You don’t need a great detective to execute a CTV buy, but it might help

Andrew Gilbert
By Andrew Gilbert | 22 May 2023
Andrew Gilbert.

Andrew Gilbert, Director of Platforms AU & SEA, Yahoo

After years of promise and false starts the Connected TV (CTV) space in Australia is finally heating up nicely. The overdue launch of VOZ hybrid ratings and launch of ad offerings on Foxtel’s Binge and Netflix (with Disney and others imminent) means there are more ways to get your ads in front of people on the big screen than ever before.

As with all innovations the money moves a little slower than the audience, but it was great to see in Nielsen's 2023 Annual Marketing Report 85% of marketers in the Asia-Pacific region have included streaming in their media mix. The promise of delivering brand-level advertising to more targeted audiences is something most marketers will rub their hands together over.

But, what was less heartening was that only 41% view the investment as "extremely, or very effective". This points to a few issues, including how we’re thinking about the medium (is it digitally delivered to performance metrics, or should there be more brand metrics still?) and how results are being reported.

These are areas for suppliers and agencies to sort out, but what can marketers do right now to feel more confident in their CTV performance? Some recent research Yahoo conducted with Publicis Media offers a few really interesting insights, and shines a light on how CTV viewing is different from linear. While the study happened in the US there are a number of important findings which can, and I’d argue should, be being applied here in Australia.

While previous studies have found that half of the time spent consuming linear TV happens between 6-10pm, the research found while CTV ad attention is highest during Prime Time, peaks of attention occur during the early and late morning periods. This is a potential opportunity for advertisers to focus on since they are typically cheaper to buy.

Perhaps unsurprisingly the research shows viewers tend to pay more attention to ads on services that are paid or subscription-based, where there is more intent behind programming choice.

Related to this was the finding 53% of consumers reported frequently having CTV on in the background while doing other things, and only a third of CTV ads receive two or more seconds of active consumer attention. So think about the audio experience - keeping sonic branding prominent is important to make your ad work harder.

Another important consideration is where your ad runs in the break, as attention varies by pod position. The first in-pod position captures at least 2 seconds of attention 38% of the time, with viewers paying an average of 11 seconds of attention. In breaks shorter than 90 seconds attention remains fairly consistent throughout (between 38%-36%), but when they exceed five minutes attention plummets to 27%.

Timing is everything, and repetition can be a double-edged sword. While it can help build brand awareness and recognition, overdoing it can lead to annoyance and negatively impact brand sentiment. The research found that attention drops when viewers are exposed to the same ad within two minutes, and attention remains lowered for ads aired less than 5 minutes apart. The optimal number of exposures is 6-10, with an optimal timing gap of 12-24 hours between exposures.

A really interesting nugget was that the genre of programming you advertise against also impacts viewer attention on ads. Crime dramas, political commentary/coverage, and game show competitions have the highest attention percentage, while awards programming, sci-fi, and action/adventure have the lowest.

And while CTV is creating more data-led targeting opportunities for audiences, the research shows that contextually relevant ads are more impactful. For example, viewers pay 77% more attention to food and beverage ads aired during cooking shows compared to the average ad. And 64% agree ad experiences are better or ideal when ads feature people or elements from the program they are watching.

The ads may mostly be being delivered on the same screen, but it is clear CTV is a different beast to linear TV. We’re just entering an exciting new era for ‘TV’ advertising, where increased competition and an exponential explosion in channels is going to create new opportunities. Audiences are already there, so it’s imperative for any marketer to think hard and master this rapidly evolving opportunity.

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