Login is restricted to DCN Publisher Members. If you are a DCN Member and don't have an account, register here.

Digital Content Next


InContext / An inside look at the business of digital content

TV advertising has evolved. It’s time to think like a viewer

October 19, 2022 | By Stefanie Briec, Director, Head of Demand Sales UK & International AudienceXpress – FreeWheel @FreeWheel

The advanced TV landscape—including video-on-demand (VOD), connected TV (CTV), OTT and addressable linear TV—has experienced rapid growth and change. We’re also seeing the rise of ad-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) and free ad-supported streaming services (FAST). As a result, more premium video inventory is becoming available to ad buyers. Luckily, innovation within the advertising ecosystem is beginning to make this more accessible. So, what’s up next for this evolving space?

Seven in 10 UK marketers believe their advanced TV budgets will increase in the coming 12 months, according to the latest survey from AudienceXpress, FreeWheel’s premium video sales house. What’s more, almost nine in 10 respondents intend to spend more on AVOD and FAST.

Ad buyers are investing in the channels where the eyeballs are. But now the industry must go a step further and truly think as audiences do. Content, quality, and connectivity appear to be front of mind for viewers. So, how can marketers also make these a priority?

Audiences only have eyes for content, so ad buyers should too

When viewers tune in to TV and premium video content, they can now access it through a diverse selection of platforms, channels, and devices. The fact that audiences have become more and more fragmented proves that what they watch is significantly more important than how they watch it. 

If ad buyers plan to succeed in the TV advertising landscape, they need to adopt this attitude. By taking a unified approach to advanced TV and premium video, they can shift their focus away from fragmented endpoints and towards what matters most: the audience and what they enjoy watching. To help buyers achieve this, the advertising ecosystem is refining its tools for unified campaign planning, ad buying, and performance measurement. 

New technologies and best practices, such as ad podding, are improving both efficiencies for buyers and the premium video experience for viewers. Advanced contextual advertising, meanwhile, is allowing buyers to connect with audiences through specific topics and genres, as well as combine semantic analysis and keyword targeting to maximize ad relevance. 

While further collaboration is required to accelerate this progress, advanced TV is enabling advertisers to engage typically hard-to-reach audiences through quality content.

Why aggregation is the answer to precise ad targeting

The key drivers of advanced TV spend emphasize marketers’ goal of reaching the best viewers however they consume TV and premium video content. Our AudienceXpress survey found that respondents considered sophisticated audience targeting capabilities as the top growth accelerator for advanced TV, followed by the opportunity to reach viewers across screens. 

Enabling precise ad targeting and allowing buyers to be agile as their audiences move between platforms and devices are therefore highly important for capturing investment. While it may seem paradoxical, aggregation is necessary for this to happen. By aggregating a bigger pool of premium video inventory, the advertising ecosystem can facilitate efficient, streamlined ad buying and deliver desired audiences at scale. 

This again requires buyers and sellers to treat advanced TV channels as viewers do—that is, equally—as they unify their approach to TV advertising. 

Joining the measurement dots

Consolidating measurement across endpoints is as critical to the future of TV advertising as consolidating inventory and audiences. Buyers need a single view of how impactful their ad campaigns are, both while they are running and after they are wrapped up, much like any great TV show. 

Unfortunately, legacy measurement tools and newer alternatives currently struggle with capturing performance across screens and providing ad buyers with a full understanding of campaign impact. Buyers need this to pinpoint the elements of their strategies that are generating the best results and carry out informed campaign optimizations. Additionally, accurate measurement solutions are necessary for effective frequency management, which safeguards against ad fatigue and maintains the quality viewing experience for audiences. 

Greater standardization of advertising metrics is a crucial next step towards unifying measurement. This provides clarity between buyers and sellers, allowing the former to plan, purchase, and optimize all forms of TV inventory and the latter to better communicate the value of their offerings. 

Connectivity will solve complexity 

Speaking the same language across the ecosystem also lays the foundation for better interconnectivity between all players. In turn, this will help tackle complexity, which has become a concern in the rapidly evolving advanced TV landscape. 

Alongside building a shared language, interoperability must be a priority in the year ahead. Technological innovation is critical for overcoming the challenges buyers face with planning, executing, and monitoring advanced TV campaigns. But ensuring these innovative solutions are widely compatible will help make TV and premium video advertising available to all. This will drive growth and progress throughout the ecosystem, letting buyers purchase from bigger pools of aggregated inventory, increase efficiency, and extend their reach, while also allowing publishers to streamline their advertising business models and maximize yield. 

Connectivity is enabling viewers to consume TV and premium video content how they want, when they want. It is also the key to enabling ad buyers to purchase the inventory they want, how they want. Not only is this beneficial to the future of advanced TV advertising, but also to audiences by ensuring they receive the most relevant ads and a quality viewing experience.

Liked this article?

Subscribe to the InContext newsletter to get insights like this delivered to your inbox every week.