Thomas Servatius, chief technology officer of European broadcaster solutions at SpotX, recently discussed the top brand safety and transparency trends to watch in 2019 — from GDPR compliance to ads.txt developments to changes in traditional TV ad delivery. Check out this video to learn more about our predictions for brand safety and transparency in 2019. Additionally, you can read the full interview with Servatius below.
What are some of the trends we saw in 2018?
So, the biggest thing we had in 2018 was for sure the GDPR. If you look at the investments which the companies made in GDPR in the first six months of the year, it was quite substantial. There was a pretty high amount of legal uncertainty about how you really have to implement it to be compliant with the new law.
So, it was quite challenging for everybody, and I think almost the whole industry in Europe spent five to six months on just implementing GDPR features. So that was really something which hit us. It also hit the European revenues quite a bit for many, many companies — and so it’s still keeping us busy. It’s not done yet. And, if ePrivacy is coming — the other big European law which is planned — we will hopefully, or most likely, go through the same exercise again.
The other big thing globally in 2018 has been the overall issues of brand safety and advertising quality for digital advertising. Some advertisers experienced a lot of disappointment from the effects of the programmatic ecosphere growing because, with the programmatic environments, ad fraud becomes easier to implement.
So, a lot of things were initiated to address this challenge in 2018. The most important one from my point of view was ads.txt, which is basically preventing domain spoofing. This has already helped a lot, so we’ve seen a lot of impact that it’s had. What we also see is that the viewability measurement and brand safety are now a permanent request from every advertiser and agency we work with. So we have brand safety tools and resources implemented which allow you to control the visibility of ads in your inventory.
Learn more: 2019 Video Advertising Trends white paper
What can we expect to see with these trends in 2019?
I think that what we saw with ads.txt is just the starting point of further initiatives coming up to ensure brand safety. For example, now with the rise in Europe of VAST 4.0 standard — which is bringing standard APIs to implement brand safety viewability vendors in your ad delivery — we will have a higher level of standardization for these offerings, and VAST 4.0 will help to make these tools more prominent and make them like a natural part of the online advertising ecosystem.
From my perspective, the TV landscape is also quite interesting. We did an amazing job in 2018 at SpotX globally to become the trusted partner for broadcasters for their digital ad video delivery on OTT inventories, smart TV inventories, etc. This battle is now really picking up in 2019, I would say, so there will be now the big vendors will try to find their dominating position in the ecosystem.
What we see is that more and more viewership will go on digital TV and smart TV, and it will be consumed online. And those companies who are able to provide really sophisticated solutions for that space, I think these will be the companies in 2019 who will see most of the growth and will be the ones who have the biggest opportunity to really tap into this new field.
Although traditional TV is changing, it’s still a huge business and it still has a huge reach — specifically in Europe, maybe a bit more than is the case in the U.S. One of the challenges we have to solve in 2019 — and which we are addressing right now — is that next year will be the year when the linear ad break will be replaced by something which is coming through an ad server and which is digitally decided for each and every single user.
I think 2019 will be the year when the big traditional broadcasters — for the first time ever — will completely replace an ad break based on a one-to-one decision for every single TV device which they reach. And I think this will be really the start of a complete change and disruption of the traditional TV business.
Click here to learn more about how we expect traditional TV to evolve in 2019.
Check out the rest of our predictions for video advertising in 2019:
A Look Back on Ad Tech in 2018
Traditional TV Predictions for 2019
Data Activation Predictions for 2019
CTV and OTT Predictions for 2019