“I use the term ‘conversion’ broadly,” Embry noted. “It could be a point of sale online, or it could be an email capture. We can follow that journey from a CTV exposure within the home to then being able to see when a consumer might have gone into a retail location.”
The ‘Suits’ phenomenon
A lasting benefit of the prestige TV era is that it has provided the streaming industry with thousands of hours of popular shows that are finding new life with new or often returning fan bases.
Embry pointed to the “Suits” phenomenon, related to the USA Network show that ran from 2011 to 2019, and counted a pre-Duchess Meghan Markle among its cast. Netflix acquired “Suits” in mid-June of this year, and by the end of July its viewership was up 67%. By the end of August, “Suits” ranked in the top 99% of shows in the drama genre, according to Parrot Analytics, as reported by MarketWatch. Additionally, it found a sweet spot with 23- to 39-year-olds, making up a massive 72% of its audience, split nearly evenly by gender.
“Shows that have been repurposed from the cable realm into the streaming world have given a totally new addressable market to advertisers,” Embry said. He noted that when “Suits” originally ran on USA, the ability to meaningfully target audiences wasn’t as sophisticated as it is now.
“I think about it as almost a new channel strategy,” he said.
“It was just last summer when we crossed the threshold where the number of streaming subscribers across the U.S. surpassed the amount of cable subscribers,” he said. “There certainly is the supply to meet the demand, and also the ability to even increase it, as we obviously increased the amount of penetration that the industry has.”
Part of the reason for this is the precise targeting that advertisers can tap into, but also that, for applicable brands, the opportunities for really immersive advertising based on studied data just keeps expanding.
“I think you’re going to start to see more immersive formats, or ones in which there’s kind of a greater, more contextual overlap in terms of what the advertising is within the program,” Embry said.
Meet the consumers where they are
Always approach your strategy from an audience-first perspective, Embry advised.
“In the CTV space, I think it’s about realizing that it is a living, breathing channel,” he said. “Just like you see with your other platforms, like with search or with social, you can modify it, you can optimize it.”
This means no longer “setting and forgetting” a buy. Actively monitoring audience movement and preferences will heighten your exposure and your ROI.
“It’s not necessarily what the programming is, and it’s not necessarily on what level the show is,” he said. “It’s where your audience is going to be. Because who would have had ‘advertise to Swifties during NFL games’ on their proverbial ad-buy bingo card last month?”