Consumers are streaming their entertainment nowadays, and young consumers almost exclusively. The fastest growing part is ad-supported video on-demand (AVOD), which offers viewers free TV shows and movies in exchange for a little of their time. Examining these streaming services and the opportunities they bring was a pair of panels at New York Advertising Week.
Streamer Vudu (which launched AVOD service in October 2016), has a wealth of data to draw upon for content and ad personalization: It’s owned by Walmart and has access to a giant database of purchase information. But while targeting is essential, today’s advertisers want to measure sales.
“Advertisers are looking for ways to know their advertisements are working,” said Kyle J. Britt, head of experience for Vudu Advertising, speaking on the panel “Under the Influence of Streaming.” Click-through rates are nice, but marketers are looking for sales to justify expenses. Buyers should still treat reach and frequency as their most important KPIs, he said, but an increase in sales makes the suits in the boardroom happy.
“There isn’t going to be a silver bullet on attribution,” Britt said, noting that the area instead offers a matrix of useful tools for testing. Every brand and publisher plays a different part. In the future, he predicts a consolidation of measurement services and publishers, guaranteeing major publishers their own exclusive pool of data.
While there’s a lot of attention on tracking video ad performance, Kelly McMahon, senior vice president of global demand operations at SpotX, cautions against seeing video as a direct response opportunity. Video will evolve with improved metrics, but it should never be seen as a complete direct response play with a low cost per acquisition.
On the panel “The 2018 OTT Experience,” Brian Hunt, head of OTT/CTV advertising sales at Sinclair Broadcast Group, said he now sees advertisers adding a line item in their budgets for OTT and CTV.
Reporting is getting more granular for streaming services, Hunt says, often down to the ZIP code level, and that makes OTT a good option even for mom and pops. Marketers can reach exactly the consumer they want. “I think it present a tremendous opportunity for local main street businesses,” he said. For these newcomers to the space, he advises that VCR (verified completion rate) and percent of OTT are the metrics to watch.
Shifting the discussion, Alex Wallace, vice present of entertainment at Oath Studios, notes that buyers can reach consumers 10 different ways as they move through their day, but the focus needs to be on the consumer not the platform. Rather than knowing what screen shoppers are using, marketers need to know what those consumers are doing.
The whole industry needs to be cautious about privacy. Wallace thinks consumers will opt-in if they understand the value exchange of giving up some data. In fact, they’ll come to expect it. OTT carries the promise of ad relevancy, and consumers will want companies to know them well enough to market to their preferences. That’s one thing streaming services can really take advantage of.