Audience targeting has been an important part of digital ad buying strategies for years, but streaming and connected TV (CTV) platforms lack the cookies that advertisers rely on to reach behavioral segments on digital. New ways to address segmenting viewership are needed as publishers seek to shift ad dollars to streaming.
As new solutions are evaluated, it’s important to consider the huge gap between how sellers and buyers feel about audience targeting data. Nearly three quarters of sellers felt that they could provide effective audience targeting to households for direct buys, but less than half of buyers agreed in Conviva’s State of Streaming Advertising 2021. To help bridge this gap, publishers can provide a strong alternative for advertisers using contextual targeting and making that data more available to advertisers for programmatic bidding. Contextual targeting has more scale and greater accuracy than audience targeting. Additionally, contextual targeting is how linear TV has worked for years, using content as a proxy for specific demographics.
“With streaming, there is an opportunity to provide high-quality creative to consumers, but we need to evaluate how and when we reach them. It’s time to move on from 1:1 targeting, with growing concerns over privacy and the challenge of scaling those campaigns and think about how we can align ads with the content that viewers enjoy and trust.” — Scott McDonald, President & CEO of the Advertising Research Foundation
It can be easier to assess the sentiment of viewers at the time of consumption with contextual targeting as well. This provides an opportunity for advertisers to deliver creative that will feel relevant to a leaned-in viewer.
To stay ahead of the curve and really cash in on streaming advertising opportunities, publishers need to consider how they are supporting contextual strategies. For direct sales, publishers can act as consultative sellers by working closely with advertisers to help them understand where their audience is consuming content and build strategies around that. Layering audience data atop content data will help build better, higher performing content packages for advertisers.
Programmatic contextual targeting provides a huge opportunity as well. Publishers need to have a way to make controlled and reliable content metadata available in the programmatic bid-stream. They should be working with private marketplace advertisers to evaluate what content performed best for their audiences to continue to fine tune their strategy.
Given the massive upside of contextual targeting, the ad industry is moving past 1:1 targeting and beginning to consider strategies for the CTV and streaming space that are a hybrid of the digital and linear models; strategically and dynamically reaching viewers with ads that are relevant both in who they are reaching and where they are reaching their audience.