A ‘fundamentally different medium’
Whether you’re looking at linear TV, connected TV, social media or paid search, Collins said, what marketers want to know boils down to a simple question: What was the impact of an ad exposure to change in behavior?
“Look at what’s currently possible in the world of linear attribution—it’s actually never been better and more refined,” Collins said. “But in looking at all those refinements, we’ve come to recognize that we’ve gone about as far as we can go [with linear attribution], and it’s evident that what’s coming next will surpass it.”
Despite increased competition for developing a new currency, Nielsen’s panel-only currency still dominates linear TV measurement. But with a presence in only 50,000 of some 120 million households in the U.S., Collins pointed out, they’re capturing less than four-thousandths of a percentage of possible viewers.
“It is impossible today to be able to capture and understand what happens in every household, which means it’s impossible to really know the impact of an ad on what happens in that household,” he said. “CTV is a fundamentally different medium and marketers would be wise to approach it differently.”
The right questions to ask
Because CTV is essentially a digital channel—albeit one with an unclickable screen—reporting extends beyond linear’s delivered impressions to show key performance metrics such as return on ad spend (ROAS) and cost per acquisition (CPA). CTV can also track performance by creative, geo, audience and network to provide a full-picture understanding of your campaigns.
Conversely, CTV’s digital nature can also present hurdles for advertisers who are new to the space. To ensure that measured outcomes can be accurately attributed to CTV, Collins recommended that advertisers work with vendors who can have a system that can separate and de-duplicate the inbound traffic that comes from digital channels to provide a filtered, precise view of the impact of all your media channels.
Collins suggested that marketers should ask three questions to guarantee they are taking full advantage of CTV screens: 1. Is my ad viewable? It's impossible to measure when people get up to go grab a soda from the refrigerator or look away from the screen, but at the very least it's possible to know that an ad is visible on-screen. 2. Can I adjust the attribution window, i.e., the time between when an ad exposure happens and when an attributable action occurs, such as visiting a website or opening or downloading an application? Can I adjust that, or am I bound to what a vendor is telling me I have to accept from their approach? 3. Can I single out and identify traffic that came from social, traffic that came from search, that traffic came from CTV? Can I organize and see that in a single source of truth transparently?
Doing so is possible today, Collins said. “Self-serve CTV platforms such as MNTN are built for performance marketers. MNTN is fully integrated with Google Analytics, which allows marketers to customize GA4 to be able to see CTV alongside their other marketing channels.”