Home CTV Roundup AdExchanger’s Top 3 CTV Stories Of 2023

AdExchanger’s Top 3 CTV Stories Of 2023

Comic: I Want My CTV!

Welcome to AdExchanger’s first connected TV newsletter of 2024. 🎉 📺

CTV advertising is evolving from prepubescent into a profitable industry, so expect the nascent trends of last year – namely, a focus on measurement and data, transparency, targeting and programmatic – to shape CTV’s next phase of life.

AdExchanger’s most-read CTV stories last year exemplify the developments that are poised to dominate CTV’s road map to maturation in 2024. Let’s dive in.

1. YouTube Shorts Is Quietly Piloting An Ad Buying Program For YouTube Shorts (November 2023)

Brands and their agencies are demanding more transparency from CTV publishers – and who can blame them? They want to know where exactly their ads are running. Yet publishers aren’t always forthcoming.

For example, YouTube is pushing to equate the value of TV content and user-generated content, and ad buyers aren’t amused.

Buyers also want the ability to separate Shorts, YouTube’s TikTok copycat, from the rest of their video ad buys on YouTube. Shorts were only available to buy in a bundle.

But, turns out, even a walled garden will change its ways if buyers get irritable enough. Several agency sources told me on condition of anonymity that YouTube started piloting an ad buying program over the summer that lets advertisers reserve inventory specifically on YouTube Shorts.

Consider this news an indicator that transparency and control are top of mind for CTV advertisers going into 2024.

2. What TV Advertisers Need To Know About ACR In 2023 (March 2023)

While that headline may refer to 2023, I’d argue that understanding the ins and outs of ACR is just as – if not more – important this year, especially where ad measurement is concerned.


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ACR identifies the content surrounding an ad break, which adds context to audience-based buys. It can also help fact-check other measurement data because, unlike set-top box data, it only counts ad delivery when a TV is actually turned on (and, yes, TV still has a pretty serious viewability problem).

Alternative measurement vendors are licensing as much ACR data as possible as they compete to become go-to measurement and currency providers in the eyes of agencies and advertisers. But ACR isn’t a perfect data set; it’s severely fragmented among smart TV companies that keep their viewing data behind garden walls.

The potential for alt measurement providers to make better sense of disparate viewing data will help keep TV measurement and currency in the headlines this year.

3. Roku Rolls Out New Ad Formats To Reach Ad-Free Viewers (June 2023)

But CTV’s ongoing growth spurt doesn’t change the fact that viewers want to avoid ads.

Streaming subscribers are worth more to media companies when they’re served ads, which is why programmers are devising new ad formats that can even reach people who make a point of trying to avoid ads.

Roku, for example, made its home screen inventory available to all types of advertisers in June (it was previously only open to media and entertainment brands) and also launched full-screen interactive ad units. Marketers can retarget ads to people who already saw them on their TV home screen for a higher chance of generating conversions and sales.

And Roku’s not the only streaming company diversifying its ad supply. In November, Amazon also made Fire TV home screen ad inventory available to advertisers outside the media and entertainment vertical.

The TV industry’s obsession with turning streaming into a performance channel should spur more demand for new CTV ad formats and shoppability throughout 2024.

Stick with us!

The bottom line is this: If CTV were a person, its New Year’s resolution would be to become more transparent, informed and efficient. (And, well … same.)

Stay tuned for another year of me and AdExchanger documenting CTV’s trials, tribulations and success stories. 🥂

Are you enjoying this newsletter? Let me know what you think. Hit me up at [email protected].

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