Agencies have been embracing supply-path optimization for display inventory, but the mechanics of culling through supply partners is different in the growing, but immature connected TV space.
There’s a near endless number of supply-side platforms that have access to a seemingly infinite amount of display inventory across countless websites. In CTV, there are only a handful of established, trusted SSPs.
Like traditional TV, there’s also a scarce amount of supply in CTV. Plus, many of the big media owners such as Google, Amazon, Comcast and AT&T, make their inventory exclusively available through their ad-tech stack of a select handful of resellers.
The space is also teeming with ad fraud. Chris Kane, founder and president of Jounce Media, said CTV supply transparency is significantly lagging the web and mobile app categories, because show-level information is rarely included in real-time bidding auctions, and transparency spec ads.txt isn’t widely adopted.
“Having trusted sell-side partners … is the best available mechanism for creating efficient access to quality CTV inventory,” Kane said.
In late October, GroupM named SpotX its preferred SSP for video inventory for that exact purpose: direct most buys through a single partner to provide more transparency and drive down fees for clients.
Establishing preferred routes to supply is especially important in CTV since there are so many different ways of accessing inventory: streaming platforms, like Roku; ad-supported services, like Pluto TV and Tubi; content owners, like Condé Nast; and demand-side platforms. With all these different options, it’s hard for marketers to manage reach and frequency.
“That’s one of the biggest ambitions we have. How do we increase reach, reduce frequency and also deduplicate the audiences?” Esra Bacher, GroupM’s managing partner and programmatic investment lead, said. “And that’s where the technology partners are going to play a very, very big role.”
Preferred agency-SSP relationships typically don’t come with explicit spend guarantees. Instead, the two sides generally work out a sliding fee scale, where the SSP lowers its rates when the agency hits certain spend levels.
For the buy-side, preferred relationships can help plan and forecasts TV audiences, especially as agencies converge their linear and digital buying teams to adapt to the rise of streaming.
“Our teams are working very closely on how to best activate, be it linear or CTV, and how to prove the efficiency to the clients,” Bacher said.
For the sell-side, it makes accessing their inventory easier. Mike Richter, director of programmatic partnerships at Jukin Media, said agencies typically strike relationships with trusted SSPs that are familiar with a media owner’s business.
“These partners are well-versed in our content offering, as well as our brand direction and what we bring to the table, which gives us a lot more … equity when it comes to getting us placed on buys,” he said.