"On TV And Video" is a column exploring opportunities and challenges in advanced TV and video.
Today’s column is written by Jacob Beck, associate director of programmatic at DWA Media, a Merkle company.
B2B marketers are usually last to play with fancy new ad tech toys. Cross-device matching, data management platforms, header bidding – all the good stuff goes through the B2C machine before it’s deemed safe for the conservative B2B crowd.
Being last, however, means that B2B folks skip the bad fads, too. (Remember the 3D cinema ad? Plenty of B2C marketers wish they could forget.)
But, eventually, we media planners watch even the most reticent clients relent to winning trends. At a certain point, tech develops, attribution advances and mindsets solidify into a definition of what works. When that happens, B2B marketers are wise to catch up quickly.
Today, it seems that connected TV (CTV) is latest ad tech toy that is here to stay. Is it the right time for B2B marketers to test?
Connected TV is anything that can be served on a TV screen but is not delivered through traditional linear TV. This includes streaming services such as Hulu and Crackle, devices like Roku and Apple TV, and any apps included on a smart TV, including Samsung or Vizio.
B2B clients fear that CTV won’t draw a “business” mindset, both from an audience targeting and contextual standpoint. The audience targeting concern is valid but ultimately unnecessary.
Any traditional advertising method outside digital audience targeting – including out of home, linear TV and radio – is likely less targeted and more wasteful, in terms of on-site metrics, than CTV, which is targeted at the audience level, similar to programmatic digital.
B2B marketers should think of it as programmatic video, but on a giant display. They’re getting the branding benefits of the big screen along with the perks of digital.
With CTV, marketers can raise awareness, so they should introduce the brand early. And often.
The cost might be worth it
CTV CPMs generally run at around $40 with targeting, about double a premium video CPM. To account for the difference, B2B marketers should consider the value a CTV unit brings over digital or mobile video. Advertisers are willing to pay double-digit CPMs for video, under the assumption that users will get the full experience of the creative. Smart marketers know that is rarely the case.
Whether on small screens, incorrect aspect ratios, muted or stuck in a pocket, most video ads aren’t even seen properly, much less noticed or engaged with. Desktop is not much better, with a covering tab a click away. How often do you think your pre-roll is actually consumed?
CTV offers a premium space: front and center on an un-missable, un-tabbable TV screen. The incentive for a user to navigate away from a 30-second ad is much lower when that ad is in front of a 22-minute show versus a 3-minute YouTube clip.
B2B marketers should take full advantage of sound. A CTV user must activate the program – unlike a linear TV commercial that could be on in the background, muted or fast-forwarded off of a DVR – so we know they are present. Marketers should focus the message in the audio.
Admittedly, one weakness of CTV is attribution, especially for B2B brands focused on cost per lead. We’ll never be able to reliably nail down a cost per lead for CTV, but then again, that applies to linear TV, radio, OOH and any non-clickable medium.
I would argue that this should not stop B2B marketers.
The key here is the audience. Advertisers all too often get lost in their branding or attribution and neglect to focus on the person. The experience, targeting and prestige of TV marketing all favor CTV, and so it can be argued – even without ad server attribution – that CTV gives a far greater effect per dollar than linear TV and other traditional channels.
B2B marketers should figure out where they can target, what they can measure and make that part of their plan. Also, make CTV actionable. Create a targetable segment of exposed CTV viewers and retarget them.
CTV is not a fit for all brands. If the budget isn’t there, the creative isn’t engaging or the audience is too niche, B2B marketers may have to wait to try CTV.
But if a brand has budget for TV, it should definitely have budget for CTV. If the creative works for premium contextual video platforms, it works for CTV. And if B2B marketers can find their target outside restrictive ABM and direct-mail lists, they can find them on CTV.
If none of those apply to your brand, you might have some catching up to do, anyway.