If you’re like me and think the holiday shopping season starts earlier every year, this year, we’re right. In 2020, I believe the holiday season is beginning a full month and a half ahead of the typical gift-giving season, starting with Amazon’s new Prime Day on October 13.
Connected TV (or CTV) is a newer media vehicle for brands to get out in front of consumers. However, through my current role at a digital agency that specializes in CTV, I know that before jumping on board, marketers need to consider a few key elements to ensure dollars spent will achieve the desired objectives.
Make sure you’re working with a holistic media strategy.
Now more than ever, we shouldn’t rely on historical spending to dictate future investments. We must start fresh. Right now, marketers should be reevaluating their holistic media strategy, which always starts with the audience first. What is your target consumer’s “need state”? Where do they spend time with media? When are they most receptive to your messaging? Then, speak to them across an optimized channel mix.
When evaluating CTV, consider how your target audience is spending time with TV, whether it's watching live or binge streaming, and allocate the budgets and impressions accordingly to reach desired audiences at the right reach and frequency. Embrace disruption across the TV landscape, and let agile marketing direct your future investments.
Don’t forget about the 'other' players.
According to eMarketer, by the end of this year, more than 30 million people are expected to cut cable. However, Leichtman Research Group found that in the first half of 2020 alone, more than 2.4 million people added broadband internet. There is a clear market shift of how consumers choose to access TV content and which platforms are having the biggest impact.
According to Nielsen’s Beyond SVOD Report, the “other” players — or platforms other than Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Amazon and Disney+ — account for 23% of streaming, with time spent on content increasing more than 50% year-over-year. To me, this is indicating not only a shift in streaming TV behavior but also in audiences’ need for how they access and consume content.
Don’t forget about this “other” category when crafting your marketing strategy. Through it, you might be able to get more bang for your buck and reach audiences no longer accessible through pay-TV providers.
Beware of fraud.
Ready or not, the holiday season is upon us, and with consumers flocking to ad-supported streaming services, I personally consider CTV a must-buy this season. This is the strategic move, but before jumping in headfirst, you need a plan to avoid fraud.
CTV has, unfortunately, attracted more than just advertisers. Fraudsters have become proficient in this medium, and their activity can severely impact all parties involved. According to DoubleVerify, the company has found 1,300 fraudulent apps across CTV since March 2019, over half of which were discovered in 2020 alone.
Fraud can manifest in many ways for streaming, including device spoofing, CTV farms and fragmentation, The Wall Street Journal reported. The root of these issues stems from the platforms themselves and the number of ways advertisers can purchase ad space on streaming TV. The more access to ad space, the more access to scammers.
So, what can you do to ensure your streaming services are safe this season? To start, actively monitor your spending and your ad placements. Schedule routine check-ins to make sure everything is performing as it should be. Additionally, ensure authentic data and traffic numbers are being recorded to verify your strategy is being reviewed correctly.
Have the right measurement in place.
Now that you’re ready to invest in CTV, you need to think about measurement. CTV is both an upper-funnel awareness and a performance media channel. Through a cross-channel analysis, marketers can measure the incremental lift that CTV ad exposure brings to digital campaigns.
While measuring your CTV effectiveness, keep an eye on three key areas: brand lift, online sales and in-store foot traffic (yes, even this year). One of the many benefits of CTV is the clear picture it paints following the customer journey from online ad exposure to in-store through lift measurement using location-based data. Use measurement tools to help evaluate reach and frequency against that target-audience strategy you implemented.
From industry disruption comes opportunity, and marketers shouldn’t be afraid to try new ad units, such as shoppable, voice-activated and interactive ads to garner the attention of consumers. I've found that consumer behaviors have shifted and are continuing to shift, so don’t be afraid to try new strategies to capture their interest and win over their gift-giving attention.
Most importantly, don’t forget what your audience wants and needs from your brand. The holiday season has started, and now is the perfect time to make sure you’re meeting consumers where they are in their shopping journey. As you engage an audience-first mentality, let real-time data guide and refine your holistic media strategy — including the various advanced TV channels such as connected, addressable, over-the-top and more — to engage audiences where they are. Will you give the gift of CTV this year?