Early in the coronavirus pandemic, we knew that global lockdown and economic threat would soon be detrimental to ad spending.

But it seems not every platform has suffered from the virus’ effects.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, one ad-tech exec says streaming TV has actually seen positive COVID-19 growth.

‘Flight to safety’

“There was a lot of uncertainty and disruption, particularly in March and April, across the ecosystem with people pausing advertising and with COVID happening,” says Tru Optik CEO Andre Swanston.

“And then (there was) all this social unrest as well as people pulling advertising from Facebook.”

“That had no negative impact for us. If anything, it was a positive impact where we saw people shifting dollars, kind of a flight to safety, to brand safety, people shifting dollars from social media into over-the-top (TV) and streaming audio.

“That helped propel a 40% increase in first-time users of our data across the various ad-tech platforms and publishers.”

Partnership importance

Tru Optik is a data management platform which facilitates
identity resolution and data management for the streaming media ecosystem

The Stamford, CT-based company’s solutions include:

Last month, the company announced a self-service version of its data marketplace, which allows advertisers to buy across connected TV platforms and covers 80 million US homes.

Following connections with data providers like Kantar, Comscore, Transunion and IHS Markit, Tru Optik also struck a partnership with MediaMath.

Swanston says Tru Optik can plug brands’ first-party data into a demand-side ad-buying platform.

Safety and politics drive growth

He says the company has been growing, and so has its customers’ appetite for data, as changing media behavior and the surrounding consumer climate drive advertiser interest.

“We’ve seen pretty astronomical growth over the last couple months, even post Q2 coming into Q3, across our data marketplace,” Swanston adds.

“We have several clients that had over 100% month-over-month increase, just from June to July or July to August, in terms of the amount of data that they’re using across connected TV or streaming audio.

“Part of the reason, in addition to this kind of flight to safety, the massive increase in time spent streaming video on connected TVs and streaming audio on smart speakers, we’re now also starting to see the real uptick in political dollars coming into the ecosystem.

“It’s just really been astronomical growth pretty much that we can track almost week over week across most of our partners in the US because of, I think, those three things all hitting at once.”

Audio boom

The growth is coming for Tru Optik itself, too. “Streaming audio and mostly to smart speakers has gone from 2% of our revenue to over 25% of our revenue the last eight quarters,” Swanston says.

It’s not all about TV. “Streaming audio and mostly to smart speakers has gone from 2% of our revenue to over 25% of our revenue the last eight quarters,” Swanston adds.

The company added audio to its capabilities more than a year ago and it has surprised the team. In 2019, it represented 12% of revenue.

But it’s not about seeing audio as a distinct platform. Swanston says ad buyers are combining channels. “Right in the same platform that they’ve always been used to buying their display or their connected TV, they’re able to continue to buy their OTT or their streaming audio inventory leveraging our data marketplace right in that same UI,” he adds.

Tru Optik Draws A Line From TV To Smart Speakers: Swanston

You are watching a segment from a Beet.TV series titled Programmatic Buying: Accountability & Transparency in Focus presented by MediaMath.  For more videos from the series, please visit this page