The streaming space is growing, and where consumers go, advertisers follow. With Netflix and Disney Plus introducing ad-supported offerings, the streaming inventory landscape has transformed. Advertisers will be able to adapt more persona-based targeting options and, as a result, platforms will be able to better match advertisers with viewers.
During a recent Campaign US Tech Talk, premium content editor Lisa Lacy moderated a discussion between Nia Robertson, director of client services at Finecast, and Kelly Metz, managing director of advanced TV activation at Omnicom Media Group, about how the new ad-supported offerings will impact investment strategies ahead of the upfronts.
The evolving space
Streaming has become essential and represents half of the U.S. viewership. “It's why we literally can't plan video independently of streaming anymore,” Metz said. Which is difficult “given the limitations from a dataset and technology perspective, but we use what we have, we model, we think differently about how we're looking at growth in streaming.”
Robertson predicted that “we’ll see more consolidation as a result of the streaming wars, content will continue to be bundled from a TV perspective and smart TV distributors will create more fast, free, ad-supported TV services and original content as an added revenue stream and increase subscribers.” Within this evolving space, advertisers will “push for unified IDs for more accurate and privacy safe measurement,” she said.
Given that households often use the same profile, “a different type of identity probably needs to be used as a source of truth, both for measurement and ad sequencing and creative,” Metz added. To that end, Omnicom Media Group is working closely with key streaming partners to access more precise viewing data.
NBC Universal (NBCU) “has been a leader in terms of ad sequencing and capabilities on Peacock,” she noted. “That represents a huge opportunity for storytelling and for new ways to think about television creative.” However, in the streaming world, “you still see too many ads time out, repeat, sometimes in the same pod, particularly in fast platforms.”
The future offerings
The biggest challenge in streaming has been a lack of inventory. “We'd love to see all new entrants and everyone embrace ad-supported platforms because that's the best way to fund the content that people want to watch,” Metz said.
In addition, ad-supported models are “a good way to monetize and reach the younger viewers, such as Gen Z, who tend to be more frugal than other generations when it comes to streaming,” Robertson said.
With shopping on streaming services on the rise, advertising will only continue to increase. Differentiated ad units won’t “disrupt the content viewership experience, but enable the consumer to do what they need to do — to transact and then get back to their programming,” Metz said. “More money is going to flow and it doesn’t necessarily have to be completely tied into a retail media network because I can go direct-to-consumer in a seamless shopping experience.”
Last year’s Super Bowl launched the use of QR codes on TV. “QR codes are an effective way to drive quick decisions because it doesn't require a ton of effort from the consumer and nine times out of 10 the person's phone is close by when they're watching TV,” Robertson said. Even better for advertisers, “the QR codes can unlock access to a wealth of information.”
While the Super Bowl remains a powerful force in advertising as a singular live event with 100 million viewers, “the shift to streaming has changed the game for live sports,” Robertson said. With streaming, brands “can reach audiences wherever they are and serve them relevant ads through that dynamic ad insertion (DAI).” That ad format “allows for expanded and diversified reach and is an efficient way to reach a lot of people at once.”
The truth is “streaming delivery is going to be the de facto delivery mechanism for long-form content, whether it's live or on-demand,” Metz said. “You're going to see this amazing opportunity where you have massive audience reach combined with potentially a personalized or unique creative ad experience because of the addressability.”
When it comes to upfront planning, GroupM Nexus recommends “ not starting with specific channel allocations and approaching the upfronts with fluidity and flexibility. And that starts by taking an audience approach to buy side fluidity, informed primarily by measurement,” Robertson said. “We're pushing clients on the need to understand measurement informed audiences and honing in on that group of people regardless of the KPIs.”
This is a transformational moment in the industry with “the opportunity to rethink how you buy, what you're buying on and what the metrics are around that,” Metz said. Audience buying and audience guarantees will “continue into the future because this is how you become cross platform and an audience-based industry.”
Optimizing across devices and channels
GroupM Nexus is emphasizing cross-platform measurement. “There's no longer a need to measure campaigns in silos by partner or network,” Robertson said. Measurement should instead “inform key outcomes and it's important that advertisers understand and have visibility to holistic and deduplicated media consumption regardless of platform or device.”
The challenge with cross-platform measurement is “the data isn't there to do it effectively and there will never be a universal ID across platforms,” Metz added. As an industry, it’s important to ”focus on getting to good enough so that our clients have competence levels in what they're buying and how they're measuring the efficacy of that buy.” That will require “the industry coming together and setting the baseline standards for how we go forward.”
At this stage, “there's a clear need for consistency and standardization across measurement metrics so that advertisers can understand how to best transact in the space,” Robertson said. That cross-channel measurement directly impacts advanced attribution. “The more data that's aggregated and de-duped by channel and measured by a single source, the more accurate your advanced attribution is,” she said.
Streaming attribution “is a real challenge because the keepers of that dataset are the streamers themselves,” Metz concluded. The data is necessary in order “to do appropriate attribution and give streaming the appropriate credit or lack thereof for its performance.” As an industry, it’s imperative to “open up those datasets to third-party measurement and make sure that we're doing it in a privacy safe way.”