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Connected TV – a revolution in digital media

Today's marketers are presented with an incredibly powerful opportunity to combine brilliant technology with real data insights

The rapid growth of Connected TV only looks set to continue exponentially. CTV ad spend in the US alone reached $8 billion in 2020, according to research from eMarketer, and is set to increase to $18 billion by 2023.

To explore and analyse the latest trends in CTV, and to assess its role in the portfolio of tools available to tomorrow’s CMO, The Trade Desk brought together a panel of marketers from The Drum Future 50 as part of The Drum’s Digital Transformation Festival.

Watch the full panel here.

Joining Sean Ramsay, GM, business development UK, at The Trade Desk, were Xavier White, CSR & innovation marketing manager, Verizon Business, Allie Lawson, head of SMB brand and marcomms, O2 and Mazen Mroueh, senior global digital lead, FrieslandCampina.

Ramsay set the scene by describing the stellar rise of CTV: “We saw 100% growth in global CTV investment on our platform last year as a result of an accelerated shift in TV viewing habits. While people still love to watch great TV, the way people watch has changed profoundly. As a result, acceptance for ads has grown. For example, our research shows that 70% of consumers prefer to see more relevant advertising. So, with this in mind, today's marketers are presented with an incredibly powerful opportunity to combine brilliant technology with real data insights to reflect how consumers really live their lives.”

02’s Allie Lawson built on this point by describing the context of the pandemic and people’s desire for greater viewing flexibility: “There's a bit of a tension there between feeling overwhelmed, and not really sure what the future holds, but also desperate to go out and see friends and family. And actually, I think that brands who can kind of play into this will be giving consumers or businesses the flexibility that they need at the moment.”

Ramsay then spoke about the greater pressure on marketers to be more accountable and measurable, in turn leading to higher levels of investment in programmatic and data-driven channels together with the ability of some business-to-business brands to invest in CTV advertising due to lower entry level costs.

02’s Lawson added: “I've always been such a fan of TV - being a great way to reach businesses and, obviously, decision-makers who ultimately are people too. But it does remain a challenge for B2B marketing teams to secure the investment often, because there is wastage. Whereas actually, for me, this is where Connected TV comes in. So using the likes of Sky Adsmart, you can now overlay the level of targeting that you really need to drive that effectiveness and kind of make the business case work.”

Verizon’s Xavier White made the point that CTV potentially provides a strong option for CSR and purpose-based communications: “The great thing about connected TV, is you reach a specific audience with a targeted message to them. That means that if you wanted to target a specific community with something relevant, you could, for example, push content of real high value to perhaps the LGBT+ community.”

Concerns were raised around CTV that the panel of marketers would like to see resolved – especially in terms of measurement, ad fraud and reducing complexity in the planning process. However, Mazen Mroueh at FrieslandCampina described how some of these issues could be addressed through the effective blending of online and offline data sources to tackle wastage and improve efficiency.

The session ended with some valuable tips from each marketer on how to rebuild brand growth in 2021. Allie Lawson raised the value of a test and learn approach: “I know the challenge that comes with building brand awareness among business segments. You’re very lucky if you’re given enough investment to go into channels such as TV. So test and learn is a great approach to really give the business confidence to invest more over time, and that’s just as relevant to Connected TV where it feels like a really good way in.”

Xavier White focused on “honesty and authenticity”: “Whether that is about the data conversation – the diversity, the targeting – and when we look at each generation consumers are more attuned to honesty and authenticity and the pandemic has just made us hyper-sensitive to it.”

Mazen Mroueh advised: “Keep it simple, relevant and meaningful. As a marketeer, keep it simple for yourself because it’s just getting much more complex and you don’t need to go into that 100% complexity. And put yourself in your consumers’ shoes and try to understand what is relevant for them, try to provide what they need to make it more meaningful for them to buy your products.”

Sean Ramsay wrapped up the session with a point about being aware of consumer sentiment changing so rapidly: “The CTV opportunity is obviously here, it’s real, it’s time to take advantage of what’s a wide reaching but also incredibly dynamic and flexible channel. But I’ll also take away that if you’re not maximising your data you’re drastically reducing the opportunities available to you. Times of intense change drive opportunities for great innovation and we’ve really heard that from our panellists.”

Watch the full panel here.