Even as consumers have eagerly returned to socializing in live settings, the streaming habits of convenience, choice and control are sticking firmly with consumers. As a result, we’re seeing upward revisions in connected TV (CTV) advertising growth forecasts. This year, projections for the U.S. CTV upfront spending doubled to $4.5 billion and are expected to reach $6 billion in 2022, with overall U.S. CTV advertising hitting $19.1 billion in 2022, according to eMarketer.
We’ve also reached a critical inflection point in viewership with streaming surpassing linear TV viewing. U.S. consumers are now spending 78 minutes more streaming video than they are watching cable or broadcast video, per an August 2021 Roku/Harris Poll study.
Despite the recent supply chain disruptions, we’re continuing to see strong growth across nearly every major ad category in our own business. The ability to target consumers with precision and scale is spurring streaming TV to capture an even bigger share of media budgets. The advent of consumer privacy changes is further fueling CTV advertising growth as marketers look to reallocate media spending given the recent IDFA changes and the phasing out of third-party cookies. In fact, 84% of buyers upping CTV spending state that consumer privacy issues contributed to their increases, based on a The IAB 2022 Brand Disruption Report.
The streaming gold rush has created more ad-supported viewing options and consumers have embraced these free offerings—with six in 10 connected TV homes using FASTs (free ad-supported streaming TV), according to TDG Research. In parallel, subscription fatigue is prevailing and 81% of consumers would rather use a free ad-supported service than subscribe to another paid service, according to an August 2021 TiVo study. Thus, we’ve continued to see dramatic growth metrics from pure-play streaming services, such as Pluto TV, Tubi and Xumo, that were relatively unknown players just a couple of years ago.
As CTV viewership and advertising reaches new heights, here are five developments to watch for in 2022:
Advertisers flock to premium inventory: The influx of streaming TV options is driving increased fragmentation with more buying options for advertisers—as there are direct publisher relationships, walled gardens, aggregators and programmatic buying. Understanding the supply paths and the difference among these options is crucial for media buyers to know what they’re buying and where their ads are running to ensure that their campaigns are brand-safe and fraud-free. For instance, if an advertiser opts for a walled garden approach, they may cede control for achieving unique reach and frequency goals, as well as geographic impression distribution. With open exchanges, there is little control over where ads may run, and these offerings remain fraught with persistent brand safety, transparency, and algorithmic control concerns. To that end, working with a premium aggregator that has curated direct connections to brand-safe premium inventory is the optimal path for advertisers to achieve reach and scale.
New workflow automation tools to simplify CTV buying: Advertisers are seeking efficiencies and simplicity in the planning, buying and execution of CTV campaigns. When a brand or agency makes disparate buys with a publisher, they need to consider the challenges with cross-platform frequency management and delivery pacings. Furthermore, rebalancing under delivered impressions between publishers is time consuming and often unachievable mid-flight with multimarket local campaigns. To drive automation and streamline media buying, look for new workflow automation tools that allow brands and agencies to buy CTV more efficiently.
Mobile advertisers ride the streaming wave: In the wake of IDFA privacy changes, marketers are increasingly turning to CTV as a compelling alternative to mobile advertising—as it allows for contextuality and it’s not bound by limitations with cookies, making advanced precision targeting possible. CTV channels leverage offline data sources that allow marketers to truly follow their audiences, plan with data-driven targeting and measure with outcomes-based performance. For instance, automotive advertisers can glean insights, such as specific auto-intender segments and vehicle sales data, to gain a complete understanding of audience behaviors and connect CTV viewership to direct business results like verified new car sales.
Advanced attribution supplants ratings: With the shift to buying audiences, proving outcomes is the holy grail for marketers. New attribution capabilities allow advertisers to match exposure to CTV ads with sales data to determine how many new sales were generated by a streaming TV campaign. For instance, with the recent travel rebound, travel marketers can leverage advanced destination attribution to drive measurable outcomes. They can now understand where their visitors are coming from, how far they’ve traveled, how long they stay, how often they repeat their visit and more. Furthermore, look for new innovations in attribution capabilities that allow marketers to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns in real-time.
Experimentation with new CTV ad formats: With the maturing of CTV advertising, brands and agencies are beginning to experiment with ad formats by reimagining the creative they use on streaming TV campaigns. For instance, we’re seeing the emergence of “storytelling” ads where a brand’s narrative can be broken up into several segments and delivered in succession on a particular show or channel. As marketers look to CTV to drive conversions, we’re also starting to see testing of shoppable streaming TV ads whereby a viewer can scan an on-screen QR code on their mobile device.
With more ad dollars flowing to streaming audiences this year, CTV has become entrenched in the hearts and minds of both TV and digital buyers as an effective and proven brand building and performance marketing channel for extending reach and ridding waste in ad spending. Looking ahead, working with trusted providers that deliver brand-safe premium content, local audience targeting at scale and outcomes-based performance will be the marketer currency for success in 2022.