Consumers have embraced streaming video platforms, and advertisers are catching up to find their audiences there, which has triggered the accelerated growth in OTT/connected TV (CTV) advertising spending. OTT ad spending will leap 40 percent to $2 billion in 2018, according to Magna’s latest U.S. ad forecast.
Today, ad-supported CTV offers advertisers a highly compelling value proposition: a brand-safe and fraud-free environment with rich targeting capabilities to hone in on exact audiences across a broad or narrow demo range.
To seize the opportunities of the CTV era, savvy marketers are rethinking their approach to finding and reaching their target consumer. It’s no longer about appointment TV anymore; we’ve entered the age of “appointment advertising,” where the appointment is with the audience, whenever they’re watching.
Furthermore, as audiences are place-shifting their content, the live, first-time viewer experience is no longer the programming airdate. Instead, it’s when the viewer chooses to watch the show on their own time. Harkening back to the traditional TV world, a viewer who recorded a show on a DVR and watched it a week later was also watching commercials that were a week old. Today, with digital ad insertions in CTV, a viewer is only served current and relevant ads at their time of viewing — thus appointment advertising.
The Imperative To Consider Three Dimensions Of Targeting
Traditional TV buyers have focused on two dimensions – time and channel. They would pick the optimal times and networks to reach their desired audiences. For a time-sensitive campaign, an advertiser would likely stick to primetime hours and choose programming on networks with the broadest reach.
Today, marketers are empowered with tools to apply the third dimension – the audience. In digital marketing, marketers are already utilizing contextual and audience targeting tools such as Google to match ads to people most likely interested in their product. Social media is also a great resource marketers can tap into in order reach a particular audience. And with the availability of richer data-driven targeting capabilities on CTV, advertisers can find the right audience wherever they are, irrespective of the channel and on any given time slot.
Consider this scenario: In a linear TV buy, an auto advertiser trying to reach 100% of intending car buyers on Sunday may elect to advertise on three networks, but they’re actually limiting their reach to only those three networks, leaving a significant portion of auto intenders unreached.
Today, CTV offers the ability for true precision targeting at the household level and then down to the viewer level. Viewer data is collected and analyzed into audience segments, such as auto intenders and then applied to ad campaigns.
In conjunction with looking at time and channel, buying audiences is also imperative for advertisers to attain the broadest reach.
True Audience Planning Requires A Shift In Mindset
The notion of appointment advertising requires a shift in mindset for marketers: They need to consider all three dimensions for effective targeting. If you’re a part of an agency, you have to fully evolve into buying audiences and not content. You should be asking: Is the creative relevant for the “appointment,” and is the campaign leveraging the first-time live viewing experience? By applying this mindset, brands have the opportunity to create a more immersive and personalized experience by ensuring that the mix of advertising and content is highly relevant to the viewer, which in turn makes advertising less disruptive.
Having access to quality data, being able to target specific audiences at scale and utilizing all three targeting dimensions will help foster this shift in mindset. This will empower advertisers to capture unique and actionable insights about who was exposed to their campaigns, such as household details, buyer interest and intent.
The ability to get to an addressable level on a viewer on a large screen that combines the best attributes of live TV with the precision of digital is achievable. It requires having access to true CTV audience insights and utilizing planning tools. At Premion, we’ve developed our own audience planning tool that shows you when and where your audience is. comScore’s Activation solution and Dentsu Aegis Network’s M1 are other examples of tools marketers can use to pinpoint a specific audience.
This gives marketers the insights they need to find and reach viewers across times slots and media platforms.
With this approach, advertisers are leveraging data-driven audience targeting to eliminate wasted impressions (i.e., valuable ad dollars) in delivering a message that resonates with their desired viewer. Savvy advertisers that apply an appointment advertising mindset will reap the rewards of reaching the right audiences for the streaming era.
Jim Wilson is president of Premion, a division of TEGNA focused on Over-the-Top video and advertising. He has spent 20 years at the forefront of media and technology, including launching the games business at Universal Studios and serving as CEO of Atari.
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