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FAST, AI and contextual advertising: Possible 2024 and the future of CTV

April was a busy month for Wurl. Coming off the back of the launch of BrandDiscovery, our team took a trip to Miami for Possible 2024. Possible is a fantastic opportunity to meet with friends, clients, and partners looking to push the world of advertising forward. There was bumper attendance at the conference this year, with a 40% increase in attendees—as the industry tackled complex topics ranging from artificial intelligence to brand safety.

In case you missed it, we’ve compiled a quick summary of some of our highlights—including our panel with EDO, Freewheel, and Media.Monks!

Content rage, AI videos, and avoiding the ick

In the current market (and economy), customer retention was a key topic for attendees, including the ever-increasing phenomenon of “content rage.”

During a session hosted by DirecTV, panelists dove into this modern frustration. “Content rage” stems from the overwhelming abundance of content options, which paradoxically makes it harder for viewers to find shows that truly capture their interest. Multiple speakers brought up the impact that this choice paralysis has on both streamers and advertisers.

For streamers, the top reasons for user churn are price, content relevance, and availability—in that order. With businesses more focused than ever on the bottom line, subscription-driven streamers’ prices are often relatively fixed. These economic factors have led to an increase in ad-supported streaming, either through FAST or hybrid monetization. With this in mind, discoverability is a key challenge for all streamers. Getting relevant content in front of the right users is key to stopping this “rage” and reducing churn risk.

For advertisers, finding a way to stand out amongst all the noise is a key priority. With such a wash of information hitting consumers across multiple platforms and devices, finding strategies to stand out is key.

One potential solution posed was increased personalization through generative AI. Specifically, panelists spoke about the role of AI in video production, with creators exploring how AI can be used to generate video content that’s almost indistinguishable from human-made creations — at scale. With new advances in AI arriving quick and fast, there were a few discussions talking about how content can be tailored to specific audiences.

However, there was a cautionary tone, as increased personalization led to some unease or “the ick,” as audiences can struggle with the authenticity of AI-generated content.

Data is king

The Possible conference also highlighted the growing divide between data-rich and data-poor companies, a trend that is set to significantly influence market dynamics. One particular panel really highlighted how data, partnerships, and intelligent personalization can work together.

e.l.f. Cosmetics and Weather Channel spoke about how they are using data to tailor beauty products to weather conditions, showcasing the innovative use of real-time data to drive consumer engagement. A number of discussions highlighted that in today’s market, possessing comprehensive and actionable data isn’t just an advantage; it’s the cornerstone of understanding and optimizing business performance in an increasingly competitive landscape.

But getting access to the data needed to make good decisions is also challenging. Samsung Ads spoke about the opportunities that FAST provides for marketers — but there were also multiple discussions, both on stage and at happy hours, about how measurement of success on CTV is challenging.

However, despite measurement challenges and a fragmented ecosystem, there were suggestions on how to make the most of the huge opportunities presented by FAST.

Contextual targeting on CTV: the future is here

Keeping those challenges in mind, a topic that came up across the entire conference was the importance of getting positive attention for campaigns, especially in an input-soaked modern marketing environment for consumers.

This was of particular interest in the talk that Wurl’s Peter Crofut spoke at, joined by Media.Monks, EDO and Freewheel. Pete opened with the idea that not all attention is equal, with distinctions between positive and negative impacts. Pete highlighted the unique opportunity presented by FAST channels which offer non-skippable ad environments, reinforcing the need for strategic ad placements that capture and retain viewer attention positively. EDO elaborated on this, noting, “Attention is a stepping stone. We wanted to look at outcomes,” emphasizing the need to measure the share of search and market share to truly gauge advertising success.

In common with the rest of Possible 2024, AI was a huge topic, with the panel discussing AI’s potential to “derive new sources of data,” which can profoundly impact the placement and timing of ads.

This was highlighted by Wurl’s contextual targeting solution, BrandDiscovery, which drove a 200% increase in engagement for a financial advertiser. The panelists discussed the success story from Media.Monks which showed how effective alignment of ads with the appropriate content context can achieve remarkable engagement rates — even without altering other campaign parameters.

Speaking to AdMonsters, Pete summarized his experience at Possible: “A mini-Cannes, complete with a productive mix of brands, agencies and solution providers. AI was a recurrent theme during the conference. It was exciting to hear how marketers are narrowing in on AI solutions that aren’t just flashy distractions, but instead genuinely help address some of marketing’s most basic challenges – like connecting the right ad with the right viewer.”

See you next year!

For more information on how Wurl can help you to get started on CTV as a streamer or an advertisers, make sure to reach out here.

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