2018 was certainly an exceptional year for British TV. Be it mega-events by the likes of the World Cup, successful series such as Love Island or the Bodyguard or the globally viewed Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and his Meghan, UK consumers have had their eyes tied to the screen – giving everybody something to engage with and talk about on their way to work. However, while the formats remain the same, the technology behind the screen is creating new opportunities for brands and advertisers. Advanced TV is continuing its growth spurt in the UK – and with it, advertising is reaching new frontiers.
2018’s TV mega-events showed that TV advertising is still one of the most effective ways to reach large audiences at scale. Programmatic TV buying allows brands to achieve both reach and increase targeting at the same time. While there are many terms floating around the industry to describe programmatic TV buying – connected TV, addressable TV and advanced TV being some of the most well-known – there are equally many ways to sell TV inventory programmatically. This is why it’s so important for brands and their media agencies to pick the strategy that is right for their campaign objectives.
Programmatic video is already a popular form of inventory in the UK. At dataxu we recently conducted a survey of both brands and media agencies. Amongst the respondents, 38% of brands said that they buy programmatic connected TV. 22% also said that they buy programmatic advanced TV. We predict that this number is set to rise. Over in the U.S., AppNexus has found that the connected TV marketplace grew 748% year-on-year in the second quarter of 2018. This should serve as an indicator of things to come in the UK. In fact, SpotX expects the connected TV market in the UK to double between 2016 and 2020. This shows that programmatic TV is a force to be reckoned with – and will remain a hot topic in years to come.
Even in Advanced TV, every Jack has his Jill
When we spoke to our industry interviewees, we also asked them which types of advanced TV inventory they currently buy. Amongst brands, there are two clear favourites: connected TV and programmatic linear TV (both 55%). While connected TV allows them to directly reach those consumer groups who watch TV on Internet-enabled devices, programmatic linear means that those brands rely on the industry-wide automated booking system to target audiences who are consuming traditional linear TV. Both of these options come with different benefits and costs involved. Brands need to analyse the different offers available to them and find out which work best for their individual campaigns.
A new frontier for adventurers
The relative novelty of advanced TV, which has increasingly gained popularity over the last few years, is shown in the split responsibilities amongst brands and media agencies. While 51% say that that advanced TV buying sits within their digital departments, 41% say that it is part of their traditional TV buying teams. Brands and agencies should stop trying to fit Advanced TV in either of these categories. Thinking in boxes will make it more difficult to see beyond the conventional and unlock new opportunities.
Brands and their agencies should work collaboratively with tech, strategic and creative experts in order to develop successful campaigns that make full use of the opportunities programmatic provides. In order to achieve truly Advanced TV buying, they need to layer their first-party data on top of the automated buying to improve their targeting. Advertisers across the pond are already capitalising on this measure and based on some of the recent shifts in approach from broadcasters and tech companies, it will become commonplace in the UK within the next 12 months.
In these exciting times, one thing is certain: The TV landscape is rapidly changing. Compared to the status quo from ten years ago, it will soon be almost unrecognisable – both from a consumer and a publisher/brand perspective. Publishers such as Sky and ITV are working hard to go with the changing tides and adapt their offering. This shows that not only brands are adapting – the inventory available is continuously evolving. No matter the approach you take to programmatic TV buying – it’s important that you align your ducks to make the most out of the new opportunities, rather than simply applying an old concept to the new format.