TV has evolved into so much more than just linear. When people say they’re “watching TV,” it’s no longer apparent where or how they’re doing so. Are they tuning in to a traditional broadcast or cable network on the TV in their living rooms? Are they watching via a streaming service? Did they download a network’s app to watch a show during the morning commute?
There are now more ways to watch TV content than ever before. Regardless of how familiar someone is with the current state of the industry, there’s also a seemingly endless amount of acronyms associated with what’s referred to collectively as advanced TV. Over-the-top (OTT) and connected TV (CTV) are just two of the many terms used casually, interchangeably and (frustratingly) with the exact definitions not always clear.
But for advertisers to truly get the most out of these options, clarity is key. I spoke with TVSquared’s VP of Enterprise Accounts, Hanna Gryncwajg, about advanced TV, with a focus on OTT. Her strong background in multi-screen advertising makes her an ideal person to navigate this vast subject. Here is a recap of what I learned:
The Wild, Wild West of TV
The continual misconception surrounding which word or acronym to use for each circumstance was one of the first things we addressed.
Regarding how to differentiate between two of the most common acronyms – OTT and CTV – Hanna said: “CTV is IP-connected, while OTT can be IP or cookie-connected … OTT has content, CTV is a device.”
Hanna explained how there’s also a great deal of confusion regarding available inventory.
“It’s the wild, wild west in terms of inventory. You have inventory that’s streaming, that’s subscription-only, and then you have all these other sites that are OTT. You have the major cable and broadcast networks that are increasingly streaming some of their own content. Then, you have aggregators of OTT … who all have many of the same programming.”
While more and more entertainment companies are gearing up to launch their own streaming services, there’s also a number of specific networks striking the balance between streaming their own content, while also licensing it to other companies that may want it.
At the time of this interview, Pop’s Emmy-nominated comedy, “Schitt’s Creek,” can be watched via multiple platforms, including Netflix, Pop’s website and the Pop Now app. With all of these options, it can be complicated for advertises to keep track of exactly where a show is airing, and which platform has the largest pool of inventory.
Think Holistically & Know Your Audience
Hanna’s biggest piece of advice for brands unsure about how to tackle the OTT space is to not get too caught up in thinking about TV as “linear vs. OTT.”
Brands should look at all platforms holistically, and identify and understand their audience – regardless of where or how they are watching.
Brands shouldn’t blindly divide up their budgets by platform prior to discovering their true audiences. After all, by testing creatives during a campaign, they may discover a receptive audience segment they didn’t know about (which is also why it’s important to not have too niche an audience target).
Advertisers can leverage a digital-like connection, while still using TV for reach and brand awareness. Hanna added, “And now, with TVSquared, not only can you reach all of the individuals within a household, but you can attribute for that household too, which is awesome.”
OTT Success: Connecting with Audiences & Leveraging Technology
The advertisers that will find the most success with OTT will be the ones that authentically connect with audiences (talking to them, not down to them) and have easy-to-navigate websites and apps.
While acknowledging that a number of advertisers have not yet implemented OTT into their ad buys, Hanna was quick to acknowledge the ones that have been ahead of the curve. Specifically, she noted how direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands are “taking the TV advertising world by storm.”
It’s not surprising why this has been the case. While TV still offers unparalleled reach for brand awareness, the fact that the majority of TV viewers now have second-screen devices in hand while watching has made TV ideal for capturing performance, which is why DTC brands are flocking to it. As digital natives that now want to expand beyond social media, DTC advertisers have embraced TV’s evolution into a true performance-marketing channel.
Hanna continued: “TV is the brand awareness piece, but if the creative is strong enough to get you to go online – which it should be, otherwise there’s no point – to me, that’s the next part of the funnel. We as a society have gotten more sophisticated with technology, and companies need to adjust to that.”
Next week, we’ll run Part 2 of our interview, which will cover test-and-learn approaches, metrics and emerging trends.