In late 2022, MiQ and NDA collaborated on a brand new report, Agents of Change: Shaping the future of Advanced TV advertising. Then, in early 2023, NDA invited some leading commentators on the Advanced TV (ATV) marketplace to discuss those findings and more. The roundtable forms the basis of two articles on how the industry might leverage ATV’s potential and overcome some of the significant challenges it still faces.
In this, the second of these two articles, attendees discuss how ATV is going mainstream, attracting the attention of formerly linear broadcasters like ITV. However, just because they make up the establishment, it doesn’t follow that they slip seamlessly into the ATV world and customer experience is not yet the smooth, omnichannel experience it has the potential to be. Attendees discussed the correct levers to pull that might bootstrap the ad experience together, until such time as collaboration, technologies and clients have caught up.
Chaired by NDA Editor, Justin Pearse, the roundtable featured Will Gough, AV Product Partner at Dentsu, Shona Kirkbride, Senior Digital Marketing Manager at Deliveroo, Amy Tocock, Director of Investment Strategy at PHD UK, Emma Moorhead, General Manager at Wavemaker UK, John Joshua, Product Lead at The7Stars, Jon Manning, Client Investment Director, Starcom, Raj Mahon, Director of Client, Partnerships at MiQ and Pierre de Lannoy, Strategy Director, EMEA at MiQ.
It is certainly a watershed moment when a national broadcaster like ITV gets involved with the launch of ITV X. You might argue that Sky has been trailblazing here for decades but it is the traditional broadcasters that signal a true sea change. “The launch of ITV X, partnerships with Boots and Tesco Dunnhumby – these highlight a new way of thinking, not just from a content perspective but an audience perspective. If ITV is doing it, then you know there’s obviously some value in following their approach,” insists John Joshua, Product Lead at The7Stars.
That’s not to say they’re really blazing a trail. The traditional broadcasters are playing a game of follow my leader with consumers and the resulting ad experience still leaves a lot to be desired, suggests Jon Manning, Client Investment Director, Starcom: “There’s a lot to be learned from how consumer habits have changed. The broadcasters are still on a learning journey in the way they do things and what consumers expect. The launch of ITV X is a great opportunity for ITV to address some things we’ve heard from consumers, such as ad load and user experience. Broadcasters should think about experience because it could well be preventing people from staying on the platforms longer.”
It follows that traditional broadcasters who can hook up with digitally native organisations may well benefit from their insights and experience. “The partnerships more traditional organisations are having with digital partners, like Channel Four and Snapchat, are exciting,” reveals Shona Kirkbride, Senior Digital Marketing Manager at Deliveroo. “It helps bring those worlds together and lets you show ads against premium, curated content in a digital space.”
With all the potential of ATV it’s easy to forget that it’s the viewer experience that drives ad success, and that this is nothing without content – and creative. “We know that creative is a large part of what drives ROI. We’re now in a position where we can be really smart but we haven’t been using creative. Dynamic creative optimisation (DCO) is well established. It’s something that’s really high on client’s agendas,” claims Emma Moorhead, General Manager at Wavemaker UK.
An omnichannel approach
The roundtable participants admitted that the idea of DCO is attractive, but that it does make certain demands of the parties involved in generating it. Some constraints may mean it is not yet feasible for many: “The platform and where the ad is seen is also really important. There is a challenge in terms of time, resource and money to spend on that creative and then serve it out. It all comes back to net spend. Clients definitely want to test but there is such limited time and so much expected of every stakeholder,” warns Amy Tocock, Director of Investment Strategy at PHD UK.
The advantages are clear, however, and a clever deployment of DCO can make a big difference – ironically to brands whose budgets are too stretched to play in the mainstream TV media space. “There are certain geographies that we won’t activate in because the client isn’t active. Or for a challenger brand that doesn’t have enough money to go on linear TV, you can plan that more tactically. That level of granularity is exciting,” insists Raj Mahon, Director of Client, Partnerships at MiQ.
There is an understandable question over how granular you should go in ATV, given it is still a broadcast medium. Will Gough, AV Product Partner at Dentsu, points out that you’re still largely addressing a whole household with the big screen. Not so the small one, however. “The growth of 5G will put mobile back on the map and from an addressability perspective, mobile works far better than the big screen in a living room where you’re targeting the household. It won’t substitute the big screen appeal but has power as an addressable top up.”
Pierre de Lannoy, Strategy Director, EMEA at MiQ, agrees, noting that viewing ATV purely through the lens of the big box on the wall is quite a narrow perspective. For advertisers to get the full panorama of audience attention, they need to target their ads in a way that matches how consumers behave today. “Most people watching TV are also on a second screen so from an ad experience point of view, the mobile experience really should complement the TV one,” he says, adding “It’s a more omnichannel approach to TV.”
The rapidly evolving ATV advertising space may have its own unique challenges to navigate, but it’s clear that both established and challenger brands alike would be wise to start testing the channel’s huge potential.
For more insight into how media professionals are tackling the complexity of the evolving ATV landscape, read the first part of this roundtable discussion here.