‘Advanced TV’ ads set to advance into the mainstream

TVData-driven TV, which allows brands to overlay their first-party data onto a raft of behavioural and purchase information, is expected to move further into the mainstream this year with 60% of UK marketers expecting their investments to increase in the next 12 months.

So says a survey of UK advertisers and agencies, commissioned by FreeWheel and conducted by independent research firm CoLab Media, aimed at uncovering the impact of the pandemic on spending priorities. The survey was also carried out in France, Germany, Spain and Italy.

According to the research, 32% of the UK marketers expect overall budgets to improve. The +4% predicted net increment in budgets is a significant improvement on the -51% recorded last year.

When it comes to spending on so-called “Advanced TV” advertising channels – video-on-demand (VOD), Connected TV (CTV), over-the-top (OTT), data-driven linear and addressable TV – optimism seems to be reinforced across both advertisers and agencies.

VOD, CTV and OTT are expected to grow by +5.2%, +9.5% and +6.2% respectively, according to UK agency respondents. For UK advertisers surveyed, these expectations are +15.1% for VOD, 8.8% for CTV and +14% for OTT.

The drivers of Advanced TV ad spend remain linked to performance, with targeting capabilities ranked as the highest driver by 55% of UK respondents and ad effectiveness proof a close second by 53%.

While net marketing budget optimism provides a boost of confidence, for 42% of the responding UK marketers the ability to measure ROI is a key factor to secure buy-in and unlock further budgets.

However, while UK agencies surveyed see the need to access deterministic exposure data as a vital measurement priority (47%), UK advertisers surveyed are more concerned with data integrations (41%) and trusted third-party certification (37%).

Alongside ROI proof points, the ability to gather data to optimise campaign performance in-flight is also ranked highly important for nearly two-fifths (39%) of UK marketers that took part in the survey.

A focus on measurement as a key factor in Advanced TV spend was also prominent in last year’s FreeWheel and CoLab Advanced TV survey. But the survey results show UK advertisers and agencies are more aligned on their priorities compared to last year.

Both UK marketer groups place significant importance on top-of-funnel marketing objectives, citing revenue growth (61%) and customer acquisition (57%) as the top priorities for 2021.

However, while UK advertisers are more focused on driving brand building objectives, UK agencies show a more balanced approach, placing relative greater importance on bottom funnel objectives such as reducing churn (33%), driving ROI (27%) and meeting long-term objectives (27%).

Consistent with the top-of-funnel marketing priorities, UK advertisers and agencies surveyed agree on the two pillars to drive campaign success: maximising reach (59%) and creative (50%).

From the UK agency perspective, greater focus is placed on creative (60%) and media channel selection (47%), which traditionally fall under the core agency tasks. According to the survey, UK agencies rank linear TV reach extension (53%) and ad effectiveness (50%) as the main drivers of spend growth in Advanced TV, while UK advertisers place greater value on Advanced TV’s targeting capabilities across audiences (66%) and platforms (56%).

FreeWheel vice-president of marketing and communications internation Virginie Dremeaux said: “The findings reinforce the continued positive trend toward Advanced TV identified in our 2020 survey, with a third of TV ad budgets reportedly being assigned to Advanced TV channels in 2021 compared to a fifth last year.

“A further reason for optimism is an increase from last year on alignment over upper funnel priorities between advertisers and agencies, although while advertisers show more of a concern with building brand health, agencies place greater importance on ROI.

“Critically, there’s increased recognition from both groups of Advanced TV’s potential to reach highly engaged audiences in premium video environments through effective ad campaigns. With greater education and experience, I’m confident advertisers and agencies can continue to achieve the return on investment they need from these channels.”

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