It’s no secret that CTV viewership in the U.S. is growing by leaps and bounds. Today, approximately 50% of the U.S. population uses a CTV (over 164 million people), corresponding to around $25 billion projected for CTV ad spend this year (up 8% over the last 24 months.)
And, when looking at MarketCast data comparing linear ads versus native CTV ads from the same brand, we found advertising breakthrough for CTV ads is higher across all major metrics, particularly for ad memorability and brand recall, providing a massive opportunity for advertisers.
At Advertising Week New York, MarketCast’s Amy Fenton hosted a captivating panel discussion alongside industry experts Justin Evans of Samsung Ads, David Lang of GroupM, Stephen Selsor of HP, and Leigh Baker of Six+One to examine how brands are taking advantage of this new creative frontier of advertising.
Key takeaways from the session:
1. The data shows engagement within CTV content and ads is shifting.
A big shift is happening right now in engagement with CTV, from time spent on platforms and devices, to engagement (how often a user comes back to the content and how much they watch when they do come back) and the amount of ad time spent.
Justin Evans shared some hot-off-the-press viewer insights from Samsung Ads. Looking back one year, 60% of time spent on all Samsung Smart TVs was spent on streaming (which was a considerable increase since the start of the pandemic.) Today, that time spent is up to 70% for streaming, leaving the remaining 30% for linear viewing. This leaves huge growth opportunities with audiences spending more time on CTV.
According to new engagement data from Samsung Ads, when someone uses a streaming app on its platform, they come back to that same app four times a week, compared to only two times a week for a linear network. According to Evans, this high level of engagement may also correspond with user behavior on these platforms. For example, linear is designed for channel-flipping, while most CTV apps aim to get users to delve into and stay within the app universe. These factors make CTV an excellent environment for brands to connect with audiences.
2. Extending linear advertising creative for CTV is not a one-size-fits-all all approach.
From a creative standpoint, brands have much more room to engage audiences in the CTV environment, incorporating in-stream interactive elements and unique creative cues to drive conversions and brand KPIs. However, according to MarketCast research (and our panelists), most advertisers are repurposing existing linear or social creative for CTV, with the majority not developing any native creative at all. While there are many practical reasons for repurposing content (budgetary concerns, speed, availability, etc.), brands attempting this strategy may find themselves trying to fit round pegs into square holes.
“In advertising, we see linear broadcast as a ‘one to many’ approach, where your ad creative tries to reach as many people as possible, meanwhile digital has a ‘many to one’ approach where you surround and try to connect with your audience,” says Leigh Baker of Six+One. “CTV has more of a ‘many to many’ approach, where you can tailor specific creative and messages to different segments and even different points on the sales funnel where someone might be.”
According to our panel, it’s critical to consider the creative you’re trying to repurpose. For example, your linear creative may have been aimed at driving upper funnel awareness or brand building, while your social creative might be aimed at driving clicks or customer loyalty. On CTV, you can accomplish all the above.
3. The basics still apply, ad strategy and goals should shape your creative.
“It’s crucial to ask yourself, how is my brand being additive to a consumer, or what’s the value exchange that we’re providing? You don’t want your advertising to be interruptive; you want it to be additive,” said David Lang of Group M. “So, we use utility, entertainment, and purpose as three basic pillars for how a brand can engage and express to the consumer what they’re about.”
According to Lang, GroupM had a lot of success on CTV with one of their automotive clients, where one of the biggest barriers from a consumer standpoint was the length of time it took to charge their electric car. So, based on that human insight, they created an interactive experience, and based on their answers, consumers got to use a QR code overlay to engage deeper with one of seven cars that might be right for them. This allowed the brand to create an immersive experience and obtain a deeper level of engagement.
For HP, CTV is a great platform to reengage its core audiences to drive upper-funnel awareness with an eye on sales and conversions later.
“There are so many ways to consume CTV today, the challenge for brands is to understand how to reach the right audience on the right platform based on the objective of the campaign,” said HP’s Selsor. “We are using our CTV ads primarily as a means to improve brand salience with audiences to ensure they think about HP first when they are in-market to purchase a printer.”
4. Harness new data & work with media partners to kickstart CTV creative
We’ve all heard this before, but let’s say it one more time for the people in the back: creating high-performing ad creative requires a great working relationship with your media partners and creative team.
“You want to empower creative people to create for CTV based on performance and understand the goal of the campaign rather than default to traditional creative strategies that typically work for linear TV,” says Baker.
Now, more than ever, media agencies and creatives must be aligned on the ad’s purpose and intended use, and they should be leveraging audience data to inform the strategy. There is so much upper and lower-funnel engagement data available that media and creative teams can use when creating CTV ads. When everyone is working together and taking advantage of the data, the creativity on CTV will increase dramatically.
“Looking to the future, it’s important to remember that CTV is just another channel for good creative. Brands can take lessons from other channels, but there are also many ways to engage and more opportunity, from multiple narrative storylines to the scripted and unscripted side,” continues Lang. “But for clients to really invest in creating new creative for CTV, they need to see the scale and the impact.”
To watch the full session from Advertising Week New York, click here.
The world of CTV is constantly evolving, and with it, ways for brands and advertisers to connect with consumers. Stay tuned for more insights from the MarketCast Advertising Solutions team as we dive deeper into CTV to discover how brands can optimize their creative strategy and stay at the forefront of this new advertising frontier. Contact us to learn more about how MarketCast’s team of experts can help you jumpstart your brand’s creative across all TV platforms.