Why marketers need to think addressable CTV—ASAP
Just as the cell phone has widely replaced the land line, “OTT” video is well on its way to becoming the norm for watching television. As cord-cutting continues to accelerate, and cord-nevers become commonplace, more than a third of U.S. households no longer have access to traditional pay TV, according to a recent study by eMarketer. And that number is expected to top 40 percent in just the next few years.
In order to prepare for this digital-first (and in many cases digital-only) TV paradigm, marketers must rethink old notions of addressability that were intended for linear TV. Historically, addressability has meant household-level targeting on cable-connected television, but with people now watching video-on-demand across multiple devices and screens, the concept of true addressability has become much more complex, while the data-driven targeting opportunities have expanded significantly.
Connected television, or CTV (an internet-connected smart TV or a TV plugged in to a smart device like an Apple TV or Amazon Fire Stick), has become ground zero for the evolution of TV addressability. In addition to providing an optimal viewing experience on a large screen, CTV also creates opportunities for advertisers to apply their learnings from years of digital targeting to a premium video environment. By combining verified audience data from third-party sources and consumer viewing segments from content providers (i.e., romcom bingers and diehard basketball viewers), advertisers can more effectively target their desired audiences.
How is this working for marketers today? Let’s say a healthy snack food brand wants to reach potential customers based on a behavioral profile built on non-sensitive, privacy-safe exercise and nutrition data. Rich, third-party data is available from which the marketer can build segments of people who recently bought a gym membership or downloaded a cooking channel app. A QSR promoting a healthy new menu item has the ability to find those same users at lunchtime when they are catching up on a show on their iPads or smartphones. When that same audience heads home for the evening and settles in to binge their favorite sitcom, the marketer can continue the conversation with entirely new creative, extend an offer or even provide the conclusion to an earlier campaign storyline. The ability to create a seamless, cross-platform story no longer needs to end when a consumer makes the large screen their next screen. The cross-platform limitations of set-top box addressability are no longer an issue.
Look for scale, real-time reporting
OTT’s complex and fragmented media landscape can be challenging for some marketers. Solutions like Telaria’s Video Management Platform solve the fragmentation problem by allowing brands to buy premium inventory from multiple publishers across all video screens at once. Desktop, mobile and CTV viewers are all reachable seamlessly, providing marketers the ability to manage targeting, frequency capping and measurement reporting in real time across programmatic and direct-sold through a single platform. Marketers now have the ability to enhance buying and decision-making through layering relevant and accurate data wherever their target audience is watching video. They can choose to add the target layer on the SSP, a step closer to the publisher in the supply chain, reducing the number of “hops” between the advertiser and CTV programmer and making decision-making more efficient.
The power of CTV addressability is not limited to any particular universe of brands. Recently, UNICEF USA partnered with PHD Media and Telaria to activate a connected TV branding campaign to educate and inform audiences of the organization’s mission during peak fundraising season. Connected TV enabled UNICEF to use addressable data to target likely donors in a premium, highly viewable and cost-effective medium, generating 4.7 million impressions and a 98 percent video completion rate.
When conducting addressable CTV and OTT campaigns, it is critical for brands to have both the necessary technical capabilities and the right strategic approach. Here are some tips to consider when approaching the space:
Multi-publisher packages can help achieve scale. In many cases, a single digital publisher will not be able to provide the scale needed for successful execution of an addressable campaign. Multi-publisher targeting, including working with premium ad-supported publishers like Hulu and Sling, solves this by expanding reach without sacrificing specificity of a target audience.
Always consider the viewer experience. Advertisers need to have access to advanced features built to deliver their ads within a seamless, high-quality viewing experience across all screens from big-screen CTV to mobile. Frequency capping, competitive separation and implementation of do-not-air lists to reinforce the control brands can expect when buying CTV.
Optimize quickly with real-time reporting. Brands should seek a partner whose VMP campaign analytics are updated in real time, which gives an accurate picture of performance pacing and makes it possible to quickly optimize in time to positively impact campaign results. This is important for all campaigns, but especially those with short flights or live programming.
As of today, CTV ad spending is still dwarfed by that of linear TV. But as the non-linear viewing trends accelerate and advertisers begin to truly experience the benefits deploying all the addressable and programmatic tools at their disposal, it is only a matter of time before it becomes the go-to for smart advertisers.