In a year characterised by uncertainty, TV is one of the few constants for consumers, making it a dependable channel for advertisers.
The role of TV in keeping viewers up-to-date with the latest developments is self-evident, with many households building televised news reports into their daily routine. Yet TV is far more than just a credible and trusted source of information. It provides entertainment when boredom strikes, as well as comfort and escapism when we want distraction. Shared viewing is bringing families together at home, and also providing a link to the outside world, with mutual points of reference that create much needed social connection.
TV is even inspiring new hobbies and interests – from cooking to music – as viewers explore different content genres. With TV providing a pillar of strength in troubled times, it’s only natural ad spend in this highly effective media channel is rallying.
But as the role of TV changes, the concept itself is also evolving. While linear TV viewing remains strong – and surged during lockdown – the TV set is also being used to access content across a wide variety of other platforms such as broadcaster video-on-demand (BVOD) and video streaming services. Consumers don’t distinguish between these platforms, switching effortlessly between them to access the TV content they want via their favourite screen.
This changing viewing behaviour raises questions around TV advertising, with advertisers and agencies concerned traditional campaigns might not reach audiences that are dividing viewing across multiple platforms.
To allay these concerns and make the most of the latest trends in TV viewing, advertisers can supplement their linear buys with connected TV (CTV) advertising. CTV encompasses a range of devices that can be attached to a TV set, as well as smart TVs themselves, and is defined by the IAB as “a television set that is connected to the internet via OTT devices, Blu-ray players and gaming consoles or has built-in internet capabilities”. CTV advertising combines the best of TV and digital and brings a range of benefits that can boost the reliability and effectiveness of TV advertising in uncertain times.
Connecting with engaged viewers
Because CTV replicates the full-screen, lean-back experience of traditional TV, audience behaviour is similar, with viewers watching long-form content for extended periods of time. Consumers are more receptive to ads on TV than on channels such as social media and video games, and this also applies to CTV.
But it is reasonable to assume viewers are more engaged with CTV than linear TV because they have actively sought out content and chosen to consume it, rather than just watching whatever is broadcast at that moment in time. They are also more likely to watch the content to the end – ads included. CTV advertising has a near perfect completion rate as well as exceptional viewability, partly because it isn’t possible to change the channel during an ad break.
Achieving brand lift
Because viewers don’t differentiate between the two channels, CTV advertising shares many of the benefits of traditional TV advertising. According to Thinkbox’s 2020 Signalling Success study, brands that advertise on TV are perceived as financially strong, high quality and confident, as well as more likely to deliver on their promises. TV advertising helps brands convey popularity and success more effectively than any other medium, and it delivers stronger emotional trust than other channels. But because of the potential to use interactive ad units with CTV, it actually has an advantage over traditional TV advertising and can drive greater lift in metrics such as brand awareness and favourability.
Gaining incremental reach
When used in conjunction with linear TV advertising, which is still the most effective way to achieve impact at scale, CTV advertising allows brands to gain incremental reach. They can access viewers that watch less linear television, especially younger demographics who have significantly increased their use of CTV devices this year. Brands can even make use of addressable inventory to target carefully defined audience segments and significantly increase return on investment. Viewers treat CTV devices just like traditional television, watching the same type of content during the same popular primetime TV hours, just on a different platform, so there is little audience overlap between linear and CTV buys.
In a year of disruption and prudence consumers need TV more than ever and are embracing a variety of platforms to access the content they want via their TV screen. By supplementing traditional linear TV advertising with CTV, brands can make the most of these evolving viewing habits and ensure the continued reliability of TV advertising, even in these uncertain times.