CTV (connected TV a.k.a streaming TV) ad spend is projected to expand 39% in 2022, hitting $21.2 billion—more than double than in 2020.

For brands, CTV is a golden opportunity to create highly innovative content in response to cultural moments and effectively measure results (think of the 2013 Oreo tweet, “You can still dunk in the dark” when the Super Bowl stadium lights went out, but for TV).

CTV campaigns are diverse in that they  can be used for both mass reach as well as reaching highly targeted audiences. This proves beneficial as history shows that effective TV advertising is a matter of flexibility and a streamlined approach to creative production so that brands can customise their messages to a specific audience, measure the impact and iterate.

CTV has changed the face of targeted advertising. In the 1960s Mad Men era, if Phillip Morris wanted to sponsor “I Love Lucy” they had to hope that smokers tuned into the show. There was really no way of telling specificities unless they were to carry out a widespread and expensive survey. Now CTV allows brands to serve ads based on the audience (e.g., demographics, interests, location), not the show’s content. By targeting viewers on the audience-level, advertisers can reach them as they jump from app to app, service to service, show to show. They know who sees their ads and what impact it has on audience behaviour. All at once you see a lot more information and nuance.

This lends itself more to interactive ads. Say a makeup brand has a new app which allows users to try on makeup via VR and AR before purchase, they may decide to advertise on a show about finding the UK’s next makeup artist star. Naturally, the app is more likely to receive more downloads by makeup lovers.

While there is an issue of ad fatigue in CTV (a 2021 Conviva poll found that 59% of consumers think there are too many repeated ads on CTV) this is easily solved via precision targeting and measurable results mean advertisers know who they reach, how they respond and what the next best action to take is.

The buying experience doesn’t end when the consumer decides to purchase or pursue more information. With digital, marketers can plan the true end-to-end experience, from seeing a first ad, finding the product of interest, completing the purchase and receiving the item.

Furthermore, advert updates are greatly appreciated in CTV. There are some examples of traditional TV that do this well such as Iceland’s ads for I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here who used to tweak the ad daily to keep up with the gossip from the show which saw daily airing and therefore daily trials and eliminations.
Creative refreshes will minimise ad fatigue and allow you to optimise for performance, as well as avoid alienating your audience. You and your team can lean into performance data to identify a winning creative direction. Let’s say you run an ad featuring a set of characters with big personalities, and the campaign exceeds your goals. You now know you may have a hit and can continue to update future creative with these characters in mind. Think of it as a way to find your own Geico Gecko—the key to get viewers to pay attention.

The real beauty of CTV lies in this: It’s not just about raising brand awareness. The ability to measure results and optimise on specific KPIs means television has morphed into a powerful vehicle for performance campaigns. Where in the past, TV campaigns were based on hope, now CTV allows advertisers to track the direct outcomes driven by their campaigns in real time. Was the ad shown to the advertiser’s target audience, and their target audience only? Did some creatives prompt more responses than others? It’s even possible to ask the viewer for feedback at the end of the ad by presenting them a survey.

Illustration by Ricardo Santos

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