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Connected TV Does Not Equal Convergence

Rapid changes in consumer behavior have focused the industry on Connected TV. That’s great! But the new conventional wisdom assumes convergence is simply the adoption of CTV and that’s false. Last year, 15 percent of the TV ad spend went toward a combination of CTV and addressable and programmatic TV, while the remaining 85 percent went to linear, according to eMarketer. By 2022, the same data shows that linear will still account for 50% of advertising spend, with 36% going to CTV, and 14% to addressable and programmatic TV. 

Consequently, for advertisers the opportunity is not about waiting for all TV to become connected, it’s about recognizing that their audiences are increasingly fragmented across multiple devices and channels. 

The challenge for the industry is to create a new paradigm that incorporates the various fragmented types of video into a single, converged model. Here’s how.

Philip Smolin, chief strategy officer, Amobee

Philip Smolin, chief strategy officer, Amobee (Image credit: Amobee)

Step One: Activate On Cross-Channel Video Measurement

The convergence conversation has centered around technology. But as a recent Forrester report makes clear the core technology and measurement obstacles have finally been overcome within the past year. Cross-channel audience-based tools that combine both upfront auction-based transactions, as well as programmatic, are now a reality. Likewise, cross-channel measurement has become incredibly sophisticated within the last year. It’s time to activate these capabilities.

Step Two: See The Challenge in Operational Terms

With the necessary technology largely in place, the industry’s primary challenge is now operational. We need to break down silos at agencies and brands between linear, CTV and digital in order to do efficient planning across a fragmented space. By accepting that CTV won’t automatically bring about convergence, we’re actually laying the mental framework to break down the silos because we can no longer assume that digital teams will replace their linear counterparts. Instead, we need to plan for a future where all teams have a seat at the same table and are therefore aligned around the audience, not divided by silos. 

Of course, making operational changes will vary from one stakeholder to the next.

For the agency, a key next step will be to make sure your tech stack can measure across your existing digital and linear buys. At the same time, the agency must get its investment and trading teams to examine the shared measurement of strategic audiences.

For brands, it’s important to verify that your agency (or in-house team) can activate beyond CTV. Equally important, brands need to make sure that their DMP can utilize TV panel data to tie converged measurement to KPIs. And if your brand is heavy in TV, you need to negotiate your upfront buys for flexibility between linear and digital.    

Broadcasters must build capability around using an advertiser’s first-party data to understand their customer’s audience objectives. At the same time, broadcasters should be prepared to provide greater flexibility of upfront spending commitments between linear and digital. Finally, broadcasters must continue to expand their practice of using technology to enable data-driven packages across all devices.

Step Three: Lead a Generational Shift in Programmatic

Programmatic has a long history, but it has become shorthand for the tools and processes needed to manage auction-based buying. Extending programmatic to television, both connected and linear, will bring us to a place where advertisers can reach one audience everywhere. But we have to acknowledge that television and digital are fundamentally different animals. Consider three key categories:

We can achieve convergence, but we need to recognize that the scope of the challenge requires a new generation of ad tech that reconciles those fundamental differences. But instead of thinking about how we can make TV more like programmatic, we need to look for ways to make programmatic (a little bit) more like TV.

Philip Smolin

Chief Strategy Officer, Amobee