coming next.
1. What are the most important developments that you see ahead for 2016 in connected TV (CTV)? What are the implications?
Eadie: We think that 2016 will see CTV come into its own as an effective and scaled solution to reach an increasingly fragmented audience. CTV offers marketers a quality, brand-safe environment absent traditional issues associated with digital advertising like viewability or suspicious traffic. But there are two things that need to happen to enable connected TV as a viable medium for brand advertisers:
First, cross-device audience measurement must be standardized. Fortunately, companies like Roku and Nielsen have made meaningful progress in efforts to establish a common currency upon which marketers can transact across channels.
Second, although CTV is so highly desired, inventory constraints effectively prohibit brand advertisers from reaching the scale associated with traditional linear TV channels. In 2016, we’ll see deals put into place to aggregate both multiple CTV sources, as well as aggregate CTV along with linear and VOD sources in a single platform, providing a wide swath of inventory that offers scale and efficiency.
2. What’s likely to happen with programmatic TV?
Eadie: 2015 was the first year advertisers tuned in to programmatic TV; in 2016, it will be ready for prime time. The demonstrated improvements in efficiency and cost-savings provided by automating the planning and buying of linear TV has already convinced marketers that programmatic principles can successfully be applied to traditional channels.
2016 will propel TV advertising’s renaissance even further, with the application of advertisers’ first-party data and more addressable TV solutions like the one recently announced by Dish Network."
3. Do you agree or disagree with eMarketer predictions on growth in programmatic? (The digital research firm projected that U.S. mobile programmatic direct spending will tally up to $5.88 billion in 2015, representing nearly 65% of the total U.S. mobile programmatic display dollars.
Separately, eMarketer projected that programmatic video will account for some 39% or nearly $3 billion of the total amount spent on U.S. video advertising this year. The firm projected that figure to rise to 65%, or $7.4 billion, by 2017).
Eadie: Whole-heartedly agree with the projections. The shift to an audience-based buying approach is well underway, and mobile will be the primary growth driver, with in-app ad executions on smartphones and tablets continuing to occupy an increasing share of marketers' ad budgets. We also think that programmatic TV, CTV, digital out-of-home and other nontraditional formats will continue to make meaningful progress at the expense of more traditional formats like print.
4. What is the most important thing that needs to happen in terms of cross-screen and cross-device attribution, targeting and measurement in 2016?
Eadie: Advertisers will have to put their existing TV plans at the heart of their cross-screen efforts. The key to effective cross-screen advertising is de-duplicating audiences across TV and digital devices -- or, put another way, reaching an individual on a digital device who hasn’t already seen an advertiser’s TV ads.
Marketers can currently use audience data from sources like Nielsen and MRI to build atop their existing TV plans and figure out where they can spend their remaining budget to maximize their reach and frequency in the most efficient manner possible. Moreover, that same audience data allows marketers to move beyond historic measurements like GRPs and graduate to a more effective metric like an incremental on-target CPMs.
5. Where is the debate over viewability going in 2016?
Eadie: Advertisers will finally realize that 100% viewability isn’t necessarily a good thing. It’s understood in advertising that there will always be “natural viewability”: some people will always ignore ads. They might tab away while your video is playing, or leave the room during the 30-second ad break that interrupts their online experience. They might not even see the ad because it’s auto-playing in a corner of the screen on a small player that your eye is avoiding. All of this is natural human behavior -- and yet each of these ads are considered 100% viewable.
Marketers that look at viewability rates alone without also considering costs could be misled: Paying for 100% guaranteed viewability will, most likely, increase underlying cost. Buying with a guarantee is comforting, but often buying without a guarantee leads to a lower viewable CPM, which is the metric that matters most.
6. Ad-blocking: What will the industry's solution for it be?
Eadie: We think the ad-blocking hype is overblown, and hopefully 2016 will see the topic banished to the news archives. Not only is there is more than enough demand to offset an uptick in ad blocking, but also many savvy publishers -- most recently, Yahoo -- proactively detect the presence of ad blockers and require viewers to disable them in order to watch content.
Also, as automated buying continues to help advertisers make ads more relevant and engaging for viewers, ad blockers’ popularity and prevalence will moderate. Finally, the increase in nontraditional formats like digital out-of-home and programmatic radio will help marketers reach consumers through mediums that don’t support ad-blocking technology.