In this edition of ‘Buy-Side View’, we speak with Ian Daly, head of AV at Bountiful Cow. In this interview, Daly discusses the progress that’s being made on OTT measurement, the misconceptions around the scale of CTV in the UK, and why he’s excited to get stuck into ITV’s Planet V.
What is your biggest bugbear when it comes to video and OTT advertising?
Something which I’ve seen mentioned quite a lot before in previous buy-side view interviews, and certainly still rings true for me, is terminology. The IAB did a great job last year of articulating the definitions surrounding CTV, but these don’t seem to have entered the mainstream yet for whatever reason.
Another bugbear worth touching on is that there are some big misconceptions around the scale of CTV.
A lot of the talk we hear about CTV comes from CTV-first content providers, many of whom have some fantastic technology at their disposal. But from what we have seen the vast majority of commercial CTV impressions come from Broadcast VOD and YouTube. And yet we spend most of our time talking about these smaller apps and platforms. They are still significant of course, but we need to keep the context of scale front of mind.
Bugbears aside, we should concentrate our energy on trying to understand how multiple CTV suppliers – big and small – can work together alongside other forms of video.
Which do you think video advertising is the most effective for – generating awareness and brand-building, or driving short-term sales?
The beauty of video is that it’s so enormous in scope. You’ve got cinema on the one hand – with 30-feet ultra HDs screens and Dolby surround sound – and small digital OOH installations on the other, with absolutely everything in between. Video therefore can be used for all kinds of things from high impact branding to tactical, intelligent frequency messages.
Beyond that you’ve got a massive array of targeting options, which is just getting better and better every year. With effective targeting you can take what is already a really good format, and elevate that to another level using all kinds of data.
Are you investing in OTT advertising? How will the shift towards OTT change your TV buying strategy?
Of course! It’s perhaps the most exciting emerging video channel after all…
In terms of its impact on our TV planning and buying, we’re working hard to integrate the two. The difficulty for us – as I’m sure it is for many – is measurement. A big hurdle was overcome a few months ago when BARB and Techedge teamed up to release a robust TV + BVOD reach planner, which has been a huge help for agencies and clients. We’re also having really constructive conversations with YouTube and other CTV providers to best demonstrate how TV – connected and traditional – can work together on the same plan.
That said, one of the things we have learnt recently is that it can be easy to get caught up in the search for pristine cross-platform measurement. Whilst this is undoubtedly important, there are times when a lack of cross-platform measurement should not stand in the way of a plan that is strategically right – so long as there is a transparent conversation with clients about what can/cannot be measured.
What could agencies do better to help clean up the industry?
One problem that’s becoming more and more important as CTV investment grows is fraud.
In the short term we are in danger of following the eyeballs without due care. CTV in many ways is the ideal video format – it mixes the viewing environment/mindset of TV, with much of the targeting capabilities of digital – so no wonder advertisers are investing. However as far as I’m aware, verification has not yet caught up with CTV investment, so we must be cautious.
Which ad tech solution has delivered the most impact for your business?
One solution I’m excited to get properly stuck into is Planet V – it’s been a long time coming!
It’s a really exciting proposition because it allows brands to harness the data underpinning the ITV Hub. We have a good relationship with ITV and up until now they have been great at responding to client briefs, but there is a difference between briefing out a campaign and actually getting your hands on a self-serve tool to experiment with. So, whilst it hasn’t quite delivered impact yet, I’m sure it will.
Which metrics do you value the most when it comes to video and OTT advertising?
Where possible, audio viewed on completion is our main metric. I think if you want to put CTV in the same bracket as TV, which in my view it should be, then that’s what you need to be looking at. It’s always an interesting exercise to compare CpAVOC rates across different video providers and formats – it’s something I don’t think we do enough as an industry, particularly when you consider the vast number of paths to purchase and buy types associated with CTV.
What could publishers, broadcasters and pay TV companies do to compete more effectively with the large social platforms?
This is something that I’m still trying to figure out for myself to be honest; in fact, part of me wonders if we have a tendency to exaggerate the competition between TV and social platforms. There is no doubt that they are all competing for our attention, but the underlying business models of Facebook, Google, Netflix, Disney, Comcast/Sky, ITV etc. are all very different.
Which person in the industry inspires you the most today?
Rory Sutherland is one. He is a mentalist with the ability to articulate challenges in such a unique way. I’ve just finished his book Alchemy which I’d highly recommend if anyone is looking for something to read.
I also have to say that it’s impossible to have spent so much time at the7stars without taking inspiration from the leaders within the independent media sector.
Out of all the video and TV advertising campaigns you’ve been involved with, which are you most proud of?
Gousto springs to mind immediately as one of the first brands I worked on to really embrace the idea of an integrated video plan (that is, not planning TV, CTV, OLV etc. in silo). Instead the video plan was separated into different parts of the consumer journey, with the relevant channels and formats fitting in accordingly. The result was a completely fluid plan – untamed by the typical buying/trading restrictions – with each format and creative fit for purpose. For me this feels like the future of video advertising; we’ve got plenty more experimenting to do no doubt, but with the help and trust of brands and suppliers alike we are moving in the right direction.