“On TV & Video” is a column exploring opportunities and challenges in advanced TV and video.
Most marketers agree that digital and social are performance channels.
But they’re less convinced that performance marketing works on connected TV because it’s a lean-back experience. Other than choosing what to watch, viewers don’t do much clicking.
But CTV is a lot more like digital than many marketers think, said Jason Fairchild, CEO of TV performance marketing platform tvScientific. “CTV is like digital in that you don’t have to guess at what works – you know.”
Nonetheless, some marketers shy away from CTV as a performance channel because it’s inherently less interactive. That’s why tvScientific’s clients are almost exclusively search and social performance advertisers who need help getting started on TV, Fairchild said.
In some cases, marketers are hesitant to lean into CTV because of misconceptions about scale, incremental reach and attribution, he added, but there are ways around these barriers.
Fairchild spoke with AdExchanger.
AdExchanger: What does performance marketing mean on connected TV?
JASON FAIRCHILD: It’s like digital. You can connect the dots between an ad viewed and an outcome in a deterministic, data-driven way. You can apply the same digital methods to CTV – the real-time bidding infrastructure and targeting are very analogous – but the technology is slightly different because of some nuances that set CTV apart from search and social.
TV attribution is unique. You can’t click on a TV, so radical data transparency and control over attribution windows are an absolute must for marketers to build trust in the platform.
What are the biggest barriers for digital performance marketers breaking into CTV?
Getting over last-click attribution.
The idea that the last click should get 100% of the credit for any outcome is outdated – even Google doesn’t support that idea anymore. It’s actually pretty crude; it’s not definitive, especially with tactics like cookie bombing, and it doesn’t take TV into consideration. Again, you can’t click on it, so last-touch methodology is never going to succeed in television.
But growth marketers will default to last click because it’s easy. We help clients get over it by showing them the data and how a TV ad can drive an outcome.
What does incrementality testing look like in practice? Is it more of a technical solution or a KPI?
It’s a KPI with a technical execution.
We look at all of the data generated by a campaign once it passes a certain threshold and compare conversion rates for multiple groups to see what worked in reaching a desired audience. Marketers can also do a more structured incrementality test to see if their defined audience has the same characteristics as the groups that were actually exposed.
What other misconceptions are stopping performance marketers from investing in CTV?
There’s a belief system within the industry that marketers can get incremental reach on CTV simply because some portion of linear audiences has moved away from traditional TV. But there’s tons of scale on CTV alone. In terms of TV audiences, the base is now CTV – which is mostly ad-supported and, from an outcome perspective, totally measurable.
If you start in CTV, there are incremental places to find the same audiences that you know work, whether that’s OTT or linear. Whereas if you start in linear, you don’t ever really get to know what works. You’re stuck with proxy metrics like GRPs, so it’s hard to then find smart incremental reach.
Marketers can find broad incremental reach that way, but they won’t really know how well it’s working. It’s directionally accurate.
Can you share an example?
If we work with a certain marketer and we know certain dayparts work better on certain apps, such as The Weather Channel, we’ll home in on that and find lookalike audiences on CTV.
Once marketers see what’s actually performing, they can buy on The Weather Channel incrementally during certain dayparts on linear already knowing what works, rather than buying linear first without that understanding and then trying to get quote-unquote “incremental reach.” It should be the exact opposite.
What does the process of introducing digital performance marketers to TV typically look like?
First, it’s about showing marketers that CTV gives them as much if not more precision and control over data and attribution windows than some digital channels.
For most of our customers, we’ll talk through a media plan with an understanding of their threshold budget for testing and their target KPIs, whether that’s cost per site visitor, cost per sale, cost per install or ROAS.
Then we talk through an attribution window, set up a test campaign and approximate the CPMs and what we think we’ll generate in terms of conversion rates. If we hit a marketer’s KPIs after testing again, we can start scaling.
This interview has been edited and condensed.