Connected TV 3 Min Read

How We’re Solving Impression Tracking for Connected TV

Written by Tim Edmundson

Impression tracking services have long existed in the world of display advertising. They help advertisers get accountability from their ad platforms to ensure their ads are indeed being delivered, while also allowing them to compare their campaigns running on disparate platforms side-by-side.

This has long been considered a solved problem for display, mostly because of the environment used by the overwhelming majority of internet users. As long as your impression tracking service can work on Chrome, Safari, and Firefox, your data is going to be consistent and reliable.

But it’s not so simple in the world of Connected TV (CTV). Where display advertising has a predictable environment of just a few web browsers sharing common web standards, CTV exists in a world of hundreds of different, non-standardized video players. All those video players don’t reliably call impression tracking services like DCM, which creates a large discrepancy between the actual CTV impressions served and the number of impressions in third-party impression tracking systems. This is particularly true when there are multiple impression tracking services that need to be called, which is often the case because the SSP, DSP, agency, and in some cases the advertiser, all can have impression tags.

The solution to the CTV impression tracking problem is to create a new centralized impression tracking service that notifies all impression tracking tags once the video ad starts. This new SteelHouse CTV impression tracking service runs server-side, where it receives one video start event from the video player, and then dispatches that event to the SSP, agency, and advertiser. This is called a server-to-server architecture, and is much more reliable. It allows for a standardized method of counting CTV impressions that will work uniformly across all of the different technologies deployed across CTV publishers.

SteelHouse’s CTV impression tracking service is currently available as an alpha feature, and we are actively working with the leading platforms providing impression tracking services to our clients to ensure our data is properly received. We’ll be offering a general release of this service in early Q3 2020.