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Marketers must make up their minds about connected TV

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The role of Connected TV in the advertising mix is a hot topic across our industry, and, in particular, there are discussions about the need to be able to measure its impact as part of the full media mix. Covid-19 has caused significant disruption across all industries and has also altered consumer behaviour, perhaps for good. Now, more than ever, advertisers need to be able to be agile and make quick informed decisions about where their budgets end up.

ISBA’s UK Cross Media Measurement Programme, Origin, which aims to execute the global principles and approach for cross media measurement as defined by the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA), represents a vital step towards making cross media measurement a reality for the UK. Connected TV is a critical part of that mix. Comscore’s recent report Connected TV Advertising in the UK revealed more education was needed before it can be fully utilised.

Defining CTV

We surveyed marketing professionals across the UK to understand their attitudes towards Connected TV (CTV) advertising. 47% of UK households owned a Smart TV in 2019, according to Ofcom. Combined with the number of consumers who own technology which allows them to connect their TV to the Internet (e.g. TV sticks and game consoles), we get a good sense of the mass penetration of CTV among UK consumers.

Despite this, the report revealed that there was a lack of consensus among marketers about what the definition of CTV was. According to the IAB definition, CTV is a ‘television set that is connected to the Internet via OTT devices, Blu-ray players and gaming consoles or has built-in Internet capabilities (i.e., a smart television) and is able to access a variety of longform and short-form web-based content’. However, for the marketers we surveyed CTV advertising and digital video advertising seemed to be interchangeable terms.

Ultimately, CTV is the Internet-enabled device, it is not tied to any one type of content, instead various forms of content can be consumed through CTV, including AVOD and SVOD. Marketers need to have clarity about which content is relevant to be incorporated into the channel, as each type of content offers different advertising opportunities and this distinction will be vital in ensuring accurate and consistent measurement of CTV across the industry.

The Opportunities of CTV

What also stood out from the survey was that the full potential of CTV advertising isn’t yet being realised. Less than half of respondents (49%) recognised the programmatic nature of CTV advertising. In reality, CTV advertising offers programmatic buying with real-time, in depth targeting. There is the potential, with the right partners, for advertisers to purchase inventory based on the specific audience of the campaign as well as on the specific content. This takes us above and beyond the options for linear TV advertising, meaning more flexibility and real brand safety through positive contextual targeting.

Measuring CTV

Whilst there are high hopes for CTV advertising, there are also still some concerns, as is to be expected with any relatively new and growing channel. What stood out from the research was that when asked about their concerns on CTV advertising, the ability to integrate with other media/platforms to create a holistic picture ranked high on the list. Measurement siloed by channel isn’t enough; the survey reinforced the need for cross-media measurement.

To accurately report on the effectiveness of a campaign, advertisers need the full picture. The question is, how does that work when different metrics are used for different channels? Notably, for CTV 58% of respondents felt digital metrics such as impressions and reach would apply best. The concern here is the impact of applying digital metrics to TV viewership, albeit enabled through the Internet. GRPs may be a starting point, as they are applicable to both TV and digital, however there are too many differences for it to be a like-for-like measure.

Impressions and population vary across platform, and other considerations include content length, placement and delivery. With all these variants, the challenge is how to fairly measure CTV, especially in comparison to linear TV. There is clearly more work to be done on understanding the right metrics to measure the impact of CTV advertising, and in understanding how that measures up to other channels.

What now?

Our research shows that whilst there are a lot of opportunities from CTV advertising, there are still a lot of unanswered questions. For the full potential of CTV advertising to be realised, the groundwork needs to be put in to educate the industry further, from defining CTV to understanding the right way to measure its impact. Comscore is committed to driving the industry forward, and we continue to reaffirm its dedication to measuring premium video.

Read the full report here now.

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