Frequency management is capping CTV ad spend

Published on Digiday

Ad tech faces some existential threats as the foundational tools used to mix and match audiences face extinction.

However, having conquered the desktop and mobile internet, some ad tech companies are simultaneously finding new lifeblood in the guise of connected TV advertising, a sector of the ad industry that’s tipped to grow 22.4% this year, topping $30 billion in spend, according to eMarketer.

Attendees at last week’s CTV Connect conference, hosted in New York City, debated some of the burning issues of the day, primarily how best to leapfrog the teething problems that ad tech experienced on desktop and mobile.

Here, the frustrations over frequency capping tempered the otherwise exuberant mood on stage, albeit this still doesn’t prevent the vast majority (87% of CTV ad spend) from happening through programmatic transactions. When DSPs can’t do their job

According to statistics cited by eMarketer, 30% of marketers and publishers believe more efficient frequency capping would increase their CTV advertising spend, with Carolina Portela, vp and director of strategic investment at MAGNA, acknowledging how the opportunities of the medium are accompanied by challenges.

“We have challenges when it comes to managing at a holistic level,” she said, speaking on a conference panel entitled, “Stop the Repetition! Getting to the bottom of high ad frequency.”

“We’d definitely like to get more mechanisms for that,” Portela continued. “We’re never going to be in a perfect, holistic management world, but we’re putting a lot of thought into it.”

The duality of the challenge/opportunity that CTV poses for advertisers was made clear in a presentation by Chris Kane, CEO and founder of Jounce Media, who explained some of the intricacies of “biddable ad opportunities” to attendees.

Biddable ad opportunities are arguably the biggest departure from legacy TV, whereby ad inventory deals are primarily agreed upon on an upfront model. Theoretically, this means buyers can be reasonably sure of brand safety, plus the conventional TV sector has more consensus on ad targeting and measurement.

However, as programmatic buying merges with the world of TV, advertisers are sometimes exposed to the precarious nature of open-market media trading, where supply chain complexities create a vector for bad practice.

Jounce Media’s Kane told CTV Connect attendees that CTV advertising has theoretical benefits, including centralized access to “rights holders” and “unified frequency control.”

However, right holders, such as legacy TV networks, often don’t provide an adequate amount of data signals, making frequency capping difficult and often resulting in a negative viewer experience. “When these companies run auctions through the RTB channel, they don’t disclose very much; some use aliases to represent their inventory in the bid stream,” added Kane.

He further explained how this makes it difficult, for advertisers’ demand-side platforms often don’t know precisely what they are bidding on.

As a result, the much-touted benefits of CTV, such as household addressability and unified reach (not to mention frequency control), simply aren’t on offer. But conference speakers did offer some solutions.

“I certainly have had the experience where you see a CTV ad pod, and you see the same ad over and over again,” said Kane. “But I don’t think you have to accept a trade-off; there are some thoughtful ways that you can buy to prevent against that.”

Kane said buyers can use measurement tools to assess when their frequency caps have been surpassed, adding they should negotiate with rights holders accordingly.”I really don’t think you have to accept those violations,” he said.

AI + IDs = better CTV?

According to multiple CTV Connect presenters, if streaming rights holders (be they legacy TV networks or comparatively new streaming service providers) don’t pass adequate signals through the programmatic supply chain, then it is better to go directly to the source.

“DSPs and [supply-side platforms] SSPs can justify a 15% take-rate when they’re providing something of value,” explained Kane. “But they really can’t justify that whenever they’re just ordering systems.”

Meanwhile, fellow conference panelist Jennifer Hess, vp of global ad operations at Fubo, explained how her outfit was investigating the use of AI-powered video recognition technology to manage ad frequency across linear and CTV better.

“That’s the thing I’m most excited about,” she said, adding that identity signals such as The Trade Desk-led UID2 further help with frequency capping.“I think it’s potentially a game-changer.”


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Watch “The Future of TV Episode 3: The connected TV outlook”

AI Briefing: How AI misinformation affects consumer thoughts on elections and brands

Published on Digiday

For nearly a decade, brand safety has been the ad world’s white whale — constantly evading the harpoon of those looking to steer clear of dangerous or salacious content. But the proliferation of generative AI has conjured up an even scarier kind of monster: a multi-headed hydra.

The fight is already on. To boost its efforts around brand safety, IPG Mediabrands is adding more tools for identifying harmful content while also helping advertisers avoid appearing near it. One way is through an expanded partnership with Zefr, a brand-safety startup that tracks content across Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. Along with new ways to pre-block high-risk social content, the companies are creating custom dashboards to help advertisers avoid user-generated content in sensitive categories across text, images, video and audio. Sensitive categories include AI-generated content and misinformation related to U.S. politics, climate denialism, health care and brand-specific content.

“We already have a lot of tools in the programmatic space to help manage misinformation, manage brand safety [and] suitability, but there has always been a void when it comes to UGC in walled gardens,” said Ruowen Liscio, vice president of global commerce and innovation partnerships at Kinesso.

By targeting harmful content, the companies hope to not just help advertisers but also cut off ad funding for such content. According to Zefr chief commercial officer Andrew Serby, misinformation-related content from AI and other sources stays on platforms because it’s funded by ad dollars. But combatting that funding first requires identifying the misinformation and its sources at scale. To understand consumer perceptions about misinformation — and the ads that appear by it — IPG’s Magna conducted research about how people viewed harmful content and how it affected their perceptions about brands and platforms. Only 36% of respondents to a survey featured in the research thought it was appropriate for brands to appear next to AI-generated content. Ads that appeared next to misinformation were also seen as less trustworthy, and brand perception was hurt even when people weren’t sure if content was  real or not.

Although political content was easiest for survey participants to identify, only 44% correctly identified the fake political content, 15% were incorrect and the rest were unsure. AI-generated content — including images of U.S. presidents playing Pokémon and Pope Francis wearing Balenciaga — fooled 23% of respondents and left 41% unsure. Meanwhile, 33% of respondents incorrectly identified misinformation about climate change and 25% were wrong about healthcare-related misinformation. “What was most important for us that came out of the research is just the ability to understand the quantified impact of what happens when brands appear next to misinformation,” said Kara Manatt, evp of intelligence solutions at MAGNA. Companies in the business of AI-generated content are also researching consumer sentiment. In a new report from Adobe, 80% of U.S. adults think misinformation and harmful deepfakes will impact upcoming elections. According to the survey, 78% of respondents thought election candidates shouldn’t be allowed to use AI-generated content in campaigns, while 83% think the government and tech companies should work together to address problems with AI-generated misinformation. The survey results, released last week, include answers from 6,000 people in the U.S. and several European countries.

The findings come amidst debates about whether tech companies should be liable for information on their platforms. The U.S. Supreme Court is also considering a legal battles online content including whether government officials should be allowed communicate with tech companies about disinformation on various platforms.

Meanwhile, Rest Of The World, a global media nonprofit, also published a new website for tracking election-related AI content across major platforms in nearly a dozen countries. Concerns exist across numerous online platforms including X. Even as DoubleVerify claimed the platform formerly known as Twitter was 99% brand-safe, a report from ISD found examples of dozens of AI-generated misinformation images that were posted by verified accounts hours after Iran’s drone strike on Israel and viewed 37 million times within hours.

Adobe’s report helps illustrate the importance of people and companies having tools to identify what’s true and what’s not. Misinformation fueled by generative AI is “one of the most critical threats facing us as a society,” said Andy Parsons, senior director of the Content Authenticity Initiative at Adobe. In an interview last week, Parsons told Digiday that it’s important that people continue to trust verified news sources and don’t begin to question everything when the lines between truth and fiction become too blurred.

“There’s this liar’s dividend, which is once you can question anything and nothing can actually be believed to be true,” Parsons said. “Then how do you even verify that news is news or that you’re not seeing somebody else’s worldview? Or that you’re not being duped with even social media content [even if] it’s from a news source. And then what is the news source if you can’t believe anything you see because it may have been manipulated?”

In other words, there are as many questions as the hydra has heads — if not more.


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New data-backed campaign tools developed from media intelligence by MAGNA on the impact of misinformation on brands

NEW YORK, (APRIL 17, 2024) – IPG Mediabrands and Zefr announce first-in-kind agency partnership designed to tackle misinformation and enhance brand safety and suitability for online campaigns. Backed by extensive research data from IPG Mediabrands’ media intelligence and investment unit, MAGNA, and powered by tech-driven performance unit, KINESSO, the new collaboration will deliver campaign solutions that enable brands with the capability to avoid misinformation across social platforms in priority areas including political, climate, healthcare, AI-generated, and brand-specific content. This partnership extends the existing collaboration between IPG Mediabrands and Zefr; and it is aligned to the agency network’s Media for Good efforts which focus on driving impact within and outside of its business through Brand Safety, Media Responsibility, Marketplace Equity, and Sustainability.

“Helping our clients to protect their brands while reaching their audiences through the most effective channels is core to the work we do as their agency partners,” said Dani Benowitz, US & Global President, MAGNA. “By engaging in specialized partnerships like this with Zefr, we are ensuring our clients have access not only to our in-house expertise, but also to the best tools and capabilities the industry has to offer, so their media investments are strategic and made with relevant, high industry standards in mind.”

Preview of Zefr’s Capabilities Now Available:

  • Pre-Campaign Video Responsibility: Access to customized pre-campaign Media Responsibility Profiles, which leverages AI to proactively to block unsuitable categories like Misinformation and GARM High Risk content across social platforms, while maintaining scale and performance.
  • Custom Misinformation Avoidance for UGC: Incorporates customized dashboards for sensitive categories, e.g., the U.S. elections and climate denialism, with multi-modal video, image, text, and audio detection for full misinformation content avoidance powered by integrations with global fact-checks, beyond publisher or webpage-based analysis.
  • Custom Video Algorithms: This technology will improve responsible AI in programmatic video and apply KINESSO’s brand suitability guidelines with campaign specific outcomes and KPI goals in video.

The ad environment is primed for misinformation with major cyclical events and growing ad spend.

The 2024 election cycle is expected to generate $9 billion of additional ad revenue for media owners, which is +13% higher than 2020 spending levels, according to MAGNA’s latest U.S. Ad Forecast. Overall, most industry verticals will grow their ad spend this year, and digital pure players are set to capture most of that market growth, with ad sales across several media channels expected to outperform including social media (+14%) and short-form digital video (+12% to $22bn).

“At Zefr, we have been proactive in tackling misinformation across walled gardens, combining advanced AI for multi-media with global fact-checking networks,” said Andrew Serby, Chief Commercial Officer at Zefr. “IPG’s leadership in combating misinformation for their clients is second to none, and this partnership underscores that commitment towards this critical issue. Together, we are accelerating the fight against misinformation across walled gardens, applying media responsibility to client investment around the world.”

Building on previous research on consumer perceptions of misinformation, the new MAGNA Media Trials and Zefr study “Ads in Misinformation” tested ad effectiveness of standard content (i.e. verified information) against misinformation for brands in the Auto, CPG, Insurance, and Finance industries. The study included more than 2,000 participants in the U.S., who browsed an in-feed social media experience in a controlled, mobile environment. Each participant was randomly served an ad then surveyed to measure their feedback against brand KPIs and ad adjacency. The study found that advertising next to misinformation led to wasted ad dollars for brands, eroded brand perception, and negatively impacted performance KPIs. And while political and AI-generated “fake news” can be easier to spot, consumers still are critical of brands that advertise next to it.

Key Findings from the MAGNA Media Trials Study:

  • Ad Adjacency: Results found that 47% of participants believed a brand’s integrity is compromised when its ads appear next to misinformation.
  • Political: Regardless of political affiliation or stance, misinformation was found inappropriate, as agreed by 76% of those in the middle, 83% of left-leaning, and 74% of right-leaning.
  • Generative AI: Misinformation generated by AI is well-spotted, with 36% of participants correctly identifying this type of misinformation, but, despite their fascination, it’s not well- tolerated (64% find it inappropriate for brands to advertise next to misinformation)
  • Healthcare: Science-related information is tricky to identify because it confuses people. The study found that only 22% of participants could correctly identify healthcare misinformation, while 53% were unsure and 25% thought the information was real.
  • Climate: For eco-friendly brands, 44% of those surveyed stated they would question a brand’s overall sustainability efforts if its ads appeared next to environmental misinformation. And following the trend of challenges identifying science-related misinformation, most participants who viewed a climate misinformation ad thought the misinformation was real (36%) or were unsure (42%).
  • Negative Impact on KPIs & Investment: Uncertainty about misinformation causes ads to lose impact in the areas of search intent, brand preference, and brands lose respect and trustworthiness with their most valued customers – not to mention wasting media spend – when their ads appear next to misinformation.

The insights from this MAGNA Media Trial informed the development of the new campaign tools. These misinformation capabilities are currently being rolled out across the integrated, end-to-end campaign process delivered by KINESSO for IPG Mediabrands’ clients.


About Zefr

Zefr, a global leader in brand safety and suitability technology, offers products that empower brands to control their content adjacency on scaled social platforms based on brand and industry standards. The company’s efforts in misinformation avoidance and the integration of global fact-checking organizations into its AI tech stack are a further testament to its dedication to advancing brand safety and suitability for advertisers around the globe.

To learn more about Zefr or to book a demo, please visit: and follow us on LinkedIn.

About IPG Mediabrands

IPG Mediabrands is the media and marketing solutions division of Interpublic Group (NYSE: IPG). IPG Mediabrands manages over $47 billion in marketing investment globally on behalf of its clients across its full-service agency networks UM, Initiative and Mediahub and through its award-winning specialized business units Healix, KINESSO, MAGNA, Mediabrands Content Studio, Orion Holdings, Rapport, and the IPG Media Lab. IPG Mediabrands clients include many of the world’s most recognizable and iconic brands from a broad portfolio of industry sectors including automotive, personal finance, consumer product goods (CPG), pharma, health and wellness, entertainment, financial services, energy, toys and gaming, direct to consumer and e-commerce, retail, hospitality, food and beverage, fashion and beauty. The company employs more than 18,000 diverse marketing communication professionals in more than 130 countries.

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MAGNA is the leading global media investment and intelligence company. Our trusted insights, proprietary trials offerings, industry-leading negotiation and unparalleled consultative solutions deliver an actionable marketplace advantage for our clients and subscribers. We are a team of experts driven by results, integrity, and inquisitiveness. We operate across five key competencies, supporting clients and cross-functional teams through partnership, education, accountability, connectivity, and enablement.

For more information, please visit our website: and follow us on LinkedIn.

Press Contacts

Suzette Meade
IPG Mediabrands
[email protected]

Hank Kim
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