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Is CTV really the future of video?

You can watch the full ‘Is CTV the future of video?” panel discussion on demand.

Viewing of video content across devices is rising rapidly and there’s an associated growth in Connected TV opportunities available to advertisers. The role that consumer insight can play in helping marketers to harness CTV’s strengths for their brands is therefore becoming crucial.

Consumer research in the UK from Unruly, published in October, highlighted the opportunity for new players in the CTV market, with 21% of respondents saying they had tried a new streaming service since the start of the first lockdown in March. Unruly’s global VO of insight, Becky Waring, says: “We did find a lot of people were trying to cut costs because they’d gone out and trialed so many different [SVOD] providers they were trying to rein it back in again, and trying some of the ad-supported options”

Watch the full panel discussion on demand here.

Michelle Sarpong, media and trading director at the7stars, sees an opportunity here for CTV: “It’s a channel you can activate quickly in terms of changing creative. Local lockdowns will continue, so data and personalisation are going to be even more prevalent, and connected TV was one of the first platforms to do personalised ads.”

This is underlined by Unruly’s research, which also looked at memorability of ads on both linear TV and CTV. Respondents cited the personalisation that is possible through CTV as making campaigns more memorable when they matched both their mood and the content they are watching.

Beyond this, are CTV providers able to demonstrate a clear case to advertisers? Sarpong believes so: “Naturally the conversation with CTV is around incremental reach, building on your linear TV campaign is one of the main benefits.”

Then there is the subject of cost effectiveness. Mihir Haria-Shah, head of broadcast, at Total Media says: “Some clients have perhaps seen TV as too expensive. CTV opens up an environment where you’re on a big screen with TV content for a fraction of the budget – you could get away with spending £2,000 compared to £2 million for example.”

Sarpong feels that CTV’s strengths include convenience – viewers can choose when they watch and so are more likely to sit through ads and remain engaged. Haria-Shah isn’t so sure, believing that the fragmented way CTV is traded has a negative effect: “There are so many different buying routes to access the same content and perhaps that’s why we’re seeing so much repetition for consumers.”

Steps are being taken to address this. In October, ITV launched its automated video buying platform Planet V. ITV’s Lara Izlan, director of advertising data and analytics, says: “Buyers are increasingly used to more flexibility, more control, more use of data, to drive marketing return on investment.”

Haria-Shah views the Planet V launch as a “huge step” forward: “Hopefully, at some point, we’ll see some sort of aggregation, and if this happens under Planet V then that’s a fantastic achievement for ITV and a dream for buyers.”

In future Sarpong would welcome standalone CTV budgets from clients: “If we have a segmented budget set aside, the narrative will start changing from CTV adding incremental reach to your TV plan and from there it will only grow.”

Maintaining a good viewing environment is vital for CTV, argues Waring: “We’re seeing really good levels of consumer satisfaction with the advertising experience on CTV, and that’s crucial for it to continue to grow. More than half of people say that ad loads and repetition are key to their decision to continue to use certain services. Maintaining that quality experience is so important.”

ITV’s Izlan addresses the measurement issue, and the lack of a common standard for CTV advertising and the idea that this is a problem. This, she says, might miss the point: “My wish for the future is that we keep an open mind when it comes to measurement. We know TV is very good in the upper funnel, and what we’re learning from experimenting with CTV is that it’s equally good all the way through the funnel. We shouldn’t try to retro fit a single performance measurement for CTV but have a portfolio approach that covers all the outcomes and benefits for advertisers.”

Becky Waring, global VP of insight, Unruly; Mihir Haria-Shah, head of broadcast, Total Media; Lara Izlan, director, advertising data and analytics, ITV; and Michelle Sarpong, media and trading director, the7stars took part in the ‘Is CTV the future of video?' panel at The Drum Digital Summit 2020.

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