Getting Into OTT And Other New Channels? Here’s How To Expand Your Client’s Comfort Zone

"On TV And Video" is a column exploring opportunities and challenges in advanced TV and video.

Today’s column is written by Clair Bergam, associate director at The Media Kitchen.

Imagine your client’s direct response business runs like a well-oiled machine. They depend on you to target certain customers with certain products, which you do with ease. You’re accustomed to measuring conversions from web pages, evaluating placements on a list of criteria and presenting regular media plans.

One day, that client decides to expand and launch a brand campaign – one that requires a drastically different media plan, incorporating channels new to the client, including OTT and podcasts.

That’s the situation we were in approximately two years ago with a longstanding financial services client. Search, programmatic and endemic site direct placements were our bread and butter. A brand campaign, however, was an entirely different animal. The target audience was broadening. The creative assets to consider were much more robust. Our job was no longer to drive a specific site action but to make users feel something.

Stepping outside a brand’s media comfort zone can be scary. Here are five tactical steps to ensure you remain in lock step with your client team from start to finish.

Start with an in-depth landscape overview

If a client is familiar with linear TV but has never broached the OTT space, start with a brief recount of the rise of OTT’s popularity and an overview of the major players. Before you recommend any specific partners or spend levels, make sure your client understands audience consumption patterns and the decisions they will need to make down the road in tactical planning.

Through our research we learned the financial services category is very active in the linear TV space, but there was a big opportunity to have a leadership presence in OTT at more attainable budget levels.

Align on brand safety guidelines

Forging into a new media space is much less scary when everyone is on the same page regarding the type of content the ads may appear next to. Does the client want to steer clear of political advertising? What is their take on late-night talk shows or adult cartoon humor? New channels may mean a site exclusion list is no longer good enough to ensure brand safety.

Some of the highest indexing sites and programs for our target audience fell way outside our existing brand safety guidelines. News is a staple environment for financial services brands so a more nuanced brand safety discussion was warranted - especially in an election year.

Decide on a strategy

First, define if reaching your exact target audience or if placing the ad in an endemic environment is of greater importance. This will help you choose partners that hold significant brand equity or have a more robust first-party data set. Decide if this strategy will differ from channel to channel.

Because this was the first time our client was telling their brand story, aligning with keystone publications helped give additional weight to our messaging.

Define measurement priorities

Typically in a DR campaign, if a partner doesn’t fit into the measurement tech stack, it’s a nonstarter. For a brand campaign, the waters are murkier. You will find yourself facing a new set of questions, such as: Is it worth missing out on a first-to-market custom sponsorship opportunity just because it can’t be pixeled the same way as the rest of the campaign? How will next year’s budget be allocated to Brand Campaign 2.0?

Having these conversations upfront can bring clarity to tactical discussions down the line. Onboarding new measurement partners is instrumental in defining success for a new campaign. We tagged media for inclusion in the account’s fractional attribution measurement ecosystem, but a site’s ability to accept these tags wasn’t a primary filter for brand planning.

Don’t (completely) reinvent the wheel

As of July of this year, there were more than 1 million podcasts. New OTT partners pop up on a weekly basis. Linear TV networks are dying, being born and merging season after season. An element of consistency is key for a successful brand campaign. It anchors discussions, provokes learnings, enables test-and-learn measurement and streamlines decision-making.

When possible, establish a core partner set that you can build each channel around. Make adjustments from there rather than starting from scratch with each new plan iteration.

While programmatic display is typically an efficient DR channel, podcasts proved to be excellent at driving brand lift. This learning gave validity to audio as a creative tool for achieving our goals when it came time to refresh the campaign.

Brand building is a long process, and keeping up with the evolving media landscape plays a crucial role in pitching, planning and launching successful campaigns. Follow this recipe to ensure big campaign changes go as smoothly as possible for your clients!

Follow The Media Kitchen (@themediakitchen) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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