• In CTV Advertising, It’s Not Your Measurement, It’s Your Strategy

    Sometimes the hardest question to answer is “What do you hope happens?” In the world of Connected TV, that existential question can be tricky. Because while CTV provides all the targeting ability of digital media, it also provides all the emotional punch of live, linear TV. That dual capability, along with the fragmentation of platforms where CTV lives, makes for a challenging, inconsistent measurement across the industry.

    But here’s the thing – it’s not actually the measurement that’s the first issue. It’s the strategy.
    Here are a couple of examples.

    Let’s say a broadcast buying team includes CTV as a reach extension of linear television.  In this instance the broadcast team has a reach goal, or GRP goal. Research tells the buyer that linear viewership is down. The year 2021 was a tipping point where streaming viewership overtook live/linear. So, any good “TV” buyer worth her salt would include CTV as part of a traditional “TV” strategy. In this case, optimizing incremental reach is the north star. All too often, though, brands apply digital-performance expectations of CTV, even when CTV is meant to enhance reach. So, they might measure lift in online activity tied back to CTV exposed household. While the performance measurement can be done, the strategy is wrong.

    In another example, the digital buying team might desire CTV inclusion in a digital performance campaign, as an awareness extension. In this use-case, the audience targeting of CTV can be deployed and aligned alongside search and display. CTV is very effective in driving incremental lift in a programmatic or performance campaign. Here, a performance model, like multi-touch-attribution, is far more meaningful than incremental reach. While incremental reach can be measured, the strategy is wrong.

    The flexibility of CTV’s strategic use, in a siloed agency world, creates a sticky wicket. Digital teams are often unfamiliar with incremental reach models and broadcast teams are often unfamiliar with multi-touch attribution models.

    Nevertheless, streaming, long-form and episodic content happens more often in American households than live/linear, aka “traditional” TV watching. 80% of US households have at least one internet-connected TV. And some industry futurists predict that subscription streaming services will plateau, which leaves a gap waiting to be filled by more ad-supported streaming apps. All of this adds up to another leap year in CTV consumer adoption, ad-supported content and media dollars.

    With that in mind it’s no wonder brand managers are confused about CTV and how to best leverage this nascent media opportunity. Here are a few tips for approaching a smarter CTV strategy and measurement.

    - Review where the ad loads “live.” Consumers have smart TVs with streaming apps built in, and consumers also have streaming devices, like Roku or Fire TV. “Who owns what inventory and how do advertisers access it?” is a question brands and agencies must sort out as they answer, “What do we want to happen?” Some platforms are better suited for performance measurement and other platforms are better suited for incremental reach. We are in the nascent stages of connecting the CTV pipes and it’s not surprising how frequently the medium still creates confusion.

    - Where is the potential for fraud or even ad serving mishaps and how do you mitigate it? (For example, ads can be reported as having been served on a Fire TV device, even when the TV is off.) There exist many “black boxes” and marketers should be careful where brand ads are served. This is especially important when incremental reach is strategic.
    - There is a huge, addressable opportunity for audience targeting plus geo-targeting in spot markets, which doesn’t exist with linear TV. But it can be challenging to aggregate multiple CTV inventory sellers to reveal a clear picture of DMA household reach. Buyers may manually need to build some back-of-the-napkin random duplication calculations to estimate household coverage of multiple, spot-market CTV providers. (E.g. Hulu + Sling + Premion)
    - Once you’ve answered the “What do we want to happen” question, then reverse engineer which team owns the CTV strategy and align measurement. CTV can be its own touchpoint in media mix modeling, it can be an influencer in multi-touch attribution, and it can be a reach extender so that the “TV” strategy hits the most households possible.

    Connected TV is a must-buy today if a brand wants to raise awareness and ensure inclusion on consideration sets. But just how it is leveraged and how it is measured, can be a pick-your-own solution or pick-your-own challenge.