Mark Zagorski has a vision for a unified connected TV effectiveness metric. But first, he’s going to need to ensure connected TV ads can all be seen in the first place.

In September, Zagorski joined as CEO of DoubleVerify, after exiting the same role from Telaria amid its merger with Rubicon Project.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, he says his new mission is to build advertisers’ confidence that connected TV is a reliable and effective medium.

Connected growth

“What’s really interesting around connected television is the fact that, unlike traditional linear television, there is no single metric by which all buyers can evaluate the efficacy and reach of their buys,” Zagorski says.

“You have a Nielsen statistic in linear television, which has become the de facto gold standard of measurement, but there’s no such thing in CTV.

“I think one of the great opportunities for companies like DoubleVerify is, when we look at that $70 billion in linear TV ad spend, how do we move that to connected television?”

Comscore recently reported US households streaming OTT content had jumped 17% between April 2018 and April 2020, to 69.8 million. EMarketer in November 2019 forecast that US connected TV ad spending would hit $8.88 billion in 2020 and $14.12 billion by 2023.

US Connected TV Ad Spending, 2019-2023 (billions, % change and % of total media ad spending)

Finding viewability

But CTV’s growth is not without its travails. Zagorski says a key challenge is whether the ads are viewable in the first place.

“There’s this grand assumption that, well, since it was delivered to a television set in someone’s living room, it must be viewable,” he says. “Well, the reality of it is in many cases, it’s not.

“New digital formats may not take up the full screen. If it’s not a full-screen CTV ad, as well as the fact that, if the full ad isn’t viewed, is it truly viewable?

“We found a large percentage of ads don’t get delivered through that first quartile of viewing. It’s not truly viewable. As a matter of fact, we’ve seen only about 88% of ads that are delivered to CTV meet our viewability criteria. Viewability is not guaranteed.”

Fraud building

DoubleVerify measures ad fraud, viewability and brand safety.

For Zagorski, that means a shift in emphasis. At Telaria, he was concerned with reducing friction to make ad trading easier and automated.

At DoubleVerify, he says: “The bigger question is, how do we build confidence?”

In the background, is the looming threat of ad fraud, a practice through which nefarious fly-by-night publishers set up and automatically initiate ad views to take ad spend. Methods include fraudulent apps containing bots, cloud server farms and spoofing

DoubleVerify’s (DV) new Global Insights Report 2020 lifts the lid:

  • Q1 2020 CTV fraud was 161% up on the prior year.
  • Since March 2019, DV has identified 1,300 fraudulent CTV apps — 60% of which were identified in 2020.

Programmatic to problematic

Now Zagorski says programmatic is a little… problematic.

“It’s great for reducing friction, but it also creates a lack of transparency on what’s being delivered from the content and producer to the buyer,” he says.

That is a key reason behind the emergence of connected TV ad fraud.

Zagorski says programmatic buying growth created a lack of transparency.

All of which matters to ad buyers for whom COVID-19 has throttled their appetite to spend, at the the same they are trying to navigate the kinds of ad environments in which they want to be seen in what is an increasingly charged and polarised society.

This video is part of CTV Grows Up: Making a New Medium More Efficient & Effective, a Beet.TV series presented by DoubleVerify. For more videos from the series, please visit this page.