2024 Partner Predictions with FreeWheel

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We’re nearing the end of 2023, which means advertisers are preparing and planning for 2024. But what should advertisers consider and keep in mind to ensure success ahead?

Our newest video series, 2024 Partner Predictions, explores what Digilant’s partners expect in the new year — areas of growth, challenges, evolving consumer habits, and more. To kick things off, we had a chat with Eric Davis, Head of Independent and Political Programmatic Demand at FreeWheel (a video SSP). Let’s see what he had to say.

What does 2024 have in store for CTV?

As advertisers gear up for CTV ad campaigns in 2024, strategic allocation of their budget becomes a critical factor. Programmatic ad buying offers a streamlined and efficient means to deliver campaigns across internet-connected devices, utilizing real-time bidding (RTB), private marketplaces (PMPs), and guaranteed purchases.

While the share of programmatic ad views has seen an uptick compared to the previous year (FreeWheel has seen a 12% growth year-over-year), it’s worth noting that the bulk of CTV ad purchases are still carried out through manual processes; as Eric points out, only 35% of the FreeWheel premium inventory is purchased programmatically. The industry is actively tackling the pain points linked to programmatic CTV like frequency capping, fragmentation, and measurement, all of which will be pivotal topics in 2024.

FAST and viewer experiences in 2024

The rapid growth in FAST viewership can be attributed to the fact that these channels come at no cost to the consumer. “Because subscription fatigue is starting to set in, prices are constantly being raised for streaming services — there’s only so many services a household is willing to pay for,” says Eric. Viewers can access these linear-like channels on platforms such as Freevee, Pluto TV, Roku,  Xumo, Peacock — the list goes on. Not only does FAST resemble a linear experience, but the targeting and measurement capabilities produce more granular insights all while possibly reaching a new audience that wouldn’t be captured on streaming platforms or linear TV.

And while there are several benefits to advertising on FAST channels, Eric outlines the many other opportunities that exist to further enhance and improve the viewer experience as FAST is still in its early stages. Currently, we see that programs have lengthy midroll breaks of up to 3 minutes, frequency cap limitations, and a portion of ad slots are not being filled. So, when consumers watch a program, they could be seeing the same ad multiple times throughout the break or possibly not see ads at all. And as Eric states, “we have to work together as an industry to solve these challenges.”

How is CTV targeting improving next year?

The data is getting cleaner – custom data onboarding and targeting and [the use of] identity graphs is growing dramatically.” – Eric Davis, Head of Independent and Political Demand, FreeWheel

The holy-grail to effective advertising: data.

Consumers crave ads that are relevant to them. With more granular targeting techniques, advertisers will be able to provide an extra layer of personalization, reaching consumers at the right time and further moving them down the funnel. The use of identity graphs allow advertisers to obtain a single, unified view of a customer or prospect, opening up opportunities for more contextual and behavioral targeting. FreeWheel is expecting this emphasis on data to shape audience targeting campaigns, as they have already seen a 50% growth year over year.

A big thank you to Eric Davis for taking the time to chat with us about 2024 expectations. Stay tuned for our next partner discussion!

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