I recently had the opportunity to attend Media Post’s TV & Video Insider Summit, where some of Merkle’s clients spoke about TV strategies and planning for the year ahead. Since this topic is top of mind for many brands, I’ve compiled some key questions marketers should ask themselves as they begin to submit budgets, create plans for Q1, and envision what their 2022 testing will look like.
1. What is my measurement strategy and analytics approach?
For linear TV buys, advancements in machine learning (ML), Google Analytics, Google Big Query, Invoca, and TV air/spot logs have enabled advanced analytics solutions to be created. For example, the ability to attribute incremental website traffic and calls to a specific TV spot has created a unique opportunity to optimize TV plans to a more granular level. This new approach can help brand marketers redirect TV spend to spots where the engagement (website visitors) is most efficient, while performance marketers can optimize to conversions or leads and look down funnel to improve their TV ROI.
For connected TV (CTV) platforms, the increase in accessibility and transparency for brands and agencies via household-level impression log data has created a new opportunity for analytics teams to use single-touch attribution to tie conversions directly to media impressions. Through first-party data and partner-provided media exposure logs, brands can start to understand if CTV is part of the customer journey. This link between conversions and impressions can also enhance multi-touch attribution solutions (MTAs) and customer journey mapping. Check out an OTT/CTV conversion attribution case study to see this approach in action.
2. Am I testing into, or expanding my support of, addressable and streaming TV?
For brands that currently purchase cable, addressable TV may be the easiest transition into an advanced TV (ATV) strategy since the reach and inventory are identical to linear TV. Although CPM rates could be greater (for ATV), the ability to reduce the targeted audience and manage frequency caps should produce efficiency gains for the campaign overall.
For brands that may not purchase cable, are already in ATV and broadcast, or may want to explore TV as a channel for the first time, connected TV could be an easier transition. CTV platforms and providers operate more like other digital channels, with benefits like quick entrance into and out of market as well as managed and self-service options. The channel does come with higher CPMs than you might experience in other digital channels - however, the inventory is quality video content and, in many ways, resembles a linear TV advertisement to the consumer. The natural feel of linear TV advertising is something that consumers only experience in TV, whereas in digital channels, they assume that all the advertising is targeted. Brands should assign budget when planning for next year to test over-the-top (OTT) or CTV advertising. Since the channel is emerging and increasing in reach significantly, it can be helpful to partner with an experienced OTT/CTV agency to consult and advise on the necessary funding, strategy approach, and test methodology. Learn more about the transition into OTT, CTV, and ATV by listening to our podcast with Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA).
3. What should I be considering if I have plans to test addressable and/or streaming TV in 2022?
Audiences – One of the biggest benefits of these channels is the ability to get extremely granular with audiences and targeting. Therefore, identifying a few potential audience strategies is key to building a strong test and learn plan. For example, many platforms or other third parties have audience capabilities themselves - one of them might be a great consideration for your brand. For others, first-party audiences could be a better approach, whether that is as a retargeting campaign, leveraging existing customers, or using propensity models created from existing data to identify potentially new customers.
Platforms – Although you may have figured out the audience component of your addressable strategy, you also need to determine the right partners for your campaign. In the OTT/CTV landscape there are many different players that give you the ability to go direct or leverage a demand-side platform (DSP). When determining which platform to use, there are a few things to consider:
- Audience Reach – Does the platform have significant reach with your intended audience? Tools like Merkury (Merkle’s Identity Resolution platform) can enable brands to overlap audiences with platforms to calculate what percentage of the audience can be reached by a given platforms.
- Analytics – Is the platform capable and willing to share data outside of impression reach and video completion rate?
- CPM vs Managed/Self Service – Depending on team size, experience, and support, the brand could consider a managed service vs. a self-service approach. This, on top of other factors, could determine CPMs which may fluctuate more than in other channels.
- Inventory – Different partners may have different inventory types. Ensuring you are testing into a scalable piece of inventory is key as it will enable you to continue to grow.
Analytics – Similar to TV, there are significant challenges with tracking, attribution, and aligning to performance KPIs. Brands should look at existing options in the marketplace, as well as explore internal opportunities. Either way, putting analytics at the top of the priority list when planning for the channel in 2022 is key to ensuring a strong marketing test-and-learn plan.
Since ATV, OTT, and CTV are new and emerging channels, experience with these campaigns and channels can make a major difference in strategy, measurability, and, ultimately, performance. Partnering with an agency can be extremely beneficial for building the right plan and achieving performance goals. ATV, OTT, and CTV will continue to grow, and thinking through the components outlined above while getting the right team in place will pay dividends for years to come.