Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Creative leisure, made to measure: how CTV is evolving

By Aaron Goldman, CMO, Mediaocean

While there are endless different, valuable ways of approaching the job of marketing, anyone who’s been around the industry for a while will have spotted certain trends in their colleagues’ mindsets.

Some marketers, for instance, favour bringing their knack for quantification to proceedings. Stopping just short of turning up to the office with a ruler and a protractor, these are the folks who want to track sentiment down to the decimal place, A/B test anything they can, and build a dashboard for every detail.

Against those measured characters, we can contrast the class of marketers who constantly look for the right opportunity to make work feel not like work at all. Insisting on the value of freedom and play, they are motivated most of all by the unexpected, the emotionally resonant, and the potential to create something which doesn’t necessarily follow previous patterns of success.

The friction between these two basic approaches, needless to say, can be both productive and challenging – and both are essential to any really successful campaign. Indeed, great marketers are often those who can think in both modes, and the future of advertising channels and technologies might likewise be characterised by an ability to be both.

The alchemy of CTV

This combination is where I see connected TV (CTV) arriving as it takes full advantage of its ability to blend streaming’s personalisation and flexibility with traditional TV’s living room prominence. As a fast-growing media-buying channel, CTV has already made great leaps forward: recent research from both the UK and the US shows how viewers and advertisers, respectively, are embracing it en masse.

At the same time, though, the major events which anchor the marketing calendar show how there’s still a long way to go: this year’s Super Bowl, for instance, drew an audience of 115 million and advertising rates reached $7 million for 30 seconds of airtime. While CTV has a long ways to go to reach those levels, in that it has the pull to justify serious investment today, and the future growth potential to richly reward marketers who get it right early.

Getting it right is partly in the gift of the various providers who need to collaborate across CTV’s complex technological ecosystem. Harmonising audience and measurement information, and enabling holistic planning and buying requires information to flow seamlessly across many systems.

Happily, there’s now a critical mass of industry bodies and other working groups making this happen. Soon, the question will not be about whether CTV can work as part of the omnichannel mix, but about what that platform means for marketers.

Building the CTV mindset

So far, a big part of the appeal of CTV has been how it has inherited the measurability of programmatic digital advertising. In offering granular viewer-level data, it empowers brands and agencies to bring what they’ve learned over the years about targeting, personalisation, and tracking, and apply that to the biggest screen in the home.

As the underlying technology which empowers that measurability matures, marketers have an opportunity to bring the best of what they know about how linear TV works into play. We all know that, even after decades of digitalisation in which media buying budgets have totally transformed, the TV advertising spot still has a special place in the architecture of a brand campaign. Showcasing creativity with an impact that can turn whole cultural conversations in a new direction, a good hero ad can mark out a new path for activity on other channels to follow.

Television is still, after all, more than any other in the house, the screen of leisure. With CTV, it is also becoming something that we can measure in a genuinely modern way. As that happens, we can also solve key frustrations around TV for both viewers and advertisers. For the former, over-frequency could become a thing of the past, as ads are more intelligently displayed in accordance with what audiences have seen and want. For the latter, often forbiddingly high-commitment barriers will ease as brands of all sizes can enter the market and target a long tail of precise audience groups.

There’s much more to say about what we can expect of a mature CTV offering, from interactive and social shopping opportunities to deeper integration with second screens and the omnichannel brand experience. The headline, though, is that this convergence on CTV can be more creative, more informed, and a perfect meeting point for all of a marketing team’s minds.