Report: CTV is TV networks advertisers’ top priority

Research from Advertiser Perceptions shows that advertisers are upping their ante on video, and the pandemic has pushed streaming to one-quarter of TV screen advertising budgets.

Yet the largest spenders are favouring the Connected TV (CTV) options of established networks over streaming start-ups. This has a direct bearing on the 2021 Upfront, as most advertisers expect to keep their allocations consistent (40 per cent Upfront/60 per cent scatter) and their ears tuned to how networks will improve cross-screen opportunity, measurement and brand safety.

Half of video advertisers (52 per cent) will increase their video spend over the next 12 months, with the remainder keeping their video spend at the same level; Most of those who are increasing (77 per cent) indicate that video ad spend is increasing at a faster rate than other media. Among all advertisers, video leads all other media as most important: 49 per cent rank video first, with search a distant second (19 per cent), social in third at 13 per cent, and display in fourth at 12 per cent.

TV still tops in video value. Overall, more video advertisers find linear TV to be the most valuable video platform than the leading contenders combined. More than half (51 per cent) pick linear TV options as their top priority, versus 31 per cent for social media (16 per cent) and video sites (15 per cent).

Size divide: The bigger they are, the more they favour TV. Those spending less than $25 million indicate that video and social media sites are more effective than linear TV. Those spending $25 million or more still prefer linear TV and rely less on video sites and social media.

Advertisers spread out their search for reach online. Advertisers are spreading more evenly across the video landscape to increase audience reach. While 45 per cent of advertisers believe that they can achieve their reach goals without linear TV, overall advertisers are decreasing reliance on video sites and social media and increasing their use of programmatic TV options (e.g., DSPs, vMVPDs).

Upfront advertisers want a measurement fix. The problem most cited by advertisers as they spread their video budgets out across platforms to reach a fragmented audience is measurement. Fully 58 per cent say that the more impressions they buy outside of linear TV, the harder it is for them to know the precise reach, frequency and effectiveness of their overall video advertising campaigns. This will play big at the 2021 Upfront, as 75 per cent of advertisers are primed to hear how media companies will balance expanding reach with innovation in personalisation and cross-screen measurement.

Networks’ CTV options are becoming safe havens. Advertiser concern is mounting over fraud in online video, but most are fleeing rather than confronting it. Nearly four in five advertisers identify OTT fraud as a concern, particularly as programmatic OTT grows. Larger advertisers especially are fleeing to the relative safety of TV networks’ CTV options. And advertisers overall increasingly hold digital video platforms to linear TV-type assurances, insisting that their ads appear on reputable sites (87 per cent), pair with brand-safe content (80 per cent) and run within professionally produced video content (79 per cent).

“Big TV networks have really beefed up their CTV opportunities at the right time,” said Justin Fromm, EVP/Business Intelligence at Advertiser Perceptions. “They’re becoming safe harbours for the largest advertisers as fraud climbs in the medium. While the major Internet platforms will lead in volume of streaming ads, TV network safety is keeping them the gold standard in video as the platforms evolve.”

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