In the fast-evolving terrain of connected TV (CTV) advertising, the conversation often orbits around the latest buzzwords: interactivity, shoppable video, measurement, and optimization.

Yet, according to Zvika Netter, CEO & Co-Founder of Innovid, it’s an old player—the ad server—that’s emerging as the unsung hero.

The ad server is becoming recognized as a “critical component” in the fast-growing connected TV (CTV) advertising ecosystem because of its unique position in the landscape, he says.

Best-Kept Secret

“The ad server is actually a critical component because it’s the only entity that actually sees everything,” says Netter, in this video interview with Beet.TV.

“If we talk about CTV, about 70% of it is direct versus programmatic. There’s walled gardens, there’s Open Web. The server is the only entity that actually sees the entire campaign and knows what’s going on – all the household, all the devices, all.”

Netter believes the importance of the ad server in the CTV landscape was “the best kept secret” after Google acquired DoubleClick many years ago, which “kind of sidelined the importance of the ad server”.

Sharing the data

Now, Innovid is launching Harmony, an initiative in which it is sharing ad server data with demand-side platforms (DSPs), supply-side platforms (SSPs) and publishers.

“Because we don’t have a media component – we don’t have a DSP or SSP, we just provide the infrastructure, the technology – we don’t manipulate, we don’t use the data to optimize our own revenue,” Netter says.

“And now with the launch of Harmony … we’re sharing the data with DSPs, SSPs, publishers – they can take action in the name of our customers.”

Innovid Releases Harmony Direct to Optimize CTV Ads

Harmony Direct aims to help ensure that more advertiser dollars go to video publishers. Innovid’s tests show that moving programmatic guaranteed spend to Harmony Direct led to an average 8% increase in working media for agencies. Publishers improved yield by as much as 15%.

Netter says the Harmony initiative, which includes a set of products for the optimization of CTV, is “all about taking our data and sharing it with the rest of the industry in a way to optimize and create a better harmony within the industry”.

“There is a way to actually organize the industry in a way where everybody wins and there’s more money coming from linear to CTV faster,” he says.

Pushing forward

For Innovid, which has been operating since 2007, the growth of CTV is a “huge opportunity”, Netter says.

The company’s services include ad serving, dynamic creative personalization, analytics, and interactive video ad experiences. Innovid aims to facilitate data-driven, efficient, and effective video advertising campaigns, offering insights that help optimize performance and viewer engagement.

“A lot of things we started working on 10, 15 years ago were finally becoming a thing, like interactivity, shoppable video, but also strategic investments around measurement, optimization,” Netter adds. “All these things are relevant more and more.”

This video was produced at the LUMA Partner DMS 2024.