The Real Challenge Of CTV Ad Measurements


There are dramatic variances in rates of continuous play, driven by the combination of TV set model, streaming device, and publisher app being used. How does it affect advertising?

Did you know that on an average, 8-10 per cent of overall streaming impressions were delivered when the TV was shut off?

GroupM, WPP’s media investment group, partnered with media companies across the advertising industry to create new standards in streaming viewability and CTV measurement. The initiative follows a joint study with TV ad measurement company iSpot that quantifies inflated CTV ad delivery counts and reveals that, on average, 8-10 per cent of streaming impressions play when the TV is shut off, primarily through ancillary devices.

GroupM and iSpot evaluated hundreds of millions of aggregated and anonymised CTV impressions delivered across 20 million Smart TVs, various platforms and publishers. The analysis was restricted to ad buying through programmatic channels, using a single Smart TV manufacturer’s automatic content recognition data as the underlying match. iSpot verifies CTV impressions using various factors, including input source and its own proprietary system for verifying ad and content play directly on TVs.

The study was conducted to obtain top-level insights about a complex technology problem and to develop methodologies for establishing benchmarks on which the buy and sell-side can transact with confidence.

“One of the most important findings was that there are dramatic variances in rates of continuous play, driven by the combination of TV set model, streaming device, and publisher app being used,” said Adam Gerber, Executive Director, Investment Strategy.

“This is one of many measurement challenges facing the industry as consumption continues to fragment across device, time and location. These realities make a unified industry initiative to set standards and measurement solutions that much more urgent. It is part of a larger need to ensure that measurement accurately reflects the number of people who have the opportunity to see an ad.”

The study revealed that 17 per cent of impressions delivered only through CTV streaming devices such as dongles, gaming consoles, and sticks were delivered when the TV was shut off. Gaming consoles generally had lower rates of continuous play than dongles and sticks.

Native Smart TV Apps, which account for about 50 per cent of all CTV viewing, had virtually no incidence of overcounts across streaming ad delivery.

Depending on the configuration among the three components—TV make and model, streaming device and publisher app—the CTV impression overcount by publisher ranged from 2.5 per cent to 15 per cent across all CTV streaming activity.

Meanwhile, iSpot, with input from GroupM and other industry participants, has developed a first-of-its-kind measurement offering that is built on top of its Unified Measurement product. The beta product, iSpot CTV Verification, measures continuous play incidence at the campaign level. GroupM will have exclusive access for a period of time as the product completes testing and development, at which point it will be available to the marketplace.

“The explosion of streaming is rich with opportunities to deliver smarter ad experiences across a wide variety of possible channels. With any technological advancements, it’s our job to close the gaps so all avenues of ad delivery are verified,” said Kirk McDonald, Chief Executive Officer, GroupM.

“This approach to verifying CTV allows us to quantify a complex problem in a comprehensive way, yet more importantly provides insights and a pathway for solving an important issue for the industry,” said Sean Muller, CEO of

Companies including Disney, Fox/Tubi, LG Ads Solutions, NBCUniversal, Paramount, VIZIO and Warner Bros. Discovery have committed to working at an industry level with agencies, advertisers, and standards-setting bodies to create a streamlined measurement framework and set of best practices to ensure ads are only counted when delivered to screens that are on, with people in front of them.