Season 1 | Episode 3

Navigating the Future of TV and Video Advertising

As we continue our exploration into the digital future of traditional media buying, Episode 3 focuses on the convergence of digital media and TV/video advertising. 

Host and VP of Paid Media Kelly Mancuso, SVP of Strategy Jenn Vickery, Paid Media Strategist Oliver Brantley, and Paid Media Associate Casey Baker give an overview of the many digital media channels available to brands and marketers. 

From linear and OTT to programmatic TV, grab a cup of Joe and tune in to learn about the world of streaming video.

Kelly: Welcome to Paid Media Coffee. I'm your host, Kelly Mancuso. And today we're talking about video. So the past couple of episodes, we have covered the evolution of advertising and the conversion of traditional and digital media at a pretty high level. Now we are going to be narrowing in a little bit.

The next few episodes were focusing on specific channels. So, as I mentioned today we'll be doing video and the TV advertising landscape. I have three super-smart guests today. The first is Oliver Brantley. He's a paid media strategist at Nebo. Welcome.

Oliver: Thanks glad to be here.

Kelly: We also have Jenn Vickery our SVP of digital strategy. 

Jenn: Happy to be back. 

Kelly: And Casey Baker, a paid media associate at Nebo.

Casey: Yeah, also happy to be back. 

Kelly: Great. Well, we are excited to get started and so talking about video specifically I think in my opinion, it's probably one of the most complex advertising channels that we have today with everything that's going on and all the different ways consumers are accessing TV and video.

You know, we've got linear TV, OTT Advanced TV, addressable TV, connected TV, programmatic TV, streaming video. Just a lot of buzz words a lot of acronyms so I would love for you three to help me and help our listeners understand the landscape overall and you know, what all of these things are and what the differences are that advertisers need to be aware of?

Casey: I guess I'll start with defining I think there are two approaches. There's that traditional TV and then advanced TV. By traditional TV, I mean when someone watches TV and which a viewer watches a TV program on the channel that it's presented on at that exact scheduled time.

And then we have advanced TV on the other hand, which is essentially an umbrella term for all nontraditional TV formats so that includes OTT, connected TV, addressable TV, really all of those different things, but I'll let Jenn take away some of the other acronyms. 

Jenn: Sure. So I would bucketize OTT in probably three different ways.

You have your programmatic OTT. So this is what probably media buyers are most comfortable and familiar with so we're using networks and DSPs to traffic and place our video and OTT ads then you have platform direct. So this is where you work directly with like Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Xbox, PlayStation View to place your ads and then you have your publisher direct. So these are you know, you're a VODs like YouTube Sony crackle, and then you have your paid TV apps like sling DirecTV. And then your native OTT, which is Hulu. 

Kelly: That's a lot.  Oliver, what do you think? 

Oliver: I mean, you know to kind of echo what Jenn said, OTT is sort of this umbrella term for kind of any way that you're accessing media outside of traditional linear TV from a cable provider. And then kind of diving a little bit deeper, so addressable TV is the ability to show different ads to different households that might be watching the same program. So, you know previously you had to show ads on a certain show but now you're. targeting at the household level rather than the program level which I think is really interesting. 

Kelly: That is the technology that has evolved and has allowed us to take TV to the next level is really cool.

And it's really exciting for advertisers too. I think it opens up a lot of opportunity for people that maybe didn't do a lot with linear TV buys.  I mean there are just some really cool capabilities. So in terms of those benefits and capabilities what do you guys think really sets Advanced TV and programmatic video as well apart from linear?

Jenn: I think Oliver started touching on this the ability to target the household instead of the program. The level of targeting because it is whether you're doing it, programmatic publisher, direct. There's just so much data that we're able to target based on behaviors/interests. There's a lot more context that we can add to our targeting and our campaign so it's much more relevant to the people that were trying to get in front of. Whereas with linear, you know, sometimes you don't know exactly when it's going to run. It might not be the most relevant and we as we all know people tend to walk away from their TV when there are commercials. So there's a lot of limitations with linear TV that OTT has really been able to address.

Oliver: You know, this isn't only unique to OTT. But you know, it's kind of digital in general. But with you know, TT and programmatic OTT, especially instead of buying spots in advance, you are you know in real-time purchasing, inventory through networks. So it allows you to be way more responsive. So rather than having to say, you know for the next two weeks we're going to show on you know, the View at these time slots you're able to buy that programmatically in real-time. 

Casey: Piggybacking on what both of them just talked about I think with being able to target users at a more one-to-one level rather than just paying for to reach a vast number of users you are able to better optimize your budget and scale that budget and know that you're paying for that specific audience rather than just kind of mass marketing.

Jenn: That's a good point. I mean, I think it was the first episode where we talked about the differences and pros and cons to traditional and digital and you know one point that we made was that neither one is necessarily better over the other. It's really about like what's your goal because linear TV still represents about 95% of AD spend on TV. OTT is about five percent still so it's very small.

You're going to get a lot of eyeballs a lot of reach if you do a linear TV buy especially a prime time spot -  high-value real estate position. So it's a matter of you know, do you want to get in front of very Niche audience live very targeted audience or do you want to try and get the most bang for your buck, in terms of Impressions and reach?

Kelly: That's a really good point because I kind of look at it in two ways. So typically once you start getting into addressable TV and you start layering on a lot of targeting options and data then CPMs can go up and you can be paying a lot. But at the same time, you're reaching a very specific audience and you don't have to as Oliver mentioned be locked in way ahead of time.

You're kind of buying things in real-time and your budget, even though maybe a CPM might be a little bit higher, your budget can go a lot further because you can increase reach among a niche audience rather than you know doing a big blanket mass-market approach buy with linear TV, where a lot of your ad dollars might be wasted on people that don't fall into your audience.

Jenn: You bring up a good point though a lot. I feel like because OTT is digital versus you know, a linear TV buy a lot of marketers getting into OTT expect, their return on ad spend to be in line with other digital sources like search. Or even Google display programmatic display 

Kelly: Or even like streaming video on social channels. 

Jenn: Exactly exactly YouTube even. 

But this truly is an upper funnel tactic.

It's your CPI's your return ad spend is not going to be the same as something as direct as a search campaign. And I do think that marketers need to keep that in mind as they're evaluating whether they should invest in OTT, or do something a little bit lower funnel. Just even though we do have more control.

That doesn't mean that people are going to respond in a way that's similar to a search campaign. 

Kelly: 100% we have to remember when people are watching these devices, it's still not something that they're able to click on, you know, they're not watching these videos. Like they are maybe saying something on Facebook and then they're able to click immediately to a Brand's website it's a true non-skippable commercial. But one of the things that connected TV and programmatic video is allowing advertisers to do is have a little bit better measurement in terms of like cross-channel. So I'd love to talk a little bit about that and how Brands and advertisers can measure their impact even if it's not, you know related directly to a conversion on the other end of it, but how are they measuring the impact of these campaigns? 

Oliver: I think the first expectation with every digital channel is that it's fully measurable. And that's especially with OTT something you kind of need to get out of your head. You know, Mobile location data is allowing advertisers and third-party measurement companies to kindof tie cross-screen and cross-device data. So, you know linking IP address with multiple devices in the household. And so that allows some measurement and especially allows for more granular targeting based on behavior that's not just on that connected TV device. But yeah, I mean the ability to get any sort of, you know hard impression data, and then the ability to you know, eventually link that to CRM data using mobile location data, I think it is really interesting and something that's you know, huge benefit for CTV. 

Casey: I guess I was going to I was kind of thinking of that as measurement being. A benefit but also one of the biggest challenges kind of what you said with the expectation that everything should be measurable. And while you have a lot more data and touchpoints than you do with linear TV. I still think there's a big question mark and kind of this blurred line between what exactly is significant in terms of measurement and how we kind of bring all that together. 

Jenn: Mmm Yeah, I think it's similar to any new platform or technology where we kind of just dive in and then figure out the rest later. So OTT is definitely a little behind in terms of measurability and will we get to perfect probably not.  But OTT Publishers do understand that marketers want that and in order to get past that 5%, investment from Brands and marketers they're going to have to be able to show success. Roku and Innovid actually just started a partnership to enhance measurement capabilities of OTT and linear TV. Basically, It'll track both linear TV buys and OTT buys and measure the crossover as well as incremental, reach, Impressions, which I think is really interesting.

If you're going about it in two different ways, if you're doing a comprehensive TV buy we're doing linear and OTT that can at least show you the value in doing both.  But I think they are making strides. The challenge is that people don't view media in one specific way like I'm just thinking back to last night. I have Amazon Fire TV - watch something there, and then I'm on my phone doing something, and then I'm on my laptop potentially watching YouTube videos. So it's not like one specific platform or device has my complete attention.

I'm going from like one to the other and that's been hard for tracking. You know talking and measurement purposes because you don't know where a person's attention is at all times. 

Casey: One thing I will challenge, I guess anyone who wants to answer on is one of the big things that I've been recently dealing with measurement and OTT is a lot of Partners talking a lot about video completion rate. So with these non-skippable ads, How relevant do you think that that is? 

Oliver: It's something that every vendor and publisher wants to give you as a sign of how great their platform is, but I mean, you know at the end of the day it's people exiting the video. I mean, so that's it.

And so we've seen you know, a 98% video completion rate that somehow is significantly better than the ninety-seven and a half percent benchmarked. And for some reason, I'm supposed to believe that my campaign is one and a half percent better than the typical campaign just because of that?

That's one of those things that it's one of the metrics that we have because measurability is kind of limited. But at the end of the day, I don't think it matters all that much. You know it not with OTT. Things like YouTube ads where people are, you know have the ability to skip it's a really important metric, but when you're looking at the programmatic OTT, and you know, just the streaming landscape, I don't think it's as important. 

Jenn: It's a measurement of validity like if I invest here, are a majority of people not exiting out of my ad immediately, you know. So it's like hey, we're actually able to play your video and whether people are paying attention or not, you know, it's that's not necessarily trackable.

Casey: That's a really good point. That's kind of how I have seen it is it's almost a measure of validity in terms of the content that you're on rather than necessarily how many people are bouncing from your video directly. 

Kelly: Right? Yeah, like, are they going to stick through the ads regardless of what they are in order to see the content on the other side of that?

I think if there was a really low video completion rate that would be insightful and helpful and giving know recommendation that the video content needs to be -yeah- switched up. But yeah, if it's high then that's great. You're on par.

Jenn: I think Casey it's more of a qualifier disqualifier. Right? And we're trying to choose a partner then any then you know the success of an actual campaign. 

Kelly: And all of our you talked a little bit about using mobile data to you know, connect screens and measure across screen but there's also ad tech providers that are able to look at anonymized household IP addresses and then map that back to performance across screens as well.

And one thing that's really cool about that is being able to target people sequentially across screens knowing that they are in the same household and then map that back. So when we've been talking to some programmatic video platforms and they're trying to sell us on their connected TV capabilities.

They're talking about the measurement in terms of uplift that you can see on other channels when you're also running a connected TV campaign. And I think that's one of the things that's going to be really important in proving to clients or four, you know Brands to justify spend on connected TV is if they have more of a holistic approach and they're running programmatic video and display and connected tv ads with the same DSP.

You will get a little bit more information. So that's something I'm really excited about. 

Jenn: From a different perspective, too, that's exciting because I think I can improve the customer experience so much. -Oh, yeah- As a marketer, my biggest pet peeve is when I see the same damn video over and over and over and over especially within an hour period of watching something on Hulu or whatever. It's just, it makes me so angry because one: I'm like, okay, this is just lazy and two: I know part of it is just the limitations of the publisher too. So being able to track, you know, internally what ads people have already seen and be able to provide new ads new content can vastly improve your user experience recall like fatigue.

I mean, that's what I'm excited about too as just like a consumer of ads is just the experience. Because I don't mind ads if they're done well, but if I keep seeing the same one over and over again, that's just frustrating and I end up with a negative view of the brand which no one really wants. 

Oliver: That's you know kind of the classic problem with traditional TV that you know, even when on linear TV you see the same ads over and over again and that's obviously carried over I watch Hulu a lot and see the same ads over and over and over again. And I think one additional reason for that is just the expense of creating video content for a lot of Brands. It's difficult to create so many ads where you're targeting the same demographic but you don't have the amount of content that you would need to show them something, you know a little bit more different. But one thing that I think is, you know, kind of improving on that front and we're seeing it in Social is just the responsiveness of creating video. So with Facebook, you know, you have something like slideshow ads where you're creating a video with just image assets.

So, I think the expense of creating video. Is going to get less and you know, we'll see Brands just kind of switch their content up a little bit more, hopefully. 

Jenn: I would say to you Oliver. I agree with you in some respects. But also I think with OTT especially the different ad formats we have now and we have six-second ads that have been proven to be effective on YouTube and other various sources or Publishers. I think we as marketers need to change our mindset because it's not as important to create a 30-second a 60-second ad that's perfectly polished to run and a linear TV by that you can't change which can be expensive. There's a lot of prep. You can't change things to your point. It's almost impossible. If you have a modest budget to really do some really interesting stuff, test different commercials, but now we have the ability to roll out a story, a narrative over, five six-second ads that could be less polished not as high production, you know intensity but could still be powerful and arguably more effective because you're not showing, you know the consumer like the same 30-second ad over and over and you're able to kind of capture them keep their attention by showing just very short kind of snippets that are sequential and you know more engaging. 

Oliver: Yeah and to echo that I mean if you are an Advertiser that's able to deal with the minimums of OTT advertising, you should probably be able to create enough content to you know, satisfy the viewers for that. 

Kelly: Mmm. Yeah, I mean creative is so important, you know, we've said it before and it's going to keep coming back to that. If you have you know all the money in the world to throw at your advertising budget and you know secure inventory across connected TV or linear TV, or both.

It doesn't matter what you're doing. If the creative is bad. All those dollars are going to be wasted. 

Jenn: We tend to get so focused and like obsessed with the mar Tech that a lot of times you forget the story aspect of it. 

Oliver: When you're digging into Excels it's very easy to forget about the creative that's on the other end and you're just looking at an ad ID.

Casey: It's really easy to kind of start with a campaign concept and then move into the creative but I think that that's definitely not the right approach. You need to have the creative lead the strategy and the campaign.

Kelly: For sure. So talking about creative, how do you think that plays a role in terms of placement? So, you know, do we need to be thinking about creative differently if we're doing a linear buy versus connected TV versus a streaming video campaign on social or YouTube? 

Casey: Being that these OTT ads are non-skippable. I think that a longer placement doesn't do as well just because. People have to sit through these ads. It may not resonate well with them, they're frustrated. They want to get to their content. So for sure OTT, you would want to do more of a 6-second ad, 15 seconds. I mean potentially 30 seconds, but I would say no longer than that. 

Jenn: At the heart of any TV or even any marketing campaign is the story, right? So even with a linear TV buy, you have some sort of context into where an ad is going to be running. Whether it's news Primetime daytime, you know, you know where hopefully, you know where it's going to be placed. So you have a little bit of context there. I think Oliver's Point earlier with OTT, there's even more context and there's more opportunity to place in these niche like fragmented channels.

So, Discovery Network for example has a lot of different channels and content that are very specific under its umbrella, so the creative matters a lot. You don't have to have the same ad blanket creative for every single placement, right? Because something that may resonate with someone when they're watching a home renovation show might not resonate when they're watching a cooking show for example, so we have the opportunity to tailor the creative and make sure that it's.

It makes sense for what someone's watching at that exact time. We have the ability to do that whether or not marketers take advantage of that is a different story, but we do have the opportunity to really tailor our creative and if we can do it we should because it's going give us a better return.

Oliver: Yeah, I think a lot of marketers think about the person and maybe what you know affinity group or you know, lifestyle audience they fit into but I think that's a really good point that you know, what you're doing at that moment is more important maybe than what you're interested in on the whole. So somebody that might be a Home Improvement enthusiasts but is watching Shark Week, you know might not be as primed for you know a Lowe's or Home Depot ad.

Casey: On top of that too, tailoring your creative for the different screens becomes even more important with OTT. So whether someone's watching on a smart TV or on a mobile device, desktop, tablet, accessing through an app, I think that all definitely plays a big role in how you tailor your creative.

Jenn: Yeah, that's a great point. I mean, it's really interesting looking at the device usage on OTT. But only about 27% of your ship on it OTT is on an actual TV and the other majority is mobile and laptop. So that's a great point when we're talking about OTT. It doesn't necessarily mean a TV screen.

And someone sitting on their couch and watching it could be someone laying in bed on their laptop. It could be someone working out on their mobile phone watching some things. So there's a lot of different ways and devices that people view OTT. It's not just you know, 100% on your couch, you get that full attention.

Kelly: So, we've talked about creative and the landscape as a whole some of the challenges some of the benefits and capabilities. So now I want to go into actual planning and execution. So if I am an Advertiser, I want to run a campaign targeting Advanced TV inventory, how do I go about that?

You know, how do I start? Do I look at going platform direct publisher direct going through a programmatic partner? Do I need to determine one or the other do I look at all of them? What do you guys do when you're planning a campaign? 

Oliver: Yes, I think it starts with, you know your resource availability and then your goals right?

If you are kind of smaller Advertiser and you have more limited creative you might wanna start with a DSP. So if you've got, you know, let's say only 15 and 30 second creative and you don't, you know have the 50 or 75 K minimums that some Publishers and platforms require a DSP is a really good way to access a very wide network of content while kind of minimizing the amount of expense you have so.

You start with less creative and you know less investment and kind of test it from there. 

Kelly: Another thing that's cool about going programmatically through a DSP is the  cross-screen capabilities that I was talking about before so especially if you're doing a programmatic display campaign already, maybe talk to the partner that you're working with and see what they're connected TV targeting capabilities are and whether you know, they can provide any brand uplift or display uplift study to help justify that. 

Jenn: But also say start with your audience just because OTT exists doesn't mean that you should place there. It's kind of like social just because there are so many social platforms doesn't mean you should be there. So start with the audience. What's your you know, I hate starting with this, but what's your demographic what do they care about? Because there is data around who's using OTT and who isn't. The type of viewership you can get.  Indexing all of those fun marketing terms. So start with your audience and is your audience actually using OTT. Are they interacting with it? I would say that's the first step is understanding what your audience is doing. Because if your audience isn't on OTT then you're wasting your time. There are definitely you know adoption rates are different across. You know different geographies, different demographics. There are a lot of different reasons why people invest in things like a smart TV versus you know sticking with cable. 

Kelly: That's a really good point because even within different ways to access OTT.

There are different audience profiles as well. So somebody who accesses via a device like Amazon Fire or Roku might be different from the people that are accessing content through their own cable provider on demand. And then of course if there is a specific platform or OTT app that you want to access like if you only want to access Roku then you would need to go platform direct and just discuss with them because one of the limitations of going through a DSP and buying programmatically as you can't really say, I just want to show on Roku devices or YouTube TV, Etc.

Oliver: And platform direct has a lot of other benefits. So going platform direct allows you to open up more creative possibilities. So, you know going straight to a Roku Amazon opens up different- especially if you're you know, let's say an app if you're an OTT streaming app, you know, those are great places to start because they have different, you know promotion placements for apps on those. And then also, you know, I think you know going in this is sort of more plus like Hulu but a lot of times you'll see things that aren't just 15 and 30-second skippable things. And also there's you know, creative formats that do have a click-through capability. So sometimes they'll open into a specific landing page or they'll take you straight to the content if you're promoting content on that platform.

Kelly: You know, I think we think a lot about our clients and whether it's like a VOC or B2B, but there are a lot of advertisers out there that are promoting their own digital content. Whether it's an app or video content itself. So yeah, definitely do the research and look into what's possible and what your goals are and what you want to achieve.

One thing that I think is really fun that we've done here at Nebo and Casey you're planning this right now for one of our clients is holding a Road Show. Where are you RFP the partners that you know, we're potentially interested in and then based on responses narrow it down and then actually invite them into the office to pitch to the team and to the client and that way, you know, you've got all them kind of going up against each other and can make a decision.

So, makes it a little bit more interactive than just coming through a bunch of spreadsheets and presentations that they sent over. 

Jenn: I'd be interested in hearing from others if you work at an agency or even on the brand side has it been difficult to get budget for something like this?

We haven't really with our clients who are interested we haven't had a lot of pushback whereas, you know, you think about social a while ago. For years it was difficult to convince brands- our clients the value in social, whether it be paid social or even just organic social. But here it's so similar to linear TV and people are comfortable with that that I don't think we've had much pushback in terms of trying to persuade our brands and clients to move into the space.

I'd be interested in hearing if other people are having challenges with that or not. 

Kelly: Yeah, feel free to email us and let us know if you are. Paid media coffee at Nebo 

Casey: So, in talking about the Roadshow, I think one of the biggest things that I'm excited to come from that is just being able to see all of these different capabilities of these vendors and use those capabilities to grow my knowledge and challenge these different partners on their capabilities based on what other partners are able to bring to the space.

Kelly: You can really look at it and start to rank the priority and importance of some of those capabilities, too. 

Alright, so we're going to start wrapping up, but I would love to hear from you all. Any final thoughts or words of wisdom in terms of the video advertising landscape as it pertains to both digital and traditional linear.

Oliver: Yeah, you know, I mean, I think really the main thing is just to first consider the fragmentation of the market. There are like 200 OTT providers. So, you know thinking that you're -yeah and more coming. I mean just in the last couple weeks, there's been you know, multiple-launch stunts. So, we've got Disney Plus coming soon.

Apple TV Plus is on the horizon. So I think looking at OTT is some catch-all solution where you're going to reach everybody is, you know, not the way you want to look at it, but I think once you consider that and then you know kind of apply that to your campaign strategy and then to your creative, you can really create some cool stuff and just having consumed way more OTT content than I probably should, I've seen a lot of really cool Concepts and a lot of products and brands that you know have engaged with after watching them. 

Casey: One thing that someone told me a few months back that was really powerful to me and I think a unique perspective is to think about these partners as more of a tool to teach you media and to leverage them in a way that they have all these capabilities and their ability to kind of show you and walk you through their capabilities.

It's really powerful and your knowledge and growth as a marketer and the ability that they have to teach you and guide your strategy. 

Kelly: Now I agree with that these vendors and tech partners they're growing their capabilities all the time and because the video advertising landscape is so complex.

Like I'm constantly having to go back and look at this one graphic that shows an outline of the entire landscape and all the different players and stuff just to remind myself, you know, as we're talking about it because there's just so much involved and things are constantly changing too so, you know reaching out and scheduling those demos and lunch-and-learns as.

As much as we love them all the time, you know they are really helpful. 

Oliver: I think challenging Partners on their capabilities can kind of expose any lack of knowledge that they might have so in addition to learning more about the platforms and about the landscape, in general, it helps you kind of figure out who knows what they're talking about and who is just saying, you know, the classic industry jargon. 

Kelly: All right, and I'll end on the fact that I don't think that between linear and digital or online video it needs to be either or.  I think that online video campaigns can really help supplement an overarching media plan with linear TV as well. Linear TV is important for a branding play especially for like product launches and big brand awareness campaigns, but online video can really help you reach that Niche audience or reach a younger audience.

Reach specific people and increase the frequency of reaching those Niche audiences without having to spend online. So use them to complement each other and you know, maybe go online video where it's harder to reach a specific audience with linear TV.  And then, you know work with the partners that you're leveraging to see if there are any audience activation capabilities where you know, they can push people who have seen linear TV ads into the DSP Target them digitally and vice versa. So yeah, just think about it holistically go from there. 

Awesome. So I want to thank my guests for joining me today in this conversation. Thanks for coming here. 

Casey: Thanks, Kelly. Yeah, thanks for having me! 

Kelly: And our next episode is going to be focused on out-of-home advertising and the evolution of that channel.

If you have any questions, comments, thoughts or recommendations on content you'd like us to talk about in future episodes, please email us at And if you enjoy listening to the podcast, please like it, subscribe to it, rate it, review it and that's it. Thanks so much.

See you next time.

Posted by Paid Media Coffee on November 8, 2019


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