Within the digital advertising world, there seems to be endless conversations, concerns, and complexities surrounding Connected TV (CTV) which have only become more prevalent as this media stream matures and evolves. The way video content is consumed has seen a significant generational shift in recent years, which can be primarily attributed to advancements in technology, an influx in premium content, and every conspiracy theorist’s favourite topic, the global pandemic.
It’s no surprise that CTV has been on an exponential growth spurt – from 2014 to 2022, we’ve seen just shy of a 510% increase in households owning a Smart TV, with nearly 70% of UK residents owning a Smart TV as of 2022. There’s no questioning that the market is there. Not only is it the ownership, but the sheer time people are spending engaged on this channel makes it an instant turn on for advertisers. Hence why, CTV ad spend in the US is predicted to increase from $18.9bn in 2022, to $38.8bn in 2026.
In hindsight, whilst this shift is massively positive, it doesn’t come without a degree of turbulence.
The first being increased fragmentation for both viewers and advertisers, which is far from ideal. Fragmentation within the CTV sphere results in a disjointed viewing experience for users and makes life difficult for advertisers to identify who the viewer watching actually is and if it is the same viewer across multiple devices or multiple apps on the same device. This makes reaching a wide audience efficiently a difficult task, due to the differences in providers, platforms, and devices.
Beyond the lack of common frameworks in place, measuring CTV even with effective targeting, is a challenge, with no guarantee that your audience is actually watching the ad. Granted this concern isn’t isolated to CTV, with similar concerns across other channels including OOH, and as such, should not be a defining factor when taking the plunge with CTV. Indeed, CTV is where the value of eye-catching, engaging, and memorable creatives truly lies.
There is an emphasis on ensuring ads are served to the perfect audience at the perfect time, so much so that creative priority falls down the list. Regardless of how perfect your targeting is, if the creative is dry, there’s only so much advertisers can do to help. Now, there’s no denying it’s very challenging to get this spot on, especially as a brand trying to break into a saturated market, but there are endless examples which show that when it works, it really works. Whether that’s the audio or visual aspects, which are equally as important – take GoCompare for example. I couldn’t care less about spending my time comparing each of the various travel insurances out there – but if I did, GoCompare would be my first port of call, simply due to that (painful) jingle that’s been engraved into my brain. It may not be the sexiest form of advertising, but it works.
In current times of economic downturn, aligning your creative strategy to resonate with issues people are currently facing and providing a solution for that is key to driving that incremental success. Within the CTV space specifically, there has been a big shift towards value-based messaging because this has been found to unlock the door to driving that lower funnel performance that all clients ultimately desire.
Getting creative right is one thing, now you’ll need to overcome the root of all CTV scepticism: measurement and attribution.
From a CTV-to-web perspective, as a result of this fragmentation, it is near impossible to confidently measure multi-touch attribution if users are served ads from the same campaign across different channels and identifying what specific ads and what actions contribute to any given consumer behaviour.
Jason Fairchild, co-founder and chief executive of tvScientific, agrees that the issue of divided consumer attention impacts advertisers’ ability to correctly and accurately attribute activity.
“Users see a CTV ad and respond via a second screen. The second screen behaviour often leads to a search, but it was not caused or inspired by the search – the search was inspired by the CTV ad’.
As of Q4 2022, Nielsen have taken a substantial step in the right direction with the launch of Nielsen ONE, a holistic cross-screen measurement solution, which intends to bring clarity to a world of complexity. Their proprietary identity system which incorporates panel, third party data, and direct partner integrations gives advertisers accurate understandings of their campaign.
Ensuring the deduplication of data within CTV advertising is crucial to ensuring learnings are accurate and reliable. Nielsen ONE delivers deduplicated audience measurement, assisting advertisers in ensuring that reach and frequency can be effectively managed across platforms. Providing comparable metrics across digital services, plus having data validated by their panel and ID system to build a deduplicated and detailed picture of your audience.
From a mobile attribution perspective, Appsflyer have made life a lot easier for us advertisers with their CTV-mobile solution. Appsflyer’s ability to measure app installs and other events that come through CTV inventory is a massive catalyst for growth within the industry. This allows advertisers to optimise frequently by having correct data available, providing performance marketers the tools they need to succeed.
Appsflyer have seen a high adoption of CTV to mobile campaigns and substantial growth on successfully converting CTV to app installs. The gaming vertical are the early adopters of this, much like they were with mobile advertising back in 2012, and the rest followed. It’s heavily predicted that CTV is the next big thing within the advertising world, in the same way that mobile was in 2012, and whilst it took a few years, they weren’t wrong. Now is the time to lean into this channel with the market becoming more and more saturated. It’s inevitable that history will repeat itself here, so, take the advice and don’t be late to the party, (again).
In the current challenging economic times, there is a lot more scrutiny in where and how advertisers spend money. Advertisers have to put a plan together that is accountable and drives results. CTV can fill this void and be leveraged successfully across the full funnel. In the past, CTV testing has always been perceived as a predominantly branding strategy, however, this has since changed with the constant technological developments alongside people building their understanding and trust of this medium.
Measurement-wise for mobile, looking only at last touch attribution for CTV, much like many channels within the Mobile and Display scope, is the wrong way to attribute success because you’re only looking at half the picture, with not accounting for assisted or contributed actions that these channels drive. Having a holistic view of both multi touch and last touch attribution is where advertisers and clients will see the true potential and success that CTV can drive – Appsflyer have reported that when CTV is live, 50% of installs are coming through as assists that CTV can be accounted for.
To put it simply, CTV works and looks really favourable, especially now with tightened budgets, its ability to not only drive results itself, but also be a rising tide that helps to float all channels’ boats. This reverberation effect that occurs across all other channels now that mobile measurement is in place is something that cannot be ignored.
In summary, before diving headfirst into advertising across CTV, it’s important to set expectations around the KPIs you are aiming towards. For fresh CTV activations, focusing on strictly performance goals is not the way to kickstart success within this channel and clients must think long-term. Linking back to the GoCompare example, that branding establishment and dominance was not an overnight success and definitely didn’t come from a one-off 3-month test.
Inevitably, it will take time to find a formula that works for each individual client. Early adopters that enter that testing and optimisation cycle early in their CTV roadmap are the ones who reap the largest rewards in the long term. The bottom line is that CTV is here to stay, it’s an endemic shift to the industry and to consumer behaviour and media consumption. Today’s consumer doesn’t exist on one platform and CTV is becoming a centre piece in this new cross-platform consumer marketing reality.