Why coupling TV and digital video in your ad strategy is essential

Mark Serhan
By Mark Serhan | 7 June 2022
Mark Serhan - Xandr.

Mark Serhan, Commercial Director, Xandr

TV has always been extremely efficient and powerful for mass reach. However, the advent of digital – and with that an array of viewing choices – has changed TV forever.  Throughout the pandemic, consumers turned their attention to more video formats, seeking out content on demand on any screen, whether this meant consuming short-form content on their smartphones or watching long-form content on their connected TVs.  

The role of TV is still important, but it is undeniable that live streaming is growing favourable among consumers – and their demand for digital is not going away, especially in Australia, one of the most advanced and consolidated marketplaces for CTV and digital video advertising.

For the first time, more than half (52.5%)  of internet users aged from 16 to 64 owned a smart TV in H1 2021, versus 48.1% in H1 2020. Online TV and video viewing overtook linear TV viewing among internet users in Australia in 2020 and the trend continues with 88.6% of Australians streaming video-on-demand (VOD) content in H1 2021[1].

Advertisers who have long been reliant on television now need to go ‘beyond linear TV’ and look for platforms that support their needs for all channels and formats. As digital consumption and online shopping have become dominant choices, media owners and advertisers are looking to achieve the same results and revenue through investment in these complementary channels.

Don’t forget the fourth party

While there is always a need for both the buy and sell side and their technology to collaborate within the ecosystem, it is important to remember the fourth party – the consumer.

TV has always been a part of our social fabric and co-viewing is common. TV safeguards the consumer ad experience and this needs to be replicated across other digital platforms, bringing the best of both worlds together.

As this fledgling industry grows, Australia’s main broadcasters and the ad tech community are collaborating on initiatives, such as video header bidding, to help solve user experience issues within the CTV advertising space. These are mainly focused on providing a lean back, TV-like experience that is free of ad repetition within breaks.

Finecast, which provides advertisers a single point of access to the entire TV ecosystem, sees CTV as a significant screen alternative and the fastest growing video advertising platform, paving the way for it to join the conversation.

Finecast’s Head of Client Services Liv Geen says appointment linear TV viewing has morphed into a different viewing environment where CTV is steadily growing with a plethora of content choices, and not just a catch up environment. The company is working hard to ensure the viewer experience is at the heart of what it does – ensuring that repetitive ads, owning the entire ad break, increased frequency, and campaign waste are eliminated.

Australia’s BVOD providers are focused on making one-to-one data matching a reality for advertisers, where clients can bring their own customer data to match against addressable broadcaster first-party audiences. We’re also seeing the introduction of eCommerce capabilities offered natively, such as 7Shop, via BVOD services, bolstering brand integration opportunities for marketers.

The next phase for brands

Brands have been quick to adjust to our new on-demand and increasingly virtual culture. Consumers’ lives are no longer siloed and digital – virtual and in-person all carry a different value than they have previously. This is why we’re seeing many broadcasters adopting a virtual-first planning cycle or agencies adding programmatic commitments to their upfront TV buys. In the ad world, buyers are the consumers and sellers are looking to match expectations, needs, and ability to prove the performance and value they are driving for the marketer.

The Seven Network’s Head of Programmatic Sales & Audiences, Luke Smith, believes that digital video is a critical component for all programmatic buyers – because ads are in view and unskippable, have high completion rates, and there are multiple people in front of the CTV screen. For brands, the precision with which addressable targeting can now be employed based on that one-to-one relationship and the concrete foundation of a verified email can only create additional impact for brand outcomes.

Smith says 2022 will be a real point of inflection where TV truly becomes total video, where brands continue to use programmatic as the predominant means of trading BVOD, where they create new addressable connections with BVOD audiences through insight, activation, and measurement, and they capitalise on new and innovative formats within that 30 second impression.

For brands to be successful they need to apply the same method they take to source their product supply chain efficiently to their media buying. By utilising software that can help track how they are performing across each platform, and understanding customer needs better, they will be able to secure new audience opportunities effectively. Brands and agencies need to be more software empowered, ensuring they put budgets in the best blend of traditional and digital media to get the best out of platforms based on the data available.

The end goal

The scale and reach of local broadcasters and their collaborative efforts on unified measurement mean local players are optimistic for the opportunities to come.

SBS’s National Digital Sales Manager, Brett Islaub says the broadcaster’s UX is its most valuable owned and earned asset, so ensuring a consistent premium user experience for its audience is paramount. Through Xandr's Prebid Server Premium header bidding technology, SBS is able to offer a premium user experience by limiting back-to-back ads whilst simultaneously creating a holistic view of its inventory thus increasing scale for buyers. Islaub says it’s pleasing to see that reporting in analytics and technology are catching up together.

Global ‘walled gardens’, particularly YouTube and Facebook, continued to attract the lion’s share of Australian ad spending on digital video in 2021. However, Australia’s broadcasters are working together to capture a bigger slice of the market. They are actively collaborating on measurement projects such as Virtual OzTAM (VOZ), a world first, which will provide advertisers with a set of reliable metrics that span and incorporate both linear TV and CTV viewership to provide a total TV metric.

Things are changing fast thanks to evolving consumer habits and advances in technology. Marketers must keep pace with them, exploring the digital video landscape as an increasingly compelling proposition for advertisers looking to meet their audience in the environment they choose to be.

[1] Think TV H2 2021 vs H2 2020

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