Connected TV: five top tips for buying ads

These days CTV means telly is an accessible medium for marketers, without the massive budgets required for linear. So what are the best ways for advertisers to connect with consumers?

The way we view TV has changed, so how does ad-buying need to change to keep pace? asks Stefanie Briec, Director – Demand Sales, UK & International at FreeWheel…

The advent of digital has undoubtedly transformed the TV viewing experience. It has also created more opportunities for advertisers who can – through connected TV platforms – reach new audiences, and deliver impactful campaigns even with more limited budgets.

According to a study conducted by FreeWheel and market research company Happydemics, four-fifths of UK households surveyed have connected a TV set to the internet; and the majority say it’s their preferred device for watching video content, due to its enhanced user experience and the opportunity it offers for shared viewing. The landscape has evolved dramatically, but the TV screen’s ability to bring people together remains unchanged. 

For advertisers and agencies, this means CTV can maximise ad exposure and achieve impact with desired audiences. Now that it’s accessible to a far broader range of marketers, what can they do to optimise their ad buying? 

  1. Combine CTV and linear for incremental reach

CTV is a particularly valuable asset when building cross-channel marketing strategies. It can be used to complement traditional TV campaigns for advertisers and agencies looking to extend their reach. 

Last year, according to the BARB figures in Thinkbox’s Lockdown TV study, despite a sharp rise in digital content consumption, linear TV still accounted for more than 82 percent of total viewing on a TV set. The good news is that marketers don’t need to leverage CTV in place of these traditional channels. Instead, they can develop media plans across both CTV and linear to drive reach and deliver on top-funnel marketing objectives that support brand health, awareness, and consideration. Moreover, marketers can purchase CTV and linear inventory as part of one transaction, making ad-buying a more streamlined process. 

  1. Make the best use of targeting 

Marketers looking to maximise the value of their CTV inventory buys can tap into advanced audience targeting techniques. Typically, linear TV planning has relied on ratings to generate mass reach across broad audiences, but CTV platforms are offering advertisers more addressable opportunities on the same screen. 

Targeted campaigns can be planned and delivered based on time of day, user age and gender, alongside geolocation filters and device data from different platforms. Marketers can further hone their targeting by gaining insight from content-specific data, consumption habits and preferences to deliver deeper personalisation that boosts campaign impact; especially as over half of UK CTV users surveyed prefer to see ads related to their unique interests. 

  1. Increase efficiency with CTV 

With ad spend still under scrutiny, marketers with limited budgets can take advantage of CTV’s data-driven capabilities to target their audience in a cost-effective way. The ability to identify specific audiences means that marketers can make informed decisions and only purchase inventory that delivers on their campaign objectives. Brands with larger budgets can engage bespoke segments and further the impact of their linear TV campaigns. 

No matter the size of the brand and its budget, marketers can use CTV environments to experiment with different ad creative and placements, then optimise campaigns based on the response of their desired audiences. 

  1. Get maximum benefit from a geo filter 

According to FreeWheel’s study, over half (54 percent) of the viewers surveyed consider CTV ads to be less intrusive than ads on other devices. With this in mind, marketers can tap into heightened audience receptiveness by boosting the relevance of their campaigns. But best practice for targeting on CTV inventory involves striking a balance between relevance and scale. 

By strategically applying geo filters, marketers can zero in on the desired audience while avoiding missing out on targetable impressions. For example, a retailer could set a geo-filter for a regional offer to drive immediate response from local audiences, while casting the net outside that particular location for campaigns intended to increase general brand awareness.

  1. Stay on top of frequency 

Considering the FreeWheel findings, which show that almost three-fifths (57 percent) of consumers surveyed pay more attention to CTV ads and 64 percent appreciate ads in exchange for free content, it’s crucial for marketers to ensure ad frequency doesn’t impact the viewer’s experience.

While CTV has always operated without cookies, making the lack of a persistent ID a challenge for managing ad frequency, advancements in programmatic technology have provided a range of digital-equivalent capabilities. For example, they enable marketers to monitor impressions, viewability and completion rates, as well as employing ad-frequency capping at a household level and across various platforms. This is critical for minimising ad fatigue and developing a test-and-learn approach to ad campaigns.

The convergence of digital and TV landscapes has meant that CTV is a valuable proposition for brands looking to reach highly engaged audiences in a premium video environment. By following best practice for their CTV buys, advertisers can maximise the benefits offered by CTV platforms supplementing TV reach, fine-tuning targeting and personalisation, while taking advantage of a cost-efficient and flexible approach to campaign management.

By Stefanie Briec, Director – Demand Sales

UK & International