​​Why the next stage of UK CTV will be built on accountability and trust

Anna Forbes shares how marketers can better maximise the opportunities CTV has to offer

Anna Forbes

RVP, Northern Europe DoubleVerify


Connected TV (CTV) is rapidly becoming the go-to mode of viewing for many TV watchers. As viewers tune out of traditional TV and switch to digital, advertisers, too, are revising their media strategies to align with this shift in consumption. CTV allows brands to connect with hard-to-reach consumers while delivering measurable results across the marketing funnel.

The UK CTV market presents a particularly interesting challenge. With its mix of new streaming services and legacy broadcasters such as the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 competing for viewers we’re left with a complex and variegated landscape.

If streaming platforms want to unlock the full potential of this transformative channel and enjoy the lucrative ad budgets available, investment and expertise should be directed at addressing these obstacles.

The promise and pitfalls of CTV

Despite these challenges, marketers have not been deterred from investing in this burgeoning channel, and optimism surrounding CTV in the UK is strong – For example, in Western Europe (including UK), a quarter of marketers regularly consider CTV when planning or buying media. The appeal comes from access to high-quality environments on a large scale, facilitating expanded reach and the opportunity to connect with audiences they could not reach on linear TV. However, despite the growth in popularity, CTV environments can provide a number of media quality challenges, including fraud, brand suitability misalignment, a lack of viewability and geo-relevance issues. These media quality challenges can impact campaign efficiency and effectiveness for advertisers.

Due to its premium price point, CTV has been a frequent target of fraud since its infancy. The scale of this issue has continued to increase with recent research revealing that the number of schemes has tripled on CTV over the past few years, as fraudsters find new and creative ways to syphon dollars from high-value campaigns. This results in wasted ad dollars for advertisers as these ads never reach real humans.

Audiences hold brands to certain standards, which extends to the type of content they sponsor, and when those standards are not met, it can breach consumer trust.

Anna Forbes, RVP, Northern Europe, DoubleVerify

Another costly media quality challenge for advertisers is viewability. This is because if an ad isn’t seen, it never has a chance to make an impact. According to DV data, over one-in-three CTV impressions are served into environments that could fire ads when the TV is turned off. This can happen if apps do not pause themselves when the TV screen is turned off. In addition, ads can play partially offscreen, which can prevent important information from appearing.

While ads not appearing on-screen or to fraudsters may seem like the worst possible outcomes for advertisers, ads appearing in environments that are misaligned with a brand’s suitability standards can be more detrimental. Audiences hold brands to certain standards, which extends to the type of content they sponsor, and when those standards are not met, it can breach consumer trust.

Many advertisers hold the misconception that brand suitability challenges don’t occur in CTV environments, however, this is not the case. Just as in the open web, where a variety of website content exists, the same is true of  CTV apps. For example, some apps focus on content around drugs and alcohol, adult and sexual content, children’s programming and more. Unfortunately, even advertisers that buy directly from reputable publishers can run impressions in these environments through ‘audience extensions’ that allow ads to play outside of the publisher’s walls. And, as inventory volume grows and brand investments increase, so too does the reputational risk for brands if they do not know where their ads are running.

Reaching individuals in the intended geography is another key component of planning effective campaigns. Geographical targeting allows advertisers to serve their impressions to audiences in locations where their products and services are available in local languages. If advertisers don’t reach audiences in the intended location, they run the risk of wasting ad impressions playing in geographies that won’t drive impact for their bottom lines.

Tracking and protecting media quality is essential for brands to prevent ad waste and make their media buys as efficient as possible.

Why transparency matters

Establishing robust standards for transparency is not only crucial for advertisers' peace of mind, but also pivotal for the continued growth and sustainability of the CTV advertising ecosystem. This is particularly the case across the UK market.

DoubleVerify (DV) recently partnered with IAB Europe to produce new research analysing the maturing European CTV landscape, including the UK. Of all respondents surveyed (on both the advertiser and the publisher side), less than one-third (30%) stated that they know exactly which apps or placements the ads are run on. With programmatic advertisers, this number was even lower at 21%, as opposed to 34% for traditional media planners.

Clearly, there is a pressing need for greater transparency and verification to protect investments in UK CTV – especially as, in most cases, advertisers and publishers of CTV inventory across the UK have not adopted basic quality protections. The highest level of adoption is with ‘brand safety,’ where half of advertisers say they are leveraging some form of verification. However, this still leaves advertisers largely unprotected.

Show-level transparency is one thing that would be welcomed by advertisers across the CTV landscape, marrying critical information and insight with flexibility. For example, in the past, advertisers have attempted to reach their target audiences and run in inventory aligned with their brand by buying linear TV inventory tied to a particular show. With CTV, buyers have begun to leverage digital audience data to target specific audiences, but the need to verify that the programming is safe for and aligns with the brand remains critical.

This kind of data-driven streaming strategy with transparency would allow for the best of both worlds between traditional TV and OTT. Advertisers should be looking to partner with platforms that can support a holistic approach to media planning. The enhanced capabilities of CTV present a tremendous opportunity here. Advertisers gain an in-depth understanding of a target audience such as which apps they prefer, their favourite types of content, and their acceptability of adverts varying across TV environments. These insights can unlock the full potential of CTV as an effective advertising medium. But, if this is to become a reality, advertisers and CTV platforms alike must prioritise promoting transparency and accountability.

Now is the time to embrace these principles and lead the charge toward a more open and effective advertising landscape.

Guest Author

Anna Forbes

RVP, Northern Europe DoubleVerify


With over two decades of experience in the ad tech industry, Anna Forbes has led teams across Europe and the US at companies such as The Trade Desk, Xandr, and now DoubleVerify. Her expertise lies in developing long-term strategies for clients and nurturing companies from start-ups to mature entities, driving them toward their maximum potential. Recognised for her contributions, Forbes was shortlisted for Ad Tech Personality of the Year in The Wires Global 2022, highlighting her significant impact on the industry. Forbes is responsible for the execution of DV’s expansion strategy in Northern Europe, building engagement with and delivering success for key brands and agencies in the region.

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