close up of hand holding remote in front of tv streaming movies

Connected TV Demand and Ad Fraud Concerns

Last month, it was reported that there was an ad fraud scheme targeting premium publishers on connected TVs (often referred to as streaming TV, OTT or CTV).  You heard about it and so did we, so here’s our take on what to pay attention to and why it matters. If you’re new here or to the advertising world, you’re probably wondering: What is connected TV?

Connected TV refers to any TV that can be connected to the internet and can be used to stream content, browse the web, stream music and much more.

eMarketer suggested that in 2020, 78% of U.S. households have at least one connected TV, meaning it’s becoming increasingly more important to think about advertising your video digitally. That doesn’t mean households are no longer watching linear TV (cable) – a study suggests that 76% of baby boomers and 61% of Generation X still subscribe to cable. 

However, as most advertisers know, linear TV can be quite expensive – and in many ways out of reach for their budgets. So, we turn to connected TV. A few great things about connected TV:

  • It can be a more cost-efficient tactic
  • It’s highly targeted
  • We can now reach those audiences who have cut the cord to cable

As younger audiences are straying away from traditional media, reaching them has become more of a digital effort. Between millennials and Gen Z, 71% of U.S. adults previously subscribed to cable TV have cut the cord. Personally, I see this meaning these generations are making the switch to CTV.  

Although connected TV is more targeted and can come at a lower cost, there have been some concerns raised in the past couple months about ad fraud related to connected TV. Here’s what we know:

  1. DoubleVerify reported: “A recently discovered ad fraud scheme targeted premium publishers on CTV and mobile devices.” 
  2. DoubleVerify also stated: “Fraudulent CTV traffic rates were up 161% in Q1 2020 compared with Q1 2019.” 
  3. This is likely because demand continues to out space supply.

Here’s how Smith Kroeger is combating it: 

We work with partners like SpotX, a global video ad serving platform, that we know will handle our clients’ ads with the most care. SpotX is known to have one of the strictest inventory quality standards in the industry, meaning not just any publisher can get our clients’ ads from SpotX. Before your digital video ads can be placed, the publisher has gone through a strict screening process ensuring a brand safe environment. SpotX also ensures a 100% post-impression audit, meaning every impression served is verified to have been placed in a valid and brand safe environment. 

We also have similar relationships with KORTX, Centro and, all of which have tools and services in place to help manage campaign effectiveness and ensure that ads run when and where they’re supposed to. In addition to that, we have experience and a good comfort level with a wide variety of brand safety tags and platforms, including IAS and MOAT. These tools allow us to measure, scan and filter for everything from device types to apps on which ads will run to the content appearing on screen next to, before or after ads run. From there we can adjust campaigns appropriately in real time.

Keeping tabs on consumer behavior is critical to understanding the rapidly evolving media landscape. Cord-cutters are still getting just as much entertainment as they’ve always been, but they’re jumping to one or, in many cases, several other services to find the content they’re looking for. 

The right solution to stay in front of consumers may be a wide variety of platforms at once, and the appropriate mix may change over time, whether it’s Hulu, YouTube TV, Sling TV or networks that are just breaking into the space. That’s why we go above and beyond to ensure we place with the best partners that have the strictest inventory quality standards and keep tabs on what’s trending in the digital media buying space.