How CTV marketers are being impacted by the state of data privacy

CTV is now a go-to marketing channel driving conversions and awareness for brands of all kinds. But with increasing privacy regulations, marketers face challenges in approaching the channel — now and in the future. 

While CTV primarily utilizes IP addresses for targeting, long thought of as relatively secure, new proposals seek to reexamine their role for advertisers. If this aspect of CTV targeting is up for grabs, marketers must be aware of any other potential regulations that could affect audience targeting and measurement within the CTV space. 

“Ideally, CTV is facing the same privacy, data and identity challenges as any other digital channel; the only difference is the television,” said Chris Innes, Chief Operating Officer at MNTN. “The television needs more controls and transparency around opt-outs. There’s so much control around what data is shared on desktop and mobile, but there needs to be the same level of control with TV.”

Even with privacy-specific legislation in three U.S. states and in-process regulations across 18 more, CTV is, so far, largely unaffected by these regulations. However, there are many moving parts, and while federal guidelines are not looming yet, there are details of which advertisers should be aware.

Privacy regulations haven’t become CTV-specific yet

The CTV ecosystem has never relied on cookies for tracking or targeting, which has many in the space feeling like they’re mainly in the clear as far as privacy regulations are concerned. 

With Google announcing a proposal called Gnatcatcher earlier this year — it would allow users to veil their IP addresses to prevent advertisers from using that information to track them — CTV advertisers are realizing that there is a chance some changes may be headed their way.

Although, that’s certainly not set in stone. And with Google currently refining and taking feedback on the proposal, any changes are likely to take time and effort to implement. In the meantime, advertisers have an opportunity to learn more.

“Education is the most important tool,” said Innes. “This is a new market with a lot of misinformation about how IP addresses are used, data targeting, cookies, etc., within the streaming TV space. Brands should read up on this information within the IAB, the NAI and their own research.”

According to a survey of nearly 80 brand and agency executives recently conducted by Digiday and MNTN, most respondents indicated they were confident that their companies could adapt to whatever consumer privacy restrictions came their way regarding the CTV space. To that end, 52% said they were very confident, and 31% indicated they were moderately confident. 

It’s important to note that most of the current regulations weren’t designed to cover CTV and therefore don’t account for the unique nature of the medium. For some marketers, this is a bit of a double-edged sword — it offers more freedom and flexibility in some ways. Still, there aren’t any guidelines to help streamline and create any uniformity within the industry.

The TV space lacks needed elements of standardization, leaving many CTV marketers without clear approaches to uniform measurement and opt-out methods. 

“CTV is already ahead of the curve because TVs don’t support cookies, and a television specifically is a one-to-many tool,” said Innes. “In either case, end consumers deserve control over opt-outs, over how their data is used and monetized. I welcome solutions in these areas specific to television.”

How these regulations are affecting audience targeting and measurement within CTV

According to the same Digiday and MNTN survey, in addition to utilizing first- and third-party data to reach target audiences on CTV, respondents are finding the most success when using more than one tactic at a time to reach audiences — adding retargeting, contextual and geolocation targeting, among others, into their mix. This is also a helpful strategy as more and more advertisers look to become more specific in their audience targeting. 

“Television is the best performing channel there is in terms of ROAS,” said Innes. “Families structure their living rooms and lives around a television. Brands that have never used TV before can now use it as a performance channel driving positive ROAS, and brands that have been on TV for decades can now tie a direct ROAS off of television.” 

While it’s clear TV is a performance channel, it’s evident there are some gaps to be filled, as 52% of respondents said they were measuring CTV campaigns with only a medium level of accuracy. When looking forward one year, 39% indicate they’ll be measuring with high accuracy, with 45% still at the medium level. 

While those who indicated their measurement would be more accurate cited more advanced targeting and analytics, stronger reporting and tech integrations, those in the less accurate camp predicted ongoing privacy guidelines would make tracking users across the web more difficult, and the lack of the ability to use cookies would make it challenging to reach an effective industry solution for measurement. 

Even though there’s a lack of industry standardization around measurement methods, user opt-outs and the like, most of the current privacy regulations don’t affect CTV at the moment. For now, CTV advertisers are mostly in the clear.

Sponsored By: MNTN

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