We Need to Acknowledge That “Outcomes” in CTV Depend on the Brand | Industry Insights | All MKC Content | ANA

We Need to Acknowledge That “Outcomes” in CTV Depend on the Brand

By Brad Geving

The measurement challenges inherent in the CTV space have served as industry conversation fodder for years now. Significant time is spent discussing the complexity of the landscape and what it will take to truly connect the dots, but very few of the solutions that are brought forth go beyond mere platitudes.

We like to talk about "measuring outcomes" on CTV. But what does that really mean?

In countless conferences and summits, the media industry gets together and proceeds to talk past each other when it comes to the topic of CTV measurement. Sometimes, speakers forget to segment their goals when discussing a subject, and listeners are content to hear the words in the context of their own challenges, causing them to misunderstand the speaker's message. When debate ensues, we're arguing over different things from different perspectives with different definitions of the words we're using to argue our points. The result is a feeling that the advertising ecosystem has accomplished so much, but in reality, we often go back to our corners with no real action items, no real resolutions.

To solve this, the TV advertising industry needs a new approach. This must consider the detailed, nuanced, and segmented reality of our situation. Specifically, discussions about data, measurement, attribution, and currency all completely leave out the advertiser and their needs. I have never once heard a conference discussion first segment the advertisers into their respective data needs and then address those data needs in a meaningful manner. Instead, we assume that all advertisers have the same needs and then proceed to seek a solution to that one need.

Specifically, the industry addresses the needs of the largest advertisers first and then lumps every other advertiser into those discussions as though they too have the same problems. Rather than doing this, let's start with the actual needs of advertisers.

Let's identify what each advertiser brings to the table in terms of first-party data based on customer interactions, and how that can be leveraged in decision-making. If agencies and platforms segment advertisers using this methodology, then it's easier to cleanly address advertisers' needs both in terms of the currency required for evaluating a buy and the evaluation of the outcomes of those placements.

Any discussion on measurement, currency, attribution, or business outcomes must start by identifying the subject of the discussion in terms of the first-party data available. Doing this, we see that advertisers fall into certain categories of first-party data:

  • Advertisers who sell exclusively through retail channels do not even have a website of their own.
  • Advertisers who sell through retail but do have a website for information only.
  • Advertisers who sell through both retail and their own website.
  • Advertisers who sell through aggregator websites (such as Amazon, Wish, etc.).
  • Advertisers who sell only through their own website.

In each of these situations, the advertiser has a different level of experience with their customer and this experience directly affects what information they can tie back to their advertising.

By segmenting the advertisers first, the industry can have a fruitful conversation about the needs of each group. Those who sell exclusively through retail channels are going to be the advertisers who most rely on consistent currency and need the help of their retail partners to track the business outcomes of their advertising.

On the other end of the spectrum, those advertisers selling strictly on their own website will have ultimate knowledge of their customers and should not care at all about a super-stable currency, but rather lean on their ad tech/agency partners to help measure actual business outcomes of carefully designed tests that allow the advertiser to spend small amounts of money on the tests and then scale on what works.

In the middle of the segmentation are advertisers who will benefit most from measures such as creative attention, keyword search signals and customer surveys.

There is not a one-size that fits all solution to advertiser needs, but conferences and media coverage pretend that there is. Next time you find yourself in a discussion that is meant to address the measurement of business outcomes, please first define for whom it is you're hoping to solve the problem.

On the brand side, push for clarity around outcomes. Do you, as a brand, agree, and use the same definition of "outcomes" when you agree to media deals tied to performance?

The benefits of this clarity will be felt across the ecosystem. Networks and media companies can finally focus on the core responsibility of creating and delivering great content, letting agencies and platforms handle attribution and measurement of business outcomes. This will result in more productive conversations for everyone, rather than the confusion of trying to navigate a faulty one-size-fits-all model.

The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.

Brad Geving is SVP of media at Tatari.