Paul Wright: How UAE media planners can conquer CTV in 2024

BF Firos |
As digital consumption continues to surge, particularly among Gen Z and Millennials, the realm of Connected TV (CTV) presents a wealth of opportunities for media planners. Paul Wright, General Manager of Western Europe and MENAT at AppsFlyer, offers insights into the strategies media planners should prioritize in 2024 to leverage this shift and ensure campaigns effectively engage with target audiences. From capitalizing on addressable media to navigating CTV analytics, Wright delves into the nuances of CTV advertising and its transformative potential in the ever-evolving media landscape.

With the surge in CTV usage especially among Gen Z and Millennials, what strategies do you believe media planners should prioritise in 2024 to leverage the opportunities presented by this shift? And how can media planners ensure that their campaigns effectively engage with the target audience?

You’re absolutely right in that the consumption of digital services and content is on the rise. The United Arab Emirate’s video-on-demand market user penetration is projected to rise from a current 18% to 22% by 2027. The most recent AppsFlyer report on this topic showed that 64% of businesses are already running direct-response CTV campaigns, and 98% of them believe CTV will eventually overtake mobile as an advertising channel, with a quarter predicting this will happen by the middle of this decade. It is easy to see the attraction of CTV advertising — the opportunity to reach new customers, the prospect of higher engagement levels, and the potential of higher lifetime value.

The hundred-million-dollar UAE VoD market is but a sliver of a hundred-billion-dollar global ecosystem. This presents new opportunities for marketing professionals to enhance the effectiveness of campaigns because CTV ads have been shown to produce much higher viewing completion than other forms of communication. With the ability to fine-tune both the message and the audience through insights from rich data sets, campaign-runners can be more strategic with their ads, placing them across top-tier networks and popular content, and even re-engaging their OTT and CTV viewers across the various devices they use. In light of the conversation surrounding Gen Z and Millennials, it's crucial for media planners to recognize the dual-screen opportunity, particularly the synergy between TV and mobile, especially on social media platforms. With the surge in CTV usage among these demographics, media planners should prioritize strategies that capitalize on this trend. One effective approach is to integrate TV and mobile advertising seamlessly, leveraging the strengths of each platform to engage audiences across multiple touchpoints.

How can advertisers leverage the unique advantages offered by CTV, such as addressable media and immersive ad experiences, compared to traditional TV advertising?

Traditional cable operators can only track number of views and viewer location, which is not the richest set of insights in today’s consumer markets, where individualization is a must-have. OTT platforms perform much better in gathering data, in terms of both quantity and quality. They know much more than just what people are watching; they know how they are watching it, and when they disengage from content and why. They can also compose reports on cross-regional viewing trends that can be immensely useful to marketers.

These are the technical benefits that lead to the business advantages — new audiences, enhanced engagement, and higher lifetime value. Unsurprisingly, data drives the transformation story. Rich metrics gleaned through OTT and CTV platforms remove the guesswork from viewing analyses and put paid to the leaps of faith associated with campaigns of old. Today’s streaming services can accommodate niches that account for episode content, short-form content such as news reports, live streaming, and VoD. There's a significant programmatic opportunity for media planners to delve deeper into targeting, allowing for granular precision in reaching specific demographics and audiences. Leveraging platforms such as the TTDs, Amazon, and now Walmart, presents a unique advantage, as they can bring in valuable signals from various sources. This enables media planners to optimize their campaigns effectively by tapping into rich data insights and reaching audiences across multiple touchpoints.

How do advancements in CTV analytics and measurement tools, including Attention measurement, influence media planners' decisions to invest in CTV advertising?

The insights made possible by CTV platforms offer a host of benefits to marketers who can use this invaluable information to fine tune their campaigns. For example, by tracking brand reach, they can get to grips with the extent to which OTT ad campaigns are reaching relevant audiences. Along with reach goes frequency and the gross-rating points (GRPs) of OTT ad campaigns.

Or consider another crucial metric — brand lift. OTT ads can drive brand awareness across different audiences. Marketers must measure the perception change directly related to their campaigns, including awareness, favourability, and purchase intent. All these data points can lead to a better understanding of how messaging approaches directly lead to a better position for the brand within the market.

Measurement and fragmentation are potential challenges in CTV placements. How do you suggest advertisers/media planners address these challenges while ensuring effective ROI on their ad campaigns in the CTV space?

You've touched on a very important point here. A significant challenge for CTV advertisers is that every inventory source collects data differently, resulting in different insights. Often, providers operate in walled gardens, which force advertisers to work directly with them, deal with varying and limited data sets, and prevent user-level data from leaving their individual platforms. The result is an extremely competitive and fragmented marketplace, where advertisers face challenges around accurate measurement and attribution.

That said, because CTV advertising is so rooted in data, it’s possible for marketers to measure the success of their campaigns, and attribute results to the right sources, with pinpoint accuracy. This will require the support of a good MMP to help them navigate the fractured landscape, providing centralized, unbiased attribution across media sources, channels, and devices. Brands can successfully overcome defragmentation by running upper and lower funnel campaigns with the same measurement partners. Combining brand and performance campaigns on CTV would defragment the funnel and allow for a better understanding of the user journey. And of course, another crucial part of the solution is data standardization. Working with a partner such as AppsFlyer, that is capable of enabling standardization, will ensure that even though more and more networks are becoming walled gardens, you can still get all those data points in one consistent analytics dashboard.

Two key user journeys to track are as CTV-to-CTV attribution and measurement and CTV-to-mobile attribution and measurement. The former is where CTV ads result in CTV app installs, on the same device or operating system, while the latter is where viewers install a mobile app after seeing it advertised on a CTV device. In both cases, where things get tricky is that each CTV platform provides its own reporting method, and the reporting itself may vary in terms of consistency, granularity, and naming conventions. This is where an MMP such as AppsFlyer can help, by providing a consolidated dashboard. By working with an MMP that integrates directly with CTV platforms like Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, Android TV, Chromecast, gaming consoles, and smart TVs, marketers can access deeper metrics such as LTV and metadata for better attribution.