3 Things to Consider When You Pick Your CTV Advertising Provider


In 2022, Connected TV (CTV) viewership in the US grew to 213 million, with more than one billion hours of video content streamed every single week. With such a meteoric rise in audiences, Connected TV advertising has become the prime advertising platform for brands and agencies to connect with a growing consumer base. In fact, Adweek reported that 66% of advertisers planned to increase their CTV budgets in 2022 - a figure that is set to grow in 2023 and beyond.

But, with more ad dollars shifting to CTV, and a wide range of applications and Demand Side Platforms (DSPs) cropping up for this new marketing channel, advertisers have to be more vigilant than ever about brand safety threats on CTV content. To make sure your ads are safe from harmful and damaging content on CTV, here are some key things to consider when you choose your CTV advertising partner.

No Transparency in the CTV Landscape

Brands and marketers are struggling with a lack of transparency concerning exactly what they are buying in CTV environments. With no industry-wide safety protocols put in place, ad buyers do not always have access to which shows, episodes or content on which their CTV ads will run.

In traditional linear TV advertising, buyers have the choice to purchase ad space in particular TV shows, and with most digital advertising, buyers have the ability to analyze data from URLs to make sure their ad messaging is appearing within suitable content. But, according to Adweek, as of now, there is no publicly available URL information for CTV content that contains all the necessary information needed to deem its suitability for any buyer purchasing ad space. Instead, marketers rely on metadata which is often self-declared and not regulated. Plus, publishers are hesitant to give up valuable information about their inventory to prevent advertisers from hand-picking content which is ultimately leading to more fragmentation and confusion in the CTV space.

Simply put, with the way ads are being packaged and sold on CTV content, we as an industry just don’t have the visibility that we need. GumGum’s new research on children’s CTV content revealed that 20 percent of all ad breaks targeted towards children contained at least one inappropriate ad, based on the Federal Trade Commission’s rules, regulations and recommendations. These ads included ads for alcohol, casinos, gambling, adult hygiene, pharmaceuticals and unhealthy foods - further highlighting the grave need for more transparency and protection on CTV content.

With such looming uncertainty, it has become crucial for marketers to make sure they are picking trusted and recognized CTV providers to deliver their ads. Below are the top 3 questions to ask before you pick your CTV provider:

Question #1: Do They Meet Safety Standards?

It is important to make sure your CTV provider’s brand safety expertise is tested and vetted by a credible third party. This will help you protect your ad messaging online, avoid any future mishaps that may threaten brand reputation and enable you to unlock suitable CTV inventory to drive meaningful results for your campaigns.

GumGum’s contextual intelligence engine, VerityTM, is the first to receive an accreditation from the Media Rating Council (MRC) for content-level analysis for brand safety, suitability and contextual analysis within CTV environments. This expands on Verity™’s previous accreditation across desktop and mobile web environments.

graphic announcing gumgum's MRC accreditation

For GumGum’s partners, this accreditation signifies that VerityTM has undergone a rigorous testing protocol to meet the MRC’s brand safety standards and can be trusted as a vetted and credible CTV provider.

“It still shocks me that the norm in advertising is to choose to partner with providers who have limited third party validation. Nowadays, we don’t even choose what restaurants we want to eat at without some sort of third party validation that it’s a good experience. Why would we not do the same for protecting our brand and advertising dollars?”

- Phil Schraeder, CEO of GumGum

Question #2: Do They Analyze Video at the Content Level?

Most CTV advertisers today use brand safety providers that analyze metadata—often consisting of simple or generic descriptions of CTV video, titles, etc.—to determine their safety level. But, to gain a complete understanding of a video’s suitability for any ad placement, we must go beyond metadata to analyze the full content of a video to assess if it’s safe or not. 

Imagine this: You’re a vacation rental company looking to connect with new customers via CTV. You work with a CTV partner who places your ads against a video titled, “Man in Hotel Room.” But in reality, your ad appears next to a video of a thief breaking into a hotel room. The CTV environment you believed to be safe is actually unsuitable and damaging to your brand. 

This proves that advertisers cannot rely on metadata alone. While most providers only have analysis at the property-level, meaning they focus on a video’s metadata, Verity™ conducts a frame-by-frame analysis of the video, audio, images and text of CTV content down to the second, helping clients avoid placing ads within unsuitable video content.

graphic comparing keyword only data to content-level analysis

VerityTM uses Computer Vision and Natural Language Processing to identify a full suite of content categories, keywords, sentiment and threat categories/risks that align with the IAB Tech Lab's Content Taxonomy and GARM's Brand Safety Floor and Suitability Framework.

Question #3: Do They Use Relevant Inventory?

When it comes to inventory, advertisers should consider choosing a target strategy based on contextually-relevant inventory rather than trying to cater to certain demographics and audiences.

GumGum partnered with MAGNA Media Trials to test the impact of contextual video targeting and identify any differences between the use of metadata only versus a contextual intelligence engine. The research proved that contextually-targeted video ads were much more effective at reaching the right audiences than those that were not contextually-targeted.

Contextual Video Solutions are More Memorable than Those that are Not Contextually-Targeted


  • Video ads are 2.3x more memorable when using a contextual intelligence engine for targeting than using contextual targeting that only considers metadata.
  • Targeting video content with contextual targeting was 47% more effective at reaching the right people than demo targeting.

Therefore, working with a CTV provider with strong, contextually-powered inventory can form more authentic connections with consumers.

To amplify your next CTV campaign with GumGum, click here.


Undoubtedly, with a growing audience and rapid increase in streaming content, CTV advertising is at the forefront of the next phase of digital marketing. And as more and more advertisers make CTV a big priority for their marketing campaigns, it is that much more integral to work with partners with a proven, rigorous and vetted brand safety protocol that will protect audiences, unlock suitable inventory and help brands avoid harmful content.

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