PDMI Results: The Time to Test CTV Is Now

January 17 •
3 Minute Read
Source: eMarketer, September 2022

Originally published in Results Magazine by PDMI, December 2023
Written by: Roxanne Geyer, SVP Customer Experience

With the meteoric rise of connected TV (CTV), we have officially entered a new era of TV advertising. In fact, according to eMarketer, 2023 marks the inflection point of streaming CTV viewers outnumbering linear TV viewers. With this in mind, we must re-look at a decades-old challenge: the justification of media spend and how it relates to ad dollars.

Since the beginning of modern-age media (we are talking post-1960 or so), media spend has been inextricably linked to Nielsen ratings. We’re all quite familiar with the rise and establishment of Nielsen and its dominance in the linear television market — so much so that the “currency” of Nielsen defined the business of TV for decades.

During that time, advertisers also diversified from being predominantly branding advertisers to more tactful performance-style advertisers. While we must acknowledge the strength that linear television has with consumers for advertisers, if there was ever a time to dive in and learn about the fast-developing CTV space, it is now.

From Broad Reach to Precision Reach

The most powerful aspect of television has been the ability to reach a broad audience. For decades, Americans all over the country gathered in their homes at specific times to lean back and watch the same show that was scheduled to air on a specific channel. Fast forward to today: thanks to streaming options, Americans are increasingly consuming their media in an “on-demand” fashion.

And not only are they watching on their own schedule, but CTV devices allow advertisers to measure viewership more accurately. Advertisers can continue to take advantage of the “lean-back” experience while also delivering the right message to the right person at the right time. Couple the measurement of viewership with data sets, and you have a winning combination of precisely reaching your audience.

Take Advantage of the Digital Nature of CTV

It should be understood by now that these amazing internet-connected televisions are, simply put, 65-inch digital devices. With that knowledge, we now can expand our thinking on how we want to treat advertising delivered to CTV and demand more from that device in terms of reporting.

The power of understanding how the ad was consumed in near real-time allows savvy marketers to adjust and fine-tune during flight. It also allows for a cohesion of the message being delivered to other OTT experiences.

Classically, media metrics that have often defined the “success” of a campaign have been completion rates or clickthrough rates. However, because of the digital nature of this ad delivery, the data surrounding the exposure, and new technologies for more accurate attribution, cutting-edge advertisers are measuring behavior actions that can be tied back to the CTV exposure. As an industry, we are beginning to recognize the power of this data — now let’s act on it!

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Test Light Engagement Ideas

As we now understand that the inherent nature of TV advertising can continue to be executed on connected TVs, and we also know that we are armed with a vast amount of data around the consumption of that ad execution, the next step is to test engaging layers on that creative — and there are plenty of ideas that have emerged. With this, advertisers can quickly shift the CTV experience from a top-of-funnel awareness tactic down the funnel to intent.

Source: eMarketer, September 2022
Source: eMarketer, September 2022

Now is the time to test different formats and different experiences and learn from the data, which is making the business impact that moves the desired KPI. The ability now to tie ad exposure, consumer engagement on the ad, and then consumer behavior action with the brand opens the door to thinking much more creatively about how advertising can really drive business.

In 2024, as consumers watching streaming content continue to grow, it is imperative that advertisers find their precise audience. However, the truly future-thinking advertiser is using next year to test and learn what executions are working with consumers and measuring the impact on their business goals.