"On TV & Video" is a column exploring opportunities and challenges in advanced TV and video.
Today's column is by Dan Fairclough, Sr. Director, Agency and Brand Relations, Magnite.
In my many years working with DTC brands, I saw firsthand how companies hustled to grow their brand visibility from the ground up using search and social.
Then, eventually, they would hit a wall. In order to further scale as a brand and ensure they were driving sales within their acquisition benchmarks, they needed a better way to get in front of the right audience – across a landscape where viewership is more fragmented than ever.
For direct-to-consumer brands, every dollar spent on media needs to tie back to sales. They truly need dollar investment to convert to results; they relied on performance marketing before it became a buzzword. They also need a way to optimize campaigns in real time without making dozens of phone calls and be able to track outcomes in a consolidated manner.
A Performance Marketplace for Video
With the rise of streaming services, CTV has exploded over the last few years. CTV penetration in the US is at an all-time high, with 82% of US households owning at least one internet-connected TV device. The COVID-19 pandemic only accelerated this shift.
DTC brands have been hungry for access to the brand-building power of CTV but lacked a means of ad-buying that was efficient, flexible and cost-effective.
The industry is moving toward solutions that will help DTC brands take advantage of the over-the-top streaming (OTT) environment, with a focus on direct response.
Many performance marketers are looking to optimize performance, cost per acquisition (CPAs) and return on ad spend (ROAS) in real time with the power of programmatic CTV, but don't know where to start. With a crawl-walk-run mentality, performance marketers shouldn’t feel intimidated by CTV. Here are some ways DTC brands can get started down the CTV path.
CTV Can Play a More Prominent Role in the Path to Purchase
First, clearly set your performance goals. Are you looking to reach a specific audience, win greater visibility or have a certain number of actions taken from your campaign along the sales funnel?
Whether you're a household name looking to access untapped audiences or an upstart social brand looking to scale, CTV is unique from linear TV because it can play a more prominent role in the path to purchase and lead to actions across channels.
For example, if a brand’s goal is to find new customers, this informs both the creative and strategy. Here, marketers can use granular data to serve likely prospects a CTV ad that introduces the brand. Then, after a viewer watches a CTV ad, the brand can stay top of mind by serving a related display ad to the household’s mobile or desktop device to take more precise action.
Conversely, if a brand is looking to reach a consumer already in the sales funnel, they can plan a retargeting campaign to make them aware of a seasonal deal or sale rewarding loyal customers. In this way, CTV can play a role at either the top or bottom of the sales funnel in a cross-device campaign.
CTV Provides More Data Return Than Traditional TV
Become aware of the tools at your disposal. Brands buying CTV programmatically can use their measurement provider to see what post-exposure actions are taken along the marketing funnel. This helps advertisers understand how messages drive action and curate their campaigns to be more performant.
Instant household feedback on campaign metrics is a convenience of CTV campaigns; take advantage. Use A/B testing to check your work. Try targeting different audience segments, frequency caps, experiment with private marketplaces (PMPs). Run the same controlled experiments you would on a direct-response digital campaign. Work with partners that can help you assess causal impact. Expect to use in-flight optimization to tweak as you go, staying agile.
CTV Can Complement An Existing Marketing Strategy
Lastly, don't think you have to shake the Etch A Sketch and start from ground zero. You can supplement; you don't need to replace. Now is the first time DTC marketers have real choice and control of what they buy across the entire ecosystem with no minimums necessary, which truly allows them to dip their toes in and identify what works, all without facing too much risk.
For too long, the great majority of marketers have been denied access to TV advertising's high quality and engaging brand-building power. CTV gives performance brands the data, flexibility and tools to optimize their businesses and spend toward what works.