Advertising 7 Min Read

Connected TV Advertising: How Automation is Shaking Up the Traditional Agency Model

Written by Melissa Yap

A report by leading market research firm Forrester predicts that 11% of digital, creative and media agency tasks in the US will be automated by 2023, and almost a quarter of agencies will be automated by 2032. Not great news for agencies, who will cut over 50,000 jobs through next year. SaaS models are disrupting the digital ecosystem and forcing agencies to rethink their models and the value they add.

We’ve studied our own client base and noticed over time that brands are taking the reins over their own Connected TV advertising efforts and bringing them in-house – 70% of our advertiser base are brand direct, the remaining of which are made of growth and performance marketing agencies. While automation is helping to take things off our plates and easing manual tasks, it’s also optimizing tasks at speed and accuracy that cannot be matched by humans. At what point will human capital be redundant? 

Creative Still Needs a Human Touch

At the end of the day, generating ideas is still very much a human driven exercise. Let’s take Connected TV ads, for example. Our Performance TV solution allows brands to upload a ready made ad onto our platform and then our technology does the rest. Prior to this point though, the onus will be on brands to storyboard,  produce and edit these ads. For brands that don’t possess production or video assets, we’ve partnered with QuickFrame, a production house who can swiftly turn any existing brand assets into an ad in a matter of days without the need for a creative agency. 

Automation supplements the creative process by assisting with cross-functional collaboration and scaling campaigns without having to reinvent the wheel every time. Our Ad Builder gives creative teams liberty to create a template and then have it automatically reformatted across other ad unit sizes without having to manually create an ad to different sizes. Over 60% of our customer base opt for this feature, since it is housed within the very same interface as they would use to set up a CTV campaign. These can then be used either as display retargeting ads or served complementary to your CTV ad units to give your campaigns a boost. 

Everything Else is Fair Game

Automation does the heavy lifting across most of the media buying landscape. Previously, media buyers were the intermediary standing between a brand and ad inventory. Now, everything from frequency capping, day parting and setting up ad buys can be done on the brand-side, and all through a single platform. Our platform only asks for four things – budget, audience, timeline and what goal you want to serve your CTV ads against and our platform will do the rest. Our Automated Media Buying technology identifies the top-performing TV networks to serve your ad, delivers it at the right moment when your audience is likely to be tuned in, and at a frequency so as not to produce ad fatigue (but enough to be memorable!).

The entire process through to attribution and measurement is also fully automated. Our Cross-Device Verified Visits Model assigns credit to a CTV campaign once it is viewed in full and a user arrives at an advertiser’s website – it also tracks all of the user behavior in between these steps and takes note of what devices and channels they were pursuing prior to converting. Any credited conversion then appears on our Google Analytics integration, which shows how your CTV campaigns are performing alongside your other digital marketing platforms.

The Agency Model of the Future?

A master of one is favored over a master of none in the agency model of the future, and it’s looking ‘T’ shaped. This means agencies are hiring candidates who have a specialized knowledge in one topic but are well versed across a broad number of digital marketing skills. We see this represented in our user base, who is mainly made of performance and growth marketing experts. Nowadays, CMOs are rejecting the traditional AOR model and are choosing smaller or mid-sized agencies as they’re not only more nimble – but  they also offer more personalized service and specialist knowledge.

If internal competencies are lacking, then building up partnerships with third-party specialists like SteelHouse, can help agencies maintain their competitive edge, in a landscape where ROI and KPIs matter most. In this instance, SteelHouse’s automation technology can act as a force multiplier for agencies, which would allow them to dedicate less headcount but still generate the same performance for the brands they work with. 


Let’s keep the conversation going! Register for our bi-weekly CTV report, where we’ll send you industry updates fresh from the source to you. On this same page, you’ll find more thought leadership pieces as well as insights from the world of CTV that our team curates weekly.