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The global pandemic has accelerated changes in media consumption habits across categories and consumers. With city-wide lockdowns and social distancing measures in place, people across the globe are spending more time at home consuming all forms of media, particularly digital video. Asia-Pacific trends are no different. According to eMarketer’s latest estimates, all Asia-Pacific countries will see faster growth in digital video viewers this year, and that momentum will continue through the end of the forecast period in 2024.

Thus, it makes an intelligent media choice for buyers, both from a reach as well as ROI point of view, to diversify their video campaign spend. To truly capitalize on the digital video opportunity in APAC, buyers must leverage premium video environments that deliver strong results and ensure that advertising continues to power world-class content at little to no cost for consumers. This is especially important as Xandr’s third annual Relevance Report explains that 82% of consumers prefer to access content for free, even if it means viewing ads. While vehicles like YouTube and Facebook have a key role in the media mix, proliferating walled gardens and closed, proprietary systems does not support an open and diverse ecosystem for all.

Why diversifying video ad spend makes business sense

Maximize Audience Reach and Scale

With so much time spent across screens, and no shortage of content to choose from, consumers are met with many different brand messages each day. Xandr’s research shows that the ability to improve advertising is closely associated with being able to reach audiences effectively and compliantly.

One of the most effective ways to reach consumers is through cross-screen buying, as 7x more adults consume content through multiple, ad-supported devices than through YouTube in any given minute. Further, YouTube viewers in 2020 only account for 18.5% of the total APAC population in 2020, meaning the remaining 81.5% of the market can be reached through alternative devices and formats.

Engage viewers with premium content on big screens 

Consumers want to watch their favourite shows on the big screen and content on a larger, more immersive screen setting can create a more intimate connection with an audience. Factors such as cheaper technology prices, more convenience and the urge to watch content ‘anytime anywhere’ mean that smart and connected TVs are gaining in popularity. Those with the technology to do so will choose to watch their favourite shows on the big screen, which is also a big opportunity for advertisers.

Tom Dover, senior account director at Xandr, explains, “We are seeing Smart TV ownership steadily grow year over year across Asia, as consumers increasingly access broadcast quality content at home, on their own time. This is great opportunity for advertisers to extend their existing TV advertising into a data led, more targetable marketplace. It also opens the door to advertisers that traditionally didn’t have the resources to plan and buy TV upfront, adding and diversifying the mix of great ads we now see around on demand content.”

According to a ThinkTV report, bigger screens are already gaining popularity for video content. Some 44.8% of the weekly streaming time for adults 25-54 was consumed on a connected TV, by 37.9% mobile and 17.6% computer. This shows that consumers prefer to spend more time in front of the big screen, creating more chance for engagement with ads.

Enhance brand safety  

Brand safety is possibly one of the most important topics to brands, as their reputation is at risk if put against inappropriate content. The same goes for consumers, according to the ThinkTV report, as 40% are very/extremely confident in SVOD providers keeping their data secure vs. 27% for social media companies. More specifically, 37% are not very/not at all confident in social media companies keeping their data secure vs 18% for SVOD providers. 

“The TV industry shows us how comfortable brands are around premium content. As high-quality video content makes its way into the digital space, it’s not a surprise that the perception of professionally produced content as brand-safe remains. I can see those premium video environments will be used by brands to build recognition, increase audience, ad recall and ultimately drive purchase intent,” adds Dover.

Clearly, the context in which an ad appears is crucial to its efficacy and trust. This means advertisers have an opportunity to take advantage of premium video environments offered by connected TV.

Diversification in action

These trends are truly globally, exemplified by Xandr’s work with machine learning company Scibids, which used Xandr to execute a hyper-intelligent video campaign inside a single, brand-safe, premium video marketplace that restricted its spend to high-quality, trustworthy inventory. The campaign significantly outperformed the client’s YouTube campaign, reducing cost-per-qualified-visit to less than one-third of what the client had previously been paying. As a result, the end client chose to shift 30% of its YouTube spending to Xandr Invest.

According to Dover, only investing small amounts in new channels is a natural response for most brands but working alongside trusted industry partners can help move some of the barriers out the way faster.

“When brands consider increasing investment in video, it is because they want to leverage the targeting efficiencies and be able to deliver TV advertising at scale with that targeting overlay to drive competitive advantage.  Some of the barriers holding them back right now is a lack of understanding of the ecosystem, the availability and quality of data – or lack thereof – and a lack of large audiences at scale.

“The good news is that many of these barriers are more about perception, and that is something we can work on together.”