Nev Hasan is executive director of agency sales at Foxtel Media.
Amid all the huge change and disruption experienced over the past year, one thing remains true: TV is still top. Television continues to be the central platform for advertisers, consistently ranked highest in effectiveness studies. In a recent Ebiquity report (Dec 2021), TV was the most valuable medium, followed by radio. Newer forms of media such as Online Video and Social Media, while perceived as valuable, were far lower down the list when it came to actual evidence.
What’s changing is the way people are viewing television. Instead of traditional FTA linear viewing, audiences are increasingly using Connected TV (CTV) which exists at the intersection of linear and traditional. This may be why it’s often misunderstood and under-used. CTV includes televisions that are Smart TVs with built-in internet, as well as televisions connected to the internet by smart devices, such as a dongle or gaming console.
Currently, many marketers consider CTV similarly to where search advertising was in the early 2000s - "nice to have but not essential". Yet the consumer reach is already there. According to AIS research from August 2020, 83% of Australians have access to a connected TV and 78% said they increased streaming viewing last year. For younger viewers, CTV is simply "TV". Streaming is the only way they engage with content.
So how can marketers harness this trend?
1. Run creative across all environments
The IAB suggests running Creative across both Linear and CTV environments and then reach-extending the CTV audiences into Desktop and Mobile. This sequencing of households across devices means the brand story is told while creating more engagement with the user over several Creative exposures.
Our research shows that the more channels and touch points used, the more effective the advertising is. Increasing numbers of campaigns are using multi-channel communication and achieving far higher reach. Campaigns targeting the whole market, rather than solely existing customers or solely new customers, achieve higher business effects than either single-category campaigns. Understanding and harnessing the effectiveness of each medium is also key, for example recent research shows that subscription TV audiences are 27% more engaged than those on Free to Air.
2. It’s all about activation
People are willing and able to interact with what they watch on CTV – and it drives mass reaction. There can be an immediate call-to-action. For example, McDonalds and Toyota used QR codes for the very first time during this summer of cricket to enrich viewers’ experience while they watched from home. The QR codes, which Australians became much more familiar with during the pandemic, amassed over 190,000 scans across five matches.
McDonalds ran a cash giveaway competition that took fans to a landing page with entry details. Toyota’s QR code sent fans to the Good For Cricket web page where they could learn more about Toyota’s Good For Cricket raffle and buy tickets. CTV makes this process even more seamless.
3. Be smart about leveraging data
ACR (automatic content recognition) on Smart TVs is another source of viewing data. But with increased emphasis on consumer privacy and browser plans to phase out support for third-party cookies sometime in 2022 a complete restructuring of the ecosystem is underway.
For brands this means there will be an emphasis on other data sources including first- and second-party data in helping to continue to provide targeted CTV campaigns.
CTV is not about translating a TV experience to a digital interface. Connected TV’s power is in bringing a digital advertising environment to top quality content that traditionally lives only on linear. From our perspective, quality content is the most powerful in moving and engaging audiences – so premium environments will offer the best ROI for advertisers.
But this offers many creative opportunities to advertisers. Our job as media companies is to enable these opportunities. In the future, intelligent video planning will include both CTV and STV to build efficient reach. In the premium area that we play in, I also expect programmatic to play an increasing role. At the end of the day the aim is to have a seamless experience across both linear and CTV. We’re not there yet, but it’s where the industry needs to go.