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From Defense To Offense: Pixability’s Duffy Flips CTV Suitability On Its Head

When TV viewing and advertising begins to look and function like digital advertising, how safe is the environment for brands to be in?

Brand safety concerns once plagued digital display and online video inventory. They have been somewhat soothed by brand safety software.

But, as conected TV rises, some of the same concerns are arriving on TV now.

CTV hits prime-time

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Matt Duffy of Pixability, a vendor of brand safety tooling for YouTube and other platforms, describes how the category is evolving.

Duffy points to a study from Global Alliance for Responsible Media and data from Comscore showing how comfortable advertisers have become with those channels.

“It showed (that) YouTube is now over 99% brand-safe for advertisers,” he says. “According to Comscore, over 40% of CTV watch time is YouTube.”

And Pixability just commissioned its own survey of ad buyer attitudes to brand safety in connected TV.

Duffy summarized some of the results.

Buyers look beyond

“(Respondents) don’t see CTV as a brand suitability threat or safety threat … Their concern is reach and driving full-funnel results on CTV,” he explains.

But Duffy says it’s not that simple – “safety” may be built-in, but “suitability” of content is a different matter.

“CTV content sometimes may have nudity or violence and so forth,” he says. “And it may also express certain opinions that a brand may not want to be aligned with.

“Although YouTube is safe, there are specific suitability issues that some of your advertisers may have with.”

From threat to opportunity

Pixability’s clients include the “big six agencies” plus smaller independents and some brands as well,

Duffy says the same kind of vendors that offer “brand safety” technology can also help out with “suitability”, the alignment of ads to inventory in an expanding CTV universe. “No-one wants one and not the other,” he says.

In fact, Duffy thinks the ‘brand safety” threat has reached the point of becoming an opportunity.

“Suitability has always been a little bit about defence and avoiding content you don’t want,” he says. “(But) it can be also thought of as an offensive measure – go on the offence and find content that performs well.

“We’re seeing a great trend towards agencies and brands embracing that and saying, ‘Yes, it’s not as much about avoiding content as it is about finding content that helps us perform better’.

Defense to offense

Companies like Pixability aim to turn video content into metadata signals, surfaced in buying platforms, that ad buyers can leverage or swerve. They are enabling the new wave of “contextual” video ad targeting.

Previously, Pixability released a tool for automating analyses of what specific video iterations are working or not. The system uses machine learning to evaluate the different versions of the uploaded ads while measuring their performance, context and audience against the client’s KPIs.

“We’ve created curated lists around different causes that people want to support or types of creators that people want to support,” Duffy adds. “We have LGBTQ creator lists, we have black and Asian creator lists, et cetera.

“So it’s a really nice trend to see suitability, not just as a preventative measure, but as a way to connect with creators that you want to support.”

You are watching “Driving Reach and Results on Connected TV,” a Beet.TV leadership series presented by Pixability. For more videos, please visit this page.