The rise of TV streaming and programmatic ad buying has changed the TV advertising planning and buying playing field tremendously. Advertising inventory is now available from more destinations and across a wider range of platforms. Television is considered by many as the most effective branding medium. Streaming TV advertising brings new opportunities to brands as first-party data and the digital infrastructure enables more advanced targeting and measurement capabilities. These capabilities give marketers more control over their campaigns resulting in better ROI. Thanks to streaming TV advertising more targeted campaigns are possible enabling A/B testing or even access to TV advertising for brands with smaller budgets. Whether marketers want to achieve unduplicated broad reach or direct response from consumers, streaming TV advertising can offer both, and measure it.
From humble beginnings in 2012 when Netflix launched in the UK, streaming has become a lynchpin of many users’ content viewing habits. COVID-19 and the resulting lockdowns only accelerated this trend. According to Ofcom, British consumers watched an average of one hour and 11 minutes of subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services per day in April 2020 – up 37 minutes versus 2019. However, while subscription services remain incredibly popular, there is a limit to how much streamers are prepared to pay, presenting a huge growth opportunity for ad-supported services. Supplementing paid services with ad-supported TV streaming services is a logical step for British users, providing advertisers with new opportunities to reach the nation through the most powerful screen in the home.
The rise of AVOD
Streaming platforms such as Roku bring the best of digital engagement and measurement to the biggest screen in the home. Unlike traditional linear TV, where the goal is typically securing mass reach, advertising on streaming platforms enables brands to reach relevant households and generate incremental reach or direct response. As such, the advertisers reach their target audience, the streamers are served with more relevant ads, and the service owners can monetise their inventory. As more ad-supported services launch, there’s more content choice, inventory availability and therefore audiences to reach. As more users move more of their entertainment time to streaming, a new challenge is presented to brands and advertisers: how to reach the unreachables that are no longer watching traditional linear TV.
Schneider Electric is one of many brands that advertise on the Roku platform, with one of their goals to reach those TV viewers no longer available through traditional linear TV. The campaign results showed that 21% of those who saw the ad on the Roku platform hadn’t watched linear TV in the past 30 days. These results prove that there’s a huge growth potential for brands that aim for mass reach.
With so many valuable direct consumer relationships available to them, advertisers and brands can experiment in new ways. For example, it’s not only possible to reach users with standard video ads, but creative teams can also make them interactive, something that wouldn’t have been possible without TV streaming. There are also more creative ad products like being able to take over the entire user experience to increase engagement even further.
AVOD also presents opportunities for brands that have not necessarily considered advertising in a TV environment in the past. Traditional linear TV in the UK can be great for mass-market reach, but buying such ad inventory can get very expensive very quickly. AVOD, by comparison, can be more affordable and involve lower starting investment levels, more flexibility to build into the marketing plans and potentially to measure as well, thanks to the available data.
Focus on the creative
Just because TV streaming advertising is more targetable and measurable and can be traded programmatically doesn’t mean it’s the same as online video. Streaming TV advertising is still TV, so production value must be high to keep audiences engaged. One brand that has recognised this and harnessed streaming TV advertising in combination with programmatic ad buying is Lexus in the United States. It took some of its 30-second ads from traditional linear TV and moved them to streaming, executed through a Brand Experience to gain further amplification. Because of the direct consumer relationships enabling them to target auto-intenders better, Lexus saw an 89% cost reduction in driving consumers to its website. There are many opportunities to harness the power of this growing space, but the creative content must still be king.
With streaming rapidly becoming the new standard for TV distribution, brands and advertisers need to consider where their audiences will watch their favourite content. They are no longer just watching live, linear TV, or just YouTube content. UK viewership of streamed entertainment has risen 70% since the start of the pandemic. Ad-supported TV is the next logical opportunity for advertisers to engage those hard-to-reach audiences by combining powerful creativity with comprehensive data. By working with platforms such as Roku, and gaining access to first-party, high-quality user data, and applying that to the creative that advertisers will be able to develop new and exciting campaigns that secure incremental reach to their media mix.