Agencies, brands see big potential for OTT, cross-device measurement in 2019

A new Integral Ad Science (IAS) survey found that marketers see great opportunity in over-the-top television (OTT) and cross-device measurement for 2019. It’s the first year that IAS Industry Pulse’s survey (free, registration required) has included OTT as an option, acknowledging a shift in how consumers use media.

On the flip side, marketers are still concerned about a great many things, data privacy and ad fraud chief among them. But while ad fraud still topped their list, fewer than half of the marketers surveyed (46.2 percent) this year said it was their biggest concern, dropping from 61.8 percent last year.

IAS surveyed 912 digital media professionals in a wide swath of roles including brand, publisher, advertiser and agency in November-December 2018 on the issues of trust, transparency and innovation, and asked them how those issues will impact their focus and budgets in 2019. Some answers are broken down into those provided by agencies, and those provided by brands.

Agencies are in, but brands are still reluctant to fully embrace OTT. Nearly half of the marketers surveyed said that OTT (45 percent) and cross-device measurement (45.5 percent) offered them the biggest opportunities in 2019. But agencies and brands aren’t necessarily on the same page. Agencies saw promise in multi-touch attribution modeling (54 percent) and OTT (53.7 percent), while brands found the most potential in cross-device measurement (50.8 percent), putting OTT (44 percent) behind AI/machine learning and video, both at 49.2 percent.

Industry opportunities identified by marketers for 2019 | IAS

Marketing professionals expressed more enthusiasm when questioned about OTT specifically, with 70 percent planning to invest more resources and/or budget in OTT over the next year.

Measurement, attribution are areas of concern, potential. The opportunities identified by marketers in cross-device measurement and multi-touch attribution modeling are directly correlated to concerns over their ability to accurately tie their advertising to their ROI. More than three-quarters of brands surveyed (75.4 percent) said faulty attribution is the single biggest threat to their ad spend in 2019. Sixty-six percent of agencies cited attribution as their biggest concern, behind the issue of fraudulent impressions (69 percent). Media quality and brand safety were also big concerns for agencies.

Data privacy emerges as top priority. Despite their concerns over measurement and attribution, data privacy is the solid top priority for marketers, not a surprise in the age of GDPR and other consumer privacy initiatives like the California Consumer Privacy Act. On this, brands and agencies are in agreement.

Agency/brand priorities in 2019 | IAS

Why you should care. While concerns over issues such as measurement, attribution and brand safety continue to bog down the industry, marketers aren’t shying away from programmatic ad buying. Emarketer estimated that more than $ 46 billion would be spent on it in the U.S. in 2018, about $ 10 billion more than the previous year. And connected TV (CTV), including OTT, is also on the rise with a Sept. Innovid report reporting that CTV ad impressions grew by 106 percent from 2016 to 2017, with a 30 percent increase in the number of advertisers for that same time period.

Though the market is catching up to the new ways customers are consuming content, CTV has its own transparency issues. Hopefully, the industry will continue to keep pace with new technology solutions, as well as renewed calls for transparency initiatives and better ways to measure and validate.

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