Connected TV has officially met the reach of broadcast television. Streaming and connected TV devices exploded in 2020 as more consumers stayed home and cut the cord. As of 2021, there were just shy of 214 million connected television users, and that number is projected to increase to 230 million by 2025.
In tandem with the upcoming deprecation of the third-party cookie, there is asubstantial opportunity for marketers to better reach consumers through this premium medium. However, it is critical to approach connected TV strategically, to connect with your broader business goals in order to achieve the best return on your investment.
Here are some connected TV strategic recommendations that Coegi leans on to create optimal user experiences for our brands:
Balance Audience and Contextual Targeting
The best thing about connected television compared to traditional television is that marketers are able to offer more customized targeting approaches beyond generic demographics and gross rating points. Instead, we can take it several steps further by having targeted reach and frequency in an environment where consumers tend to watch 90%+ of the video ad to completion. When analyzing how to reap the most success from targeting, it is important to balance both audience and contextual targeting. Audience targeting offers a lot of benefits in drilling down to behaviors, interests, purchase history, among other characteristics. However, because televisions and the relevant devices are most often shared across entire households, you cannot always be sure that the person who you are trying to reach is always the one in front of the screen. Additionally, as third-party cookies become a thing of the past, pixel and cookie-based, probabilistic audiences will lose their potency and fade away from marketing tactics.
Knowing this contextual targeting on connected TV is going to become increasingly valuable. While programmatically bought connected TV ad placements aren’t able to target down to the program level, we are able to achieve scale by targeting specific networks, content genre categories and major live events (i.e. the Superbowl, the Oscars, etc.). Knowing your brand and how your preferred audiences index against specific television content is likely to become essential as you look toward the future of connected TV strategies. While these types of premium placements are often more expensive with CPMs often ranging between $40-50, it is critical to communicate the value of having brands’ content run alongside highly recognizable content, elevating the trustworthiness for newer brands and energizing excitement around existing brands.
Take Advantage of Automatic Content Recognition (ACR)
As discussed in our previous blog, Implementing Automated Content Recognition (ACR) with Your Marketing Strategy, there are many use cases for leaning into ACR.
The first use case is as an extension of a linear television strategy. Linear television continues to be asuccessful medium for many brands due to the cost efficiencies associated with the buy. However, they are certainly not reaching 100% of their target audience through this channel. In order to have greater reach, utilize linear extension through connected TV to reach other consumers in your target market who have not been exposed to your ad through linear television. Another option is to reinforce reach and frequency by retargeting those who were previously exposed to linear television on a connected tv device.
ACR offers a great opportunity to have a new way to competitive conquest. You can serve connected TV ads to consumers who have watched your competitors’ commercials, giving an opportunity to gain greater awareness against a broader audience and potentially gain some untapped market share.
Ensure Creatives are High Quality to Put Your Best Foot Forward
It is important to ensure the quality of your video creatives reflects the connected tv environment. Having low-quality videos that also don’t tap into the storytelling opportunity of connected television can actually have a negative impact on the brand. Furthermore, certain OTT placements, like Hulu, have specifications that vary from the norm of connected television requirements. While it is tempting to jump headfirst into the placement because it feels flashy and exciting, it is important to do it right to make the investment worthwhile.
Finally, it is important to have a variety of video lengths, ideally 6 seconds, 12-15 seconds, and 30 seconds to take full advantage of available inventory across networks and devices.
Understand Where the Greatest Areas of Opportunity Exist: Omni-Channel
As with any omnichannel marketing strategy, it is important to consider how your target market tends to engage with media and where they tend to spend the majority of their time. Currently, the greatest volume of users falls between ages 25-44. However, due to the brand safety associated with the channel, it is possible for marketers to safely reach younger audiences as well. There is a word-of-mouth element to Connected TV. Inmar Intelligence reports that Unruly found that “compared to linear TV viewers, ad-supported CTV users are 71% more likely to tell a friend about a brand, 53% more likely to search for a brand and 52% more likely to buy a product…” This can also be done effectively by taking more of an omnichannel approach to the CTV world and following the consumer wherever they are watching television.
Some marketers have become concerned by the fragmentation of Connected TV — there are now so many streaming services that it feels challenging to unify the experience. In the interim, consider having a presence beyond the Hulu’s of the world and also tap into the connected TV walled gardens of Amazon Prime and YouTube TV to extend reach, have more of a holistic approach to the opportunity across the consumer base, and unify measurement accordingly.
While these are our recommendations today, we are also aware that digital media and trends are changing at a rapid pace. Chief Strategy Officer at LiveRamp, Jay Prasad, recently said in a recent webinar: “Yesterday’s strategies weren’t built for today’s media.”
The biggest takeaway?
It is important to remain agile in your approach to connected TV and be prepared to shift strategies in order to stay ahead of the curve and improve performance results.