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Connected TV and commerce: The stars align

Connected TV and commerce: The stars align

As people stream more on connected TV, the opportunity to align content and commerce is stronger than ever.

As people stream more on connected TV, the opportunity to align content and commerce is stronger than ever. Panelists in this session, sponsored by Infillion, discussed how advertisers and media owners can embrace this opportunity without interrupting the viewing experience and how they might condense the path to purchase from the TV screen to checkout, with new ad formats and technologies.

“Technology has advanced so much in the last year,” said Marcos Escalante, chief product officer, Infillion. “It enables better pathways to content and commerce.” Marketers are looking beyond QR codes and AR to voice activation through the CTV remote control and integration that allows viewers to collect direct-to-cart, add to wall integrations and more. 

“Consumers want more value for their time and attention, and they’re going to reward advertisers who can deliver that,” said Escalante. Infillion has created campaigns for Heineken that allowed consumers to buy beer from CTV units and worked with Amazon on the first-ever voice-controlled ad for CTV. The company is now working on second-screen experiences that connect a mobile device to the CTV experience in real time. 

“That can be via QR code used to continue the experience on a mobile phone where a user can download a coupon or sign up for updates. This is especially important because around 90% of consumers have their phones in hand or within reach when they watch TV, so connecting the dots is an area our advertisers and customers have really been excited about,” said Escalante. “We’re looking for more automation and other technologies to help connect people to relevant and engaging experiences that go beyond the QR code.”

Marketers will have to design these messages carefully. “People don’t want to be intruded upon when binging and streaming TV, so you have to be very delicate and thoughtful with how you design around that,” said Matt Karson, media director, marketing transformation, The Clorox Company. “We don't want to disrupt, we want to add value,” said Katie Haniffy, senior director, media strategy and investment, PepsiCo. 

While marketers are intrigued by the opportunity to micro-target audiences through the CTV platform, they want concrete ways to measure effectiveness. “We’ve been excited to have a product focused on the CTV device environment and a location data panel to explore these connections in a machine learning and data science fashion that is also privacy compliant,” said Escalante. “We’re very excited about making audience targeting more accessible for CTV in particular.” Haniffy noted that while they’ve been effective at measuring the impact of streaming and connected TV in general, there is still work to be done in terms of being cost effective and scalable. “A consumer click-to-buy action or true closed loop conversion study is still hard,” she said. “The click doesn’t come to us directly as a DSC, we have to partner with a customer to provide us with sales data and make sure that it’s compliant. If you’re doing it on individual platforms in silos, it’s hard to understand if it’s really moving the needle.

She continued, stating that only when they feel the consumer experience is frictionless and that the technology exists, can they actually move folks from the upper funnel all the way through. “When we have enough creative assets to do so, we’ll start to include that on a more regular basis,” she said.

Karson said ad pricing on CTV is also a sticking point. “CTV is priced at a premium from what we’re used to with legacy linear TV rates,” he said. “In the end, that’s where the consumers are and that’s where the business growth needs to be. I think there are going to be some hard decisions coming up in the year ahead. We can’t afford not to be in CTV.”

PepsiCo is taking a multi-pronged approach to brand awareness that includes direct partnerships with studios and producers as well as content providers upstream. “This can be anything from an influencer, to theatrical movie partners, to Netflix,” said Haniffy. “We’re trying to actively build relationships to figure out where our brands can organically and authentically make sense as part of the culture and the content they’re producing.”

PepsiCo has teamed up with several partners to explore technology that allows post-production ad placement. “We’ve had some success with that in the Hispanic space, and we’re doing some tests with some influencers on TikTok,” Haniffy shared. “The third part is co-marketing partnerships, where we bring the power of PepsiCo marketing and they bring the power of their marketing side to create custom content.” One example is the Showtime documentary on the Super Bowl halftime show.

“There’s so much tailwind and opportunity in CTV as well as with commerce. We’re excited about multi-screen experiences, identity mapping and creating the ability to reach people where they are and connect the dots for consumers so ads are more relevant,” said Escalante.

“This beautiful new union between commerce and connected TV forces thoughtful design,” said Karson. “Consumers will let us know very quickly if they’re unhappy or if we’ve intruded upon their viewing habits. There will be a really strong feedback loop into what works and what doesn’t. With 85% of households already connected, there’s nothing but opportunity.”

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