Advanced Television

Study: CTV advertisers need to combat ‘TV Off’ threat

August 3, 2022

Findings from a study by digital media measurement, data and analytics software platform DoubleVerify (DV), examining how Connected TV (CTV) ad campaign performance improves when advertisers can solve for viewability challenges, suggest that viewability – a measure of whether an ad had the chance to be seen by a user – is an important performance indicator for advertisers across all digital media – and especially in CTV, as dollars continue to flow to the channel.

To measure viewability for digital video, advertisers have historically relied on Video Player-Ad Interface Definition (VPAID), code that runs within video players to provide engagement insights. However, VPAID isn’t supported in CTV environments. This has forced advertisers to assume all CTV environments are fully viewable when this simply isn’t true.

In February 2022, DV revealed that one-in-four top CTV environments continued to play programming content – and recorded ad impressions – after the TV was turned off. DV coined the issue ‘TV Off’, when the TV screen itself is in fact turned off but a CTV device or app remains on.

“As CTV attracts an increasing amount of ad dollars, the need to understand performance and measurability of the medium is essential to ensuring spend is effectively delivered,” advised Mark Zagorski, DoubleVerify CEO. “While viewability has generally been assumed by CTV advertisers, we have found that is increasingly not the case.”

Fraud 83 per cent Lower in ‘Fully On-Screen’ Environments

To better understand the impact on performance measurement of addressing viewability challenges in CTV, DV ran an A/B analysis in a leading DSP. The two campaigns differed on one critical dimension: one campaign targeted environments that were ‘Fully On-Screen’ – meaning certified to only display ads when the TV screen is on and where the ad was 100 per cent displayed (Campaign B), while the other did not (Campaign A).

With the analysis, DV found a correlation between lower ad fraud and inventory that plays ads 100 per cent on screen when the TV is on – the Fraud/Sophisticated Invalid Traffic (SIVT) Rate was 83 per cent lower for Campaign B, which ran in Fully On-Screen environments, than Campaign A.

“CTV commands some of the highest CPMs in digital advertising, which can make it more susceptible to fraud and bad actors,” said Zagorski. “Targeting environments certified to only display ads when the TV screen is on and where the ad is 100 per cent displayed helps to reduce fraud’s impact and improve campaign ROI.”

Fully On-Screen Environments Drive Better Engagement 

Additionally, DV found that campaigns targeting Fully On-Screen CTV environments saw stronger performance:

  • Increased Video Completion Rate (VCR) – When targeting environments that only display ads when the TV is on and the ad is 100 per cent on screen, VCR can be 18 per cent higher (96 per cent for Campaign B versus 81 per cent for Campaign A).
  • Higher Authentic Ad Rate – In terms of Authentic Ad Rate, describing ads served to a real person in a brand suitable environment and in the right geo, Campaign B was 5 per cent higher (99 per cent versus 94 per cent).
  • Improved Attention Levels: Overall Authentic, Fully On-Screen completion rate – a DV proxy for ad exposure in CTV and a key driver of user attention – was 95 per cent for Campaign B, while DV saw an insignificant number of Authentic, Fully On-Screen impressions for Campaign A. DV found that improving ad exposure correlates with increased brand awareness and favorability.

“Brands rightfully expect their ads to deliver to engaged audiences while the TV set is on,” added Zagorski. “Unsurprisingly, those who target environments where ads are Fully On-Screen see better results and stronger performance across the board.”

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