The rise of the streaming age: what this means for marketers
Thinking of shifting budgets to streaming? We caught up with leaders from Amazon and Starcom at Amazon Ads’ IAB Upfronts to explain how marketers can connect with new audiences.
Streaming media and digital video on demand (VOD) offer new ways to connect with highly engaged audience
When it comes to entertainment consumers are increasingly craving convenience, choice, and original storytelling – and they’re ditching traditional TV in favor of streaming to get it. According to eMarketer’s UK Digital Video Viewers 2022 study, the number of digital video viewers in the UK will surpass 50 million this year – almost three-quarters of the population. As the quality of streaming content increases, and the awards rack up, shows like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Manchester by the Sea, and Bosch: Legacy keep viewers coming back to discover more of what they love.
Streaming takes the lead
For advertisers, streaming media and digital video on demand (VOD) offer new ways to connect with highly engaged audiences. As traditional linear TV viewership decreases, brands are shifting their budgets away from traditional TV and towards streaming – contributing to a 57% increase in streaming ad spend ($15.2bn total) in 2021.
At Amazon Ads’ recent IAB Upfronts UK, the focus was on connected streaming – and how advertisers could better understand and embrace the future of TV consumption while deepening connections with audiences through stories that move them. By highlighting some of the recently launched capabilities across Prime Video, Fire TV, Amazon Freevee, and Twitch, the event showcased how the suite of Amazon offerings could help advertisers navigate an evolving medium and industry.
Subscription services, like Amazon Prime, continue to shape the way that people consume movies, TV, and video on demand (VOD) content. Prime Video meets viewers where they are while connecting them to an extensive catalogue spanning everything from Live Sports to award-winning original shows. With 200M+ Prime members tuning in, there are multiple possibilities for brands to reach these subscriber audiences in the moments that matter to them.
As the content evolves, the way customers engage and interact with technology is too. Amazon’s Fire TV is designed to further reimagine the television experience by combining the power of Alexa with ambient intelligence – in which an individual’s devices and services are interconnected to deliver a wider range of capabilities. This offers brands an ever-expanding array of avenues through which they can integrate their advertising within the customer experience rather than interrupting it. When technology is able to adapt to consumers ever-evolving expectations while helping them to address age-old problems – that’s where the magic happens.
“Ensuring our customers have the best and most innovative experience possible is top of mind for all of us at Amazon,” says Emma Gilmartin, Director, Fire TV and Tablet EU. “The Feature Rotator is the most visible placement on the Fire TV UI, and each tab contains a placement with slots for six pieces of content. Feature Rotator ads are content forward and exclusive to entertainment advertisers, and our customers love this feature because it allows them to see the content immediately and click through right on the device.”
When the options for streaming content feel overwhelming, ad-supported streaming services are a flexible proposition for consumers and brands alike, without requiring any commitment. Amazon Freevee is the free, ad-supported, on-demand video streaming service from Amazon, that further expands the landscape for advertisers to reach their priority audiences where they already are, and for customers to unlock thousands of hit movies, shows, live entertainment channels and Freevee original content.
While Amazon Freevee was available on Fire TV and as part of the Prime Video app from launch, it has recently expanded its footprint of the app in the UK to give more customers access to free, outstanding content, wherever, whenever, and however they want it. “Our ambition is to provide content that customers would expect to pay for – and are delightfully surprised when they see it’s free to watch,” says Lisa Rousseau, Head of Amazon Freevee UK. “We are continually refreshing and expanding our content offer with new titles every month across a wide selection of genres. Currently we have Amazon Freevee Originals including High School and Emmy-award winning Judy Justice as well as popular third-party content including The Mindy Project, Parks and Rec, Without A Trace, and Angry Birds.”
The recent expansion of the Amazon Freevee app also opens new opportunities for advertisers. From launch, the service was accessible via Fire TV and as part of the Prime Video app, but is now available across Android TVs, Apple TV, Fire Tablet and on both iOS and Android mobile.
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Tapping into community
Twitch is an interactive livestreaming service with content that spans gaming, sports, entertainment, music, cooking and so much more. More than 31 million people tune-in to Twitch every day, while more than 8 million streamers go live each month. Twitch offers streamers the ability to chat with their viewers during live streams, creating a powerful sense of community.
In a recent Twitch fireside chat, Adam Harris, the global head of the brand partnerships studio at Twitch sat down with British Twitch Ambassador and Variety streamer Ebonix to discuss how Generation Twitch, a community primarily made up of Gen Z and Millennials is moving away from curated, polished posts and instead seeking out far more real, raw and authentic entertainment.
Ebonix explains that she frequently invites the audience to collaborate together during her streams to create a more inclusive, engaging experience – using the poll feature while playing story-driven games that have multiple-choice features. “I get them to do all of the decision-making to make sure that they’re part of the game and to make sure that whatever happens, I can blame them,” she jokes.
For brands, Twitch opens up new opportunities to connect with a young, passionate – and always authentic – audience. When going live for hours on end, these streamers have no choice but to be themselves, and the Twitch community expects the same from brands. Ebonix suggests getting to know the streamer and “working with the content creator holistically” to include the audience in their campaigns. This ensures that everyone from the brand to the streamer to their community is working toward the same goal.
2023, the year of CTV
For some brands, this is just the beginning. Samsung’s relationship with Amazon Ads has continually evolved over the past few years – with their agency Starcom embracing cord-cutting as something permanent, and creating a role dedicated to streaming to underscore this sentiment.
“The pandemic really triggered a seismic shift in viewing behaviors, I think we’ve all seen the charts,” says Sophie Barr, managing partner, head of paid media, One Publicis Team Samsung. She explains that until recently, connected TV (CTV) was essentially a bolt-on to the broadcaster audiovisual (AV) approach. However, this has quickly changed. “The sheer growth of streaming, particularly amongst youth audiences, which are so critical for Samsung, was impossible to ignore.”
Barr predicts that 2023 is the year we expect to see large-scale adoption of CTV across the firm’s client base. “The content is unequivocally on a par with broadcaster offerings and CTV will become a mainstay, baked-in strand of most clients’ AV plans, as opposed to a siloed strategy.”
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