Why the Advertising Comeback is Anchored in Local OTT

"In recent weeks, consumers have accelerated a change that was underway in the streaming world. CTV/OTT has become THE universal form of media consumption and more consumers are embracing ad-supported streaming TV options." -John Vilade, head of sales, Premion

With the nation’s attention turned to the reopening, advertisers are considering how quickly to pivot their messaging and determining the right media mix to prepare for the restart. They also have to shift to a local marketing approach in response to the phased state-by-state reopening for retail stores, restaurants and other businesses. To underscore that notion, a recent IAB study found that more than a third of advertisers are already adjusting their in-market tactics to increase audience and connected TV (CTV)/ OTT device targeting. With local campaigns reigning over national ad buys, the combination of OTT and local linear is proving to be invaluable for advertisers to execute locally for the comeback.

In recent weeks, consumers have accelerated a change that was underway in the streaming world. CTV/OTT has become THE universal form of media consumption and more consumers are embracing ad-supported streaming TV options. An IAS ‘Streaming Wars’ report finds that nearly nine in 10 consumers have access to a CTV device; 76% are willing to see ads in exchange for watching free streaming video, and 55% plan to watch free video streaming services in the next 12 months. At the same time, more viewers are tuning in to their local newscasts as the trusted news source and those newscasts are also attracting a younger audience, per TVB’s analysis.

As consumers have grown accustomed to contactless, remote and digital behaviors in their day-to-day lives, brand messages will be important to convey how businesses are adopting new safety practices as they reopen. According to The Harris Poll Covid-19 tracker, pent-up demand is building ‘revenge spending’ among consumers who are planning for major purchases once things return to a semi-normal state, albeit with a focus on safety across the customer journey. A CivicScience study finds that half of consumers are ready to resume life and prefer not to see ads that talk about sheltering in place. As consumers emerge from being home-bound, they are also more receptive to entertaining and uplifting messages. As such, brands that tap into the resiliency of local communities with campaigns that are engaging, informative and hopeful will resonate with their audiences.

Here are three advertiser priorities as we enter the reopening phase:

Prioritize Addressable Advertising and Geotargeting

Advertisers across industry categories will need to take a localized approach by aligning local spot buys with the regional reopening timeframes. As such, geotargeting and dynamic creative are ever more important. From a linear perspective, communities and audience identities that have been formed around TV markets remain incredibly relevant to businesses and consumers. Furthermore, as national advertisers shift their focus to local campaigns, they’re seeking more granular insights at a national to local level to be able personalize, localize and deliver more relevant ads to reach their desired audiences with on-brand messaging.

Addressable OTT enables advertisers to target local audiences at scale. They can target by designated market area (DMA), states, zip codes and combine this geo-targeting with interest categories. With addressable targeting, viewer data is captured and analyzed into audience segments, such as auto intenders, and applied to campaigns. Brands also need to adapt and tailor their messages to communicate how they’re serving their local customers differently. With dynamic ad insertions in CTV, advertisers can easily swap out creative to deliver a personalized and relevant advertising experience.

Optimizing OTT and Local TV

Advertisers that leverage ad-supported OTT to complement linear as a ‘reach extension’ are able to capture shifting audiences by engaging with viewers that they wouldn’t reach with linear alone. As such, it’s important for advertisers to compare OTT and linear TV usage by asking: Where are you finding viewers exclusively on OTT? Without OTT in the mix, advertisers are potentially missing out on a huge local audience segment. The potential for optimizing OTT and linear campaigns is significant. Additionally, advertisers are looking for greater simplicity and scale in planning, buying and measurement, and they’re seeking unified packaged solutions – thus the need for tighter integration and packaging between ad-supported OTT inventory and broadcast TV inventory.

New innovations for managing incremental reach and frequency across OTT and linear are available to deliver more effective results for advertisers. With automated content recognition (ACR) technology embedded in smart TVs, advertisers can now measure the effectiveness of both OTT and linear ad campaigns to allow for better planning of media spend. For instance, access to this data can show an advertiser whether they’ve gained a higher percentage of incremental OTT reach that they perhaps would have missed on linear to prove the efficacy and ROI of their campaigns. Essentially, combining OTT and linear TV inventory can drive increased business outcomes for advertisers by extending both reach and engagement.

Pay Attention to Attribution

As consumer behaviors evolve with the reopening, brands will need to stay laser focused on their marketing spend effectiveness. While our industry is still working towards delivering unified measurement, the value of CTV / OTT advertising for driving audience engagement is undeniable – given the non-skippable ad formats, reduced ad loads, industry-leading completion rates and targetability. Moreover, OTT attribution capabilities can prove to advertisers whether their campaign performance drove business outcomes.

During the lockdown with stores temporarily closed, measuring website attribution was the priority. With the reopening, advertisers will resume the need to track footfall traffic again. Moreover, we can expect to see more industry innovation that can deliver greater specificity in the return in marketing investment, specifically with closed loop attribution and the ability to measure offline purchasing behaviors.

Our world will look and feel differently as many businesses will have to adapt and reimagine themselves for the reopening. To that end, brands and agencies that take a ‘flight to quality’ approach to working with proven, premium, trusted partners are well positioned to make smart, informed media buying decisions to reach their desired local audiences for a new era. Like the Dorothy awakening in ‘The Wizard of Oz’, in our comeback, we’ve found OTT to be our new friend in reaching critical mass and there’s no place like home – akin to the familiarity of local.

Premion, part of Tegna, is the leading premium CTV/OTT advertising platform for regional and local advertisers.