Wednesday, July 27, 2022, 11:27 AM ETPosted by:Ron Stine
Director, Media & Entertainment Sales, Resonate
The drivers behind the expansion of the connected TV landscape are many. What started with the rising cost of cable and technological advancements in the delivery of content slowly gave way to new players in the space, mergers and acquisitions and content wars. Add on top of that a two-year pandemic and the rising challenges of inflation, and the groundwork has been laid for continued growth (and monetization) within the incredibly dynamic and ever-evolving CTV landscape.
Today, the CTV revolution is upon us. For advertisers and publishers alike, there’s no denying or controlling the significance or pace of consumer viewing shifts into streaming channels. Rather, the real question that companies must consider is this: Do they have the insights needed to stay on trend?
As companies chart their path forward with regard to the CTV opportunity, here are the key market realities that should be guiding them.
Consumers Are Leading the Transformation
Forget about the tech giants. Today, consumers are the ones who are transforming TV as we know it. Overall, eMarketer estimates that two-thirds of the U.S. population will watch CTV content in 2022, a figure that is about 14 percent higher than it was five years ago. Importantly, the number of U.S. users watching ad-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) will surpass 140 million in 2022, up 8.6 percent year over year.
Advertisers and publishers need to adapt to this new viewing reality. Brands and agencies must adapt their marketing strategies and messaging to match consumers' changing media consumption trends, while publishers must adopt a first-party data strategy that is able to define the value of audiences to advertisers.
The Ecosystem Is Going AVOD
Then, of course, there’s the trend within the trend. Just as the streaming ecosystem itself rises, the streaming ecosystem is also increasingly going AVOD. As consumers hit a point of saturation on their subscription viewing platforms, titans like Netflix and Disney+ are in the process of deciding how best to manifest an ad-supported option for their customers and prospects. Meanwhile, SVOD upstarts face an uphill battle, as evidenced by the rapid failure of CNN+.
The pivot to ad-supported models in CTV represents a huge opportunity for advertisers and publishers. But to take advantage of it, they must align their audience understanding with their targeting strategies within this emerging channel.
Advertisers Are Already Flocking to CTV
Already, the market is seeing an impressive rush of advertisers flocking to CTV, due in large part to the opportunity to go more granular than traditional linear options have allowed. This year, eMarketer estimates that programmatic CTV spending will increase by 39.2 percent, following an astounding 82.4 percent increase in 2021. For the first time, CTV will account for more than one-fifth of total programmatic video ad spending, not to mention a tenth of total programmatic digital display.
The CTV opportunity is opening for all advertising categories, but some are rushing in faster than others. Automotive advertisers, for example, are responsible for a significant portion of local CTV spend, as they continue to shift gears from linear to streaming.
Balancing Privacy and Personalization Will be Key
Despite the growing opportunity to target consumers more granularly in CTV than was ever possible in the linear space, advertisers and publishers need to recognize that balancing privacy and personalization can be challenging. The paradox is this: Consumers don't want to be tracked, but they still want a personalized connection within their media channels.
It’s up to publishers and advertisers to strike this balance in CTV. In order to do so, they’re going to need insights partners that can help them understand the who, what, when, where and why of their customers—and how those insights should translate into action when it comes to messaging and targeting on CTV platforms.
An Evolved Ecosystem Requires Evolved Insights
Moving into this evolved TV landscape, advertisers and publishers need to recognize that the basic demographics that once powered a linear TV spend are no longer sufficient. While age is important, it's not everything. In fact, for Gen Z, Boomers, and everyone in between, no one wants to be reminded of their age when being delivered ads. However, most consumers still desire a personal connection, and it’s up to media professionals to discover how to best connect with consumers, whether it be through psychographic factors, brand affinity, and/or purchase intent.
This is why AI-driven data is critical to understanding today's audiences and how best to reach them within the evolving CTV landscape. Rich, recent and relevant insights on what motivates different segments of consumers, and where those consumers can be found on CTV channels, are now table stakes for effective advertising. Those without access to such data need to prioritize its acquisition in the coming year—or risk being left behind.