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How CTV operator Optus is targeting key audiences and extending its reach in Australia

Optus recently extended its partnership with Amobee to maximize value from its TV and BVOD investments

Programmatic has become well established as a buying method in Australia because it drives greater efficiencies and control. The Drum finds out why – as traditional ad formats including television, radio and out-of-home (OOH) become digitized – more CTV operators’ inventories will become available to purchase through programmatic platforms.

60% of advertisers in Australia are already buying connected TV (CTV) inventory plan to increase their spending in 2021, eMarketer has found. This is because CTV is integral to modern media strategies as it encompasses the best of both digital video and TV precision targeting in a premium video environment.

In addition, nine in 10 people in Australia stream content on CTV devices. It also found that linear TV ads no longer deliver the reach and engagement that advertisers once expected. Australian viewers’ habits have changed when it comes to streaming content and ads as 92% of consumers think there are features of the CTV ad experience that make it better than linear TV.

While CTV and streaming video content can offer brands a more targeted approach, ad buyers should think of CTV as part of the wider digital customer journey and focus on contextual relevance, explains Laura Quigley, senior vice-president Asia Pacific at IAS.

She says CTV inventory is currently highly fragmented, and marketers have many sources from which to buy inventory, including streaming device companies, smart TV makers, multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs), programmatic platforms, digital publishers and video ad networks. This means marketers can struggle to access high-quality ad inventory at scale for their CTV campaigns.

“Marketers should work with reputable CTV advertising partners that have direct relationships with streaming services, major networks and even major supply-side partners (SSPs). First-party data is another critical element for efficient buying,” she explains.

“According to a recent IAB report, the escalation of audience-based buying and the impending loss of third-party identifiers makes first-party data an even more critical differentiator when selecting video partners.”

What are CTV operators in Australia doing?

One CTV operator in Australia working with an SSP is Optus, which has been a partner of Amobee throughout the rise of broadcast video on demand (BVOD). It has helped the Singtel-owned telco target its key audiences and extend its reach.

Before this, Optus’s media investment was more heavily skewed towards linear TV. It lacked the right insights and platform to make informed investment decisions holistically across both traditional and digital media screens.

Melissa Hopkins, head of marketing at Optus, claims the success the telco has seen from harnessing Amobee’s technology has helped it achieve more accountability, visibility and control over its media buying decisions.

This has seen Optus recently extend its partnership with Amobee to maximize value from its TV and BVOD investments through the use of Amobee’s analytics suite, including Advanced Footfall and TrueReach reporting, and Amobee’s CTV Allocator solution.

“We were able to not only extend audience reach from linear to digital TV, but also measure household audiences, thereby more accurately representing our actual audience reach (average 2.5x higher reach per impression),” explains Hopkins.

“Furthermore, we were also able to realize more competitive rate positions with a significant decrease in CPM year-on-year through a better understanding of our audience composition and network ROI attribution.”

She continues: “Initially we would buy a set number of impressions at varying fixed CPM rates across different networks to deliver on particular reach goals. However, we had no ability to remove duplicates, extend audiences across other channels, or identify areas for cost-efficiency.

“With Amobee, we were able to take our full TV (linear and digital) budgets, understand the optimal linear reach and then determine how best to use digital to extend to untapped audiences. This resulted in higher visibility into reach and reduced eCPM rates by finding the cheapest and most effective paths to reach those extended users, which ultimately resulted in less media wastage, and more accountability and control on where our money was being invested.”

While advertisers in Australia understand the difference and really value the benefits of programmatic buying, Josif Zanich, managing director for Amobee in Australia and New Zealand, notes the most common misconception within the Australian advertising landscape is that programmatic and traditional TV are different channels that work better when they are separate.

“While it is important to understand that traditional TV uses different data points than programmatic, the unification of these worlds brings better planning, optimization and measurement for advertisers,” he says.

“At Amobee, we view both channels as ‘TV’ regardless of whether the ad runs across traditional linear broadcast or on-demand. Ultimately, we want to bring as many data points as possible together in either channel to help buyers plan and execute a unified campaign.”

Another misconception is that since CTV inventory is considered premium, it is also fraud-free, notes Quigley.

“While CTV viewership and advertising are continuing an upward trend, it’s more important than ever for marketers to take control of their investments and work with partners to ensure media quality for CTV,” she explains.

What is the future of unified solutions across TV and digital?

The future of CTV is bright as people streamed a lot of shows during the Covid-19 pandemic because of lockdown restrictions.

Zanich points out what the industry has learned over the past year is that with an ever-increasing focus on consumer privacy, it will be hard to ever get a true one-on-one view of a consumer.

“This is fine because as an industry, it is what we are comfortable with. It becomes more about leveraging what data is available to the fullest and evolving planning, activation and reporting at the same rate the data evolves,” he says.

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