By Lindsay Fordham, Vice President, Product, Lucid
The pandemic saw consumers across the globe forced into lockdown, seemingly overnight. With that, many were left feeling frustrated, confused, alone, and… starved for entertainment. For some, that meant turning to streaming TV as the new best form of escapism. Online video subscriptions (think Netflix, Disney+, etc.) surged 26% last year, according to the MPA’s 2020 Theme report, pushing worldwide subscriptions past the one billion mark for the first time.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise then to see that 60% of marketers are shifting ad spend from linear to streaming TV platforms. The shift is causing the lines between digital and TV to disappear, and also welcoming a host of new opportunities, like the ability to measure household and device-level audience engagement.
However, the fragmentation of streaming platforms combined with the variety of new metrics has also introduced new and unique challenges for TV buyers: Am I measuring a person or a household? How much attention are audiences actually giving my brand? Do these advanced targeting strategies make CTV inventory worth the premium CPMs it commands?
Most marketers still consider reach and frequency to be the primary measures of TV success, yet to answer these questions and evaluate media investments as a whole, they must understand the nuances of measuring the incremental impact of CTV.
Determining the actual consumer behind the screen
Identifying the person in the household that actually saw the ad is the most fundamental, and by far the most challenging aspect of CTV measurement. Most marketers are left with household level, and at best, device-specific measures. Metered panels remain the best source of person-level data – yet because of their cost and size, most cannot reach the level of granularity required to measure CTV at scale.
It takes a hybrid approach to bridge the gap. For example, at Lucid, we combine real-time impression data collected from CTV devices, smart TVs and match that to a database with over 350 integrated suppliers with millions of unique digital panelists, to provide daily, granular metrics of TV performance and allow these consumers to calibrate our person-level measurement.
Using the right methodology for quantifying brand lift
Attributing the success or failure of a CTV campaign’s ability to drive results requires an understanding of incrementality – did my campaign actually improve perception and behaviors above and beyond the existing baseline? If I had stopped advertising altogether, would anything be different? The opportunity that 1:1 targeting provides goes well beyond reaching a target audience.
With streaming technologies, it is now possible to perform experiments at scale to validate lift. Brands can take a number of approaches to measure incremental lift, depending on their media plans and goals. And, although it can be more time-consuming and complex to execute in a fragmented media landscape, the best approach to measuring lift is setting a truly randomized control experiment. This methodology ensures you are able to quantify the impact your media is having over an existing baseline, and more accurately identify the factors (creative, contextual, targeting) that are truly driving lift.
Optimizing throughout the campaign
Not long ago, the mechanics of TV ad serving left very little room for changes to be made to a campaign in-flight. At best, marketers would be able to apply a costly measurement study in order to optimize their creative rotation. While CTV targeting and attribution may not be as deterministic as other formats, it is extremely optimizable with the right measurement approach.
Leveraging some form of impact measurement software that can offer marketers the ability to measure media impact daily could dramatically improve a campaign. It’s possible for marketers to get observations to make statistically sound recommendations on what placements, platforms, creatives, and audiences are driving results in-flight. TV marketers can optimize media in a way that was never possible – whether their goal is to improve in-target delivery, engagement, or attitudinal lift.
Advertisers and marketers alike will need to work closely with technology and measurement platforms to understand how to measure and optimize for brand lift across these new mediums. That starts with marketers having access to smart measurement solutions and real-time insights, especially as interest in CTV continues to rise. The consistency and transparency these tools offer allow for a more accurate assessment of marketing strategies. Being able to extract data from personalized experiences will help guide decision-making around everything from targeting strategies to sales and monetization.