Navigating the Fragmented CTV Landscape: Strategies for Brands and Agencies
2023 was a year of exploration and education. As the industry begins 2024, agencies and brand marketers will continue to gain a better understanding while leveraging necessary campaign elements like transparency, incremental reach and co-viewing to navigate the new challenges and opportunities within the CTV (Connected TV) landscape.
Today’s brand marketers are confronted with crucial choices, such as whether to collaborate directly with publishers, leverage streaming devices like Roku and Fire, engage with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) such as LG and Samsung, or partner with resellers and aggregators.
Each option presents distinct advantages and considerations, making the decision-making process a critical aspect of navigating the complex CTV environment. As the industry adapts to these shifts, media professionals must carefully weigh these choices to optimize their campaigns and effectively engage with their target audiences across various platforms.
Another crossroad that brand marketers and agencies have to navigate is whether to remain in the driver’s seat with campaign strategies or rely on DSP platforms to control spend allocation. Streamlining resource allocation is imperative to reduce redundancy, especially when accessing the same inventory. Opting for direct collaboration with publishers, particularly for large-scale campaigns, provides a comprehensive presence across all platforms. This not only minimizes duplication risks, but also grants advertisers a first look at inventory, facilitating the navigation of challenges like frequency capping and content separation. Working directly with publishers enhances reporting capabilities, enabling more informative insights for media buyers to strategize optimal partnerships. This approach ensures advertising dollars work smarter, mitigating waste, as publishers maintain complete control over campaigns, offering insights into ad placement details.
Buyers want and need transparency to justify the allocation of media dollars and what better way than to go to the source of content to ensure brand safety and targeted campaigns; contextual, behavioral, demographic and geographical. In 2023, media buyers realized the lack of transparency and will lean into partners that are willing to share insights. It’s important for the buying community to consider smaller, independent partners that bring scale, quality content, custom marketing solutions and efficiency. This is where all the stars align with productivity, transparency, incremental reach and one-to-one partnerships.
Incremental reach continues to be a topic of conversation, as viewers are consuming content when, where and how they want, which means duplication exists. Something else to factor in the Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD) fatigue that is taking place. Consumers will continue to consolidate and will look to true Advertising Video on Demand (AVOD), completely free to consumers to supplement viewing options. Working with independent streaming partners brings an audience that was born in the cord-never space and has evolved to include cord-cutters. This audience is a digital first mindset that will be adaptors to marketing elements like QR Codes, text to consumer options and more.
Brand marketers are consistently seeking new audiences to reach and co-viewing audiences present a promising avenue for exploration. We anticipate a shift in brands capitalizing on these audiences through family-oriented, brand-safe content, including animation, movies, TV shows and game shows. The percentage of co-viewership is extremely high, originating with COVID as families spent time together, and this trend didn’t shift back post-pandemic.
The co-viewing audience is an untapped segment of viewers and brands are missing out by not including when planning media campaigns. Studies indicate that families often discuss CTV ads together, and children wield substantial purchasing influence within households. Even brands traditionally not associated with the family space should recognize and leverage this trend. Children have become the CEO of the household and have influential decision power on what groceries to buy, where to eat, what movies to see, where to go on vacation and even what cars to buy.
Kids Insights is a trusted resource when analyzing the family audience with opt-in surveys polling both parents and kids regarding viewing habits and path to purchase metrics, as well as dialing down to category based studies. When looking at HappyKids, Future Today’s free ad-supported streaming service specifically, studies reveal a co-viewing audience of 94% as well as the following impressive stats:
A significant 83% of parents actively engage when adult-focused CTV ads are incorporated into kids’ content, and a corresponding 79% of children also show interest in these ads. Furthermore, an overwhelming 98% of parents report that their children often express a desire to purchase products featured in ads on HappyKids. Looking ahead, 79% of families have plans to visit the movies in the next six months, while 68% intend to take a vacation during the same period.
Working with brand-safe, family friendly content is a positive shift for brand campaigns and will expand reach. If you are not aligning with this audience, you should be. Navigating the CTV landscape in 2024 will require careful consideration of partner collaboration, making crucial decisions on whether to steer campaigns independently or rely on DSP platforms, and embracing family-friendly content in response to the rise of co-viewing to expand reach and relevance in the streaming landscape.