What should we watch tonight?
What used to be a simple question (it’s 8:30pm on a Thursday, so “Friends”—duh!), has gotten far more complicated in the past decade. For most TV watchers today, there’s a whole slew of follow-up questions that need to be addressed: Hulu, Netflix, or Paramount+? Series, doc, or movie?? And finally—which actual program to watch???
And while TV’s gotten complicated for everyone, the impact on marketers has been even more pronounced. With the invention and adoption of over-the-top (OTT) content, a staggering amount of increasingly fragmented inventory has become available.
Even still, CTV ad spend has skyrocketed recently, thanks to the powerful brand awareness, leads, and sales the format offers. At the same time, the space is so fragmented and complex that buyers say it’s “in shambles” (or “shambies,” for our Gen Z readers).
Today, we’ll explore how advertisers can create winning connected TV ads and campaigns. And for the agency and brand leaders wondering how to protect their teams from going to shambies themselves while navigating the complexity, we’ll discuss a solution that streamlines the process.
To kick things off, let’s do a quick overview of the CTV advertising landscape today.
Here are a few key figures to know:
Why the explosion? Well, CTV offers some hard-to-ignore marketing opportunities:
Now that we’ve covered some key facts and figures about this media channel, let’s dive a bit more into what distinguishes an average CTV ad from a great one.
Most people watch TV because they’re looking for a story—and this need for narrative extends to the ads viewers encounter while they watch.
That means there’s a huge opportunity to captivate audiences and tell your brand or product’s story through a compelling CTV ad. Not only that—41% of viewers feel that TV ads are an important part of the TV watching experience, so stakes are high for brands looking to connect with audiences.
To that end, we recommend considering the following questions as you plan and execute CTV ads:
Now, let’s talk about what makes a great strategy. For most brands and agencies, this means incorporating CTV as part of an omnichannel approach and focusing on reaching the right audience.
As we’ve discussed, while CTV advertising has many strengths, fragmentation is a notable challenge. Marketers can access inventory from many different sources—from smart TV providers, to programmatic ad exchanges, to streaming device makers, and more. Not only that—consumers can access OTT content in a variety of ways (not to mention the added obstacles of shared logins and multiple subscriptions within a single household).
The downside, as media buyers know, is that this fragmentation makes it difficult to track conversions. That said, marketers can use KPIs like video completion rate (VCR), impressions delivered, and cost per completed view (CPCV) to measure and report on the area that CTV ads excel in: brand awareness. Remember when we mentioned that standout CTV ads tell a compelling story about your brand? Good storytelling + a 100% viewable and non-skippable format = a huge opportunity to build or expand awareness of your product.
What this means for marketers is that CTV ads work best as part of a holistic omnichannel strategy. Within a campaign, customers might encounter a CTV ad that first makes them aware of a brand or product, and then get retargeted via paid search, mobile, display, or another channel. When used as part of an omnichannel strategy, advertisers can focus on boosting awareness through CTV, and then moving customers further down the purchase funnel through additional channels.
Another piece of an effective CTV strategy is identifying and targeting the right audience. Though fragmentation complicates this matter, a good DSP will allow you to layer both first- and third-party data to build audience segments based on demographics, interests, location data, site visits, and more.
And when buying CTV inventory programmatically? Contextual targeting parameters can further help marketers reach the right audience, in the right way. These segments allow for targeting based on content categories, broadcast types, and content types. Plus, with third-party cookie deprecation on the horizon—albeit a bit further down the line than it was a few months ago—getting familiar with privacy-friendly targeting methods is all the more important.
“This is all well and good,” you might be thinking, "but what about that ‘shambies’ bit? Won’t incorporating CTV advertisements into my campaigns just add to the complexity I’m already facing?”
If we’ve read your thoughts, you have a point: in a recent survey, most marketers reported using 9 different platforms for an average campaign. So, if you’re adding an entirely different platform to access CTV inventory? Yeah, it’s going to make things more complicated. But that isn’t the only way to tap into CTV.
By automating their CTV strategy through a single sign-on platform that allows for all-channel activation, marketers can streamline the process of building out omnichannel campaigns. Basis DSP, for example, is built to reduce complexity, via features like:
All in all? Leveraging automated tools and technologies for campaigns that involve CTV will minimize the chaos and allow agencies and brands to efficiently tap into CTV’s many opportunities.
It’s clear that CTV advertising is booming and holds many benefits for advertisers. But due to the fragmentation of the channel, incorporating CTV without using tools that alleviate its complexity might not be worth the trouble for some marketing organizations.
This is where advertising automation comes into play (or, should we say, into view!) By addressing media fragmentation with a variety of tools designed to streamline the entire media buying lifecycle, advertising automation empowers marketers to make the most of the CTV opportunity.