Connected TV and avoiding the measurement trap
Connected TV (CTV) continues to be top of mind for marketers across Canada. But while adoption of CTV grows, adoption of linear TV - albeit slower than most countries - is on the decline. A study by YouGov and the Trade Desk indicates that, in the next year, over 70 percent of Canadians 18 to 44 will reduce or completely end their linear TV subscriptions. Meanwhile, studies suggest that Canadian CTV adoption could reach over 50% this year.
With those trends in mind, it is critical to make sure that you make the distinction between what you can measure and what you should measure, as you advance your CTV buys.
CTV versus OLV versus OTT
Given the fact that CTV, OLV and OTT are often used interchangeably, it’s important to get clear on their definitions:
- Connected TV (CTV): Easiest to define, CTV is a television that is connected to the internet. This could be a smart television with apps directly on it, or a television connected to an internet enabled device like an Apple TV or a video game system. The point being, it is the same large screen format you are used to from linear television.
- Over The Top (OTT) Think of this as your streaming services. Whether you have Amazon Prime Video, Bell Fibe TV App, Crave, Disney+ or Netflix (to name a few), you’re taking advantage of an OTT service. Some of these companies are rolling out ad-supported formats for the first time, introducing new, premium video inventory into the market.
- Online Video (OLV): In this context, this is a video advertisement on your social platform of choice or any website.
CTV adoption is most exciting when paired with OTT adoption. TV ads (whether on connected or linear TV) continue to stand out from an ad recall and trusted medium perspective (across all Canadian age groups) when compared to OLV. Add to that the economic advantages CTV can have over linear when purchased programmatically and the ability to frequency manage CTV with your larger digital buy, and the preference for CTV becomes clear.
What you can measure versus what you should measure
With all the excitement around CTV comes the trap that most digital ad mediums have fallen into: measurement simply because it is possible.
For example, when researching CTV, you will often come across studies showing that a subset of CTV impressions are delivered to devices that are off. But the same is true for TV receivers that are left on when the TV is off, yet we do not see the same scrutiny around linear TV.
The same can be said for video completion rate (VCR). Since it has been a core measurement for OLV ads for some time, the instinct is to measure it for CTV as well. But given the nature of TV and the reality that, year over year, more people are scrolling through their phones while a TV commercial plays, is VCR a real measurement of a successful ad on CTV?
As CTV adoption climbs, it is only going to become more important to your marketing strategy. Undervaluing it by measuring it no differently than linear could prevent you from capitalizing on its true potential. Instead of focusing on digital metrics, it’s important to focus on business outcomes - whether it be a brand lift study, media mix model (MMM), geo experiments or incrementality tests.