Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Why connected TV is increasingly capturing audiences and ad spend

James Cornish, VP International Sales, Vevo

It’s no secret that the Covid-19 pandemic is accelerating the rise in connected TV viewership. With many of us confined to our homes, at-home forms of entertainment, largely across connected TV (CTV), or smart TVs, have become an essential part of our daily lives – helping us to unwind after a day of homeschooling or working from the kitchen table.

At Vevo, we are seeing this too. In 2020, Vevo’s CTV viewership grew by 30% globally. The number of OTT and video subscriptions are also set to increase to 2 billion globally by 2025, so it’s evident that there’s a massive opportunity for brands and advertisers to consider.

Here are some things to note about advertising on CTV, from targeting the right audience, to transparency, and meeting changing viewer habits.

Your audience will likely skew younger

Viewers now expect premium content that they can view at will, with reams of choice that can only be provided by OTT experiences. This is particularly true for digitally-native younger viewers. In fact, research from eMarketer has found that 86% of millennials and Gen Z audiences watch their favorite shows on CTV.

Vevo’s own data supports this, with viewers aged 18 to 49 making up 68% of Vevo’s audience. Furthermore, 54% of this age group identify themselves as light TV viewers.

As viewing figures rise and the younger, harder-to-reach audiences are drawn into the world of CTV, brands and agencies have the chance to reach them in ways that traditional channels cannot.

The importance of transparency and quality

Navigating the enormous range of user-generated content online today is like navigating a minefield, and an accidental association with inappropriate material could have detrimental effects on a brand’s image. Afterall, it was a major reason behind this past summer’s massive Facebook advertiser boycott, as brands did not want to risk appearing next to content that was hateful or spread misinformation.

While probably not at the same level, there is still some questionable content out there on CTV, especially as it can be bought in the same way as digital. Therefore, it’s critical to buy from a premium, transparent content source directly on a TV so you can maximise the capability of a TV screen and avoid suspect content and environments.

Quality CTV content is premium and aspirational. With the popularity of binge-worthy shows such as The Handmaid’s Tale and Love Island, we know that some of the most culturally relevant, sought after content lives on CTV. Therefore, brands should surround themselves with this type of content and use it to their advantage to make meaningful connections with consumers – combine that premium nature with the reach and scale that is similar to traditional TV.

Shifting ad spend to recognise new viewing trends

As consumers continue to stay at home and tune into CTV, we are also seeing a trend around co-viewing. In May 2020, 79% of Vevo viewing sessions were watched with at least one other person. This offers advertisers the ability to target multiple consumers through a single screen.

Moreover, despite music videos being ‘snackable’ content, consumers are now engaging with music videos through longer lean-back viewing experiences, meaning longer average viewing sessions.

Where there are more eyeballs, the money follows. Research by Nielsen suggests that total streaming TV viewing time increased 74% year over year in 2020. With this in mind it’s no wonder that 70% of UK marketers say they expect their ad spend in OTT, VoD and CTV to increase this year. Research conducted by MAGNA also discovered that CTV ads are 67% more effective per exposure at driving purchase intent vs. linear TV. Music scores as a particularly relevant content type for CTV viewers.

For advertisers, the lesson is clear: Investing in CTV is an innovative, engaging, and cost-effective way to connect with specific groups of consumers and foster better engagement. CTV offers a repeatable, measurable new channel to advertisers where ROI can clearly be tracked.

By sidestepping the content moderation and audience engagement problems of digital and social, while offering a more targeted approach than linear TV, CTV presents an exciting emerging opportunity. Combined with the stronger engagement and co-viewing habits associated with premium content and home viewing, it’s clear that proactive advertisers who use this channel to their advantage have plenty to gain.