How marketers are tailoring data-driven creative to engage audiences on CTV

Gabriela Maestre, vice president of creative solutions, Tremor International

As the end of the year approaches and marketing teams look to finalize their 2023 budgets, many are wondering how to ensure their ads are set up for success in the months ahead, appealing to unique audiences whose media consumption habits continue to evolve. 

Advances in programmatic technology and data targeting have made it possible to reach these audiences with precision and at scale, serving ads that showcase the products and services they’re most interested in — be it on their desktop, mobile or CTV devices. But something the industry doesn’t always discuss during the campaign planning process is how creative contributes to campaign goals and directly impacts consumers. 

Nielsen found that creative is the top driver of a brand’s in-market success — up to 80% in traditional TV and 89% in digital advertising. And there are ways to ensure that creative speaks not only to viewers’ collective interests but to their nuanced interests as individuals in a non-invasive, privacy-conscious way. Using existing creative — in other words, not reinventing the wheel — marketers are taking steps to boost engagement, enhance brand awareness and achieve personalization on a greater and increasingly sophisticated level. 

Making video ads actionable

Actionable creative encourages viewers to engage and interact with brands on a one-to-one level. For marketing teams, QR codes are proving an effective way to elevate this engagement, especially in the advanced TV space. For video ads produced without a QR code, these can be added as an overlay, branded frame around the video or an end card.

In essence, QR codes mirror the strategies of clickable ads in desktop or mobile environments, pushing consumers to take action and moving them through the marketing funnel (i.e., “scan to add to cart”). Not every viewer will scan the code, but even an incremental uptick in engagement is a powerful one. QR codes are an opportunity to place a brand in the palm of a consumer’s hand.

Given the proliferation of smart speakers and voice assistants (estimated to be present in approximately 95 million US households), voice-to-action commands are another way advertisers are motivating viewers to act while watching ads. By suggesting that viewers “Ask Alexa to do X” — via branded frames or end cards, for instance — marketers empower consumers to purchase a product, book a test drive and more. 

Keep branding front and center

It’s one thing to serve impressions; it’s another for a brand to make an impression that drives campaign results. And without robust and well-placed branding, it’s near impossible to ensure viewers will remember a brand. 

Video ads are increasingly cinematic, which, while entertaining, doesn’t automatically ensure the successful delivery of marketing goals and KPIs. If a viewer isn’t paying full attention to an ad for the full 15 to 30 seconds, they might entirely miss what the brand is, thus limiting brand recognition and recall. 

When crafting creative (for CTV or otherwise) — even a more out-of-the-box, entertaining ad — successful marketing teams often place a small logo in the corner of the screen. The effect can somewhat interrupt the cinematic tone of the ad, but it ensures that consumers know which brand is speaking to them.  

Developing dynamic creative to fine-tune targeting

Different audiences have different needs and therefore benefit from seeing different versions of a message. Not every brand has the budget to adapt its creative to every audience and screen, but many have found cost-effective ways to do this. One technique is dynamic video creative, in which one video is modified to become more personalized to each individual in a target audience, depending on the campaign strategy.

For example, historically, a local tourism board running a summer road trip campaign promoting travel to various destinations and attractions across a state has created a traditional TV spot to show off these destinations. However, if the tourism board wants to reach viewers on a more intimate — but also more programmatic — level, then dynamic video creative and data can turn the ad creative into thousands of iterations for all screens. In this way, they reach viewers with messages molded to their interests, needs and physical locations. The outcome is that adventure enthusiasts learn about destinations for mountain biking, and families with small children are shown amusement parks within driving distance, for instance.

These practices help marketers drive awareness, engagement and action at little to no added expense, ultimately ensuring a brand speaks to audiences in the most powerful, most convincing way. Creative may be king, but these simple techniques are the kingmakers; coupled with data and technology, they’re more achievable than ever. 

Sponsored by: Tremor International

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