With eMarketer estimating that 55 percent of American households now sport at least one connected television (CTV) device, it's safe to say that connected TV has arrived. Advertisers are embracing the opportunity presented by this next phase in the evolution of television.
In March, Innovid released its annual Global Video Benchmarks Report to give advertisers the insights and perspective needed to navigate the meteoric rise of CTV. Researchers analyzed and categorized every impression run through the Innovid platform between January 1, 2018, and December 31, 2018 — the single largest independent video advertising sample, representing hundreds of billions impressions — to develop insights on the state of video advertising worldwide.
This analysis revealed two interrelated trends that will be critical to driving video advertising forward. First, more impressions were served on CTV devices than ever before. Second, the rise of CTV has opened the door to enhanced personalization within video campaigns. Those insights have major implications for advertisers. Here's a closer look at what they mean for marketers advertising on CTV.
The CTV Surge
Impressions and ad spend follow eyeballs, so it's no surprise that advertisers are turning their dollars toward CTV platforms as more viewers tune in. CTV reached an estimated 182.6 million people in the U.S., according to eMarketer, with the programming quality of television and the measurability and targeting potential of digital advertising. As that number continues to climb, CTV has finally reached the critical mass needed to create real advertising opportunities.
CTV impressions jumped from 17 percent of all impressions served in 2017 to 28 percent in 2018, according to Innovid's 2018 Global Video Benchmarks Report. Not only are buyers working to include more CTV in their media mix, but most standard television buys now contain at least some CTV inventory. In 2018, Innovid found the majority of campaigns — roughly 68 percent — contained CTV impressions. That finding is supported by eMarketer's report, which found television is now delivered through a connected environment to more than half of all U.S. households.
This shift is even more pronounced for advertisers who purchased ad inventory from broadcast publishers. Just over 63 percent of these impressions were served on a connected device along with just over 7 percent of all non-broadcast publisher impressions, Innovid has found. The rise of CTV across media buys has opened the door to new opportunities for marketers at a time when the desire for advertising personalization is at an all-time high.
The Push to Personalize
When the Reuters Institute released its 2019 predictions report for journalism, media, and technology, it found that, among 200 digital business leaders from 29 countries, a decisive 73 percent felt increased content personalization was a critical pathway to the future. This mirrors a trend toward greater personalization in all aspects of life. From the Facebook feed to the retail floor, consumers are being trained to expect more personalization in every experience.
It's clear that advertisers must meet these heightened expectations or see their messages become an inconvenient outlier in an increasingly customized world. CTV offers a path to meaningful personalization of a brand's messages and content through dynamic data-driven video.
The number of campaigns utilizing data-driven video increased by 79 percent in 2018, according to Innovid's Global Video Benchmarks Report. Dynamic data-driven video now represents 32 percent of all video impressions served. On average, these campaigns created 12,000 unique custom versions using everything from local weather and geographic data to first-party data targeting consumers on an individual level. The largest of these campaigns produced more than 200,000 unique versions tailored to specific audiences.
This dramatic shift to personalization is driving results. According to Innovid, data-driven video campaigns produced an average engagement lift of 78 percent over traditional pre-roll, showing that consumers respond more favorably to personalized content. When paired with broadcast publisher content, the result saw a lift in engagement nearly six times greater than traditional pre‑roll.
The widespread adoption of CTV means that this level of engagement is now possible on a platform with the massive reach and scale of traditional television.
Put Time On Your Side
Time is the foundation of modern advertising.
Advertisers pay to access an audience that's been drawn to publishers' content. In video and television, that means purchasing a handful of attention — traditionally 15 or 30 seconds' worth — to deliver a message to an audience that came for something else. In 2018, interactive units changed the game, delivering additional voluntary time-earned, according to Innovid research. When exposed to the type of interactive ads now available on CTV, viewers voluntarily chose to spend significant additional time with advertiser content.
On broadcaster content, the average 15-second spot earned an additional 46 seconds of viewers' time and attention, more than double what advertisers actually had to pay for. On non-broadcaster content, Innovid found that advertisers earned an additional 26 seconds on a 15-second buy.
Results were similarly promising on longer ads. When served on non-broadcaster content, the average 30-second spot earned an additional 31 seconds of attention. On broadcaster content, that number soared to 71 additional seconds earned. In each case, advertisers saw viewers spend valuable additional seconds with their own content beyond the base ad buy.
Time for Marketers to Make Moves
The numbers are impressive, but the CTV revolution is about more than collecting metrics and meeting KPIs. It offers advertisers the chance to not just reach, but to connect with consumers in the new living room.
By employing engaging, personalized messages powered by data-driven dynamic video, advertisers are no longer limited to devising more pleasant or interesting interruptions. Marketers who act on the opportunity of CTV will earn time, attention, and audience engagement; extend the value of their ad buys; and build experiences that consumers truly value. It's an opportunity so fundamental to the business of advertising that to ignore it is to risk being left behind.
By Beth-Ann Eason - is the president of Innovid, a partner in the ANA Thought Leadership Program.