The growth of connected TV advertising has been one of the great success stories of 2020, with a number of our experts expecting this trend to continue into 2021. The Trade Desk’s Philippa Snare notes,
“This year saw many trends that had been gradually evolving significantly accelerate as a result of the onset of Covid-19. One such trend has been the rise of Connected TV (CTV). With most consumers’ day-to-day routines up-ended, the on-demand, flexible nature of CTV led to a huge growth in consumption – Channel 4’s All4 saw its highest number of quarterly views ever across Q1 of this year. And where consumers go, advertisers follow.”
In addition to shifts in consumer behaviour, Snare links the desire of advertisers to invest in CTV to its adaptiveness as a channel; like programmatic out of home, this has the potential to be a major boon in a still-uncertain climate. “We’ve already seen a shift away from the up-front model of TV ad-buying, and this will only gather pace in the new year. In the current context, nobody can be certain what the next few weeks hold, never mind the next few months – so it’s no wonder advertisers are enjoying the flexibility and speed offered by CTV.”
Matt Keating, UK Sales Director at VDX.tv, highlights some of the other benefits that CTV has to offer, such as its ability to connect with younger audiences and its lack of reliance on cookies. However, he cautions that it is still early days for the channel. “Advanced TV (sometimes incorrectly referred to as Connected TV) has become a big topic in 2020 with its ability to reach younger, niche audiences. However, still in its infancy, advertisers and agencies are trying to figure out how to use it in a way that complements marketing objectives and existing channels, while still managing reach and frequency.
“A positive aspect of advanced TV is that it has never been a cookie-driven environment, though the challenge then is integrating it with other parts of a media plan, including applying the right kind of targeting to reach incremental audiences and delivering creative solutions that exploit its position as a hybrid of TV and digital.”
Looking ahead to 2021, Keating hopes that marketers will become more comfortable relying advanced, or connected, television as an ad channel. “According to FreeWheel, 70% of UK marketers surveyed expect advanced TV ad spend to increase in the next 12 months. As we move into 2021, I hope that advanced TV becomes less of a scary unknown and more of a comfortable entity that is a part of many media plans, particularly for brands outside of large Tier 1 advertisers.
“Additionally, I expect to see advertising-based video on demand (AVOD) services grow and become a serious source of competition for eyeballs and ad spend, especially with viewers losing tolerance for additional subscription video on demand (SVOD) services, and a few of the big broadcaster video on demand (BVOD) players beginning to open up their supply to programmatic demand sources.”
Alex Khan, Group MD, International at Unruly, expects that the “surge in the use of connected TV apps and devices due to the pandemic” will continue into 2021, along with the continued growth of video advertising, as marketers have greater access to performance metrics for their campaigns.
“For the first time, media planners will be armed with data that provides insight into the incremental reach and performance across TV and digital. Coupled with the vast majority (86%) of consumers saying they want to see more video content from brands in 2020 (Wyzowl), brands will up their video content production to meet this demand and we’ll see video ad budgets continue to grow in 2021.
“In order to make these budgets work as hard as possible, brands will put pressure on video advertising platforms to provide more creative insights and editing solutions, resulting in digital marketers having greater insight and control over creative strategy, historically a responsibility held by creative agencies.”