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  • April 21, 2022
  • By Stephanie Gall Head of CTV and TV Products, Lucid (a Cint Group Company)
  • Blog

2022 Upfronts Preview: Marketers Need to Rethink TV Strategies

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This year's Upfronts season stands to be one to remember. Consumer attention is strewn across an endless number of screens, devices, and platforms. Media companies are increasingly packaging digital or CTV buys alongside their linear offerings. And new currencies have cropped up to displace the fractured legacy system.

To add to the monumental changes, each of these forces will have a direct impact on marketers' ability to accurately measure the success of their campaigns and assess the real-world outcomes they are delivering. 

Despite knowing disruption has been on the horizon for months, there is still a widespread mentality throughout ad land that things will just work themselves out. But, merely operating based on the way things have been done in the past isn't an option. Being ill-prepared or unwilling to experiment this year could present a serious problem for brands hoping to get the most out of their ad budgets both now and in the years to come. 

The only way to guarantee success will be taking a closer look at the ongoing industry debates and distilling the meaningful conversations from the rest of the noise. Reimagining how the industry buys, sells, and measures TV (and digital) is easier said than done, of course, but there are more than a few places to start for a simple refresh on how to think about TV ad commitments this year: 

Remember, Measurement Isn't Just About Currency

Considering the stronghold that TV still has on ad spend, brands need to get audience measurement right. There's a reason that the industry has been so vocal about aligning around at a new, or perhaps several new, standards for the transactional slice of the measurement equation. After all, what else matters if marketers can't be sure they're actually getting what they pay for?

A Convince and Convert study with IDG Connect shows that most marketers use six or more tools to measure marketing performance, yet half still worry about accuracy. Because of this, a whopping 78% of marketers plan to use or adopt an attribution solution in the next two years. To that note, however, only 26% of said marketers will use a statistical modeling and algorithms tool, while 23% will still use outdated last-click methods. 

There's now much more to consider when it comes to measurement—looking at NBCU's handy measurement framework launched last year, brands only paying attention to audience measurement and verification are missing two-thirds of the picture. Putting time and effort into figuring out the other partners that will make up the rest of the process, from brand lift and impact to planning and attribution, will make it easier to hit the ground running when campaigns finally take flight. 

Build In Flexibility to Ditch the "Set It and Forget It" Mentality

Capturing consumer attention is hard, but keeping it is harder. People have short attention spans and with the variety of content options available to them, will only really tune into content that resonates – ads and ad experiences must do the same.

That said, there is an industry perception that TV is "set it and forget it," where marketers can only revisit campaigns quarterly. This is no longer a practical mindset. Blaming data lags or the red-tape involved in moving inventory mid-campaign have just become excuses for fixing poor campaigns.   

Now, marketers can and should adjust ad creative in real-time. Smart TV data is often available within 24 hours and brand lift insights can be provided within days of airing. Ad-supported TV streaming services also have a big opportunity to work with marketers and advertisers to introduce innovative or interactive ad formats that feature hyper-localized content. 

Does that mean all limitations have been eliminated? No, but specific and targeted refinements can be made today that weren't previously possible. The long-term benefit of optimizing creatives during the campaign and making them more relevant for individual audiences is not something to be overlooked. 

Find New Data Sources and Don't Settle for Partial Data

Tracking ad exposure, and individual consumers, across both CTV and linear is still incredibly complicated. Marketers often don't know who saw the ad, just the household or device it aired on. Without using TV panel data, individual attribution is difficult, but panel data alone does not always provide the scale needed to understand the impact on granular audiences. Smart TV and STB data can provide that scale for marketers, but what other data sets can they tap into to more confidently connect an ad exposure to an individual?

Individual media consumption can be measured in a variety of ways, including with real-time surveys using self-reported TV viewing habits to identify media propensity in combination with device-level exposure data, which can increase confidence in individual attribution. 

Getting more granular metrics takes time. It requires having the right data on hand and using measurement partners who have the right capabilities. Both are key to understanding campaign performance. With so much technology available at our fingertips, there's no longer an excuse for using incomplete or inaccurate data. Coupling holistic measurement with comprehensive identity resolution can finally help marketers tie together the disparate data sets they have on hand.

[Editor's note: This is a contributed article from Lucid, a Cint Group Company. Streaming Media accepts vendor bylines based solely on their value to our readers.]

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