Chief Strategy Officer at TheViewPoint
Interactivity is undoubtedly the next big step in the Connected TV industry’s evolution, one that drastically distinguishes it from linear and is believed to further boost an already impressive growth. Therefore, it’s not surprising that interactive CTV (iCTV) ads are on the radar of both publishers and advertisers. Despite being a relatively nascent instrument, such ads have already proved to be highly effective when compared to traditional in-stream ones. With that in mind, let’s review iCTV in greater detail.
As annual total viewer numbers are rising across most CTV services, advertisers and publishers tend to follow their audiences. Hence, CTV ad
spending is likely to reach a staggering $11.36 billion in 2021 – which is, as per eMarketer, a 40% increase compared to 2020. This puts a lot of pressure on ad effectiveness but also on making ads timelier and more entertaining for exposed viewers. This is when iCTV and its burgeoning
metrics are coming under the spotlight.
iCTV provides dynamic advertising content instead of basic wheeled-out static formats. Ultimately, it opens up more room for creative solutions, personalization, and leveled up engagement. Actually, according to Innovid, owing to iCTV, interactions with viewers can be carried beyond an ad’s runtime with brands getting 83 additional seconds of viewers’ attention and 3.5% more engagement.
This all enhances connections between brands and users and has the potential to top any other conventional ad types in terms of addressability. Therefore, iCTV perfectly fits marketers’ need for tailored, relevant, and efficient means of capitalization on CTV’s skyrocketing audience, and is especially beneficial in pursuing affluent cord-cutters and cord-nevers.
Interactive CTV formats are gaining momentum as we speak with shoppable QR, carousels, dynamic, and TV-to-mobile ads making the frontpages. Take for instance dynamic ad placements by Channel 4 for Boots and Suzuki that showed users the nearest stores in the UK, or Pringles’ shoppable QR code campaign displayed during The Super Bowl in the US a few years back. Such ads are actionable and provide incremental time to capture consumers’ attention in a more lean-back multi-screen environment. This explains why they are wooed by CTV broadcasters.
When talking about less well-known iCTV formats, it’s worth mentioning ad extender, expand, and flexible formats. They all are built around the idea of a totally consumer-centric ad experience. Ad selector, for example, relies on viewers’ choices of ads, whereas the rest on the list launch full-length commercials only when a user activates them.
Thus, the effectiveness of interactive CTV ad formats is not in question, as they provide memorable connections with audiences, elevate brand awareness, traffic flows, and purchase considerations. What is stopping iCTV from becoming a tentpole then? And is there going to be a watershed moment after which interactivity will become mainstream in CTV?
Though the CTV industry has been focusing sharply on enriching ad unit delivery, there are some issues that remain outstanding. It is evident that technological novelty accompanied by implementation hurdles and compatibility issues are the reasons iCTV slightly lags behind some other popular formats. According to IAB, only 32% of media buyers are ready to adopt interactive CTV ads in 2021.
Having said that, when it comes to deploying new technologies, it’s usually larger brands at the forefront, who take the first plunge. The rest of the market often adopts a ‘wait and see’ approach and holds the purse strings. Hence, most CTV players are now looking for new success stories to lean on and more data that would come up to support the concept. In other words, without further technological advancements and improved social profile, it’s unlikely that the implementation of the iCTV concept will be a go-to strategy for everyone in the space.
Though it’s hard to foresee whether iCTV will ever become everyone’s bread and butter, its future definitely looks promising. Especially, considering the mushrooming integrations of voice assistants like Alexa or Google Assistant into Smart TVs and retrofitting opportunities they bring to shoppers through shoppable ads.
As for the technical execution, Innovid is indisputably running the iCTV show these days. With the support of many front-runners, including TheViewPoint, responsible for facilitating the implementation of interactive CTV ads as well as introducing the industry to the potential benefits, iCTV has clearly an exciting journey ahead.
Interactive ads are the future of streaming and connected television. As the industry accelerates in viewership each year, more advanced and efficient methods of advertising emerge. iCTV significantly boosts customer engagement rates and brand awareness compared to traditional ad units. The variety of iCTV ad formats create vast opportunities for creative advertising and gamification. Further technological advancements will definitely encourage the wider adoption of interactive CTV ads.
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