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How to Optimize Family Co-Viewing, Create Dynamic Partnerships, & Know When to go IO or Programmatic

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What are some of the best approaches for advertising strategies that incorporate both direct and programmatic partnerships, and how can advertisers who are looking to expand their reach better optimize the rising trend of co-viewing experiences?

Jennifer D'Alessandro, Head of Ad Sales and Marketing at Future Today, a leading CTV monetization solutions provider, outlined some points that streaming technology providers should focus on to achieve marketplace success. “This involves a robust, cloud-based technology platform managing OTT services, providing a comprehensive suite of services from video management to monetization,” she said.

Companies like Future Today “enable brands to reach diverse audiences through targeted solutions, including GEO, genre, contextual, audience, and behavioral targeting. This ensures advertisers can tailor campaigns to specific demographics, enhancing engagement and relevance, essentially making the campaign dollars work smarter for the advertisers.”

Why Co-Viewing Creates Dynamic Opportunities for Advertisers  

The emergence of co-viewing (members of the same household watching a program simultaneously) in the AVOD and FAST spaces has opened up new opportunities for advertisers, especially for family-oriented programs and platforms. “We anticipate a shift in brands capitalizing on these audiences through family-oriented content, including animation, movies, TV shows, and game shows,” D'Alessandro said. “Families consuming content together often discuss the ads they are seeing. This is family time, and distractions – such as looking at your phone during the ad breaks – are minimized.”

D’Alessandro emphasized one of Future Today’s flagship channels, HappyKids, as a promising use case for the advantages of co-viewing. “Studies indicate that families often discuss ads together and highlight the substantial purchasing influence children have within households,” she said. “94% of viewers who engaged with HappyKids content did so as a family, and 86% intend to continue this trend. Additionally, a recent Kids Insights report indicated that nearly 70% of HappyKids' audience acknowledges children's significant influence on buying decisions, spanning groceries, shopping preferences, restaurant choices, and vacation destinations, among others.”

Co-viewing has great potential to reach untapped audiences focused on the family unit. A higher level of ad engagement can be achieved by opening up a space where parents and children can discuss the ads they watch. This is especially important due to the unique purchasing power that a family offers. “Kids are the new CEO of the household and carry weight in buying decisions,” D’Alessandro said. “As the landscape of CTV becomes increasingly fragmented, advertisers should consider strategic collaborations. Working directly with publishers, especially for large-scale campaigns, offers a comprehensive presence across all platforms, minimizing the risk of duplication and enhancing the viewer experience.”

The effect of co-viewing also reduces second-screen viewing. Rather than advertisers needing to find ways to work with the tendencies of single viewers to disengage with their CTV and pick up their phone during ad breaks, “Parents and children are both engaged with the content and the ad breaks,” D’Alessandro said.

Considering the rapid migration of advertising dollars from linear to streaming, D’Alessandro underscores the importance of working directly with publishers and developing the relationship in a way that is as direct and organic as possible. “Future Today created a dedicated sales team in 2019 to offer a one-to-one partnership that prioritizes a seamless and friendly experience,” she said. “Working directly with the publisher allows for a controlled environment that will deliver upon all partner requests.”

Whaen to Use IO vs. Programmatic Ad-Buying

Both insertion order (IO) direct buying and programmatic buying have their places for specific types of campaigns. “When brands are looking for a larger footprint, direct IO is the path to take to include sponsorship elements--i.e., loading billboards, interactive overlays, hero image, QR coding, custom playlists and more,” D’Alessandro said. “Programmatic is a great way to manage several brands for one advertiser simultaneously while applying targeting. Within the programmatic environment, PG pipelines are a way to ensure placement within quality programming and first look at the inventory. PMP pipelines work well for brands with flexibility and minimum guardrails.”

How to Optimize In-Flight Ad Delivery

Developing strong and productive partnerships with both direct and programmatic advertisers is essential to optimizing in-flight ad delivery.

D’Alessandro cited a Future Today use case for this. “Working with a major toy company, we learned early on the importance of relevant content and delivering campaigns within flight,” she said. “In 4Q23, we created individual deal IDs for each toy campaign with outlined perimeters, i.e., boys 6-11, girls 4-6, baby/PreK choosing programming that perfectly aligned to avoid wasted impressions. We optimized the campaigns daily to ensure delivery within flight. We also remained nimble and could pivot quickly if a toy sold out or incremental dollars needed to be applied to hit goals. All individual campaigns were delivered in full within flight."

Ultimately, incorporating many of the elements D’Alessandro discussed will be essential for successfully moving forward as more and more viewers migrate from linear to CTV.  

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