Using any advertising medium for the first time can seem daunting — and that’s particularly true when it’s actually a new medium, like connected TV.
Obviously, there’s a lot to learn, which is why brands of every size, across categories, are busily testing all aspects of CTV and partnering with distribution platforms and streaming services to hone measurement and attribution methods.
How to get started? Keeping two key guidelines in mind will serve CTV beginners well, says Dan Robbins, vice president, ad sales marketing and partner solutions at Roku.
“First, bring the digital strategies that have worked well for you onto the TV screen,” Robbins advised during an Innovid-hosted webinar this week. “If you know that certain targeting or attribution other strategies work for you — whether it’s incrementality testing or one-to-one CRM or using a certain data provider — whatever you’ve learned in digital is a great place to start on the CTV or streaming side.”
“Second, I would focus on investing your resources in a few big bets, to make sure you have enough weight on the scale to see what works and doesn’t work,” he said.
“One of the risks of trying something new — testing to learn — is that if you spread your bets too thinly, you can’t get a good read on the measurement front. Then you don’t necessarily know if it was the medium or the tactic or some other factor that drove the results.”
Robbins and the session’s moderator, Innovid Senior Vice President, Marketing Stephanie Geno, both confirmed continuing growth for CTV year-to-date--noting Nielsen data showing that while streaming hours have slowed a bit since the spikes seen when shelter-at-home started in April and May, they remain elevated compared to 2019 patterns.
While no one can make precise predictions, “the signals show that streaming is mainstream now, and more people are cutting the cord and spending to get more streaming services,” he added. “Those are becoming habitual patterns that we expect to continue into the future.”
In the past four weeks, Innovid has seen streaming increase 74% year-over-year across all verticals, according to Geno.
And speaking of verticals, Innovid has also seen growth in CTV advertising across all types of advertisers, including automotive, which is up 40% year-over-year in the past four weeks, she reported.
“CTV is of course part of the macro advertising environment, so verticals that are spending less on advertising in general because of the economy, like travel and hospitality, are the ones we’ve seen pull back somewhat in streaming,” said Robbins.
The largest growth has occurred among so-called “performance-driven” brands and categories, he said. “Our D2C and direct response advertisers grew more than 100% in Q2.”
Performance-oriented brands and categories including retail, insurance and financial services moved into CTV early and have continued to be aggressive about using it because CTV brings the targeting and attribution capabilities of digital onto the large home screen, he noted. “If you have a good performance strategy and system, it makes TV measurable in the same way your digital advertising is.”
Within the entertainment sector, Roku has seen the largest user growth in ad-supported streaming services, driven by “the need for value and desire to have access to free movies and TV at a time that wallets are pinched,” he said.
At the same time, he confirmed strong growth among paid streaming services, driven both by the high-profile launches from major companies and aggressive offers.
Roku’s “Home Together” promotion in April, in which it partnered with two dozen subscription services to offer extended (longer than 30 days) free-trial periods to Roku users, drove significant growth for many of those services, he said.
Transactional video on demand, or TVOD, has also seen strong growth, driven by more at-home movie nights and the advent of some direct-to-streaming movie premiers from the big studios.
Asked about programmatic and CTV, Robbins said that, in addition to believing that all TV and therefore all TV ads will eventually be streamed, Roku increasingly believes that all TV ads will be “performance,” and automated.“Programmatic obviously has a big part in automation, and over time, the ability to have a platform where you can do all the targeting, measurement and activation in one place is where the market will move. So programmatic is part of our strategy, and where we think TV in general is going.”