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Why Google’s CTV Ad Frequency Controls Miss the Big Picture

For as long as advertising has been available on connected TV, audiences have endured seeing the same creatives over and over while viewing a given program. It’s still so bad that of the six minutes of ads per hour on any of our favorite AVOD streaming services, at least three minutes always seem to consist of the exact same spot, running again and again until we lose any interest we might have had in the brand or product being promoted and actually begin actively resenting the advertiser.

So it was seemingly welcome news when Google recently announced that an answer to this annoying problem was finally at hand: a new tool available via its demand-side platform Display and Video 360 allowing advertisers to control frequency for their intended audience across multiple CTV apps such as Peacock, Hulu, ESPN+, Discovery+ and, of course, YouTube.

This frequency capping would be a huge win for the millions of CTV viewers across the U.S. except… as MediaPost noted, it only applies to “the part of the CTV universe that Google controls.”

That largely means YouTube and YouTube TV, whose audience includes a significant number – over 113 million – that view the platform on smart TVs. But that still means that about half of YouTube’s viewers are watching on mobile devices, not television. And more importantly, YouTube accounts for only a tiny fraction of the overall TV-viewing landscape. Even in December, 2021, when streaming consumption hit an all-time high, according to Nielsen, YouTube accounted for only 5.8% of viewership, CTV or otherwise.

This means that Google’s much touted CTV frequency management capability impacts only the minority of streaming views, and does nothing to take account of linear TV, where around 64% of total viewership still occurs, per Nielsen – and where as much as 95% of ads are delivered today.

To really create the “smoother viewing experience” that Google said its new product feature provided, a solution is required that recognizes how and where the overwhelming majority of Americans actually watch content and get exposed to advertising. A solution that accounts for the inconvenient (to some) truth that over 60 million U.S. households regularly view both linear and CTV.

Fortunately, our TV+® platform exists to provide advertisers with unified access to premium broadcast, cable and streaming inventory – true cross-channel reach that literally no one else can offer. Only TV+ can identify the overlap between linear and CTV viewers and prevent the kind of wasteful and expensive audience duplication (and egregious ad frequency) that has bedeviled advertisers and viewers alike – and that Google is incapable of addressing.

Want to learn more about TV+®? Contact us to request a demo or email us at advertise@simulmedia.com.

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