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Why Do Ads Keep Repeating on My Streaming Service? (Guest Post)

Woman on laptop looking disappointed

By: Allen Klosowski, SVP, Advanced Solutions Group at SpotX

If you stream TV over the internet, chances are you’ve experienced a time when the same ad plays over and over again. In the marketing world, there has been research to support that messages are more effective when repeated. So, there is a concerted effort to show an ad or message to a person more than one time. While that may be understandable and effective from a marketing perspective, as a consumer, it leaves people feeling like they are being beaten over the head with a message. Given consumer frustration, it is in the best interest of the advertiser (and the consumer) to get ad frequency under wraps. But why does this happen, and is there hope it will be fixed? Here are some answers.

To solve for ad repetition, in the advertising technology world, it comes down to two main concepts: Ad frequency, or frequency capping, which is the ability to set the maximum number of times a campaign should serve to an individual device, and a unique device identifier associated with a device or subscriber. Both are key to managing the number of times a person sees an ad.

The Cause

There are several reasons you may have seen ads repeat in the past. The main answer is not that advertisers don’t have the technology or tools to control frequency, but that connected TV devices and the advertising technology tools that manage the streams are still evolving and maturing. For example, some connected TV devices on the market don’t have a unique advertising identifier to frequency cap against, similar to what is available on all smartphones today. However, many manufacturers are now adding it to their devices to help curb this type of issue.

Other challenges relate to live TV, and the ability to serve different ads to different populations, while delivering the exact number of ads needed to fulfill on an advertiser’s budget. The traditional TV landscape is used to serving the same ad to scores of people, where as digital advertising aims to decide on which ad to run based on interest-level data — while adhering to privacy laws and people’s own choice to enable interest-based ads. All in all, the TV landscape has shifted, and the digital advertising world is learning how to balance technology and consumer user experiences.

The Effect

In order to make sure that all media players have the tools needed to manage ad frequency, the ad industry must make a concerted effort to adopt industry-wide standards put in place by governing bodies. For example, the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau), has leveraged companies such as SpotX with years of experience in frequency capping to lead the way with solutions that manage both frequency and consumer privacy.

With the evolution of devices, and adoption of advertising standards, there is hope that in the coming months and years, consumers will experience fewer instances of ad repetition. Broadcasters and media owners have too much to lose if consumers decide to tune out or disengage, for any number of reasons, including repetitive ads. It’s time for advertisers and media owners to work together to provide consumers with the best user experience that will keep them coming back for more.

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