How Direct-to-Consumer Brands Are Shaping TV’s Future
Today’s television ad industry owes a lot to digital natives, particularly direct-to-consumer (D-to-C) brands. This growing group of upstarts and disruptors has not only changed the way we as consumers buy everything, but it has also revolutionized the use of converged TV (linear, CTV/OTT, and addressable) for both data-driven performance and strategic reach.
Recognizing TV’s value in driving more than just mass reach, D-to-Cs demanded more out of their buys, prioritizing impression-based measurement and real-time, data-backed insights to reach and engage with audiences across platforms and screens. Thanks in large part to D-to-Cs, outcomes, impressions and transparency are fast becoming the norms for TV advertising.
Let’s take a closer look at the D-to-C impact, and how advertisers of all shapes and sizes are benefitting from TV as a highly advanced, cross-platform marketing channel.
Impressions: The Single Source of Truth
When D-to-C brands honed in on TV as a core element of their media mix, they also brought along expectations for real-time analytics, measurement and informed targeting with them. And the industry has met them “where they are,” bringing all forms of TV together and creating an ecosystem where impressions can be the new standard.
With converged TV strategies built on impression-based advertising, D-to-Cs get a consistent view across platforms — they understand how linear, CTV/OTT and addressable work separately and together. This “single source of truth” not only holds TV accountable, but it also provides advertisers an unprecedented look into reach and frequency, incremental reach, and business outcomes (e.g., online and offline sales, app activities, sign-ups, etc.). Most D-to-Cs then then use this intel to reallocate impressions across media partners, publishers and audiences to optimize results and reach.
Audiences: Adapt and Activate
With TV viewing fragmented across time, devices and platforms, D-to-Cs have put audience intelligence and activation at the center of their media strategies. They've shown that achieving specific key performance indicators are not tied to mass reach; rather it’s about using TV’s scale and available data to find, reach and engage with the audiences that are most likely to convert wherever they may be consuming content.
As TV has gone from a data-scarce to a data-rich market in the last few years, linear ads can be tied directly to the household, delivering an entirely new level of audience intelligence, one that's far beyond typical “age and gender.” Combine that with the rise of streaming and addressable, and audience-based targeting is becoming a larger part of TV ad strategies.
Optimize: Continuously and Often
For advertisers, cost optimization is more important than ever. D-to-Cs, many of which began as budget-conscious startups, tackle their TV strategy with the approach that every single dollar spent has to work. Not surprisingly, that’s why measurement is such a core component in their media strategy — but it’s just a part of it.
Taking the intel, D-to-Cs make them actionable via regular optimizations (with a weekly cadence for some), including creative tweaks, adding/suppressing publishers, managing frequency, and changing dayparts/days, to name a few. It’s about continuously testing and learning, and using data-backed intel to ensure TV is a consistent return on ad spend-positive channel — even as viewership continues to fragment.
Following the success of D-to-Cs, more traditional advertisers, who have leveraged TV for decades (think CPGs, brick-and-mortars, etc.) have followed suit. It's clear always-on audience analytics and innovative, cross-platform measurement tools are now the staples of effective TV advertising, ensuring retail brands, D-to-C or otherwise, are able to maximize campaign performance.
Meg Garnett Coyle is vice president, communications at TVSquared, the world’s largest measurement and attribution platform for converged TV.
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