How to Increase Ad Exposure Without Annoying Viewers

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CTV is in danger of repeating the sins of linear TV’s past, notably, stacking too many commercials into the streaming experience. A recent study by Morning Consult found that the majority of viewers find CTV commercials to be repetitive and invasive. It doesn’t have to be this way.

CTV and streaming content in general has the potential to provide brands with the exposure they want while avoiding the endless parade of ad spots that either break up the viewer experience or are simply skipped. Brands and media companies need to look more creatively at how to take advantage of improvements in technology that give CTV an opportunity to go further than linear’s legacy.

Tackle Frequency First
The Morning Consult study touches on something we’ve all dealt with on streaming content—the ads can be repetitive. This is a classic issue that has plagued our industry for decades. The problem is that brands need to stick to a frequency cap more strictly. They got themselves into trouble on programmatic in the early days by allowing their media agencies to take off the frequency caps at the end of a campaign to “deliver in full.” However, they weren’t delivering quality. They were either massively over-exposing to part of their audience or worse, they were showing ads to bots on click-farm websites. 

CTV can avoid this same mess if brands are strict about frequency capping from the beginning. The hard part is admitting the truth - there is limited inventory and a limited target audience. But this is the reality. Any partner that claims they can deliver a budget that defies the numbers is either sending ads to fake sites or over-exposing an audience.

Fight The Monotony
Another fix for repetitive ads is for brands to rethink creative development. Rather than repeat the same 15 second spot over and over, brands can shoot content that can be cut and put together in any number of ways in order to break up the monotony, and provide options for more targeted versions of an ad. 

Mondelez is one brand that has gone public with their work with Innovid to “personalize” more of their ads, including CTV. They use a catalog of interchangeable assets as well as first and third party data to create advertising that is more likely to be relevant to the viewer. LG Ads Solutions announced a partnership with Clinch earlier this year to bring dynamic creative optimization to (CTV.) This can help brands make more from their video creative assets at scale, creating different versions of ads by switching out text, products and more. 

Find New Exposure Opportunities
Another opportunity that brands are starting to embrace is to find creative brand placement outside of the 15 second spot. As the world’s first TV advertisers know, the content is often the best ad placement. This season of Stranger Things delivered $25 million in product placement value for their advertisers. And research we’ve done with Kantar shows that adding in-content placements can actually lift the performance of TV spots, so it’s hardly an “either/or” situation.

The beauty of product placement these days is that brands don’t have to collaborate with studios in advance of shooting in order to weave their project into the storyline. Virtual product placement from companies like Mirriad and Amazon can dynamically insert product, signage and other elements into the content post-production.

Media companies are devising a variety of other options for brands. Sports networks use technology to squeezeback live coverage of NFL games and other live sports to split the screen with an ad for simultaneous, uninterrupted viewing. Networks continue to experiment with branded overlays, on-screen graphics and animations (including AR) in live broadcasts. 

With CTV augmented by digital, these types of executions can become a bigger part of the media buy. Imagine if the overlay was dynamically inserted and was directly connected to the content on the screen - such as a department store advertising the sunglasses that the main actor was wearing. 

Bringing Everything Together With Interactivity
All of these new ad opportunities have the added benefit of being interactive. With CTV, viewers will become more used to the idea that they can use their remote or mouse to navigate an ad or product placements in content to learn more or click to buy. Momentum is starting to build for this new standard. Rakuten Advertising has a study that shows interactivity increased engagement by 2x (opens in new tab) and the IAB TechLab has standards to make interactive ads on CTV scalable.

The exciting thing about CTV is that it brings together the best of TV with the potential of digital. Digital provides a platform for seemingly nonstop innovation. Linear advertisers have started to embrace CTV in order to reach their audience. The next phase is for them to embrace the new creative and digital element to give those audiences a better viewing experience than ever before. 

Mark Melvin is EVP Sales and Brand Partnerships for Mirriad