Chalk up yet another effect of pandemic disruption on marketing: an accelerated shift toward “programmatic guaranteed” (PG) campaigns.
Advertising platform SpotX, which reaches 66% of total U.S. CTV households and 89% of ad-supported CTV households, reports that advertising spend across all PG deals on its platform has increased by an average of 92% year-over-year in 2020.
Next year, PG spend is projected to jump by 154% YoY, according to the company’s just-released Global Video Advertising Trends 2021 report.
Considering cable TV and OTT buys together, as well as data-based audience targeting, leveraging programmatic efficiencies, and transacting TV buys digitally, have all become ongoing trends.
Enter the pandemic-driven programming and consumer spending uncertainties, which drove buyers to seek maximum flexibility in ad buys, without losing the security of inventory guarantees.
PG deals — which offer programmatic’s speed and one-to-one targeting through audience data, while allowing for a fixed-price agreement in return for guaranteed access to the desired inventory — have become an increasingly popular solution.
“Given the uncertainty around live sports and TV premieres, advertisers opted for scatter buys transacted via programmatic pipes, rather than committed upfronts,” SpotX notes.
“The industry has even seen the development of a new generally accepted format, the ‘programmatic upfront’ — a programmatic guaranteed deal tied to a period of time. Agencies are increasingly negotiating traditional and programmatic deals at the same time to optimize their rates and coverage across channels.”
To streamline such transactions, buyers are also focusing on fewer, more strategic seller and technology partnerships, as well as using public APIs to improve the way information is passed between platforms, SpotX reports.
Sunil Naryani VP, commercial & partnerships APAC for Dentsu International, elaborates on the dynamics.
“As programmatic continues to grow and encompass more media channels, aspects that will matter the most are direct publisher access for supply transparency, premium brand-safe content for consumer engagement, and audience accuracy for addressability and targeting,” he states in the report. “Open auctions can’t deliver on these; hence, advertising dollars are rapidly shifting into private marketplaces and more so into programmatic guaranteed buying.”
“This shift is more evident for premium video supply on OTT and broadcaster video-on-demand platforms, where content consumption has spiked since COVID-19 and brands are looking to get in front of an engaged viewer base,” he continues.
“In my opinion, as PG buying gains popularity, direct publisher access will become table stakes. There will be an increased expectation from publishers, supply platforms, and agencies to provide incremental value to advertisers by curating supply — media plus data — deals considering factors like premium placement, auction priority, performing ad formats, and publisher audience segments.”
For these reasons, Dentsu has launched a programmatic supply solution for clients in the APAC region, he reports.
Advertisers spent almost $19 billion in the 2020-21 prime time upfront, plus additional sums for other dayparts and some made 2021 calendar year upfront deals---at higher CPMs---so it's hardly true that TV advertisers are so concerned about the availability of sports and primetime entertainment fare that they are deserting the upfront process---as suggested by SpotX. Guaranteed programmatic upfront buys are not happening in "linear TV" nor is this likely---hence, this article is really about an unknown percentage of OTT negotiations.