2020 Opportunities

What do you think will be the biggest opportunity for ad tech in 2020?



The consumer behavior shift to streaming media, including OTT/CTV, streaming audio and gaming will accelerate even more quickly in 2020. The business of “identity resolution” is critical to both marketers and publishers who will be working closely together to enable data and measurement across this ever-growing list of streaming media devices across both video and audio.

The biggest opportunity ahead for us in 2020 is the notion of collaboration among media owners like Discovery, device manufacturers, and technology and buying platforms. It’s the coming of age in our commitment to drive innovation and addressability, and to partner to create a unified solution that meets the measurement and targeting needs of advertisers.

What’s most paramount in the year ahead is how well we can extract the maximum efficiencies and complexities of ad technology through automation – and create a holistic cross-screen approach that benefits the viewer, media owner, and marketer alike. The goal is to create a simplified buying process in a complex and fragmented ecosystem, and more accurately capture the true value of video everywhere. Collectively, as an industry, we still have a lot to do on that front.

The biggest opportunity for ad tech will be to capitalize on the convergence of all video formats and realize the value that technology platforms can bring across all aspects of the media mix. Good advertising technology can help bridge the digital programmatic teams with the television investment operations at both agencies and brands. Obviously, digital teams are well-versed in what technology can do, but TV buyers are now seeing how programmatic can help with traditional sales initiatives like the upfronts. There is a huge opportunity to help both supply and demand partners work together more efficiently.

We’re big believers in the growing importance of automation as audiences shift from linear TV to OTT. Measurement continues to be a challenge for video marketers: according to MAGNA, 29% of viewing occurs on OTT, but the channel only accounts for 3% of total ad spend. OTT budgets have shifted significantly from traditional linear TV, but there’s still a huge gap to fill. More buying options across OTT will make it easier for brands to shift their media budgets to where consumers are actually spending time – on streaming.

The biggest opportunity will be developing capabilities to better engage hard-to-reach millennial and Gen Z audiences at scale through new media such as connected TV (CTV), gaming channels, and on-demand streaming services. Larger pockets of viewers will be available across connected devices, so it will come down to how OEMs can harness their active users with curated content, which could include advertising slots and product placements. As CTV device offerings grow, there will be a diverse landscape for buyers to get closer to the source of the inventory.

In-game advertising is another channel that maintains the full-screen experience while reaching Gen Z, and will only see opportunities increase in 2020. The scale of connected games like Call of Duty, Fortnite, and Apex Legends shows the potential to get in front of an audience that is continually moving away from traditional media.

Ad-supported video on demand (AVOD) is a significant opportunity for advertisers in 2020. While we hear a lot about subscription video on demand (SVOD) services, Samsung Ads’ latest research on platform surfing shows more than 60% of streamers watch AVOD. That means cord-shavers, -cutters, and -nevers are more accessible than ever.

Video reach opportunities are dynamic and abundant with an extraordinary increase in viewing happening in an ad-supported environment. We’ve already seen significant consumer utilization and advertiser demand as great content comes on board spanning news, sports, kids, lifestyle, gaming, and more.

We see the growing world of live OTT as a major opportunity. More and more audiences are shifting away from linear into the world of streaming, often through the activation of a live OTT event. Linear is still valid for reaching a broad audience, but with the shift growing over the course of 2020, and all of the new OTT entrants in the VOD and semi-live space, advertisers are looking to shift their dollars to digital and programmatic channels.

With the growing consumption in OTT, the biggest opportunity is how OEMs will continue to evolve and change the CTV ad landscape. As the market becomes increasingly saturated with subscription-based video on demand (SVOD) apps and content being segregated by media companies, OEMs are continuing to find ways to simplify the process and safeguard the user experience.

What really fuels my passion for the year ahead is the way data is going to drive unique insights for advertisers like never before. We’re focused on first-party data collection across screens and utilizing that data to target users in ways that maximize the incremental reach, frequency and campaign efficacy that OTT advertising can deliver for brands. This shakes up the dialogue of automatic content recognition (ACR) and creates a unique opportunity for advertisers to access data directly from where their ad is running. For advertisers, reaching your most valuable audience on every screen, tracking the impact of your CTV buy with unique metrics and then re-engaging those households across devices with sequential messaging is a huge opportunity.

I believe there will be a shift in how advertisers measure the performance of their advertising campaigns, going beyond stand-alone metrics like viewability or time-in-view. DV is advancing a predictive performance innovation, Authentic Performance®, which will provide deeper, more relevant insights into the combination of ad exposure and user engagement metrics that drive campaign success. These sophisticated performance metrics represent a significant step forward – enabling advertisers to maximize return on ad spend and, ultimately, drive real business outcomes.

As if data was not important enough already, we see data activation as the strongest element of US OTT advertising next year for a number of reasons, including the rise of device manufacturers expanding their footprint in OTT ad monetization. Industry players such as Roku, Samsung, and Amazon have large and growing consumer penetration as well as valuable data assets about the audiences within their ecosystems. This will become an increasingly key value proposition for their advertising ambitions.

In addition, major media owners and brands have continued to raise the priority of first-party data activation within their advertising strategies, while a number of large agency holding companies have placed massive financial bets acquiring their own data platforms. This will open up new opportunities for improved segmentation, refined targeting, and greater insight. First-party data, enabled with careful consideration to privacy will become increasingly critical in an environment with increasing regulation and scrutiny.

In order for brands to stay current, they have to break out of traditional channels (even Instagram and Facebook are somewhat traditional at this point). New social media channels such as TikTok, e-sports games such as Fortnite, and VOD services such as HOOQ are huge among younger generations, and act as social media networks within themselves.

We will also start to see more ad-supported video on demand (AVOD) in 2020. The Asia market will grow where OTT platforms get consumed – which, today, is on television screens rather than mobile – so CTV will be a big opportunity in 2020.

Live OTT will be a big growth driver as services like TVer offer live coverage and catch-up streaming services for major events like the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. These tentpole attractions are an ideal opportunity to recruit new users to increase subscriber levels.

This coming year, we will see programmatic video take a front seat for both Publishers and Marketers. There will be a marketplace for premium content, where programmatic video competes and potentially beats deals at the top of the waterfall.

Live events will also present a big opportunity for both the supply and demand sides in 2020. With events such as the 2020 elections in the US, the upcoming summer Olympics, and the MLB and NHL playoffs, I predict we’ll see a huge shift in the importance that live events will play this year.

Beyond simply connecting technologies, businesses need to better connect the teams behind them to realize true value. For example, it will not be enough to simply send creative assets from designers to media buyers; there must be a collaborative motion and feedback loop so teams can work together to improve their holistic strategy. The same can be said for different teams working across data, audiences, marketing, advertising, and countless others. Ad tech solutions will need to think bigger in how they connect with the rest of a business to truly unlock cross-functional benefits.

Header bidding has been an ongoing subject of debate in the ad tech world. The open-auction format helps democratize access to publisher inventory, unlocking the full earning potential of addressable video inventory by allowing programmatic demand to compete with direct-sold campaigns. 2020 will see the extension of header bidding onto devices that utilize server-side ad insertion (SSAI), including connected TVs and in-app video. This crucial evolution will allow buyers to execute data-led video campaigns at an unprecedented scale across new brand-safe contexts, including the largest screen in the home.

Although 2019 saw massive growth and opportunity for CTV and OTT, 2020 promises to be another important year for the trajectory of these channels. For the last few years, there has been a platform-first approach when it comes to buying media in CTV/OTT environments, and less of a focus on content. This is partially due to the fact that within ad-supported video there are fewer options when it comes to premium, high-quality scale. In the absence of this supply, marketers are left to buy aggregated audiences and are generally blind to the content their ads run adjacent to. For premium content providers like Vevo, there is a real opportunity to grow the supply of high-quality video inventory and push ad tech forward when it comes to things like data, privacy, transparency, and ad delivery.