Produced in partnership with Marketecture
The following article highlights an interview between Mark Douglas, MNTN’s CEO, and Ari Paparo, founder and CEO of Marketecture. Register for free to watch more of the discussion and learn how TV has become a performance marketing channel and how technology has enabled the space to become more accessible.
TV advertising used to be a space where media buyers were in charge of securing ad spots and where large brands tended to dominate, but as technologies have developed and connected TV has gained popularity, television has become a performance marketing channel accessible to companies of all sizes.
MNTN, formerly SteelHouse, was the first to launch a platform that connected performance and direct-response advertising to streaming TV. The company’s CEO recently spoke with Ari Paparo, founder and CEO of Marketecture; they discussed the growth MNTN has achieved in the streaming TV space, the companies it has acquired to expand capabilities and how it’s helping advertisers now and in the future.
How MNTN opened up accessibility to CTV advertising
While MNTN started in the retargeting space when it was called SteelHouse, once the company realized that creating a self-serve platform for television would unlock the space for a massive influx of advertisers, it pivoted to focusing entirely on streaming TV and TV as a performance marketing channel.
Streaming TV, in this instance, encompasses smart TVs and any OTT devices used to access streaming content, such as a Roku, Amazon Firestick or Apple TV. These all have apps serving as what has been traditionally thought of as cable channels, as well as streaming-only services.
However, given the way streaming services are currently set up, the market is fragmented, making purchasing ad slots more challenging to navigate. To help advertisers, MNTN established relationships with virtually every TV network in the U.S. to give its platform access to all ad-supported premium content.
“We’ve seen from the data that consumers respond best to commercials when they’re really engaged in programming,” said Douglas in the interview. “So, we want the ads to run against episodic programming, and just like with linear TV; there are pods of ads as you’re watching streaming TV. There’s a whole layer of technology to decide what campaigns to serve when, where and to whom, but you have full control over targeting as a marketer. It’s all done programmatically in real-time.”
On top of offering a platform that takes the guesswork out of media placement, MNTN has further expanded access to streaming TV and shown it’s possible to create impactful ads for TV without spending a lot of money. Its acquisition of the creative agency Maximum Effort highlighted how impactful commercials achieve their goals by being culturally relevant and timely instead of relying on budget alone. And MNTN’s acquisition of QuickFrame has added creative as a subscription to its offerings; QuickFrame connects brands to freelance creators and agencies with extra bandwidth to develop video creative at a lower cost.
Solidifying streaming TV as a performance channel
Traditionally, media buyers seldom considered outcomes when purchasing TV inventory other than reach and frequency when purchasing TV inventory. In contrast, in 2023, marketing teams working with MNTN can measure and track conversions from streaming TV advertisements through pixels. The tracking pixel allows MNTN to measure visits, while the conversion pixel allows the platform to measure actual transactions and revenue from a campaign.
Furthermore, if that visit converts, the platform can connect the dots via the household IP and report that to the customer. Additionally, marketers can connect tools such as Google Analytics to see what’s happening with their MNTN performance campaigns and whatever other system they use.
For example, Douglas outlined a recent instance where he went through the cross-device targeting his clients often set up with the MNTN platform.
“The first device is always your television,” he said. “Then, the second device would be a phone, tablet or computer that you use for the visit. When I was watching TV, I saw an ad for a nonstick pan. I pulled out my phone and visited their site. Then, I started getting text messages because I provided enough of my information for them to be able to do that. And then I bought the pan. I had not heard about this product until I saw it on television.”
And the platform automatically monitors and optimizes those campaigns to ensure ads are delivered when audiences are most likely to respond and that they’re being served on the optimal network.
“As a marketer going into our platform, you have full control over the audiences you’re targeting,” Douglas said. “You can A/B test the campaigns, but we further optimize on top of your choices. For example, you might set geo targets, but then we can further refine your geotargeting based on what’s performing best. And this is happening continuously — all of these factors are being looked at to see what drives the best performance and are automatically optimized.”
Television advertising is still a wide-reaching channel and serves as the first touch from which marketers can then build out retargeting campaigns. Starting with TV is crucial; as Douglas says, not doing so results in severe drops in performance. With MNTN’s CTV platform, marketers from both large and small companies can easily enter the streaming TV space and track the performance of their campaigns.
Sponsored by: Marketecture
Register for free to watch more of the discussion between Ari Paparo and Mark Douglas and learn how TV has become a performance marketing channel and how technology has enabled the space to become more accessible.
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