As we enter the heart of upfront season, TV’s constant change continues unabated. Just within the last few months, we have seen the emergence of new platforms (with no “fasting” for FASTs) for the industry to take into consideration, as well as more updates in the cross-screen measurement conversation. In order to take advantage of the latest developments, and plan and execute outstanding campaigns in this ever-changing market, here’s a few tips to lean on to enable a successful, effective, and well-balanced convergent TV upfront.
1. Understand the dynamics of supply and demand to get the most effective and efficient plan – while also keeping track of your holistic TV investments.
In marketing, your big splashes need premium investment. How can you drive awareness for your campaigns most effectively?
To make the most effective and efficient Upfront recommendation, you must think about the correlation between supply and demand – and the related impact on costs. (For example, CTV is in high demand, but ad-supported premium CTV content is in limited supply.)
While the upfronts offer an opportunity to buy and sell TV inventory in bulk for more efficient pricing, there’s a finite amount of inventory that can drive the best results for your campaigns. In order to take into consideration all facets of TV, including streaming, linear, FASTs, and more, you first need an omnichannel view of all of your audiences’ touchpoints with your brand. Without understanding all of the ways that your ads reach your audience across the comprehensive ecosystem, you won’t be able to properly prioritize between platforms, much less ensure efficient Reach and effective Frequency.
Understanding your audiences from an omnichannel point of view will also enable you to readjust your portfolio based on cost-benefit analysis, and consider the relative trade-offs. If growing demand for advertising on premium video content on CTV outpaces available supply, are you comfortable shifting to lower-quality CTV content? Or do you instead look to linear addressable TV advertising from premium publishers, which offers the efficacy of addressability along with higher-quality identity and matching, as well as incremental reach?
2. Data-driven marketing needs recent and relevant data. Advertisers must invest in building a strategy.
A well-balanced TV / premium video strategy needs a unified and connected customer view, in order to make sense of complex, siloed data. The best way to do this is with a consistent identity framework that spans the broadest possible range of touchpoints, across complex consumer journeys.
Marketers need a single source of truth from the most up-to-date information across channels and devices, offline and online. With the right foundation for identity, marketers have a more comprehensive picture of the customer journey and achieve better clarity with relevant context at the individual and household level. A shift to more real-time collection, validation, and use of identity data is key to helping improve the quality of visibility into the customer journey, which can be efficiently implemented using privacy-enhancing technologies.
3. Premium content draws larger audiences… but also costs a premium.
The different streamers have different programming offerings, ranging from original content to licensed TV shows and movies. Premium content catalogs are well-maintained and well-recognizable. This typically guarantees a large and engaged audience – in turn, this leads to increased brand exposure and a greater impact on consumer behavior.
As platforms form their own distinct identities around their catalogs, marketers have choices to make to reach the audiences they’re looking for. For example, the cost associated with reaching a massive current hit show will be different than the costs for advertising around older classics. Marketers should choose ad-supported streaming services whose content aligns with their target audience and brand image, while recognizing that premium inventory is often in high demand and limited supply.
That said, each type of TV has its place in a holistic advertising strategy. TV audiences are organizing around different types of TV by content or by price points – just look at FAST’s rising popularity as an example. Balancing campaigns holistically across your audience will lead to better results. Omnichannel identity and targeting are critical to understanding where your audiences are more likely to be, and what type of TV will be most impactful in reaching them.
In a truly comprehensive convergent TV strategy, every component in a TV advertiser’s toolkit has a place and a purpose. For example, advertisers often underutilize advertising channels like MVPD and Programmer Linear Addressable TV ad inventory which can be an important component of a well-rounded TV strategy, enabling reach extension and frequency optimization for advertisers. Again, an omnichannel view of your consumer will help to enable comprehensive campaigns and decision-making, enabling marketers to reach their audience within the context of premium content.
One concept that marketers should keep in mind across any campaign + strategy: interoperability.
In an increasingly complicated TV landscape, it’s critical to select solutions that can accommodate the ever-wider array of IDs coming from diverse platforms and endpoints, in order to enable greater scale, as well as optimal reach and frequency.
LiveRamp and FreeWheel announced a partnership less than a year ago to participate in FreeWheel’s Identity Network initiative to enhance interoperability across publisher, operator, and carrier data, with some of the most commonly-used IDs and proprietary agency datasets. By using LiveRamp’s pseudonymous, people-based identifier, RampID, FreeWheel opens up all publishers to make their inventory available.
Interoperable identity makes it easier to target addressable audiences across screens, unlocking holistic planning of audience-based campaigns across linear and streaming. In addition to interoperable identity, marketers should keep supply and demand, the need for recent and relevant data, and premium content, in mind to maximize their success following the Upfronts.
For more on how to maximize convergent TV in 2023, download LiveRamp’s ebook here.