Your Dream CTV Features Probably Already Exist
5 Min Read It’s a shaky time for advertisers. Global economic inflation is on the climb, and marketing budgets are slimming down just as fast to match. Now is the time for speed, efficiency, and performance—and Connected TV is leading the charge. Advertising Week and MNTN recently polled marketers to learn how they’re using CTV to drive success and boost outcomes across all their ad channels. Now we’re sharing what your peers think to help give your campaigns a little extra oomph. Tim Edmundson, Director of Content Marketing & Research at MNTN, recently joined Advertising Week for a live webinar to break down the polling results, detail best practices for CTV success, and address misconceptions about the channel—including how advertisers’ wishlist features for the future are already available today. You can watch a full recording of “Make Your CTV Ads Go Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” here—or you can keep reading for a high-level recap of the presentation. It’s Time For a Performance Boost Edmundson started the webinar by noting that, yea, things have been better for advertisers. “There’s a lot of inflation across the globe, which affects consumer spending—and as advertisers, that [impacts us] quite a bit,” he said. “In these times of uncertainty, history seems to dictate that marketing budgets tend to be on the chopping block or at least under scrutiny,” noted Edmundson. “If you’re working with higher scrutiny and potentially limited resources, the tools you use, the strategies you deploy, and the channels you activate on really make a difference,” he concluded. This new environment has raised the stakes for advertisers. In good times and bad, brands need to continue growing—and that puts pressure on marketing teams to produce big wins for less cost and effort. Edmundson outlined the need for solutions that offer speed, efficiency, and performance—but took time to recognize that bandwidth for channels like CTV is an issue. “Folks have a lot on their plates,” he admitted. “A new TV advertising channel, especially if you don’t have experience with it, can seem like a complicated thing.” The good news? “It’s not,” a confident Edmundson said. In Economic Sickness and Health Edmundson laid out the benefits of premium CTV platforms—both in good times and bad. “CTV is very similar to digital ad channels that teams are already familiar with,” said Edmundson. He elaborated on the opportunities the channel presents by keeping costs down, targeting audiences likely to convert, driving measurable ROAS, and improving ad performance. “But importantly, it helps you maintain a presence on TV. That’s huge because TV is still the prestige advertising channel; there’s nothing better than it,” he noted before detailing how brands have used TV advertising to weather previous economic crises. Of particular note is just how accountable and measurable CTV is. “Now you know when someone sees your ad, goes to your website, and converts—and then you can track that revenue back to your TV ads,” said Edmundson, referring to MNTN’s Cross-Device Verified Vistis model. “Five, ten years ago, that was science fiction. But it’s real and you should be taking advantage of it today.” Edmundson went on to explain that this level of campaign measurement helps advertising teams use hard data and actionable insights to justify their budgets and promote their wins to decision-makers. “Or if you’re the decision maker, it helps you know that your decisions are paying off.” Calling All Advertisers At the heart of the presentation, Edmundson explained how MNTN and Advertising Week teamed up to survey marketing leaders on their CTV experiences. He led the section with an eye-popping stat: 64% of marketers classify CTV as a performance marketing channel. “That’s enormous,” commented Edmundson. “Nearly two out of every three marketers—your competitors, your peers—are seeing this as a viable way to reach their core audience, engage with them, drive measurable conversions, and generate measurable revenue…just like a paid search campaign.” “This is a sea change moment,” Edmundson commented. He further noted that CTV is seeing a lot of these sea-change moments as of late, including streaming besting linear TV in viewership for the first time last year. Other key findings from the survey that demonstrate a shift in how advertisers view CTV: 90% say it will be a relevant part of their ad strategies for the next 5+ years 79% are confident with their CTV strategies. 60% say that platform plays an important role in their marketing mix 50% of advertisers said that both ROAS and reach are important on CTV Making Wishes Come True Later in the presentation, Edmundson revealed that MNTN and Advertising Week asked marketers what they think about measurement—and what features they wished the channel had. While only 42% of respondents said they were satisfied with CTV reporting, a quick look at their wish list of features explains why that number isn’t higher. From 71% wanting performance analysis at the individual segment level to 58% wanting the ability to monitor campaign performance in real-time alongside other channels, Edmundson broke down a large list of features that advertisers wished they could have to bring CTV alive. “Needless to say, all of these [wishlisted features] sound amazing,” admitted Edmundson. “But I have good news: you can throw out that wishlist; all of this stuff already exists if you’re working with the right partner.” Edmundson addressed every single wishlist item and showed how it’s already possible on premium CTV platforms like MNTN Performance TV thanks to features like audience segment reporting and automatic campaign optimization. “This comes down to an adage that goes around the MNTN offices,” said Edmundson. “Not all CTV solutions are created equal.” We’re Just Getting Started We often say there’s more to the webinars than we have room for in our recap blogs, but in this case, it’s especially true. For nearly an hour, Edmundson covered a lot of important topics with Advertising Week — including best practices brands can deploy now to combat economic uncertainty, to a more comprehensive breakdown of survey results from advertisers. Click here to catch it all.
How Brands Are Cashing In On Their Biggest Fans
4 Min Read From rewards programs to website visits, today’s brands are collecting first-party data on their most valuable audiences. Studies show that retargeting campaigns with this first-party data can outperform upper-funnel efforts—and enable brands to outperform their competition. But shockingly, many brands are sitting on a goldmine of this valuable data and don’t even know how to properly use it. Lauren Reedy, Solutions Architect at MNTN, recently spoke to Digiday about the value of first-party data, how brands can collect and leverage it, and why CTV retargeting is essential to the true cross-device experience. You can watch a full recording of “First-Party Targeting and CTV: A Data Lottery You Already Won” here—or you can keep reading for a high-level recap of what was discussed. Ain’t No Party Like First-Party Reedy began by pointing out that CTV has changed how advertisers think of TV advertising. TV is no longer used for just awareness-only campaigns; today brands can leverage the platform to target and reach customers throughout the sales funnel. “This new world of TV has kicked off a bit of an arms race,” noted Reedy. “All of these brands are looking to maximize CTV’s capabilities, including leveraging first-party data on this channel.” Reedy also issued a word of warning for brands. “Even if you aren’t using it, your competitors most likely are. They’re taking advantage of CTV to grab more of that market share—possibly out from under you,” she cautioned. So what is first-party data? As Reedy noted, it’s your most loyal customers—the ones already familiar with your brand. “First-party data is likely holding your most valuable audience,” said Reedy. “These are people who are familiar with your brand. Either they’ve engaged with you in some way, they’ve done their research, or they’ve explored who you are and what you have to offer. They know who you are—and because of this, they’re more likely to convert. Not just once, but again and again.” Why First-Party is So Valuable Because first-party data consists of audiences familiar with your brand, brands can skip the introductions, focus less on multiple touchpoints, and produce more customizable ads. “You don’t need to spend any time introducing yourself,” said Reedy. By not having to start from scratch, advertisers can save money on ad impressions and bypass the effort they would typically have to make with an unfamiliar audience. “You can jump right into the middle of their customer journey; they’ve already started the conversation with you,” noted Reedy. First-party data can also influence how brands approach their creative. “You can customize these ads to speak specifically to these audiences,” suggested Reedy. To elaborate, she used an example of some of the most valuable first-party audiences available: loyalty program members. “Using first-party data you can target these audiences and show them personalized ads that hone in on their specific customer journey,” she said. “So maybe you offer a specific deal or discount to bring them back to the site or spend more. They’re a lot more likely to engage with those deals because they already love your brand.” When brands use first-party audiences on CTV, the end result is a new way to target the most valuable audiences with ads customized to their tastes. Bringing Data To Life With CRM and Retargeting Later in the presentation, Reedy shared some of the best tactics for using first-party data on CTV. “Retargeting lets you find and reach audiences who have visited your website and showed high-intent behavior,” she said. “An example of this is a customer who comes to your website, adds an item to their cart, but doesn’t convert.” Sometimes customers need to think about a purchase before buying, or sometimes they get distracted and forget what they were doing. By retargeting these audiences, brands can resume the conversation, remind them of the items they were browsing, and convince them to finalize their purchase. But retargeting isn’t just for prospective customers. “We also want to reach customers who have already committed and purchased in the past,” explained Reedy. “CRM targeting allows brands to reach both customers who are in the sales funnel now or in the past and really drive that full-funnel approach.” Reedy gave an example of a lapsed customer who hasn’t purchased in a year and showed how a brand could use a CRM list to target them with a new product line, new store opening, or other information to get them to re-engage. There’s More to See Reedy had a lot more ground to cover with Digiday, including the role measurement plays in first-party targeting, best practices for engaging loyal audiences, and what technology tools brands should leverage. Click here to watch the full recording.
The Machines Are Taking Over Advertising (And That’s Okay)
4 Min Read Artificial intelligence; it’s so hot right now. While science fiction threatened (promised?) us that machine overlords would control our every move, so far the real-world application has been significantly less theatrical. From text generators to image creation, search engines to a personal DJ, it seems like you can’t turn around without encountering another AI tool designed to make life easier. Not counting programming itself, marketing might be the industry most impacted by the rise of AI. While copywriters and designers initially worried about these programs taking their jobs, the end results have been less threatening—and have opened up a legal can of worms as well. But when viewed as a tool, like a hammer, AI can produce some helpful outcomes in skilled hands. And lately, the advertising industry is buying these hammers in bulk. Spectrum Reaches for AI Last week, Spectrum’s ad sales business, Spectrum Reach, got into the AI game with a new “first-of-its-kind AI-powered platform” video production platform. By leveraging similar technology to ChaptGPT and Dall-E2, Spectrum Reach now allows advertisers to type in information about their business and quickly generate personalized TV ads. The platform even enables advertisers to create AI-produced voiceover work by accessing 11 different voice options, each with its own timbre, speed, and tone. According to Spectrum, the new platform personalizes ads by reviewing a business’ social footprint, including social media channels and online reviews. The company promises that an entire commercial can be produced in five minutes or less, letting brands get on air significantly faster than through traditional means. Spectrum hopes this new AI-led technology will fit the needs of smaller to mid-sized businesses, allowing brands without big budgets to create “ready to air” commercials more affordably and easily – without the need for scriptwriters, video shoots, acting talent, set design, and post-production work. While the jury’s out on actual outcomes, it’s likely opening the door for brands to test the TV waters and inspiring competing AI platforms. AI’s Advertising Takeover Spectrum’s use of AI for television ads is just one more example of the ad industry’s embracing of artificial intelligence. A quick skim of industry headlines reveals a repeating theme: brands are using AI more and more. Coca-Cola recently announced a partnership with Bain & Company and OpenAI (the owner of ChaptGPT and DALL-E 2) to explore how AI can enhance the brand’s ad creative. PR and marketing firms are employing AI tools to perform better analysis. And even MNTN’s Chief Creative Officer, Ryan Reynolds, recently used ChatGPT to create an entire commercial for his cellular brand, Mint Mobile. On the Connected TV side, AI and automation tools are making the channel easier to use. Premium CTV platforms like MNTN Performance TV use tech that automatically optimizes ads thousands of times a day to generate performance outcomes for advertisers. And programmatic advertising uses algorithmic tools to automate the buying and selling of digital ad space. This lets advertisers forgo the process of placing ads manually, letting them instead create rules for how, when, and where ads are launched—an especially handy tool for small businesses that need a low-cost and low-effort advertising solution. As CTV continues to grow in popularity, and creative increasingly becomes more in-demand, it’s likely we’ll see more advancements in automation designed to streamline the CTV advertising experience. A Glitch in the Matrix While AI might solve a lot of advertising struggles, it’s not without its drawbacks. Shortly after the arrival of AI design tools, artists noticed a disturbing trend—the AI was repurposing their works without permission, leading to a flurry of copyright lawsuits and potential complications for brands caught in the cross-fire. Generative text AI tools like Chat GPT, while useful for writing prompts, emails, and low-effort content, have also come under growing scrutiny for both their habit of pulling outdated and/or inaccurate information and being unable to write for more complicated topics. Additionally, AI could give some advertisers a false sense of confidence if they’re not deploying those ads via the proper advertising channels or solutions (this includes CTV advertising platforms). After all, even the best ads in the world don’t mean much if they’re not being seen on premium networks, targeted to the right audiences, and sending back valuable real-time insights. To keep the hammer analogy going, you won’t build anything without pairing it with the nails to make it complete. There Is No Fate But What We Make Like all tools, AI will undoubtedly continue to grow and evolve — who could have predicted CTV’s current state back when it was just Netflix and Hulu? But in the meantime, many brands are choosing to dip, not dive, into the AI pool. Perhaps the most popular, and best-performing, solution is to rely on hybrid solutions, such as using AI-powered insights paired with creative advertisers and agencies. Options like QuickFrame by MNTN, or Creative-as-a-Subscription match brands with creative teams that may use AI-powered tools, but use them to guide and assist the creative human mind. The end result is similar to using an AI-powered video platform: high-impact creative, launched without the need for video production and costs-–but with more of the creative human touch that’s unmatched by machines. For now, at least. In the meantime, we’re excitedly watching the advancement of generative AI to see what it will do next—and thankful that it’s more C-3PO than Skynet.
Who’s Your Audience? President’s Day
3 Min Read You might still be riding the high from yesterday’s Big Game, but we’re looking ahead to the next holiday just around the corner—President’s Day. Your campaigns might be ready to go or already live, but it’s never too late to add some more targeting to spice up a President’s Day sale. Plus, the more you experiment with different audience segments, the more you know about who is truly engaging with your messaging and brand. It’s a win-win, really. So, what do we know about this three-day weekend, besides the fact that we’re all looking forward to sleeping in on Monday? Typically, a three-day weekend like President’s Day gives consumers more time for consideration and action, since big ticket retailers are likely to offer promotions and generous discounts on items like home goods, furniture, large appliances and more. And with inflation being a sore spot for many, you can bet that every dollar that can be saved, matters. Let’s take a look at some audience segments you can apply to your MNTN Performance TV campaigns—or some food for thought for the next long-weekend. Audience Name: President’s Day Audience Provider: Connexity Why they’re valuable: All campaigns should at least have this audience segment in their targeting pool, as they’re actively on the hunt for items over the long weekend. Audience Name: Online – Big Ticket Shopper Audience Provider: MasterCard Why they’re valuable: Being the first major holiday of the year, President’s Day is an ideal time to shop for big-ticket items like furniture, bedding, kitchen appliances, TVs and more. Audience Name: Valentine’s Day Spenders Audience Provider: Oracle Why they’ve valuable: Yes, Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, but savvy shoppers know that delayed gratification wins hearts. With inflationary pressures making us think twice about buying full price, it makes sense that consumers are waiting for President’s Day discounts to shop up. Audience Name: Mattress Firm Buyer Propensity Audience Provider: Alliant Why they’re valuable: Mattress purchases typically fall between October and December, but we get it—shoppers’ wallets can look a little empty by the time holiday shopping is over. Which is why many wait until President’s Day weekend to look for their next big bedding purchase. Audience Name: Black History Month Audience Provider: ComScore Why they’re valuable: President’s Day overlaps with Black History Month, which runs through February. Don’t forget to add this segment to your campaigns to engage shoppers who are making purchases through the month. Audience Name: Singles Audience Provider: OnAudience Why they’re valuable: If the end of year holiday shopping is for friends and family, and Valentine’s Day is for lovers, then President’s Day is a weekend for self-love shopping at a fraction of the price. Sign Up for the Connected TV ReportSubscribe to the report Apple, Amazon, NBC and more use to get their CTV news.
Halo From the Other Side: How CTV Lifts Every Ad Channel
4 Min Read Connected TV has transformed the television into a performance marketing powerhouse, but the platform isn’t just changing the face of TV: it’s boosting outcomes across the advertising board. Leading marketers are using CTV’s halo effect to amplify existing efforts in channels like paid search, social, and even linear TV—and resuscitate underperforming campaigns as well. Jon Zucker, Senior Product Marketing Manager at MNTN, and Ashlee Anderson, Senior Growth Marketing Manager at Rumpl, recently spoke to eMarketer about the opportunities that CTV’s halo effect unlocks, how your brand can harness it, and how Rumpl successfully did just that by partnering with MNTN. You can watch a full recording of “The (Real) Ring of Power: CTV’s Halo Effect on Other Ad Channels” here—or you can keep reading for a high-level recap of what was discussed. All Mixed Up While Connected TV has had a stellar year and continues to establish itself as a premier performance marketing platform, other ad channels remain an important part of the marketing mix. “You need to be able to diversify those channels to drive the best performance possible,” noted Zucker. “Today’s consumers use an omnichannel approach to research and reading reviews before marking a purchase. All of these different touchpoints are important—from driving initial branding down to the consumer making a purchase on your website.” Zucker noted that advertisers are deploying the same omnichannel marketing strategy by creating a presence on multiple channels to meet these consumers and drive them down the sales funnel. “This omnichannel approach is more important than ever,” said Zucker as he noted that relying on one ad channel alone would cap the number of customers you could drive to conversion. “Paid search only captures prospects actively searching for your product, and paid social ads appear in scroll-heavy environments that make it difficult to tell your brand’s story.” Zucker noted that when CTV is added, its targeting, measurement, and non-skippable ads create a halo effect that improves ad impact. Advertising’s Promised Land “CTV is a situation where a rising tide lifts all ships,” said Zucker. He pointed to an internal MNTN study that found that advertisers who add CTV to their mix see better site traffic and conversions. “This creates a halo effect that generates more attention, more qualified site visits, and more opportunities to convert on other channels,” said Zucker. “We found that people who watched a CTV ad and visited a site stayed there 49% longer than people driven to the site from paid social, and 19% longer than those driven by paid search.” And it’s not just B2C brands that benefit from this halo effect phenomenon; CTV is boosting outcomes for B2B brands as well. “90% of B2B purchasing decisions are made from companies in the initial consideration set. So when it comes to closing the deal, it’s critical to be in those early conversations.” Zucker noted that when buyers spend more time on a website, they’re learning more about B2B products and placing the brand into their initial consideration sets—and will revisit later when they’re ready to enter the buying cycle. Rumpl Showcases Their Halo Rumpl’s Anderson took over to share her brand’s halo success story and how they achieved it with MNTN. “So MNTN Performance TV created a halo effect for us by boosting our underperforming ad channels,” said Anderson. “Specifically on paid search, which saw a significant increase after adding MNTN.” Anderson broke it down by the numbers: : 2%: Rumpl’s paid search conversion rates 90 days before adding MNTN 5%: Rumpl’s paid search conversion rates 90 days after adding MNTN 163.5%: The total increase in paid search conversion rates “But CTV has driven more than just paid search conversion rates [for Rumpl]. MNTN drove 51% longer average session durations than our Facebook ads,” said Anderson. “So people who see a CTV ad are coming to our website and staying longer. This means they got better information and felt more engaged on our website.” Anderson noted that CTV’s high-impact audio-visual messaging allowed Rumpl to reach new customers and showcase its products in a new and exciting way. Finally, Anderson talked about MNTN’s Creative-As-a-Subscription program. “This program has been a halo effect in itself,” said Anderson. “With Creative-as-a-Subscription, we get a new ad quarterly bundled with our media spend. So the budget that we were going to spend on production and a TV ad itself is now saved. We can take that money and put it back into our paid media dollars, taking our budget further than we did before.” This cost savings and reallocation of funds has boosted Rumpl’s campaign performance, enabling them to run more successful campaigns with greater reach and higher ROAS. To Finish is Divine We’re just scratching the surface—Zucker and Anderson had much more ground to cover on the halo effect. Learn more about Rumpl’s halo effect story, hear the strategies and tips they’re offering other brands, and discover other ways that CTV boosts cross-channel performance—including on linear TV. Click here to watch the full recording.