"On TV And Video" is a column exploring opportunities and challenges in advanced TV and video.
Today’s column is written by Daniel Macdonald, VP investments and partnerships at Xaxis.
The trend toward CTV has accelerated in recent months as more people consume ad-supported streaming content at home.
Yet, advertisers trying to reach those viewers can struggle to deliver those messages in the right proportions and at the right times.
Going programmatic makes the most sense
The good news is that marketers can use programmatic platforms to achieve reach in CTV while also managing frequency across devices and networks.
By using DSPs, marketers can find and track their desired audience segments across OTT providers such as Hulu, Roku, NBC and Discovery. They often offer their inventory via private marketplaces that protect the publisher, and programmatic guaranteed deals that ensure advertisers achieve the needed levels of scale.
Marketers who’d signed direct deals with publishers found their targeted audience segments – say, households in a specified age and income range – weren’t matched across those publishers, because the publishers assembled their segments using varied methodologies. So advertisers lacked the ability to control both frequency and data on who was getting the same ads repeatedly across the different services. They were seeing increased risk of oversaturation that could turn consumers off or even damage trust in the brand.
Instead, with a unified planning and buying strategy through DSPs, advertisers can target segments that have been defined by third parties such as Experian, then pull reporting derived across all the channels. That kind of holistic view, placing analytics in one place, offers more transparency, better optimization and less waste and helps show how viewers are engaging with the marketer’s brand. It also allows for capping an ad’s frequency by inferring which device it’s delivered on, and on what IP address.
DSPs also enable targeting and tracking across devices and channels. The impact of a message delivered via mobile screen can be correlated to the impact from a CTV big screen at home, and even display advertising seen elsewhere.
Planning and buying can be mixed and matched with GRPs on other distribution channels such as broadcast and cable that are measured by Nielsen, IRI and others, placing the buy in the context of a larger campaign.
That’s a big step toward tackling the multi-channel measurement challenges that US marketers say hold them back from investing in cross-screen media buys. Ad sellers on both the digital native and traditional TV sides have taken steps to give marketers better measures of ROI, and correlate audiences to impression-based buys, according to eMarketer, a trend that’s accelerated to attract buyers made skittish since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Closer to Nirvana
Even for publishers and distributors that have not made all their ad-supported content available on all major DSPs, marketers can mix in data to carefully calibrate reach and frequency. Some of the largest distributors of CTV content, for example, have their own wealth of first-party data they allow clients to access enhanced targeting and refine frequency on their platforms.
I’m not trying to say we’ve reached some advertising nirvana in which every message is always delivered in perfect proportions. But I have seen multiple private case studies that show the positive effect on ROI, ROAS, efficiency and outcomes of managing frequency in these ways.
With ever-more viewers cutting the cord as the demand for ad-supported online programming rises, and the supply of that programming also set to increase as more ad-supported networks come online, marketers will need to better master advertising in CTV programming. Using the right programmatic platforms to achieve the best mix is a big step in getting there.