"On TV And Video" is a column exploring opportunities and challenges in advanced TV and video.
Today’s column is written by Scott Swanson, CEO at Aki Technologies.
Apple’s move into streaming TV is a significant milestone in the already-in-progress, cord-cutting revolution. It should serve as an important nudge for marketers: Yes, it’s time to get serious about connected TV (CTV).
“Getting serious” about CTV is easier said than done, in no small part because there are differing opinions about who should run it. Do traditional TV buyers own this experience, since it is, after all, the “new TV?” Or does CTV belong with digital teams who are accustomed to more granular targeting and metrics?
In my view, the reality is that CTV is more like the mobile experience than either. This may be counterintuitive because CTV behavior – sitting and viewing – looks more like desktop or traditional TV consumption. But that's only on the surface. CTV viewers watch with a mindset much like the mindset they use with mobile devices.
These days viewers feel liberated from the TV set. We are used to watching what we want to watch, when we want to watch and where we want to watch. Watching “Game of Thrones” while waiting for a flight is no big deal because streaming is a fact of life. So are distractions.
CTV content tests attention spans – with so much choice, it’s easy to jump ship from one program to another. Providers are catering to fleeting attention spans, with providers like Netflix offering shorter, snackable programs. In CTV, focus is increasingly compromised, much in the same way it’s compromised on devices, where app sessions are measured in minutes. Mobile marketers are already very accustomed to competing with bids for attention.
Connected TV also offers a mixed bag of advertising: limited, skippable or no ads at all. This raises the stakes for advertising: If a brand can’t provide the right messaging that offers a balance of information, function and/or delight, they lose the viewer. Mobile advertisers know this challenge all too well.
With so many similarities between mobile and CTV, the brands who pay attention to the hard-learned lessons of mobile marketing will gain a CTV advantage when it comes to effectively connecting with audiences.
What can CTV advertisers learn from mobile?
CTV advertisers must remember it’s more about the moment than the medium. It used to be that the medium would be the key driver in shaping advertising – radio and TV, for example, had very different DNA for messaging. Today, however, with lines blurring between media experiences and consumer expectations shifting and fragmenting, the medium isn’t enough of an indicator of opportunity. Even dayparts, which have been historically effective at framing audience needs, lose value in a world where experiences are so much less predictable.
Mobile marketers are already addressing this by measuring opportunity in smaller units – moments. It’s a more granular approach to targeting and allows for messages that cater to the consumer’s more immediate mindset. A Forrester Research 2014 report recognized moments as the new frontier of mobile. Just as mobile marketers, CTV advertisers will also need to embrace the reality of moment-based marketing.
They must also dig deep into data. Modern advertising always comes back to data, which is why CTV advertisers can take an important cue from mobile. Mobile marketers understand how to use data at every step of the campaign, from pre-campaign analysis to dynamic targeting, in-flight optimization and post-campaign analysis.
Even more than desktop, mobile marketers understand that it’s not enough to just know and target data signals like location. CTV marketers, too, need to remember that intelligent campaigns process the full set of available data signals to predict and optimize performance.
It’s already happening
The connected tide has already turned, according to Deloitte’s recent digital media trends report: More Americans today are paying for internet video than cable. This creates some urgency for advertisers. If they haven’t already considered the best way to approach CTV, they’ll soon be behind the curve.
Fortunately, mobile’s best practices give advertisers a shortcut to CTV proficiency. By tuning in to an audience’s needs in the moment, advertisers will gain an advantage now and as the cord-cutting revolution marches on.