Why Connected TV Will Be Critical to Reach This Year's Holiday Shoppers

With social distancing likely to continue for the remainder of 2020, holiday shopping will look drastically different this year. According to a consumer insights study by Radial, even though 60% of consumers plan to shop less in-store this season due to fear of COVID-19 exposure, 44% still plan to spend as they normally would.

Adam Lowy, Head of North American Demand Sales and Strategy at Magnite

Adam Lowy, head of North American demand sales and strategy, Magnite (Image credit: Magnite)

There's an opportunity for connected TV (CTV) to meet the moment and support brands looking to connect with holiday shoppers, as window-shopping is being replaced with online deal-hunting and brands can’t rely on foot traffic to entice shoppers. Last year, Thanksgiving day alone posted $4.2 billion in online shopping sales in the U.S. This was a 14.5% increase from the previous year. This year, that number is expected to only increase. CTV is a highly engaging and actionable platform that engages digitally savvy audiences, which positions it as the ideal platform to target online shoppers.

Reaching Shoppers Where They Are

This year, having a video-first strategy to connect with shoppers where they are — at home — is critical. While linear TV was once the go-to platform to reach American consumers, that’s no longer the case. Today, 80 percent of U.S. households stream video to a connected device while over 30 million people no longer access TV through traditional cable. Data from a recent research study showed that 39% of Americans added an additional streaming service in Q2 of this year. Of these viewers, 80% watch ad-supported content. 

Advertisers have a golden opportunity to reach shoppers in CTV’s highly engaging and brand-safe environment. Importantly, CTV’s ability to deliver high-quality video will be of special importance for holiday ads. A recent study by Vox media found that 62% of Americans want brands to focus on a feeling of celebration. The sight, sound, and motion of video is the best way to convey such a feeling and forge an emotional connection with viewers — and do so in a full-screen, non-skippable environment. Further, CTV audiences are young, tech-savvy, socially active, and highly influential when it comes to word-of-mouth marketing. When advertisers reach them with a positive message, their influence can go a long way. 

Accessible For All Brands

The Q4 holiday advertising market is traditionally competitive in terms of availability, and brands with more modest budgets are often priced out of TV. Particularly this year, brands will be price conscious and need to see ROI from their ad spend. CTV allows them to reach their desired audiences without needing multi-million-dollar commitments months in advance. With more CTV inventory due to increased viewership, brands have more access to sensibly priced premium TV-quality spots during this important spending season. 

In the vein of ensuring their ad campaigns are working hard for them, the digital nature of CTV gives brands access to real-time insights that they wouldn’t get from linear TV. With live data at their fingertips, retailers can adjust their campaigns on the fly to more effectively achieve their goals. 

Better Targeting for Holiday Audiences 

With viewers consuming video-on-demand across multiple devices and screens, data-driven targeting opportunities have expanded significantly. During the holidays, there are opportunities to target contextually around the streaming TV content genres that are popular this time of year, i.e., holiday-themed romcoms; cooking shows, and sports.

By combining verified audience data from third-party sources and consumer viewing segments from content providers (i.e., romcom bingers and diehard football viewers), advertisers can more effectively target their desired audiences. 

The ability to weave first and third-party data into CTV buys improves targeting and eliminates wasteful, or un-targeted impressions. Further, addressable CTV targeting can be more cost-effective than buying national TV CPMs, which garner significant premiums when layering in targeting. 

Tis’ the Season for Time-Sensitive Deals

With less shopping happening in brick-and-mortar stores this year, e-commerce offers an alternative means to offset losses for brands. Just last year, during the five-day period from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, the US saw an estimated online sales revenue of 28.5 billion U.S. dollars. The proportion of e-commerce sales is only projected to increase this holiday season. 

Importantly, online holiday deals are time-sensitive, and now more than ever, sales strategies need to be flexible to accommodate that. Black Friday, Cyber-Week, online holiday promotions— these sales windows are deadline-driven, and after one cycle is finished, it’s on to the next. These special holiday deals are also happening earlier this year since stores want to space out the crowds typically seen on Black Friday.

Here, with its flexibility and control, CTV meets advertisers’ need for agility and urgent messaging around such time-sensitive campaigns. 

Overall, with its scale, reach, precision targeting, and custom addressability, CTV provides an optimal buying opportunity for brands during the holidays. With the shift away from in-store sales this year, retailers and marketers are embracing CTV as a core part of their advertising mix,

Magnite (NASDAQ: MGNI) is the world’s largest independent sell-side advertising platform that combines Rubicon Project’s programmatic expertise with Telaria’s leadership in CTV.

Adam Lowy

Head of North American Demand Sales and Strategy at Magnite