Why the Future of Programmatic Video Is Cross-Platform

2019 was yet another auspicious year for digital video with global viewership growing by 7.2% across all channels to 2.63 billion viewers, according to eMarketer. It shows no signs of slowing down either—in 2019 advertisers poured $37.5 billion into digital video, according to Zenith.

While all this growth is nothing new, what will be new in 2020 is the way digital video is consumed. New consumption habits will create challenges for publishers looking to retain audiences and advertisers looking to reach consumers. As the gaps between where consumers spend time with video close, advertisers and publishers would be wise to drive toward a cross-platform strategy.

Viewership patterns fragment

Viewer growth, engagement and ad spend on digital video across desktop and mobile apps are expected to plateau in the next few years as consumers transition from traditional TV to emerging digital formats like over-the-top (OTT) and connected TV (CTV).

The growth in viewership on connected devices, specifically CTV, is fueled by cord-cutting. eMarketer estimates that by 2023, 56 million households will be cord-cutters or cord-nevers, while 73 million will have pay TV.

The emergence of new streaming platforms, AVOD, SVOD and vMVPDs deepens the dissolution even more.

Device fragmentation adds another piece to the puzzle. According to eMarketer, US viewers spend 96.7 minutes daily watching digital video, with 33 minutes on connected devices, 27 minutes on smartphones, 24 minutes on desktop/laptop and 14 minutes on tablets.

This new landscape presents a serious challenge to advertisers and publishers.

New monetization strategies

Just over half of CTV in 2019 was transacted programmatically and this is only expected to grow, according to eMarketer. As programmatic gains in CTV and OTT, opportunities for improvements around monetization for publishers and planning and control for advertisers arise.

For publishers, CTV and OTT video header bidding is the next big win. Just as the introduction of header bidding to desktop display brought huge publisher gains, we can expect to see the same for video. But programmatic video and CTV monetization has unique challenges in comparison to display, especially as it pertains to video player errors and latency.

Today header bidding capabilities in OTT and CTV are nascent. Server-to-server header bidding solves some of the video-specific latency, automation and control challenges and will be central to a successful cross-platform video monetization strategy for publishers.

Cross-platform video is an equally important opportunity for advertisers as it provides access to premium addressable audiences in brand-safe, publisher-direct desktop, mobile web, mobile app, OTT and CTV environments.

With efficiency driving consolidation trends, buyers will look to fewer platforms to better control omnichannel reach and scale and increasingly favor single solutions for holistic audience and investment management.

Agile and innovative partners who can provide brands and agencies with a unified platform to manage campaigns, audiences and workflows to optimize video investments across the supply chain to improve ROI will stand to win.