Upfront activation guide

With the shift from linear TV to Connected TV (CTV) gaining momentum, you now have more options for the execution of your CTV media buys. You can choose to transact either directly with publishers or programmatically through a demand-side platform. If you opt for the latter, you must then decide whether to execute via programmatic guaranteed or decisioned campaigns. We’ve made a video summarizing the differences between these two options.

This article will focus on decisioned CTV campaigns. We’ll give you step-by-step guidance to help you take advantage of tools and insights made to simplify campaign management — from planning to setup to execution.

Lean into decisioning

This comprehensive resource covers both strategic and tactical activities. Share this with your teams so they have a clear understanding of all the necessary steps for a successful setup.

Report cover of the Decisioned Upfront Guide from The Resource Desk

Pre-launch planning and forecasting

Forecasting on decisioned buys may be new to you and your team, but fear not, we have tools to help you. We offer custom CTV forecasting based on your target audience, publishers, and budget. These insights can help you work toward maximizing reach across premium CTV inventory available through the open internet. If you already have your own planning tools, we’re happy to share any additional CTV publishing data that you may be missing.

Use the questionnaire below to find out what insights and forecasting data you need.

Not working with us? Contact us today.

What options are available to me if the forecast falls short of my upfront agreement?

If your forecast is falling short, connect your inventory partners with your team at The Trade Desk. Fortunately for all parties, decisioning provides a flexibility that can help you get ahead of scalability concerns. You can try:


Setting up your campaign

Next, set up your campaigns in our platform. You should clearly communicate key details with your team at The Trade Desk, including information about your audience, inventory preferences, and creative assets. The CTV Activation Guide above offers a rough guide of how to allocate your time and efforts.

What data can I target in the platform?

First-party data
This includes site data, app data, click retargeting data, lookalike audiences, and imported data.

Third-party data

This includes retail data, purchase data, behavioral data, and data from over 230 of our data partners.

How can I import data?

You have several options for importing first-party data. Ask your team at The Trade Desk about:

  • Uploading email data via Unified ID 2.0 (UID2)
  • Importing data through the UID2 APIs
  • Sending data from a CDP, CRM, or clean room.

More details on importing first-party data can be found here.

How do I target custom third-party data on CTV?

Most providers can then push your requested segments directly into your platform instance for easy activation. Simply share your partner ID with your desired third-party data providers (available in our platform under Advertiser Preferences > Partner Info).

What is the easiest way to set up a deal in our platform?

Either your team can manually enter deal IDs in the platform or your publishing partners can push deals through our Easy Proposal Activation tool. To have deals sent through to this tool, simply provide your publisher with your partner’s seat ID (available in our platform under Advertiser Preferences > Seat Identifiers and Keys > Seat Identifiers).


Pacing and troubleshooting

Once your campaign is live, maintain a clear cadence to stay aligned with both your inventory partners and your team at The Trade Desk. Our Commitment Manager can help you clearly understand pacing directly in the platform, as well as help you prioritize spend toward your deals without requiring manual budget shuffling. Additional calls can be set up between partners as needed to stay aligned.

What should I do if my creative is blocked?

Check your answers to the following against publisher requirements:

  1. Does my creative meet the publisher’s specifications?
  2. Am I using video player–ad interface definition (VPAID) instead of video ad serving template (VAST) files?
  3. Are the bit rates high enough?

How can I improve pacing?

While we offer troubleshooting tools directly in our platform, you may also want to ask yourself the following:

  1. Is my bid high enough?
  2. Is the seller sending through avails?
  3. Are my pre-bid or contextual settings blocking scale?
  4. Is my targeting too restrictive?
  5. Is it time to expand my plan?

Thanks for reading through this guide. Remember, we’re always here to help you with custom insights, campaign setup, and troubleshooting!

The Trade Desk provides this information for the general knowledge of its clients or prospective clients and does not make any representations or guarantees of any kind with regards to the future performance of the information set forth.