AdCloud head Phil Cowlishaw discusses Connected TV’s future and industry challenges


• Cowlishaw also spoke about upcoming innovations and the year ahead

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Digital Ad Ops conference, held last month, presented a series of thought-provoking panels on a range of subjects and challenges in the industry.

Phil Cowlishaw, head of AdCloud APAC, took part in the panel discussing the future of CTV transparency with Integral Ad Science country manager Jessica Mills and Tim Purss, PubMatic’s associate director of customer success.

Following the panel, Cowlishaw spoke to Mediaweek about the future of Connected TV, challenges in the industry, innovations, and the year ahead.

Cowlishaw runs Adobe’s advertising technology business, Adobe Advertising Cloud, across the APAC region.

He explained: “We run an advertising technology business that goes from paid search to a DSP. The big focus for what we do is connecting AdTech with MarTech, connecting your paid media with your on-site experiences, analysing, and measuring that in a holistic view.”

Cowlishaw said that TV is still the lead channel in most media schedules and plans and is the “great brand builder.”

Connected TV and the future of TV

When it comes to the importance of Connected TV, he noted that the opportunity exists with audience engagement.

“There’s been a lot of conversations around its incremental audiences. But we also see when we look at the analysis that it’s a lot of the same audience. They’re watching potentially the same show, again, or one show on linear television. Then they’ll watch either updates or watch on catch up television.”

The APAC head of AdCloud said that the real benefits would see audience reach go up and the ability to buy and execute a media schedule.

“I think it’s something that brands want to understand and are excited to understand and to be able to understand and know where their audiences are going. You have that natural payoff, though; the price is very different between television and Connected Television.”

The future of the industry and the challenges it faces

Cowlishaw said that the industry is currently facing a fascinating time of change.

“We are at a stage where we have headwinds coming toward us, but I think technology companies and businesses will create huge opportunities out of them.

“The idea around identity and how that works on-site and off-site, and how you link them together is critical. How you make a strong digital experience is an opportunity that will only get stronger moving forward.

Cowlishaw noted that the focus on identity would help brands make delivering a full-scale experience possible.

“I also think that it gets very exciting because there’s an opportunity around moving from traditional CPA metrics to things like lift. I think we’re going to start to see this fundamental shift in how we think about our paid media, drive lift against the baseline of conversions, and hold ourselves accountable. That’s something exciting.”

Over the next five to 10 years, Cowlishaw said he projected Connected TV as a huge opportunity for brands to change how they think about TV.

“This isn’t a linear versus Connected television conversation, but you continue to see audiences and volume go up in a Connected and on-demand environment — the reason for that choice and control.

“The consumer chooses when they want to watch, what they want to watch, and show how long they want to watch. So it’s all about choice and control.”

Cowlishaw said: “I firmly believe that we are going to see a shift in the way that we think and plan the television screen from broadcasting messages to the masses to how do you make it addressable. In its simplest terms, how do you treat your customers differently from your new customers to your prospects? We’re going to continue to see that grow as scale in identity, scale in the opportunities that exist, and scale in authentication happen.”

The head of AdCloud APAC added that it will all come back to the outcome, saying: “I think we’re going to have to solve that in the next five years, and I think we will solve them.”

Innovations ahead

Looking at the year ahead for AdCloud and its innovations, Cowlishaw shared that it would be around identity and revealed that they have upcoming partnerships with various identity providers.

“Our view is that we don’t believe one identity provider will solve everything in every market. The opportunity is there that there will be multiple identity providers that a business will have to overlay and deliver that reach against.”

“The big thing is that shift from cookie to identity. It’s what everyone is talking about, and we need to solve that,” he added.

Cowlishaw said that conversations about the impending cookieless world are at the forefront of discussion in the industry, as opposed to new media channels or technology.

“What we’re thinking of is how do we ensure there’s a continuum around that, and how will customers be able to scale that. Whether that is identity via premium work with the walled gardens (Google, Facebook, Amazon), and how do you bring that data back into your marketing technology,” the head of AdCloud APAC added.

See also: IAB Digital Ad Ops conference gives industry insights and perspectives

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