Colette Munnelly
Colette Munnelly 8 April 2021

Brands That Step Out of Their Comfort Zone and Embrace CTV are Future Proofing

It’s a no-brainer that brands need to be where their audiences are. Yet despite the mass migration of consumers to Connected TV (CTV) over the last year, advertisers have been hesitant to move budgets there.

With streaming, smart TVs and device use are exploding amongst consumers, the expectation would be that brands would follow to ensure they are capturing consumer attention. Yet despite the migration of consumers to CTV over the last year, advertisers have been hesitant to move budgets there.

CTV presents a wealth of opportunities for brands. Over half (57%) of UK households now own a smart TV and it’s increasingly the screen of choice for Gen Z and millennial audiences. The potential to reach these key audiences with high quality creative while they’re fully engaged, is a major draw for brands considering advertising on CTV.

But TV-like experiences on IP enabled connections also has certain challenges such as data accuracy, measurement, lack of understanding and supply, which is why some brands are reluctant to venture onto this new screen. It’s vital if they want to remain competitive however, that brands step out of their comfort zone and embrace what CTV has to offer. 

So, what can brands do to counteract obstacles and get the best out of this exciting new channel? 

Take the Time to Understand CTV 

Being such a new medium, CTV is inevitably going to have growing pains and problems, so advertisers should take the time to understand CTV and its nuances if they want to reach receptive consumers on this trending channel. Recent Xandr research found that 41% of senior brand marketers said the biggest barrier to digital video investment on CTV is a lack of understanding of the ecosystem.

Putting effort into building knowledge of CTV now, however, will see marketers reap the rewards in the long-run, and there are video advertising experts in the marketplace brands can partner with to ensure a smooth transition onto CTV. 

Pick Partnerships that Drive Greater Digital Insights 

When seeking CTV partners, it’s important brands look to work with partners that can solve the concerns they have around lack of supply, availability and quality of data, and lack of standard identifiers, which are all obstacles regularly cited by brand marketers when considering CTV advertising.

What separates CTV from linear TV is that it’s digital and more addressable at an impression level, so advertisers should look to work with audience authentication partners and media owners that will enable them to target individual households or viewers. 

A further benefit of CTV is that it allows for attribution analysis, so advertisers can support buying against known performance outcomes.

It is important therefore to partner with technology vendors that can enable converged strategies by combining analogue-style panel measurement with digital data, creating a holistic “total TV” framework, so marketers are able to identify the additional links between ad exposure, influence and impacts.

Form a Fresh First-Party Strategy

At Xandr, we have built a diverse network of partners in the CTV space including Peach, whose platform facilitates digital video ad delivery. Peach Media’s global Chief Digital Officer, Jason Trout, is vocal about the importance of committing to creative excellence for CTV.

Jason believes that to truly engage with cord-cutting audiences, brands need to think hard about creative executions, which cannot be a cut-down of a traditional TV ad. While this requires a change in mindset, advertisers simply need to approach creative and the distribution of creative files in a new way.

Specifically, programmatic and the use of consumer data post third-party cookies are going to become more important. Finding the key audiences and then making sure the highest quality asset is available at scale needs to be high on brands’ CTV agenda.

Brands need to weave first-party data into their buying of audiences and work with media agencies to do that in a smart way. Marketers can then value audiences and follow up with creative that’s going to be engaging to really build relationships, as they could with linear.

The quality of the ad both in terms of technical and composition has never been more important when advertising against CTV. Ultimately, it has the ability to target beyond linear but - as Jason points out - if you’ve got that capability but serve the same creative execution, late, to the same audience, you’re creating a bad experience. 

CTV represents an extraordinary new opportunity for advertisers but with opportunity comes responsibility. The ecosystem has to support planning to play considerations of creatives delivering more.

It’s vital that brands do their research and partner with the best-in-class CTV experts if they want to get the most out of this channel. Making waves on CTV is key to relationship building with principal youth audiences and standing out against competitors.   

Written by Austin Scott, Head of Video Market Development, EMEA at Xandr.

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