Advanced TV is currently providing a much needed bright spot in an uncertain marketing landscape. Marketers across the UK recognise the benefits it offers, and are widely optimistic about its potential, with over 70% planning to increase ad spend in the channel over the coming year, according to research commissioned by FreeWheel. This trend is particularly poignant when compared with expectations for overall marketing budgets, which less than a third of marketers expect to increase in the next 12 months, given current economic uncertainty.
While this high level of optimism around Advanced TV advertising is encouraging, the research also highlights a significant knowledge gap. There are key discrepancies in understanding around the objectives, roles and benefits of Advanced TV, especially between brand advertisers and agencies. As a channel that encompasses a wide range of advertising solutions and platforms, including Video-On-Demand (VOD), Connected TV (CTV), Over-The-Top (OTT), Audience-Based Linear, Programmatic and Addressable TV, greater understanding is critical to enable a consistent approach to Advanced TV and realise its full potential as budget allocation increases.
Meeting marketing objectives
The current climate may be compelling marketers to rethink their objectives, but overall these are still largely balanced between the upper and lower funnel, with high importance placed on both customer acquisition and retention. However, the research highlights some discrepancies over the role different Advanced TV channels and solutions play in delivering upon these objectives, with perceptions varying between brand advertisers and agencies. While advertisers tend to see VOD and CTV as upper funnel channels, used to drive goals such as brand health and customer acquisition, agencies see them as more relevant to lower funnel objectives and choose them for customer retention.
When the effectiveness of Advanced TV as a whole is compared with other advertising channels such as social media, digital display and traditional linear TV, a similarly differentiated picture emerges. Overall, agencies rank Advanced TV more highly than brand advertisers for achieving both brand building objectives and lower funnel sales and revenue goals, which reflects a more digital-first mindset. These differences indicate more work is needed to create understanding and a clearer definition of Advanced TV’s role for marketers.
Defining the drivers
Overall, marketers recognise that Advanced TV gives them the opportunity to better manage frequency of exposure to TV campaigns. Two-thirds of all respondents and an overwhelming 77% of agencies mention this particular benefit when asked what will drive their business to spend more of its budget in the channel. Marketers also see the advantage of Advanced TV’s targeting capabilities, with over half including advanced audience targeting techniques, better identity data at the individual level, or cross-screen targeting opportunities in their list of drivers.
But once again there is a shift in perception between advertisers and agencies. For brand advertisers, the ability to purchase Advanced TV in one single transaction with standard linear TV is a huge benefit, while for agencies the opportunity to reach new audiences is seen as a more significant driver. With these diverse perspectives on Advanced TV’s benefits, it’s not surprising brand advertisers and agencies are using the channel to achieve different objectives.
Overcoming the obstacles
When exploring the inhibitors that may prevent marketers investing more of their budget in Advanced TV, perceived cost is a key concern, with two-thirds of marketers citing this as an obstacle. Other concerns include a lack of accurate tools to measure campaign effectiveness, and potential difficulties managing advanced TV and standard linear TV campaigns at the same time. Over half of marketers also cite a lack of awareness about what Advanced TV is, and insufficient inventory on their list of potential challenges.
Again, opinion is divided between advertisers and agencies. Brand advertisers are more likely to see cost and a lack of measurement tools as obstacles to Advanced TV, while agencies are more likely to mention practical concerns around managing advanced and linear TV concurrently. These trends strongly suggest that a unified approach to linear and Advanced TV, with consistent measurement across the two, could encourage uptake of Advanced TV advertising. Improvements in measuring effectiveness would inevitably highlight the exceptional value driven by Advanced TV and allay concerns around perceived cost.
The opportunities with Advanced TV
The outlook for Advanced TV advertising is incredibly positive, with marketers across the board looking to increase investment. To make the most of this optimism, greater awareness around both the benefits and challenges of Advanced TV is required, along with increased market understanding of how the different elements of Advanced TV can contribute to marketing objectives at all levels of the funnel. Closing the knowledge gap will enable a more consistent approach to Advanced TV advertising, ensuring marketers are investing in this bright spot for the right reasons and are achieving their individual goals.