Connected TV or CTV offers marketers a unique opportunity to reach audiences through customised ad encounters and Criteo’s Heath Irving explains how brands can enhance their CTV advertising effectiveness.

As consumers switch from traditional television to on-demand streaming, audience content consumption is changing. One of the developments to arise out of this is connected TV (CTV), which offers marketers a unique opportunity to connect with their target consumers in a way that has never been possible.

Within APAC, the shift from traditional television to CTV is particularly pronounced due to the region’s rapid technological advancements and growing digital infrastructure, which has led to changing patterns in audience content consumption. Marketers in the region are increasingly leveraging CTV to boost engagement and conversion rates by fusing the benefits of traditional television's wide audience with the accuracy of digitally targeted advertising. In fact, open programmatic CTV ad spending in APAC increased 15% in 2023 compared to 2022, according to a Pixelate report.

While CTV platforms offer brands the opportunity to gain deeper insights into viewer behaviour, enabling them to refine their advertising strategies, it does come with its own set of challenges. Within APAC, there is a rise in the number of advertisers competing on CTV platforms, making it even more challenging for brands to capture the attention of their desired and, sometimes, niche audiences.

To stand out, brands must provide engaging and customised ad encounters that can grab viewer interest amidst increasing advertising noise. Maintaining a positive rapport with audiences now hinges on finding the right equilibrium between user experience and ad revenue generation.

Three recommendations for brands to capitalise on CTV 

1. Deliver personalised ads with the help of technology

Over seven out of ten customers expect businesses to provide personalised interactions, according to McKinsey.  With this knowledge in mind, marketers must consider tapping into technology like data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) for their advertising campaigns in order to appeal to their target audiences. In fact, consumers actually welcome providing data to AI if there are sufficient benefits and 46% would share their style preferences to get tailored benefits, according to a Salesforce study.

For example, Lamps Plus, a specialty lighting and furnishings retailer, wanted to utilise new channels such as CTV to connect with customers at home. To do so, it partnered a commerce media platform to identify consumers who had shown interest in its product category and scale out that audience using machine learning to reach consumers across all devices and environments. This resulted in a successful CTV campaign which not only drove high engagement on upper-funnel metrics but also had a strong effect on sales, achieving a 6.39 return on adspend, surpassing industry benchmarks.

The main advantage of AI is its ability to learn from and adapt to a wide range of user behaviours. Applying AI technology to advertising can provide businesses with a competitive edge by giving them better insights into consumer behaviour, preferences and consumption patterns. AI-driven solutions that create personalised advertisements and seamlessly guide customers through their buying journeys are an example of this. These solutions rely on real-time data and dynamic algorithms that enrich each interaction with pertinent information.

In addition, AI can help brands find relevant content and identify opportunities to reach a greater audience, shifting the focus of advertising away from just keywords and inclusion lists. It can also be used to understand sentiment through analysis of text, images, videos and audio, thereby providing recommendations on whether an ad should be placed or not. 

2. Focus commerce media strategy on relevant ad integration

CTV advertising is just one facet of a comprehensive commerce media strategy and it is essential to ensure that ads are relevant across all touchpoints. Marketers must also prioritise the creation of ads that seamlessly blend into the content that viewers are consuming and do not detract from the overall viewing experience. CTV should not be viewed as a channel to conquer; instead, brands should view it as an opportunity to connect with their audiences.

While CTV advertising is a vital component of this strategy, it is worth noting that 43% of customers still prefer non-digital channels. This preference underscores the importance of providing excellence in both online and offline experiences.

According to the “State of Connected Customer” report by Salesforce, 88% of customers emphasise that the experience a company provides is just as important as its products or services – a significant increase from the 80% reported in 2020. This shift in customer expectations highlights the growing importance of creating a customer-centric approach across digital and physical realms.

By adopting a holistic approach to commerce media, brands can integrate CTV advertising into a broader strategy that encompasses the customer journey, delivering a consistent and captivating experience for audiences.

3. Leverage first-party data to enhance competitiveness

Advertisers are increasingly looking to first-party data, obtained directly from users through various online and offline channels. Leveraging first-party data ethically and legally provides advertisers with valuable insights and personalised engagement opportunities, and ultimately improved ROI and competitiveness. In fact, businesses that leveraged first party data for advanced activations achieved a substantial 2.9x increase in revenue, according to a Boston Consulting Group study.

First-party data serves as a valuable compass for crafting highly efficient and effective CTV ad campaigns, drawing on customers' preferences. Businesses can target specific audiences by segmenting them based on factors like demographics and purchase history, improving advertising campaign efficiency. A Twilio study found that 37% of businesses now exclusively use this data for personalised customer experiences, sidestepping third-party data privacy concerns.

Marketers and media owners are encouraged to work with a tech partner that can connect, enrich and activate first party data using privacy-by-design measures. By sharing their first-party data, businesses can amplify their impact by connecting to a network of high-quality first-party data signals, achieving addressable audience reach, personalising marketing messaging at scale and driving improved and measurable marketing and monetisation outcomes.

Staying agile in the ever-changing advertising landscape

The rise of CTV advertising in the era of shifting consumer preferences towards on-demand streaming has provided marketers with unprecedented opportunities to engage with their target audiences. To excel in this competitive landscape, businesses should embrace cutting-edge technologies like AI for personalised ad experiences, focus on seamless ad integration within the content and leverage first-party data for efficiency.

By adopting these strategies, brands can not only enhance their CTV advertising effectiveness but also deliver a customer-centric approach that aligns with evolving consumer expectations in the dynamic digital landscape.