Brands want to reach and connect with connected television (CTV) audiences, which are growing in record numbers. eMarketer projects that CTV advertising in the US will grow 48.6% year-on-year in 2021, reaching $13.4bn. And it will more than double by 2025. For advertisers looking to reach this rapidly growing audience, it’s imperative to gain a deep understanding of who these connected viewers are, how they enjoy content and interact with brands across devices, and what they appreciate in their advertising experiences. Here are five crucial ways of reaching these audiences, according to Amazon Advertising’s head of OTT measurement and research Maggie Zhang.
A recent study conducted by Ipsos surveyed 3,000 Americans aged 18-64 to uncover insights into today’s ‘connected consumers’, or those who use connected devices – including streaming devices, smart TVs, smart speakers and smart displays – at least once per month. Here are five ways for brands to engage and delight them.
1. Take on the largest screen in the house
Part of the appeal of streaming is being able to access content anywhere on any screen. But this level of flexibility creates understandable disparities; consumers will offer varying amounts of time and attention to content based on where they are viewing it. To reach viewers where they are truly leaned in, it’s important for brands to appear on a home’s primary viewing device: the TV.
The Ipsos study found that 30% of connected consumers are more likely to pay attention to ads that play before, during or after video content streamed on their TV, compared to the 21% who are likely to pay attention to video ads in their social media feed. These figures are further illuminated in the context of primary motivations for streaming TV viewing. The top motivations among connected TV viewers are to unwind, escape, indulge and discover.
By showing up in the premium content on the largest screen in the house, advertisers not only meet these connected viewers where they are, but also gain more attention – all in a welcome moment of relaxation and connection.
2. Deliver relevant messages
As an advertiser, one of the best ways to provide seamless streaming experiences to these connected consumers is to deliver relevant messages.
Connected consumers in particular respond well to ads that align with their interests and purchase history. 61% of connected consumers said they like when brands show them ads based on their interests and 57% said they find it helpful when ads are relevant to them.
To achieve this, brands should ensure that they are working with advertising providers who can help them use first-party signals to reach and engage desired audiences with messages relevant to their needs and interests.
3. Immerse in premium content
The connected landscape is also a very crowded one. It is a challenge for brands to stand out in front of connected consumers. In addition to communicating a message via the standard 15- or 30-second video ad, consider positioning the brand as the exclusive sponsor of premium content for which viewers already have a strong affinity.
When asked what factors impact their likelihood to act on an ad, 40% of connected consumers indicated they are most inclined to act if the brand is a sponsor of the content they are watching with limited to no commercials. These tech-savvy viewers understand the reciprocal value they receive by exchanging their time and attention for access to content.
Sponsoring exclusive content and providing limited commercial interruptions within content that viewers are already passionate about is a customer-first strategy that connected viewers appreciate.
4. Embrace ad innovation
As the industry continues to learn how to most effectively meet the needs of both advertisers and consumers, connected consumers are enthusiastic about exploring new and innovative experiences by which to interact with brands.
47% of the connected consumers who watch Amazon’s ad-supported streaming content on a monthly basis said they would be more likely to act on an ad if they could interact with it using their remote (e.g. having the option to have more information sent to their email upon seeing the ad). Interacting with ads via voice commands is another popular response to the same question.
Shoppable video ads are exactly the type of innovative formats that stand out from standard video commercials and provide a seamless experience for viewers. This is the time advertisers should begin taking note of and experimenting with the unique brand-building and action-driving capabilities that these innovative solutions offer.
5. Ask for feedback
A final tip brings us back to a timeless fundamental. Before a brand even begins to craft its message, it should take time to engage and acknowledge its audience to learn how the brand can help make their life better.
Acknowledgment can take many forms. Survey shoppers about what’s working for them and what’s not. Host voice of customer (VOC) focus groups to capture anecdotes about the brand in customers’ own words. Encourage and promote this feedback cycle with a regular cadence. Many of these tactics can be facilitated and managed via connected touch points to build a consistent real-time feedback loop.
Throughout this process, remind audiences that the brand values their input. Though it’s impossible to take action on their every wish, a brand can strengthen its relationship with customers by demonstrating that it cares.
Make the connection
As Brené Brown writes in her book Daring Greatly: “What we know matters, but who we are matters more.” Consumers never been more connected than they are today – they are finding new ways to shop, entertain and interact with brands. Brands that can tap into simple human truths by developing an understanding of these connected consumers will be able to better engage and serve their customers in the long run.
The insights and learnings from the recent Ipsos study are just a starting point to understanding this highly-engaged, influential and growing audience. By focusing on the where (in premium content delivered on the largest screen in the house), the how (with relevant messages and innovative, interactive experiences) and the why, brands will be able to make and maintain relevant, meaningful and lasting connections with their customers.
Maggie Zhang is head of OTT measurement and research at Amazon Advertising.