In the Blackout Battle, CTV Advertising is Still An Oasis
by Isabel Greenfield
4 Min Read
TV viewers are willing to watch ads, and more of them, if those ads are relevant to their interests
4 Min Read
There is a pretty clear difference between a good ad and a bad ad. Think back: you can probably name a favorite Super Bowl ad or two. And your eardrums can probably recall when an ad came blasting on at full volume as you scrambled for the mute button. Ads can be polarizing, but a majority of people (58%) say that overall, they don’t mind watching streaming ads. What’s important, however, is the relevancy of these ads and that advertisers are able to accurately measure the targeted audiences.
While people don’t mind advertising, they often don’t pay attention to ads that aren’t relevant to them. Relevance may mean that an ad aligns with the types of content a viewer likes to watch, a product that they have purchased in the past, or something that they have searched for previously. According to a recent survey from Sharethrough, two-thirds of viewers don’t actively engage with advertising. They may leave the room, mute the ad, or even browse on their phone. We know that a majority of people are watching TV with their second device in hand, which can be used to advertisers’ advantage since it offers a chance to look up something they see advertised on TV. But the catch is that the ad must be compelling enough for them to look up from their phone or that ad impression is a waste of a limited budget.
The good news is that an ad that is relevant to the viewer will drive engagement. In the same survey, 71% of respondents said that they would pay more attention to advertising if they felt it applied to their interests. Not only are viewers more likely to watch ads that apply to them, but they also are more tolerant of higher ad loads, should the ads be relevant. MediaPost’s recent survey found that users who saw relevant ads on Discovery+ not only rated their overall viewing experience as positive, but they also described the ad load as “reasonable” even though it was higher than other streaming services they enjoyed.
Over and over, viewers are confirming that it’s not just who stars in your ad (or at least provides the voiceover), but how you are targeting your ad. In the past, linear TV has offered advertisers broad demographics based on the network and programming, meaning that the ads were often not relevant to the watcher. A commercial break then becomes the perfect time to leave and grab a snack. With Connected TV advertising, it’s much easier to reach your specific audience based on demographics and interests. There are tens of thousands of audience segments available so you can be sure your ad is keeping viewers in the room and the audio on.
With the importance of accurate targeting comes the importance of accurate measurement. TV upfronts have long been bought and sold on Nielsen data. Advertisers determined the best shows based on the Nielsen ratings, leaning on broad demographic projections to allocate their upfront budgets. As it’s come to light that Nielsen’s methodologies aren’t as accurate as once believed, advertisers are starting to seek out other options. Most deals this year will still be bought on Nielsen’s measurement, but with the added safeguard of additional verification running simultaneously from companies like VideoAmp and iSpot.tv. One agency executive expects to see 30-40% of deals this year with this secondary measurement option attached to their ad buys. Some networks like NBC have even inked deals with these alternative measurement companies, acknowledging the shifting tides.
These changes are coming after years of continued loss of viewership on linear as many people cut the cord and switch to CTV. Already facing this decline, advertisers are looking to refine their measurement and buying approach to offset some of the loss and ensure their budgets are being well spent using accurate data. Which, ironically enough, is what is already available on CTV thanks to its measurement and targeting capabilities. Advertisers should definitely embrace a responsible, data-driven approach to their linear buys, but they should also take it a step further by following the viewers to streaming TV. There, they can reach a willing and engaged audience with relatable ads, backed with accurate data.