2020 Vision: Getting Back to the Fundamentals of Connected TV Advertising

In an ever growing market of CTV and OTT, it’s become easier for advertisers to get distracted

As we closed out the decade and reflect upon 2019, the transition to Connected TV (CTV) and over-the-top (OTT) viewing is transforming the TV industry faster than ever. There’s one universal truth — shift happens. The dramatic shift in viewership to streaming shows no signs of abating with eMarketer revising its 2019 US CTV forecast from 190.0 million monthly viewers to 195.1 million.

Moreover, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) reports 73% of streamers are now watching ad-supported OTT as more advertisers embrace the medium. eMarketer estimates CTV ad spend will top $10 billion by 2021 and reach $14 billion by 2023. Amid this growth, there’s still significant opportunity to close the gap between CTV/OTT viewership and advertising spend.

For advertisers, reaching target audiences has never been more complicated. Managing and reporting on traditional metrics, like reach and frequency, are anything but simple and straightforward as a constellation of media owners, ad tech companies, and hardware vendors have yet to align on uniform currencies.

As the saying goes: “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” In an environment rich with competitors and new entrants, it’s easy for advertisers to get distracted by shiny objects. As such, marketers must do their homework and get back to the fundamentals in an ever-crowded, fast-changing and fragmented marketplace.

As we head into 2020, let’s talk ‘the fundamentals’ to best equip advertisers with the insights to navigate, buy and measure the true value of CTV/OTT advertising:

Leveraging New Audience Targeting Innovations

Addressability in CTV/OTT allows marketers to leverage richer datasets to target audiences by location, income, education level and many other interest categories at scale. However, it’s important to dig deeper to understand the technology capabilities used by providers to connect data for audience targeting, such as: where is the data coming from, how accurate is the viewer profile, and how often is the data refreshed?

New targeting innovations allow advertisers to analyze content and match it to channel, program and ad placement data to better understand what types of viewers are watching each type of programming and what is triggering their purchase decisions.

The emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies are also bringing new decisioning capabilities to the table, which allows CTV advertisers to connect rich data sets with CTV device graphs for precision targeting. For instance, some providers have the ability to map households to multiple premium data and platform partners in order to enrich and augment a device profile with corresponding household profiles. This allows for granular targeting across first, second, and third-party data.

Bringing Transparency to Measurement & Attribution

While our industry has yet to bring standardization to CTV/OTT buying and measurement, advertisers expect accountability and transparency. As such, it’s important to ask: What standards are in place for ad delivery and reporting? What types of conversion attribution do you offer?

Today, with CTV/OTT attribution, we can provide the insights to prove the efficacy of campaign performance in driving outcomes, whether its website or in-store footfall traffic. For instance, website attribution measurement can be done through placing a pixel in campaign creative to analyze the IP address correlation of viewers that were served an ad with website visitors who took action after seeing the ad. For footfall attribution, there are third-party vendors that measure the impact of ad exposure to store visits.

As we embark on a new decade, advertisers are quickly becoming more sophisticated in planning, buying and measuring CTV/OTT advertising. The winners will be those that bring transparency, performance and innovation in audience targeting, verification and simplification in buying for advertisers. And as a great sales manager had once said to me, “Johnny V, no matter where we go in this business … it always comes down to ‘the fundamentals’!”

WHAT YOU CAN LEARN FROM POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS

For the past 20 years, I’ve worked with political candidates, political consultants and other media buying agencies on strategically placing media campaigns for elections. Our track record for getting candidates elected exceeds 90%. What does this mean to YOUR business? Below are a few things you and your team can learn from political campaigns.

politicsI’d like to think there could be some absurd situation in which it’s possible that you don’t know it’s a big election year here in the US. But since even the fire breathing dragons, mer-people, and cave dwellers seem to have a political affiliation (if not an agenda), it seems pretty likely that you’ve noticed.

There are some important content marketing lessons to learn from political campaigns. The candidates are, after all, marketing themselves. So how do those strategies translate?

#1: Don’t flip-flop. Take a firm stance.

This is an example of what not to do. There are countless politicians who have been accused of flip-flopping, or changing positions for personal gain. You would be wise to avoid such tactics in your content marketing efforts.

Controversy can be an excellent addition to your content strategy. Unfortunately, it’s not always planned to be that way. It’s a traffic booster because it gets people talking, but it can also bring the pressure to “take it back” or tone it down from those who disagree with your position.

Understand that you can’t play to both sides and you’ll never please everyone. If there comes a time when your company needs to publicly take a position, be firm in it. Make that position clear in everything from your Facebook and Twitter updates to your blog posts.

While not everyone will agree with you, people are a lot more receptive to transparency than they are to secrecy and deception. Consider this when developing your content strategy, and use your content as a vehicle to achieve said transparency.

Bonus: As an added piece of related advice, when your position differs from your competitors’, avoid the smear campaigns. Sure, it might be amusing for people to watch as you exchange insults (masked or otherwise) via blog posts and social media content, but it’s not the way to be taken seriously as a business. Avoid going for the eyes and be respectful and professional, instead.

#2: Pick and choose your negative campaigns.

Negative marketing campaigns are everywhere these days, and political campaigns are a perfect example of this.

I’m sure you know exactly what I mean: Candidate A airs a commercial that tells you how the world will implode of Candidate B is elected, then backs it up with reasons. Candidate B publishes a post to the campaign blog talking about how Candidate A will destroy life as you know it and follows up with reasons to support such a claim.

If there were a little black dress of political campaigns, fear tactics would be it.
While fear and negative marketing certainly have a place in your content strategy, avoid relying too heavily upon them. We as a society have become so accustomed to always hearing the negative and focusing on the bad that many of us have little, if any, reaction.
Focusing on the positive, on the other hand, is always a welcome strategy. We like content that makes us feel good and gives us hope – hope about your product or business included.

#3: Use multiple channels to promote your message.

Be careful when reading this one. Using multiple channels does not contradict our Prioritize and Dominate approach to marketing. I strongly suggest that you rely on the professionals when determining your media mix. As the 2009 Meryl Streep, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin movie titles states….IT’S COMPLICATED. However, the use of multiple channels is one thing that political campaigns have gotten very right! Sure, you see campaign-related content in more traditional forms such as the flyer hanging on your door, the letter in your mailbox, the commercial on your television, and even the message on your answering machine.

Any serious candidate, however, knows it’s time to get social.

Today we see candidates posting content on Facebook and interacting with supporters through Twitter. Their camps are blogging from the campaign trail. Content marketing has become very much a part of every political race. If no one is seeing your content, you might become frustrated with your efforts. But you needn’t be. A politician’s goal is to win, and to do that, he or she needs to get every campaign message in front of the constituents. Making the messages available on multiple channels makes that possible.
So use the major channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and a blog to promote your content, but don’t forget about other sites (and there are lots of them). Slideshare, YouTube, PRNewswire, and Google+ (hangouts or not), are all good ways to use other channels to get your message out.

#4: Know how to reach your target market.

Along those same lines, it’s important to know where your target market is going to be. Spreading your message across various channels needs to be part of your content strategy. It can’t just be a series of random actions.

Through your research, you should know where your target market is spending time.
In addition to social media and targeted digital marketing, it is now important, for example, to look at OTT TV Everywhere. This is a platform that offers various devices like Netflix, ROKU, Apple TV, PlayStation, Chromecast, etc.

Keeping up with audience measurement (Ratings), various platforms, popular social media outlets, content engagement, TV Everywhere and all media platforms is a full-time job. It’s not something that one person can do. If you are relying on one or two people within your marketing department to handle this, regardless of how talented or intelligent they are, you will soon be “losing” market share to your competitors.

Our most successful clients allow us to work directly with their marketing team to partner on strategy, goals, etc. We handle the research, strategy, placement, maintenance and reconciliation of advertising campaigns while they work on the important daily tasks of internal marketing and developing external goals and objectives.

Behavioral Targeting

Be Relevant Crosshair Media Placment Louisville

Behavioral targeting uses information collected from an individual’s web-browsing behavior (e.g., the pages that they have visited or searched) to select advertisements to display”.[1]

When a consumer visits a web site, the pages they visit, the amount of time they view each page, the links they click on, the searches they make, and the things that they interact with, allow sites to collect that data, and other factors, to create a ‘profile’ that links to that visitor’s web browser. As a result, site publishers can use this data to create defined audience segments based upon visitors that have similar profiles.

Those profiles can be used to allow advertisers to position their online ads in on the screen and in front of those visitors who exhibit a greater level of interest and intent for the products and services being offered. Behavioral targeting has emerged as one of the main technologies used to increase the efficiency and profits of digital advertisements, as media providers are able to provide individual users with highly relevant advertisements. On the theory that properly targeted ads will fetch more consumer interest.
Behavioral marketing can be used on its own or in conjunction with other forms of targeting based on factors like geography, demographics or contextual web page content (list of Facebook’s “Detailed Targeting” options[2]). It’s worth noting that many practitioners also refer to this process as “audience targeting”.

Major advantages of Behavioral marketing are that it will help in reaching consumers with affinity, reach consumers that were not exposed to a media campaign, contact consumers close to conversion and in reconnecting with prospects or customers. It is inexpensive, trackable and, IT WORKS!

July 2017 Client News

ColtsWith the NFL season just around the corner, we’d like to thank the Indianapolis Colts for renewing their support of the annual Indiana Broadcasters Association (IBA) Conference. Crosshair Media Placement administers the IBA Public Education Program (PEP) and the IBA annual conference.

IBA_LogoState broadcasters associations positively impact everyone whether you realize it or not. Below are just a few things state broadcasters associations do that you likely never knew.

  • Work with the Department of Homeland Security and the state police to trigger and activate AMBER ALERTS and GOLDEN ALERTS.
  • Ensure that each broadcast radio and TV station is Emergency Alert System (EAS) compliant. (That’s why you hear the alerts simultaneously across your state.)
  • Lobby to local, state and federal officials. For your business, state broadcasters associations are actively “fighting” an ad tax. For years legislators have tossed around the idea of not allowing businesses to “write-off” advertising as a business expense.

Clearly we all know that advertising is a normal and necessary part of doing business and should be able to be deducted. Unfortunately, many of our political leaders have never owned a business and are just looking to impose new taxes. Tax reform is happening statewide and, of course, nationwide.

Top Five Advertising Mistakes to Avoid

Advertising is an essential part of all successful businesses. That’s because it works when placed properly. If not placed properly, it can be a big waste of time and money with a negative impact to your bottom line.

So, let’s avoid avoidable mistakes. Here are the top five:

1. Not properly targeting the market. “Anyone” can buy or place advertising. However, it is essential to properly target your audience and reach them with the right media and message. Media usage and habits for a 43 year old man is different than a 24 year old. This requires extensive quantitative and qualitative research, knowledge in audience measurement, an understanding of how each medium prices inventory. You must also have the ability to negotiate rating points, cost per column inch, etc. while holding media vendors accountable by reconciling and auditing proof-of-performance invoices. Otherwise, you could be advertising in the “wrong place” while paying too much for a media that you shouldn’t be in to begin with. Researching, composing, strategically placing, tracking, reconciling and auditing media campaigns is not a part-time job. You need to have someone fully dedicated to it and working on it daily.

2. Not having a large enough budget. One of the great things today is that there are many ways to advertise inexpensively. Pay-per-click and targeted digital ads are a perfect example. Regardless of the media used always follow this rule: Consistency is the key, consistency is the key, and consistency is the key.  Your budget should be invested in the actual placement of advertising. While it is crucial to have GREAT creative, don’t overpay for it. I’ve witness way too many businesses hire an ad agency and then cough up 25-30% of their ad budget in producing commercials. Don’t get me wrong, a well-produced ad is just as important as the strategic placement, but there are sources to produced ads inexpensively without compromising quality or effectiveness.

3. Having a bad headline. Make your headline pop. This is, of course, the first thing that people read, hear, or see.  So, you have to come up with an initial pitch (the “headline”) that is catchy and clever, and makes people want to know more. That’s its job. Just think – “The Lazy Man’s Guide to Riches” would have a lot more pull than “The Expert’s Guide to Direct Marketing Success.”

4. Creating a bad ad. Once your headline pulls them in, your ad must create some sort of desire on their part; a desire that your business can fulfill. That is why “Sale!” is so effective in advertising; people have the desire to save money. Or eat organic peaches. Or go to Hawaii. A good ad will make people seek out your business, product or service. A good ad does NOT state 10% off or full-service. (Full service as opposed to what?) Those types of one-liners waste airtime or space in your ad as it will not motivate action. Price points certainly can create a call-to-action, but 10% off will not.

5. Having no compelling call to action. A great ad makes people do something. That comes from the “Call to Action.” A call to action can be found almost anywhere in the ad, be it the headline or in the last line. Whatever the case, the point is the same: It makes people take action. For example, a call to action might be:
• “Quantities are limited.”
• “Sale ends Sunday.”
• “Stop in today for a free ____”

I think the best way to remember what a good ad looks like is to remember “AIDA”: Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. First you grab their Attention, then you get them Interested in what you are selling and get them to Desire it. Finally, you have a Call to Action.