• How Brands Can Use Connected TV to Strengthen Competitive Advantage

    Many brands are overlooking a major opportunity to increase their ad revenue: connected TV.

    While research from eMarketer shows that this medium has already taken up residence in more than half of American households and is expected to be in 60 percent by 2019, connected TV remains a forgotten screen among many marketers and media buyers. Yet brands that learn how to effectively incorporate connected TV into their advertising campaign strategies stand to achieve significant competitive advantages.

    Why Brands Miss Out
    Often when my clients look at buying cross-platform video, they don’t think to include connected TV; they consider only desktop and mobile. This is a big mistake: connected TV offers a way to stay innovative and ahead of the ad buying game.

    I understand the confusion that some marketers have around this form of media. Many don’t know where to categorize it in the mix because of its hybrid status, so they end up missing the opportunity to incorporate it at all. Is it TV — based on how a consumer views it — that therefore should be purchased by a TV buyer? Or is it digital — based on how a media buyer actually executes and tracks a campaign on the devices — that should be purchased by a digital buyer?

    Ideally, more teams would collaborate on owning the category of connected TV. But if only one side must own it, then consider the fact that connected TV acts a lot more like digital than it does TV from a buying perspective. The ads are served digitally. The metrics are more in line with digital video. It’s not bought and sold on gross rating points. yet.

    From an execution standpoint, connected TV is more in line with dynamic ad insertion within an app-based environment, which isn’t always obvious to brand advertisers because it’s still run on the TV screen.

    A Worldwide Shift
    A 2015 study from Accenture found that traditional TV viewing is declining steadily, and the rise of connected TV plays a role. The researchers found that more than 60 percent of those who plan to purchase a new television intend to buy a connected TV. Statista estimates that worldwide, 2018 will see the global number of connected TV sets rise to about 759.3 million.

    In light of the current and future penetration of connected TV into American households, brands that want to stay ahead of the curve need to shift their approaches. When utilizing digital video for branding and awareness campaigns, advertisers should incorporate connected TV as a device in their cross-platform video buys.

    As mentioned, many advertisers still include only desktop and mobile placements within their cross-platform video campaigns, excluding the big-screen opportunities of connected TV. However, that means they end up missing the opportunity to reach more co-viewers, as well as an audience 3.2 times more likely to be cable TV cord cutters, according to Experian Marketing Services.

    Harnessing a New Platform

    To attract the viewership of these important audiences, follow these three steps:

    1. Seek new partnerships. Some media partners capture an audience whose viewership skews toward connected TV devices. Make it a point to begin working with steaming-service partners such as Hulu and Crackle to reach these viewers.

    2. Speak to co-viewers. Experian’s research found that 63 percent of connected TV viewers watch programs with others at least half the time. Consider utilizing creative that’s built specifically for a co-viewing environment, versus the more likely 1:1 experience of desktop and mobile.

    3. Vary the messaging. Connected TV placements tend to result in higher frequency because this is a growing space. To avoid message wear-out, rotate a variety of creative units.

    With the majority of households currently using connected TV and that number projected to rise, brands will soon have no excuse to avoid focusing on this important market.

    Don’t wait to be the last one dragged into the future, which will include less clutter, more memorable ads, and the ability to reach multiple viewers. Tailor your approach now to capitalize on these trends and to avoid missing out on ad dollars that will increasingly flow in this direction.