Why You Should Adopt a Consolidated Media Buying Approach
by Nick Reid
Posted on 12-19-2017
Are you old enough to remember standing up and crossing the room to switch television channels? Or when you could count the number of channels on one hand? It wasn’t that long ago, but it feels like ancient history. What we watch, and how that content gets to us, have been revolutionised thanks to advances in streaming media. This has created new avenues for targeted advertising, and opportunities for businesses to adopt a more consolidated media buying approach. Technologies such as connected TVs (CTV), over-the-top (OTT) media services, and targeted video advertising provide platforms and data that can help advertisers reach their audiences with better experiences, regardless of device, in a way that tells a story that resonates with them.
To put customers’ experience first, advertisers need to learn how to consolidate data fragmented by device, and put less emphasis on the media channel as the content driver. There must be a consistent message across all platforms. In television, as with any media channel, advertisers need to capitalise on the reach they can achieve across exchange-based media. They also need to find trusted publishers that can provide their inventory through programmatic advertising.
Technologically speaking, all of the pieces are here, yet some advertisers are hesitant to abandon traditional models and embrace change.
Connected Television Analysis
A recent study looked at the market potential for video-based advertising through CTVs in Europe. More specifically, it explored industry perspectives on the drivers and inhibitors of growth for CTV advertising in each of the five largest Western European markets: UK, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain. It found that although there’s optimism about the benefits digital marketing can bring to television, broadcasters must overcome a number of challenges if they are going to compete against the dominant Internet advertisers.
CTV advertising applies digital marketing techniques to televised advertising, and enables applications such as data-driven targeting and household-level addressability to provide programmatic trading to the TV market, all of which are difficult to realise on traditional TV platforms. This technological focus, combined with behavioural factors—such as the idea that people are more likely to watch an ad all the way through on a television than on a small device—offers a valuable advertising opportunity.
The researchers found that OTT services are on the rise in all the study areas. In the UK, for example, in 2016, more than half of the views on Channel 4’s OTT platform were on CTVs, up from 35 percent in 2015. The broadcaster, the first in the UK to offer advanced advertising on CTVs, sees CTV as the future and is making advanced marketing capabilities available on its app for the first time.
What’s nice about OTT services is that they allow advertisers to leverage the capabilities of digital data capture and targeting without having to overcome the technical challenges present in traditional television distribution platforms. One specific area of growth has been advertising surrounding live events, such as a football match or the Oscars telecast. These have a broad reach, enabling advertisers to touch multiple users across a wide variety of streaming devices, helping to create a more unified experience.
In general, study participants believe that major commercial free-to-air (FTA) broadcasters are in a good position to grow the CTV ad market since they have the content, scale, reach, and resources to capitalise on the opportunity as it stands now. But if they are too slow on the uptake, there is a good chance they will be pressured by large digital advertising players looking to stake a claim on the emerging market, most likely starting with live events. According to the study, “Participants in all markets expect broadcasters to face significant competition in the CTV advertising market from Facebook and Google, and estimate that these companies could capture between a third and a half of the future CTV advertising market in each country.”
Despite this momentum, advertisers and broadcasters remain reluctant, partly because of a lack of clarity surrounding the current definition, size, and value of the CTV advertising market. CTV advertising is seen as a separate channel, which creates scepticism about its potential value. Many participants believe that growth is possible, but not without buy-in and collaboration within the industry surrounding standards of measurement and data sharing. This is influenced by the political sphere as well, where a lack of legislation surrounding digital data sharing creates some shakiness in the market.
There are technical hurdles, as well. As with all digital advertising, a large part of the problem is the proliferation of devices consumers use. We’ve all heard of double screening—using a laptop, phone or tablet while watching television—which has become the norm for many of us. Digital advertisers had to come up with ways to determine which device or user was accessing content. With CTVs, things have changed. The problem now is distinguishing user profiles from a shared device. As one participant put it, “TV sets are a household set … So you have to learn about … who’s sitting in front of the TV set.” These types of issues will define how digital measurement is done and how advertisers gauge their success.
Digital Marketing and a Consolidated Media Buying Approach
In many organisations, advertising strategy and budgets tend to be siloed. This is usually broken into digital vs. non-digital, if not by individual channels within those categories. In the digital arena, siloes of video, social, mobile, and desktop often still exist, and in many cases their activities rarely overlap. This fragmented approach results in different messaging being delivered to the same user across different platforms, which winds up creating a suboptimal experience.
The challenge is finding a media buying approach allowing advertisers to put the audience first. This needs to be based on a digital marketing framework that focuses on capturing relevant customer data points, partitioning users into high-value segments, and pushing targeted content via automated channels to consumers at the right time. This framework provides the information that allows advertisers to take advantage of a consolidated approach to buying media.
The first step toward supporting this is ensuring your online and offline advertising strategies are in sync, by enabling and optimising your content across all channels to provide a more unified experience, regardless of device. This requires a consolidated view of your customer, which is defined through existing customer data and accurate engagement metrics captured as part of a digital campaign.
This data feeds future advertising strategies by showing you which touchpoints are most effective, allowing you to customise advertisements based on your customer data. This requires rigorous testing of customer engagement, retargeting of ads based on engagement metrics, establishment of high-value sub-segments and unique customer profiles, and continual adjusting of the campaign strategy to incorporate the top-performing elements.
These digital marketing strategies provide the framework upon which content can be designed and automated to support a successful media buying and advertising approach. Having the data and analytics to quickly target consumers provides the opportunity that industries such as CTV and OTT services are looking for. These strategies are already being used across a range of industries, and the major players in digital advertising today are sure to become even bigger players in tomorrow’s digital television advertising market.
It’s up to businesses to embrace digital advertising technologies as a way to improve the effectiveness of their campaigns, particularly if they want to move toward a more consolidated media buying approach. This will improve their success rates and position them to take advantage of emerging markets, such as programmatic television advertisements. In the case of CTVs, it remains to be seen if the commercial FTA broadcasters will seize their opportunity to establish a new precedence for digital advertising, or if they’ll allow the Internet media giants to expand their reach into on-demand television and live events.
Topics: Digital Transformation, advertising, connected television, digital marketing, media buying, UK, UK Exclusive, Digital EMEA