Advanced TV: What Does This Hand of Cards Bring to the Table?

By Stefanie Briec, Director, Head of Demand Sales UK & International, AudienceXpress at FreeWheel

Advertisers and agencies appear to value Advanced TV channels such as connected TV (CTV), video-on-demand (VOD), and linear addressable TV, according to findings from the 2023 Advanced TV Uncovered marketer survey from AudienceXpress. From brand building to driving higher ad effectiveness, advanced targeting methods to campaign measurement tools, this survey asked marketers to rank the best Advanced TV channels based on their advertising capabilities.

The survey found that seven in 10 UK marketer respondents plan to up their spend in these channels in 2023, making ad buyers four times more likely to increase Advanced TV investment than overall marketing budgets. So what is it about CTV, VOD, and linear addressable TV that gives marketers a winning hand?

Connected TV: the ace in the pack

CTV encompasses any TV set that viewers use to access the internet and stream premium video content. More than six in 10 CTV viewers in the UK reportedly use Smart TVs to connect to the internet, according to FreeWheel’s 2022 Connected Viewers: All Eyes on Streaming consumer study, but CTV also includes set-top boxes and attached devices such as TV sticks and games consoles. Almost one-third of UK CTV viewers have connected their TV sets to the internet via attached devices, while 17% have done so with set-top boxes.

Marketers rank CTV number one for:

  • Reach extension (44%)*
  • Higher ad effectiveness (47%)*
  • Brand building (47%)*
  • Campaign measurement tools (45%)*

What this means: CTV is helping ad buyers connect with new audiences

Extending reach is highly important for UK marketers, as 45%* of participants in the AudienceXpress survey considered reach as the top driver for campaign effectiveness. Further, 43%* of participants named customer acquisition as their number one marketing objective, which is supported by marketers’ ability to drive incremental reach.

In 2023 marketers will be aiming to engage new viewers and grow their customer bases. With CTV being perceived as the best channel for reach extension, this will likely lead to ongoing growth in CTV investments with current forecasts projecting +12.2% growth in the next 12 months, up from +9.2% in 2021*.

Video-on-demand: dealing up flexibility and value

VOD platforms allow audiences to watch premium video content immediately however they choose to tune in. Whereas traditional linear TV follows schedules set up by broadcasters, VOD gives viewers greater flexibility around when and where they watch their preferred video content. VOD platforms can have multiple monetisation models including ad-supported, subscriptions, and pay-per-view. Recently the TV advertising industry has seen the adoption of hybrid models, which is where subscription-based platforms offer their viewers a discounted ad tier.

Marketers believe VOD offers the best:

  • Value for money and ROI (40%)*
  • Targeting solutions (40%)*

What this means: VOD enables marketers to engage the best audiences and prove commercial impact

Outlooks for Advanced TV are optimistic, but demonstrating how these channels contribute to brands’ bottom line remains a key focus. Although more than half of UK ad buyers intend to at least maintain overall levels of marketing spend, if not increase it, their budgets are still under pressure in the economic climate.

VOD is considered the best channel for delivering ROI and supporting marketers on their mission to justify ad spend. Additionally, two-fifths of UK ad buyers believe that VOD has the best targeting solutions, which help them to connect with their desired audiences and to win new customers. As a result, VOD budgets are experiencing strong growth, rising from +8.2% in 2021 to +13.4% in 2022*.

Linear addressable TV: a twist on the traditional

Linear addressable TV differs from traditional linear TV as it lets marketers personalise individual ads within broadcast programming for specific households. These households can be segmented depending on a variety of factors, which include  geolocation, viewing patterns, and demographics such as age and gender. Collectively these insights enable marketers to tailor which ads audience segments are shown, boost ad relevance and improve the viewing experience of linear TV which continues to attract a broad audience.

Marketers consider linear addressable TV’s top attributes to be:

  • Targeting solutions (27%)*
  • Reach extension (25%)*

What this means: linear addressable TV can meet marketers’ demands, but more visibility is needed

According to marketers, linear addressable TV’s strongest capabilities support their top priorities as they value it for its targeting solutions and for reach extension. The findings also imply that ad buyers have a clearer understanding of CTV and VOD’s benefits in comparison to linear addressable TV.

Furthermore, the AudienceXpress survey found that for advertiser respondents a lack of awareness around Advanced TV is the biggest inhibitor to unlocking further spend (44%), while for agencies it was clients’ reluctance to experiment with new channels (30%)*. This highlights the need for education, especially around linear addressable TV, which could be needed due to the complexity of today’s TV advertising landscape.

Advertisers and agencies’ rising confidence in Advanced TV channels is grounded in their ability to deliver against marketing priorities. By providing greater visibility into what Advanced TV channels bring to marketers, the TV advertising industry can continue accelerating growth in this emerging space.

*Data from the AudienceXpress, 2023 Advanced TV Uncovered marketer survey