Data from the IAB, Nielsen and other industry bodies show video and audio streaming surged in popularity this year, with adspend shifting in response as advertisers sought new audiences, but one leading ad tech executive suggests the trend is also associated with brand safety.

Andre Swanston, CEO and co-founder of Tru Optik, said his company has witnessed “pretty phenomenal growth” over recent months as changing media behaviour and the surrounding consumer climate during COVID-related restrictions increased advertiser interest in OTT/connected TV and streamed audio.

And amid all the confusion, disruption and social unrest, particularly in the early months of the pandemic reaching America, he said there appeared to be a “flight to safety” as advertisers shifted spend away from social media.

“[There was] all this social unrest as well as people pulling advertising from Facebook,” he said in an interview for Beet.TV, part of a series entitled Programmatic Buying: Accountability & Transparency in Focus.

“That had no negative impact for us. If anything, it was a positive impact where we saw people shifting dollars, kind of a flight to safety, to brand safety, people shifting dollars from social media into over-the-top (TV) and streaming audio,” he added.

Based in Stamford, Connecticut, Tru Optik is a data management firm that enables agencies, advertisers and publishers to buy across connected TV platforms and to execute targeted OTT campaigns at scale.

According to Swanston, several clients have doubled each month the amount of data they use across connected TV or streaming audio, which includes smart speakers.

“Part of the reason, in addition to this kind of flight to safety, the massive increase in time spent streaming video on connected TVs and streaming audio on smart speakers, we’re now also starting to see the real uptick in political dollars coming into the ecosystem,” he said.

“It’s just really been astronomical growth pretty much that we can track almost week over week across most of our partners in the US because of, I think, those three things all hitting at once.” 

Sourced from; additional content by WARC staff