Connected TV

What’s Next for CTV Testing and Performance in 2022?

MNTN’ COO Chris Innes takes a deep dive with Digiday

What’s Next for CTV Testing and Performance in 2022?

4 Min Read

2021 was Connected TV’s biggest year yet, thanks to a record number of consumers streaming content. With over 82% of all U.S. households having at least one CTV device, and $27.5B in CTV ad spend projected by 2025, serious advertisers know that the platform is now an essential performance marketing channel for driving engagement, acquisitions, and revenue. 

To help brands make the most of the platform, MNTN teamed up with Digiday for the Virtual Forum: Framing CTV Tactics and Growth for 2022 event. During the event, MNTN Chief Operating Officer, Chris Innes, and Head of Production for Custom at Digiday Media, James O’Brien, held a fireside chat to explore CTV as a performance channel, the role testing plays, and look at where CTV is heading in 2022.

Defining Performance

To start, Digiday’s O’Brien asked Innes how he’d define performance in the CTV space today. “I think there’s a lot of confusion around what performance really means,” Innes admitted. “Before we talk about performance on CTV, let’s back up and think about performance overall on the big platforms in this space—Facebook and Google. What do they have in common? First, they’re self-service—these performance machines have real automation. Second, they’re audience-first—they choose an audience and message them across inventory and optimize.”

When it comes to CTV marketing, Innes was confident it has to be scalable to reach the majority of Americans and measurable to provide insights. “To me, measurable means measuring the return on ad spend. I don’t think true measurement is how many impressions are served and at what frequency—though those are important topics. Rather, measurement is looking at the return on ad spend versus other performance channels. Finally, you must have performance outcomes similar to what you see on Facebook or Google. CTV is now at a place where it has those qualities.”

Testing Makes Perfect

Following up, O’Brien noted that the job of performance marketers is to measure and test—and then test again. “You’ve had a bird’s eye view of a singular moment in the history of television as CTV has risen to the dominance that it has always promised. What does the role of testing in performance look like—where do we stand as testers?”

“Testing is critical for this to be a performance channel,” Innes replied. “Testing continually improves over time and it’s the core of what a performance marketer does. The challenge is that this technology hasn’t existed before—performance marketers previously couldn’t test with TV. But now a performance marketer on CTV can do everything they could do on another channel. And when you think about testing, the outcome is learning the return on ad spend and what’s really driving business dollars. At MNTN, we see advertisers testing audiences against each other, using third-party audience testing, and relying on A/B testing for creative. Very simply, this hasn’t been possible on linear but it’s possible today with CTV.”

What’s Next for Testing in 2022—and Beyond

While CTV’s testing capabilities are remarkable, technology is an evolving force—and O’Brien asked Innes what testing advancements he foresees in 2022. “When you think about the evolution of testing for performance marketers, the first test is ‘let’s prove this is really a performance channel,’ and that’s been taken care of. The second test is using everything we’ve been talking about today to improve performance. The next level is high-level business goals and tactics.”

“When we think about that level, the first leap is understanding your attribution settings—what’s your sales cycle, and how does that match into it? The next big leap after that is incrementality. It doesn’t have to be incrementality of the audience—it can be incrementality of the overall channel or the incrementality of an audience over another. It can even be incrementality of one creative over another—and that takes us into understanding the true value you’re getting off this performance channel. On top of that, I think we’ll see further advancements into creative and get some really interesting marketing tactics that haven’t been used in CTV or performance marketing before.”

There’s Still More

Innes and O’Brien covered more insights than we have room for—including best practices and successful tactics that brands have used on Connected TV.