Connected TV offers brands one-to-one messaging, premium content adjacency and an immersive big screen experience, writes Allen Klosowski, VP, mobile and connected devices at SpotX.
It’s fair to say the race to deliver video content ‘over the top’ (OTT) has reached fever pitch. Connected TV (CTV), the main delivery point for OTT content, has become a key focus for broadcasters seeking to reach consumers with ‘TV’-derived or mid- to long-form content.
For most consumers, ‘watching TV’ has become a mix of viewing traditional TV-style programming, and other quality video of varying lengths, as they juggle their remotes on the couch. The list of devices they’re using to access CTV is getting longer by the day.
On SpotX’s inventory management platform, publishers are monetising their content on an overwhelming array of new OTT-enabled devices, including Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Roku, Google TV, Xbox, Playstation, blu-ray players, connected pay TV set-top boxes and other smart TV devices. Here is the current ecosystem at a glance.
Globally, CTV use is booming. IHS forecasts that penetration of CTV devices across the ‘big five’ (UK, US, Japan, France and Germany) will exceed 50% of households by 2019. In metropolitan areas, and among millennials, these rates are already much higher.
It’s already clear the majority of the TV experience will be accessed by flicking between VOD services, like Netflix, Amazon Video, Hulu or Sky’s Now TV, and down the road using content discovery engines, like TiVo’s BOLT, to find the desired content, wherever it may live in the consumer’s content bundle.
Ripe for the Picking
For advertisers, a tipping point has been reached in most markets. The scale required to bring large-screen video with interactivity and targeting is available to ad buyers in growing quantities. However, understanding of, and experimentation with, advanced CTV is still gaining meaningful scale. Challenges around data and fragmentation inhibit these two factors, but they’re not hurdles that are too high to jump.
One of the biggest benefits for brands related to CTV is the ability to personalise the message to consumers in ways that traditional television just cannot match in its current form. The ability to blend the living room lean-back viewing experience with personalised ads is a highly attractive proposition.
The world is changing on the mass broadcast one-to-many paradigm, and now the appropriate content, tone and tenor of the message can be delivered to the right viewer at the right time. This has benefits for brands in making their ad spend more effective, as well as for viewers themselves who see ads for products and services they are actually interested in buying.
With accessible data sets, marketers can target a range of variables, like demographics, psychographics, and even past ad exposures to enable sequential messaging. CTV can be tied to other devices such as mobile and desktop to create a full 360-degree marketing engagement that spans multiple devices and locations.
Even with the rapid audience growth, CTV inventory is often sold out due to the high demand from advertisers. For publishers, there is tremendous upside in unlocking the power of both third-party data, and combining it with their own first-party data. Using an SSP such as SpotX can allow publishers to package and sell audiences at a premium, and ramp up revenues by appropriately valuing their inventory on each screen. At the same time, better targeting will also provide a higher ROI for advertisers – it’s a win-win.
There will be a level of attribution available post campaign that is significantly more actionable than anything gross-rating points (GRP) could hope to deliver.
“CTV devices are increasingly driven by high-powered chips in platforms that are designed to do so much more than display linear video”
GRPs are panel based measurement that are a mere sampling of overall viewership, and cannot possibly approach the accuracy of one-to-one measurement in real-time. Combining cross-device attribution with CTV environments will allow markets to tie purchase behaviour, shopping card data, and other first-party insights together, bringing marketers closer than ever to closing the full attribution loop.
It cannot be done in a vacuum, as a solid cross-device graph must be in place, either deterministic or probabilistic. Most of the DSPs working with agencies and trading desks have already built out robust cross-device graphs, and adding CTV data is an extremely simple extension of the existing technology.
Truly interactive formats
Finally, we are starting to see the rise of truly interactive formats. While standards like HbbTV have promised this for a while in Europe, the capabilities are limited and the experience tends to fall flat. But CTV devices are increasingly driven by high-powered chips in platforms that are designed to do so much more than display linear video. Often combined with gaming capabilities and advanced graphic chips, these platforms are ripe for a rise in interactive formats that go well beyond the ‘red’ button or static overlays.
We’re already seeing interactive formats from Brightline, Innovid, Velocity Made Good, and other companies that are pushing the bounds of what advertisers can expect on the ‘big’ screen, such as interactive carousels of images that draw the viewer into the experience and provide more product detail, to engaging features that allow the audience to play and explore.
We expect to see these units evolve to a point where not only will they be more impactful than they are now, but also make interactive commerce a mainstream feature on these devices, even as they may drive consumers to other devices for the final purchase. CTV becomes a crucial pillar in the customer journey.
CTV is the fastest path forward into this new ecosystem due to its open and extensible nature. It will provide brands with the ultimate combination of one-to-one messaging, premium content adjacency, and an immersive big screen experience. Audiences and brands are already following en masse.