A year of change for CTV brought transformation to brand and performance marketers

Throughout 2021, marketers of every stripe engaged with connected TV in some way. With measurable outcomes and actionable ad formats now available for television, new avenues for revenue and insights have been paved. 

Looking to 2022, marketers will continue to engage with CTV — as evidenced by a recent Digiday and MNTN survey. More than half of the respondents said they plan to allocate over 40% of their advertising budget to the channel. 

“CTV found its place in media plans beyond the initial beneficiary of quarantines,” said Ali Haeri, vice president of marketing, MNTN. “It’s matured as an ad channel where everyone now needs it in their media plans as they do paid search and social media.” 

Even though CTV has emerged as a mainstay in the marketing mix, some shifts are happening in its view and use. Approaches to measurement are being revisited and refreshed, and even the relationship between brands and agencies is changing.

CTV is now a performance marketing channel

There’s been a significant shift in 2021 — marketers now realize that CTV isn’t simply a brand awareness channel. 

“Marketers are in the process of reorienting themselves and seeing this as a channel that can perform, because it’s fundamentally programmatic advertising, and what they love about programmatic are the things traditional TV advertising didn’t have,” said Haeri. 

And with that shift comes a change in how CTV is measured. Whereas traditional TV advertising has relied on Nielsen reports, that’s no longer the case in the age of the connected screen.

“We’re in a post-Nielsen world here,” said Haeri. “Those reports are going to feel even more abstract as people continue to change over to CTV. Now, campaigns track site visits that originate from the TV impression through to purchases made on a website. And that’s really the holy grail for marketers. 

“When you have that kind of capability, you start using the channel differently,” Haeri continued. “If I know that a channel can report back to me with site visits and site conversions, all bets are off. Now, I’m going to start thinking about that campaign in the same way as paid search campaigns. I think that’s sort of the genesis for this new view of CTV as more of a performance marketing channel — more than anything else.”

Brands are changing the way media plans are done

While brands have historically turned to media agencies for their media buying expertise, the way this interaction is conducted is transforming under the CTV lens. 

“Brands are reclaiming some of the decisioning from their media agencies,” Haeri said. “They’re tantalized by all of the available measurement data, so they are resetting the table with their agencies when it comes to their media plans. They are empowered and dictating the terms of how they want TV advertising done.”

At least in part, this stems from brands now being more informed about what CTV can do — and what it can measure. In one analyst’s eye, it’s a welcome step in the evolution of the marketing ecosystem.

“It’s nice to see brands being vocal about which platforms they are on,” said Haeri. “I’ve worked in agency environments where the brand is perhaps a little too hands-off and relying on the agency to make a lot of those decisions.

“Now, they are going back to the agencies saying, ‘I’m happy with the channels that we’re using here, but I want to use them in a different way and collect this data,’” said Haeri. 

“Not everyone is a performance marketer — where they are effectively a data scientist trying to drive as much conversion activity as possible,” he continued. “The brand marketers are the ones who have seen the most benefits from this shift to digital because now they are getting new ways to measure what was previously unmeasurable. I think that’s what’s driving this reeducation and getting the gears working for these brand marketers.” 

Linear TV isn’t going away, but it is changing

According to the recent Digiday and MNTN survey, 58% of marketers shifting budget to CTV are taking it from linear. However, there’s more going on than that alone.

“We talk a lot about the shift away from linear and over to CTV, but that’s not exactly what’s happening, especially with large brands,” said Haeri. “They’re still motivated to do linear advertising, but we are seeing these brands use CTV to inform their linear strategies.”

In other words, brands are using CTV — primarily because it’s programmatic — to test creatives against their target audience and use those insights to make better choices in their linear campaigns. They are using CTV platforms as a sort of sandbox to evaluate variations. The “winner” moves to a linear TV spot.

“They’re gleaning these insights about TV networks, where their campaigns are performing particularly well and using that to inform their linear media buying decisions,” Haeri said. “They see where their audience is consuming content and use that to adjust where they buy linear ads.”

The results that are coming with these changes are promising. 

Since adopting CTV, 71% of respondents from that same Digiday survey indicated they achieved stronger connections between their digital and TV marketing. This reinforces that linear TV isn’t going away, but it is going through a transformation. 

Overall, TV advertising is in flux, but the shifts are positive. More marketers are combining linear and CTV to make the most of their campaigns and test strategies more effectively. It’s an outcome that looks to be more prevalent and crucial for advertisers in 2022. 

Sponsored By: MNTN


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