With ad spend projected to exceed $21 billion for 2022, many marketers are looking to add connected TV (CTV) to their media mix – but there are questions around how a brand can measure these efforts. While CTV can enable brand awareness in nationwide campaigns or in specific audience segments, identity resolution tools like Merkle’s Merkury allow brands to use CTV as a trackable performance marketing channel. Understanding how to measure and optimize CTV campaigns should be top-of-mind for marketers looking to spend in CTV as a direct response channel.
Identity is the Key to Effective Measurement for CTV
CTV campaigns can be activated as a performance marketing channel with a direct response mindset, even if the primary or secondary goal is simply achieving awareness. CTV campaigns can target individuals and households one-to-one, giving you access to activate on highly targeted audiences.
Although platforms can provide high-level impression and reach data, this can only provide so many insights, especially if the end goal for a campaign is to improve performance of media and drive business outcomes. Technological advancements in the industry have allowed many demand-side platforms (DSPs) and Smart TV providers the ability to provide post-campaign household-level impression log data for campaigns. An identity resolution tool like Merkury can ingest this data for closed-loop reporting and attribution, which enables brands to leverage clean rooms to combine CTV data with their first-party data. This translates to:
- A unique data set for connected TV campaigns where household level impression data and first-party data are joined in a privacy-safe environment.
- The ability to tie CTV impressions to responses and business outcomes for the targeted audience.
- New testing opportunities across creative, frequency, and audiences that can continue to drive improvements in the efficiency and effectiveness of these campaigns.
- The ability to add other data sets into clean rooms from other channels to enable brands to understand where CTV fits in the customer journey and its overall marketing contribution to the business.
Connected TV combined with the power of an identity solution has taken video as a channel into the 21st century with modern targeting and advanced measurement solutions tied to business outcomes. This closed-loop reporting brings advanced measurement capabilities to video channels and TV that have never existed before. Although a strong infrastructure and foundation in analytics is a requirement for both the agency and the brand, there are nuances that make tailoring measurement to the channel, industry, and data necessary in order to make the solution successful.
Levers for a Successful Campaign
Once the appropriate measurement strategy, analytics, and activation skills are in place, brands can leverage performance results to optimize CTV campaigns at the most granular levels. Performance in CTV can be optimized towards multiple KPIs, including a brand’s lower funnel metrics, return on ad spend (ROAS), or customer acquisition cost (CAC). However, more unique to CTV than other channels, there are many factors that can impact the campaign’s performance. Below are a few examples of performance levers that can be adjusted and measured within CTV to produce investment levels in the channel that are optimized for your business metrics:
- Audience - CTV is addressable in nature, allowing brands to execute media to their desired audiences with a video asset. Determining the appropriate audiences to activate against and setting up campaigns to allow for visibility into performance by audience will allow for optimization and measurement at the most detailed level.
- Platform - There are quite a few platform and strategy options within the CTV landscape. Although larger DSPs may produce a broader reach for your campaign, specific original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), like Samsung, Roku, LG, or Vizio that are smaller in size may be the ideal partner for your campaign. Also, because exposure files come directly from each platform, data agreements must be in place with each partner to allow for performance by inventory and platform analysis.
- Creative - Another optimization lever enabled with closed-loop reporting is the ability to see performance by creative length, style, type, or inventory asset. The timing of impression delivery to conversion can help brands become aware of what creative spot and/or length is most impactful in driving conversions versus building brand awareness.
- Geography - CTV campaigns can include geotargeting, which allows for precise targeting for hyper-local campaigns down to the designated market area, county, city, or zip code. Analyzing performance by location can further optimize your campaign by increasing investment in high-performing markets, while reducing or adjusting campaigns in underperforming markets.
- Business Outcomes – Not all conversions are equal and closed-loop attribution can optimize your campaigns to improve effectiveness and efficiency and drive higher value conversions. This can be tested and optimized for specific products, audiences, locations, services, etc., potentially maintaining the campaign’s CAC while improving contribution margin.
- Frequency - Impression log data can help marketers understand how often households are being served CTV ads and identify the ideal impression delivery style. Creating a maximum impression frequency based on time, day, household, or creative can have a positive impact on conversion volume and campaign efficiency.
- Audience/Platform Overlap - Household log-level impression data provides the benefit of understanding overlap between audiences and campaigns. If the goal is to reach new households, having an idea of overlap across audiences is useful when testing new audiences and improving evergreen campaigns. In addition, OEMs can be the ideal partner for linear TV brands, as they can focus your CTV investment on net new households while still allowing for advanced target, measurement, and optimization.
These are just some of the considerations when trying to find the optimal investment for your CTV campaigns. By adjusting these levers and monitoring performance for each, stakeholders can be confident in the media investment and be sure that the campaign is being held accountable at every level of the campaign.
CTV as an Extension of Linear TV Campaigns
TV remains an extremely powerful medium to reach the masses; however, due to the proliferation of platforms and devices, consumers are now in the driver’s seat, deciding how and when they want to consume content. Because of this change in consumer behaviors, a holistic video approach may be necessary for a brand to meet their desired audience consumers where they consume video.
As a complement to linear, CTV enables marketers to move beyond demos and content to target specific highly desired audiences via premium content. This can create omni-channel connectivity within video campaigns at the household level, eliminating waste while delivering the desired impression frequency more efficiently and effectively than a linear TV-only video campaign. This strategy can be deployed by engaging those consumers who have made the jump entirely from linear TV (“cord-nevers” or “cord-cutters”), that would otherwise not be reached by a linear-only strategy, or complementing linear impressions among the households who consume a small amount of linear TV (“light linear TV viewers”).
Partnering with an agency that knows the value of strong activation and measurement planning as well as the importance of analyzing a CTV campaign at every level can ensure that your CTV investment will deliver for your brand and meet performance goals.
Futureproofing for a Cookieless World
On top of granular measurement, arguably one of the biggest benefits of CTV and its measurement capabilities is the absence of cookies from end to end. Despite Google’s seemingly endless goodbye to the cookie, marketers understand there will be a time soon that cookies will not be able to be used for activation and measurement. Brands will have to leverage tactics that don’t require cookies, and given that cookies aren’t relevant for CTV, it is a great long-term channel for the mix. However, campaigns take time to measure, optimize, and scale, so now is the best time to begin CTV investment. This will ensure that when the cookie is deprecated, your media strategy and measurement plan is already prepared and won’t be impacted by the large industry change.
As mentioned previously, closed-loop reporting leverages household impression data and first-party conversion data, which eliminates the need to use traditional pixel tags on webpages or cookies to measure campaigns. Starting to build media plans and measurement solutions without relying on cookies will give marketers an edge when cookies are ultimately retired. This applies not only to CTV, but across channels utilizing identity solutions as the cookieless solution of the future.
Since CTV is one of the fastest-growing media channels, it is critical that brands prioritize measurement before investing in the CTV space. It is vital to choose the right partners and agencies for your CTV campaigns, making sure all teams are aligned with your performance goals and what your brand needs from its strategy, as it can make or break your investment. Finally, measurement within CTV is near real-time, enabling marketers to pivot their approach across both linear and CTV and other video options to maximize their investment per their desired KPIs. Partnering with Merkle allows brands to use CTV beyond its brand awareness capabilities and utilize it as a performance marketing channel, driven by our best-in-class identity resolution tool, Merkury, along with leading media strategy and activation.
Learn more about how Merkle helps brands reach their desired audiences via Connected TV while using advanced analytics and innovative measurement to optimize the campaigns: https://www.merkle.com/thought-leadership/case-studies/cancer-treatment-centers-america-leverages-audience-insights