How marketers are preparing for the next evolution of CTV

As advertisers plan their connected TV strategies and campaigns for 2023, several developments across a burgeoning year of CTV advances are shedding light on what’s next for the industry’s evolving — and inarguably buzzy — performance channel.

Growing CTV ad budgets in 2022, a greater emphasis on premium inventory and workflow automation are all contributing to the development of this increasingly essential channel.

In a recent virtual forum hosted by Digiday, CTV experts, including Marwan Soghaier, Chief Product Officer at MNTN, unpacked the CTV strategies and technologies brands are adopting to increase engagement across channels and enhance user experiences. 


How CTV tactics differ from display advertising strategies


CTV advertisers face a different set of challenges than those in display channels, which is why many brands are looking for inventive ways to connect with TV audiences.


As Soghaier put it during his forum interview, CTV “involves delivering almost a storyline and a message and a vision to the audience member that reaches as deep as possible into the viewer’s heart. It pulls those strings to get some engagement and connect the brand to the viewers. Those cycles are not the same for television as they are for display.”


The nature of CTV incentivizes brands to produce high-quality ads that engage audiences. Unlike the display advertising channel, video ads on TV often require elements such as voiceovers, background music, acting talent, scripting and many other factors to foster engagement. With that in mind, advertisers navigating the CTV landscape are employing new advertising strategies and technologies to address these needs.


“We’re seeing the advent of AI, meaning we have engines that can monitor metadata sources and the television programming itself,” said Soghaier. “[They] can determine the viewer behavior and make recommendations on what types of stock video, music, wording and language could be applied to a video ad.”


Similarly, the transition from display advertising to CTV is poised to grow further in 2023 with the help of advancing technologies that bring the audience’s context into focus.


Contextual engines will be vital to CTV success


In another example of evolving tech that is powering successful connected TV campaigns, contextual engines are driving improvements in the area of highly engaging CTV experiences. Addressing the need for contextual advertising is one of the most significant challenges in the space. As Soghaier sees it, marketers are discovering its potential and putting contextual’s power to use.


“You can use contextual engines to drive contextual ads into existing television ads or existing product ads into existing television ads,” said Soghaier. “You can now take an existing ad that before could have played as a branding ad and turn that into something that has a lot more shelf life.”


According to Soghaier, the contextual engines of the future will help marketers understand audience behaviors across their online properties. From there, these engines will offer relevant product recommendations while individuals view television ads. Ideally, this will all be automated — and significantly more dynamic.


“It should happen on the fly,” he said. “As user behaviors and the audience members you’re targeting change, so do your television ads.”


Tactics and technologies marketers are using to win at CTV


Brands are reaching for new strategies and frameworks to prepare their CTV campaigns for 2023 — the goal is to find a balance between quality and speed to market. However, a challenge inherent to that goal is that AI and other technologies have yet to be fully integrated into advertising.


Fortunately, according to Soghaier, these applications are on the horizon, meaning that advertisers are poised to add capabilities that were once reserved for other creative sectors.


“There are things that are in play right now in the world of entertainment and animation that will easily and quickly find their way into the world of advertising,” Soghaier said. 


To prepare for this technological shift, brands are rethinking their TV advertising strategies. In 2023, that will mean addressing approaches down to the level of allocation across the linear–CTV mix.


“I think that the biggest tactic for any marketing team right now is to look at the amount of spend that they’re pouring into linear,” said Soghaier. “They need to embrace the tactic and move that media budget into connected television. There’s a saying that the typical marketer — if they’re advertising on linear television — knows that half of their budget is going to waste; they just don’t know which half. And that’s because of the lack of transparency.”


“The lack of transparency you see in linear television is given to you by connected television because you have that IP footprint,” he added.


How CTV is driving the future of television advertising


Brands use CTV and related technologies to make advertising more accessible and speed up go-to-market implementation. They’re employing less invasive strategies, increasing transparency in attribution stories and building more creative ad formats.


“You can ask anyone what they hate most about watching television, and … they’ll tell you it’s coming to the most important part of their programming and having to wait 3–5 minutes to go through a bunch of television ads,” said Soghaier. “In other words, make the viewing experience less invasive.”


Furthermore, this technology also makes it easier to adapt to the changing circumstances affecting audiences — a vital feature for TV advertising in 2023 and beyond. Although there’s still a way to go before many audience targeting and contextual advertising responsibilities can be passed from practitioners to automated systems, marketers would be wise to prepare their campaigns for the inevitable changes in the TV space.


“These are the leaps that television advertising is going to take because it’s such a high-risk medium for many people,” said Soghaier. “We’re working on ways to predict how well it’s going to do before you’ve even applied the budget to it and before you’ve even thrown it into the television channel. That’s something every marketer can embrace.”


Sponsored By: MNTN