As consumer choice for television programming expands, advertisers are faced with a myriad of options for how to reach their buying audience. Coupled with the continued trend of cord-cutting, it is getting harder to reach consumers through traditional means. And this is happening across key demographics, which has caused a plateau in linear TV spending and a decline in traditional TV’s share and reach.
Connected TV to the Rescue
So, what are we to do if we’re faced with a declining ability to reach mass audiences with TV, but still want to use video for all of its benefits, in particular on the big screens? That’s where connected TV comes into play, but it’s not as simple as redistributing budgets and magically solving all of the problems. There are so many options to stream video content, some with and some without advertising opportunities, that having an understanding of the benefits of connected TV becomes imperative, especially with predictions for dramatic increases in connected TV spending in 2021.
But before we get into the benefits of connected TV and why brands are investing more and more advertising dollars in it as a medium, we should level-set on connected TV and the various sources of ad inventory. You can call it connected TV, digital TV, OTT, or CTV, it all means programming that is delivered via the internet, whether viewed via a device (Fire TV, Apple TV, Roku), a premium publisher/network (AMC+, Peacock, Discovery+), or a distribution platform (Hulu, YouTube TV, Sling). In these parts, you’ll hear us say connected TV or CTV most often.
The Benefits of Connected TV
We all know about the rapid shift in the corded TV space as consumers have shaved services or cut services completely, a trend that accelerated during the pandemic for a variety of reasons, including budgetary, a lack of new programming, and a dearth of live sports. But even as sports have come back and some new programming has trickled out, there has not been a shift back to corded television. So, between cord-cutters and cord-nevers, we have to move our advertising efforts to where consumers have migrated, and with that shift, there are a handful of strong benefits that connected TV has over traditional.
The first is precision. Because CTV is digital, it has all the benefits of programmatic ad buying, essentially moving from a demo-based effort with linear TV to a data-driven effort with very enhanced targeting. We strive to be context marketers every day and CTV allows us to do that, making audience buying relevant to the consumer when and where they are, offering full-funnel capability whether we’re after top-of-funnel awareness or we’re deeper in the buying cycle and want to layer on CRM data to talk to an audience like lapsed customers.
Next is increased flexibility. From multivariate creative to quick creative swaps, CTV has significant flexibility benefits, especially when considering COVID-19 restrictions, where the same brick-and-mortar chain may have different restrictions in very close geographies, making micro-targeting around a location very practical.
With CTV, we also benefit from the space itself. Despite there being a wide array of outlets to consumer programming, there is less inventory on CTV, meaning less clutter and the ability to stand out, especially when you’ve coupled relevant messaging with an engaged audience. Additionally, specific items like non-skippable, premium inventory means that we can ensure impression delivery to a very defined audience.
Finally, there’s answerability. Because of the data and analytics offered through CTV buying, whether we’re trying to reach known audiences or new segments showing in-market behavior, we can connect the dots, helping marketers tell the story of return on ad spend from a mass channel that often is elusive.
Proving the Case
Consumer behavior has shifted, but the connected TV offerings have moved us from simply looking at CTV as a way to reach incremental audiences and build reach and frequency. Performance marketers are starting to look at CTV as the data-driven offering it is, giving us the ability to talk at an individual, 1:1 level with consumers. In many of the same ways we view search and social, CTV has simply become another way to continue the conversation with our customers, but this time on the largest screen in our home.
To learn more about how best to incorporate connected TV spend into your media plan, drop us a line. We’d love to have a conversation.