Agency Media Director: Trust Still An Issue For CTV

As 2022 draws to a close, we asked Michele Madaris, media director at the Waltham, Mass.-based independent ad agency Boathouse, to share her thoughts on advertising in general and connected TV (CTV) in particular.

What’s your take on what’s ahead for the economy and advertising in 2023?

Madaris: Economic hardship and the potential for recession are at the forefront as we embark on 2023.

From a consumer perspective, it will be interesting to see how consumption trends are affected — specifically, whether cable cord cutting will further accelerate, and how many consumers will choose to continue paying for multiple video streaming services, versus how many will cut back and turn increasingly to ad-supported options.

On the advertising front, the assumption is that spend will be impacted in the year ahead, but the question is, how much? Personally, I'm cautiously optimistic.



But what we can be sure of is that, with every dollar spent, there will be more rigor and scrutiny around the performance of media spend.

How will measurement be different — presumably for the better — in 2023? 

Madaris: Linear TV and OTT measurement have certainly been in the hot seat as it relates to performance and measurement, and I expect that to continue.  There are far more eyes on measurement, particularly as the bigger advertisers like P&G have put the pressure on for greater transparency and performance accountability.

Every partner right now is selling their ‘unique measurement’ application and touting their connections or partnerships with industry leaders to get to a more consistent and reliable methodology. It feels like an industrywide effort to enhance measurement. So yes, I think 2023 will bring improvements that help advertisers tie to outcomes. 

The IAB recently released some work around attention metrics and defining attention unanimously across channels. I expect that this will be a focus of the discussion for much of the year ahead, as the industry migrates to a universal impression currency across channels.

Do you see 2023 as the long-awaited “breakthrough” year for connected TV advertising? 

Madaris: Well, "breakthrough" at least in the sense of progress in addressing transparency, along with measurement. 

Advertisers want to know where and how CTV inventory is delivered. They want to know on what devices, and in what environments, the ads are being served — TV everywhere; subscription plus ad-supported VOD; free ad-supported FAST, etc. — as well as what type of content they are running in. 

Real transparency provides an extra layer of confidence against fraud, as well as confidence that ads are running in brand-safe environments, and that we are reaching the right consumers with the right message at the right time. 

And again, the measurement piece — seeing proof of business outcomes for every dollar spent — is just as critical, especially with the threat of economic hardship and marketing budgets being reduced. 

All in all, advertisers are looking for better connected campaigns that drive better outcomes. 

Many have predicted that improvement on those fronts, combined with the growing difficulty of reaching key audiences via linear TV, will drive increased ad spend in CTV in 2023. But will advertisers and agencies experiment with new applications or uses for this medium?

Madaris: Currently, I would say that the most common uses for CTV are driving incremental reach beyond a linear TV campaign; CTV-only as an alternative to linear; engaging viewers watching a competitor's ad; and “creating” unique addressable audiences based on personas. While there are probably others, those are the dominant ones. 

And actually, I don't foresee there being a huge shift in how advertisers and agencies employ CTV in the coming year, because we’re still getting comfortable with trusting the delivery and measurement. Until there's confidence without question, I think we’ll be sticking with tried-and-true use cases.

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