Connected TV spend to rise, while priority remains low

More than 70 percent of 215 client-side senior marketers believe that connected TV is an opportunity for the ad industry, yet none of them spend any more than 10 percent of their budget on this digital avenue, according to a new report from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA). 

The study, in partnership with ad platform BrightLine, shows that 48 percent of respondents whose companies are already engaged in connected TV or over-the-top (OTT) devices plan to allocate more of their TV ad budget to it next year. Another 13 percent of respondents whose companies are not currently engaged in connected TV or OTT, plan to do so over the next year.

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While ad budgets for connected TV seem to be moving in the right direction for marketers, the numbers still remain modest. The top barriers preventing greater spending in this area are due to a lack of reliable measurement metrics and small-scale audiences, according to the report.

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But Rob Aksman, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of BrightLine, believes that measurement is a “perceived hurdle” rather than a real one.

“Marketers surveyed think that their hurdle is measurement. But to me, this is an education gap,” Aksman says. “From an analytical perspective, we can track all the usual digital analytics – which we get from desktop and mobile – on TV screen. The only missing piece is Nielsen demographic ratings. I just don’t think marketers are aware of that.”

Others disagree and for Kevin Hung, senior vice president and digital innovations director at Havas Media specifically, digital analytics for connected TV are a far cry from where they need to be and are in need of improvement.

“Analytics is getting there. At this time, targeted impression level data is available to advertisers and marketers, but that’s about as far as it goes. I think the industry would love to start being able to append video ad serving template (VAST) tags for increased intelligence on how efforts are impacting the marketplace,” says Hung, whose agency has already started experimenting with connected TV.

While marketers begin to slowly adopt this new revenue opportunity, Hung points out that targeting also remains a challenge. More than half of U.S. households have a TV connected to the Internet, he notes, yet these might not necessarily be the target audience that a brand is looking for. Meanwhile, the current model of how connected TV is set up for advertisers often requires consumers to engage with brands, often yielding low engagement rates. 

Regardless of the above, the report shows that 50 percent of marketers surveyed cited audience targeting to be the top benefit of connected TV, followed by high engagement and amplification of video content.

BrightLine’s Aksman is also optimistic about the future of connected TV. “There’s nothing stopping connected TV from going mainstream today: there’s scale, there’s targeting and there’s data. With connected TV, advertisers can not only reach TV viewers, but also offer a better brand experience with clickable and measurable videos,” he says.

Homepage image via Shutterstock

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