The second session, sponsored by Finecast and Triplelift, discussed how consumers continue to gravitate to connected TV and online video and the new ways brands and networks are looking to connect with a changing audience.
Panelists weighed in on the opportunities CTV holds for the near future. “We’re seeing innovation tactics from a number of partners that didn’t exist up until this year,” said Josh Benjamin, director of strategy and innovation, Finecast.
Finecast analyses indicate that while a campaign can get significant reach on linear platforms in its first seven days, after that period, CTV can really drive reach. “Some of these insights helped us consider how we’re flighting our media and managing our frequencies across both of those platforms,” he said.
While Nielsen data indicates streaming represents 26% of consumption, Roku estimates the platform still only represents 18% of advertising spend. “CTV is primed for scale. It’s a proven channel that can drive really precise targeting and performance, but it still has not eclipsed the $70 billion marketplace we see in linear,” said Andrew King, VP, CTV product management, Triplelift. “In just the past five years, linear households with viewers between the ages of 18 and 49 have shrunk by 40%. Streaming is a channel that you can’t ignore.”
Creative ad opportunities certainly exist within the programmatic ecosystem, but brands are tasked with finding ways to capitalize on the flexibility that comes with fragmentation. “If you were a brand in 2015 trying to reach a majority of U.S. households it was pretty straightforward. Now you have to be much more surgical. Those households simply don’t exist on a mass scale like they once did,” said King.
Fragmentation has its drawbacks. “We think about our key message, then the platform and the platform’s ability to get that message across. There are nuances to making sure we can get those mixes correct,” said John Hughes, director of media, Domino’s. “If we don’t work together as an industry, there could be unlimited inventory. And that’s not necessarily a good thing for the user. We’re mindful of the consumer through everything we do and are working with our publishers to make sure that we are generating content that’s a helpful experience and not just an intrusive way for us to get the users’ attention.”
The panelists agreed that standardization and transparency will be critical for the connected TV industry going forward. “That allows advertisers to be more creative and able to measure the results of what they’re doing, rather than having to take a chance. That’s going to be crucial for this industry,” said Hughes.
Benjamin cited the value of automatic content recognition (ACR) data in working toward standardization. “There’s an opportunity to create that unique device identifier and really dig into viewing time, how long that particular household spent watching content, what type of content they’re watching, even getting down to the show level. That’s something that advertisers are really craving and as we move forward, the technology will get better and better,” he said.
King is excited by programmatic and digitally endemic strategies that offer the ability to add computer vision on top of content, interact with a four full funnel strategy or create high impact inventory that can be delivered and paired with standard commercial breaks. “There’s a tremendous amount of innovation opportunity all driven by programmatic technology,” he said.
In a fragmented ecosystem in which platforms are vying for viewership, too many ads per hour can turn viewers off. “They’re almost being forced to reduce the amount of ad inventory,” said King. “Transparency and ad experience are two areas we hear about when talking to buyers and publishers about how to package and position their streaming inventory.”
“There’s a lot of talk around contextualization,” said Benjamin. “From the linear side, we can get very granular in terms of types of insights or how to approach that strategy. In the connected TV world, that transparency doesn’t necessarily exist.”
This year’s upfront will likely see networks leaning into their streaming platforms. “Dancing with the Stars going exclusively on Disney+ is evidence that’s where the larger holding companies are placing their bets,” said Hughes. “From an advertising standpoint, our push is to create the right balance between that good user experience and ensuring we’re making informed decisions, not just jumping on the newest thing out there.”
King sees traditional broadcasters introducing more CTV bundles with innovative ad formats, such as custom brand sponsorships on streaming platforms, to entice buyers to spend more dollars on streaming properties. “Viewership is incredibly difficult to forecast on streaming,” he said. “We’re going to see more innovation being looped into the upfront to get buyers to prove out efficacy.”
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Learn more about Triplelift here.