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Connected TV and the future of advertising

Connecting these identities as we jump across screens is a key priority for brands looking to understand the customer journey

Connected TV (CTV), has been hailed as the future of television. Further, a study of the connected TV market shows that the number of households with CTV is set to increase by 82% by 2023.

So, what is CTV and what does its rise mean for advertisers?

CTV is best defined as video content consumed on a TV screen but delivered via the internet, as opposed to broadcast or satellite, for example. It is a market that has skyrocketed in recent years, with data showing that 53% of all households in the UK are subscribed to at least one streaming or subscription service.

As these services grow, so too do the opportunities for advertisers to utilise TV in a way that has never been done before – with data-driven personalised ads and measurable outcomes.

A new dawn of digital TV

According to Ofcom, the pandemic has increased the amount of time we spend watching digital television. And what started as a trend primarily driven by 16- to 34-year-olds has now reached the over-55 audience, who are starting to embrace a new way of watching television.

Alongside this trend comes a challenge for advertisers – viewership, while up, has become far more fragmented. With the popularity of OTT (over-the-top) services – content provided via an internet connection as opposed to a cable or satellite provider – and the increased time we are spending watching shows on our phone, laptops and tablets, it is harder for advertisers to understand viewer behaviour. We may begin a show on our home TV with our family, continue watching it on a train on our phone and then finish it later on our laptop. Connecting these identities as we jump across screens is a key priority for brands looking to understand the customer journey.

Because of this fragmentation and new ways of watching, we are seeing the end of the era where advertisers could reach audiences purely through linear channels. The ‘spray-and-pray’ approach that persisted for so long in TV is no longer sufficient. We can now employ new means to accurately identify who is watching what, where. Additionally, we are now beginning to see significant advancements in technology to measure TV’s impact in driving real-world business outcomes.

By using privacy- and consumer-first identity infrastructure to link exposure data to conversion data, it is now possible for marketers to measure when consumers who have viewed certain ads go on to engage further with the brand – either through app downloads, online shopping or in-store purchases. Brands are now able to effectively gauge the real-world behaviour changes that result from their TV ads, and invest in these with a new sense of confidence and strategy.

Better connections, better results

Beyond the advantages for advertisers, CTV also offers viewers a better advertising experience. As with other forms of data-driven advertising, CTV viewers are able to see more content that is relevant and useful to them. With a platform rooted in identity at the person level, advertisers can use the same budget to reach the people they want to target more effectively and to drive incremental sales or conversions through incremental reach. This means more efficient use of media budgets and represents a win for everyone concerned.

The future for CTV

So, will CTV become the primary mode of television advertising? For now, we can see that it is becoming an increasingly important piece of the puzzle. The rise of CTV is also fuelling greater co-operation between different parts of the TV ecosystem. At LiveRamp’s RampUp Worldwide Virtual Summit 2020, while discussing the future of TV, Dominic Tillson, the IAB’s head of industry initiatives, made the point that the key is “to work with partners as transparently as possible”. This point was reinforced by Jamie West, board adviser and former group director of advanced advertising at Sky Media, who said: “The people and businesses that collaborate, invest and focus on the longer-term are going to be the winners.” Strong connections are vital then to connect the data required to make CTV work.

To ensure that TV can still win in the digital age, marketers will need to work with other data owners to continue to hone the effectiveness and measurability of their ads. Giving brands the ability to define audiences precisely, shift spend from one channel to another and measure more effectively will all be necessary for the industry to demonstrate that an investment in CTV is justified not just in the short term, but also in the years ahead.

By offering more flexible packages, options to personalise ads and greater interactivity, CTV offers brands a valuable opportunity to create genuinely effective advertising campaigns.

In the UK, CTV is on the rise. And as new technology emerges and delivers increasingly detailed datasets, the value of the TV marketplace will continue to increase. For example, we are now seeing the emergence of advanced solutions such as the ability to tie first-party and third-party data sets together to better define target audiences. Advances such as these will continue to accelerate the interest and expansion of CTV as businesses come to appreciate how it fits into their wider marketing and commercial strategies.

TV has been a mainstay of advertising for many years and the ability to measure its effectiveness through the innovations offered by CTV make this a game-changing shift in adtech. We can expect this growth to accelerate dramatically in the UK market over the next couple of years, and brands and TV providers need to capitalise on this incredible opportunity early and be part of a fast and dynamic new market for digital advertising.

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