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Top 3 CTV / Connected TV Advertising Campaign Best Practices

This post is a part of our “Comprehensive Guide To Connected TV Advertising” — Click here to learn more!

At the time this article was written, the advertising sector has taken a sharp hit as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic. But despite the numerous campaigns that have been paused or canceled, digital video is one area that continues to hold steady. 

According to a recent study by IAB, CTV will remain stable throughout 2020, and projected average CTV spend is expected to hit $16MM per advertiser for the year. The majority of buyers are already moving dollars away from traditional broadcast and cable TV advertising in favor of CTV. Not surprising, considering the growing popularity of OTT (over-the-top) and CTV (Connected TV) advertising. This surge has only been further amplified with the stay-at-home orders.

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While CTV is still an evolving sector, we have witnessed it explode in a very short amount of time. As more and more buyers place their focus on this sector of the advertising landscape, there is no doubt that the space will become increasingly saturated. This makes it more important than ever to understand the do’s and don’ts of running a successful CTV campaign.

What are the best ways to optimize effectiveness of a CTV (Connected TV) advertising campaign?

As the first firm to programmatically place video ads into OTT/CTV content, our team has spent a lot of time refining and mastering the techniques that drive successful campaigns. Because the industry continues to evolve rapidly, we are frequently asked about best practices or “rules of thumb” to adhere to in order to maximize effectiveness of any CTV campaign. 

After analyzing our data, here are 3 practices that we’ve determined will offer the most success when applied consistently:

1) Blended Approach of CTV/Connected TV Ads with other supporting ad channels in a deterministic manner

We are living in an era of endless distraction and sensory overload. It isn’t enough to run a video ad in between episodes of a show and expect the consumer to pay attention. The moment the entertainment cuts out, the immediate instinct is to check our mobile devices, scroll through social media, or otherwise turn away. 

In essence, one of the most important things we can do as advertisers is to make sure the campaign message is heard. Why is this tricky? There is a fine line between making sure a person cannot escape your messaging and overwhelming them completely. Leveraging multiple mixed-mediums is a subtle, but effective way to accomplish this. It is also very important to do so over time with smooth/even pacing.

Depending on the client or brand, examples of blended strategies might include the following:

  • CTV + Retargeting Combination
  • CTV + Programmatic Display Combination
    • Brand resonance is statistically higher when consumers watch ads from the same brand on different mediums.
  • CTV + Paid Search Combination
    • Sponsored content can be the push that consumers need before clicking through and completing a transaction.
  • CTV + Any / All of the Above
    • Strong storytelling may take more than one channel; mix it up and get creative.

Regardless of the strategy, the key thing to note with this approach is remembering to play to each platform. Keep in mind that the goal is to subtly reinforce, and not to create a sense of spam. When done correctly, a cohesive campaign should feel like a fluid narrative arc, with each segment building on top of the other

2) Timing and Pacing… The Programmatic Way

If there were no cap on ad spend, we would have the luxury of fine-tuning a campaign, and throwing money at it, until the desired outcome or results are reached. But that is probably not the case. When thinking about the success of a CTV campaign, we need to ask ourselves: 

What metrics do we want to achieve, and how much do we want to spend to achieve those metrics? 

When it comes to optimizing ad spend, we need to discuss the significance of timing. While this may seem like common sense, it can easily be overlooked! Let’s say it is a weekday evening, and you put your favorite show on after a long day of work. Between a video ad for $10 off a food delivery, and an ad for a discounted online learning program, which is likely to have a higher impact? Factoring in dinner time, the former is more likely to trigger an action because it is relevant. 

That said, while timing is made easy with programmatic ads, pacing is another factor that needs to be monitored. As mentioned above, it has to be smooth. After all, you don’t want to spend an entire month’s budget in the first 4 days. Start slow and increase spend only when you have enough data to justify it. Do you know who the ideal consumer is? If so, are they actually watching the ad as intended? 

We don’t always know the answers when launching a campaign. Breaking down what the goal of the campaign is, and setting intermediary checkpoints to assess the numbers will allow you to pivot and adjust if the campaign is underperforming. 

3) Use Lookalike Audiences and Hyperlocal targeting

A common topic that will repeatedly come up, parallel to OTT/CTV advertising, is talk of declining attention spans. One of the biggest challenges any marketer or media buyer will continuously face when putting together a campaign strategy is the “sticky” factor for any of the video ads. Do viewers remember the brand? Better yet, do they recall the brand enough to take action? Is it relevant?

We bring this up because a rookie mistake is to double-down on an audience without expanding upon it. What do we mean by this? Let’s say you run a massively successful campaign and generate high click-through in addition to a high volume of attributed purchases. That’s great! But. The law of diminishing returns kicks in here if we continue to market to that same audience. 

Instead, the best thing you can do is to take that data and create lookalike audiences in order to replicate that success. In the current landscape, we have the capacity to look at internet usage, interests, activity, etc. to create highly sophisticated groups of people who are most similar to individuals who have already engaged with your brand. 

Additionally, technological innovations allow us to take it one step further with hyperlocal targeting. Working with a physical location or storefront? We now have the capacity to reach people, down to an exact address. It would be a huge opportunity cost not to take advantage of this. Put it this way. What if your video ad only streamed to people who were currently walking distance from your business? Do you think that would generate stronger results? 

The Bottom Line

With how quickly the OTT/CTV space is changing, it can be intimidating when you are learning the lay of the land. How do you guarantee performance? What if you underperform because what worked last quarter is no longer effective in the moment? What if you burn through resources? It can be daunting! 

Talk To A Strategus OTT Expert

As both pioneers and innovators in this arena, Strategus has really refined our approach and consider ourselves subject matter experts. If you have any questions or want to chat more, contact us and we’d be happy to share our experience.

Posted by Strategus