How CTV Bucked The 2020 Advertising Downturn

Smart TV on the blue wall in living room,3d rendering

New research from Google has revealed how CTV and programmatic transactions managed to grow while the rest of the industry went backwards during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic last year.

Google’s second annual Google Ad Manager advanced TV inventory report analysed 35 global advanced TV partners with a focus on services that used episodic commercial breaks and TV-like content.

The data shows that for Q2 2020 (April-June), CTV was the only device where ad impressions grew year-on-year.

In all, advanced TV (which includes CTV, mobile, desktop and tablet) ad impressions were down 18 per cent for the quarter. However, CTV managed to grow 14 per cent during this time.

Publishers and advertisers also managed to take advantage of programmatic during this downturn, with the greater flexibility offering more options.

Programmatic only dipped one per cent YOY in Q2, while ads booked via traditional reservations fell significantly.

This was part of a larger trend, with more advertisers looking at programmatic to maximise monetisation.

While traditional reservations are still proving popular due to the ‘premium’ nature of CTV – 80 per cent of all impressions in Q4 were traditional – programmatic has continued to grow at a faster rate.

More specifically, Programmatic Guaranteed and Preferred deals covered more than 70 per cent of programmatic ad impressions sold in ad exchange.

The year of in-app

The report also revealed that in-app is outperforming web in terms of ad impressions.

“In 2020, more ads continued to be viewed on CTVs than any other device globally, but the environments where people are watching are changing,” said Google Ad Manager group product manager Peentoo Patel.

“For example, in-app impressions showed significant gains in 2020 as more people moved towards over-the-top (OTT) streaming apps and adopted CTV devices.”

In-app ad impressions grew by more than 90 per cent, while web was up 35 per cent YOY. This was the first time ever in-app had outperformed web.

“This shows that more people are now watching advanced TV content on OTT streaming apps, rather than desktop or mobile web, as they adopt new CTV devices,” said Google.

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