Frustrated with Streaming Ad Black Boxes? FAST Channel Owners May Have the Answers

by | Apr 2, 2024

Some recent research highlights transparency as a major challenge in CTV advertising. Only 30% of advertisers claim full transparency in CTV ad placements, with a similar percentage unsure about brand suitability. The Trade Desk CTV Report 2024 reveals that 47% prioritize reaching their target audience when crafting campaigns, yet streaming platforms have increasingly moved toward black boxes to exacerbate the issue. Brands and buyers need help executing strategies effectively and feeling confident about investment effectiveness in an environment where limited targeting options and opaque content data for ad placements are becoming the norm.

FAST platforms, an increasingly large segment of CTV app traffic, will hit 100 million viewers this year in the US alone, or 30% of the population, and are quickly becoming cable 2.0. Within such a hot media environment, ad buyers are approaching this marketing channel and hitting the EASY button – buying from the FAST platforms only for that quick hit of scale instead of sourcing from individual channel operators. This has helped to perpetuate the transparency problem the industry faces today. As one agency executive put it: “We’re spending more with the platforms certainly than with the individual channels. [We’re] talking to Comcast, i.e., Tubi, versus talking directly to like Bravo, i.e., Tastemade, and that’s definitely a twist,” compared to traditional TV where advertisers primarily have focused buying efforts directly from the networks and channels. 

How do media buyers better serve the broader interest of the brand? How can a brand feel better about spending MORE money on CTV? Blending in a direct-to-channel strategy across FAST and working directly with the channel owners that directly control a slice of the inventory on the streaming platforms can provide some of those answers. This is a compelling alternative for advertisers seeking more control and, in many cases, a better value by diversifying media spending into more contextually relevant results for advertisers. Since they’re the ones that control the content, they can help support this strategy in a more meaningful way. 

More simply, buy CTV like you would traditional TV, but within the bounds of today’s programmatic landscape. 

Cons of Platform-Targeted Advertising:

  • Lack of Transparency: Many streaming platforms don’t allow advertisers to target their ads contextually or to specific channels. They might be reaching viewers who have no interest in their product. Data in the bid stream isn’t always available or clear.
  • High Costs: Minimum spend commitments and/or inflated CPMs. 
  • Too Wide of a Net: Your ads might be reaching a broad audience that stretches beyond your target demographic or running against content that doesn’t align with your brand.

A Direct-to-Channel Advantage:

  • Transparency: more detailed information about the content your ads are running alongside because they own it. This ensures your ads are reaching your relevant audience.
  • Competitive Pricing: FAST channel typically charges less than the streaming platforms 
  • More Precise Contextual Targeting: reach your audience by placing ads on channels with content that better aligns with the target demographic. 
  • Customization: Many FAST channels offer opportunities for custom ad integrations within the content itself, creating a more immersive and impactful ad experience. 

FAST is undoubtedly an effective way for advertisers to reach their target audience. Still, there are ways to improve the transparency of media spend and target it more impactfully to drive better outcomes. In the dynamic landscape of programmatic advertising, harnessing the power of direct collaboration with FAST channel owners offers a compelling blend of scale, transparency, price efficiency, and customization. These strategic partnerships epitomize the essence of private marketplace deals and serve as the cornerstone for driving impactful outcomes.

Ready to Learn More?

Contact Matt Brummett CRO of SPACEMOB today to discuss how we can help you develop a winning FAST advertising strategy.