Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Lifting the lid on CTV’s progression – what can we expect this year?

By Josh Partridge, Head of EMEA at Yahoo

TV viewership continues to skyrocket, with CTV at the forefront of that growth and consumer engagement. This is largely due to the expanded availability of its offerings with scaled targeting and the low cost of streaming services. Recent predictions claim that the global connected TV market size is expected to reach $289.03 billion in 2028.* The industry will continue to be shaken up as competitors rush to stake their claim, so there’s no doubt that CTV advertising is set for a huge transformation over the coming years. 

Some of the key ways we’ll see the industry evolve include marketers gaining a better understanding of how to measure audiences, even greater fragmentation within the industry, and the unlocking of innovation through creativity skyrocketing. 

Taking the lead on measurement

For many years, TV has grappled with how best to measure audiences. Traditional linear TV is in decline, with most consumers now moving towards streaming services. To continue to reach the audience metrics, the industry needs to move towards ad-supported versions of services such as Netflix and NOW TV.  

With new and emerging CTV companies wanting to show how valuable their platforms are, the industry is also seeing how critical transparent reporting really is. As a result, we’re seeing a renewed importance placed on measurement for marketers.

A key way for marketers to see how successful their strategies are is to look at how often purchasing decisions are made in relation to an ad. While measuring this will always be important, this year will elevate the discussion around value exchange – more specifically, the strength of a brand’s offering to entice the consumer to connect and form a relationship. True brand loyalty and trust will be of vital importance – for example, the incentivising of consumer signups, which will also unlock first-party data. 

Bridging the physical and digital divide

Contextual targeting tools are maturing at an exponential rate, meaning marketers can better connect with audiences, including within CTV and video environments, enabling scalable buying opportunities for more relevant ads to audiences watching across different screens. By levelling up the contextual experience for CTV, ads will be more successful. 

Context includes things like what device a viewer is using – if watching shows on a TV screen through an interactive device like a console, there’s much more scope for things like gamification or direct purchases, which also may lead to an immediate purchasing decision. If advertisers fail to reach viewers in a suitably contextually relevant way, they risk impacting how successful their ad could be. 

Another way for brands to get consumers to engage when they see an ad is through pulling engagements from digital spaces back into the physical world. Tactics like the use of QR codes, which have recently re-emerged, can help to bridge the divide across big screen TV and smaller digital screen opportunities.

These allow consumers to use their phone to scan a code which will help consumers navigate through the purchasing journey more easily and is more likely to drive action in the moment than rely solely on a brand building exercise.

Brave new worlds: the power of immersive

Thinking even bigger, CTV may soon go beyond interactive to become immersive, leveraging technologies such as VR and AR, giving consumers the ability to experience environments in new ways and once again blurring digital formats.

Virtual environments and what will become the ‘metaverse’ represents an exciting opportunity for CTV. Advertisers and publishers should be thinking now about how to leverage 3D content production technologies to scale their experiences easily across both 3D and 2D content – for both passive and interactive viewing.

All in all, those who are able to effectively capture and harness insights will be in a strong position when targeting consumers. However, the true winners will be those brands that then use CTV to engage audiences in creative and innovative ways  – taking advantage of powerful, new technologies in their toolkits, and being smart in how they combine it with their wider digital and linear marketing strategies.