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Connected TV: Unlock the potential of audience-centric measurement

As television advertising has evolved over the past 70-plus years, the upfront model has remained largely unchanged, despite its misalignment with modern-day TV practices. While TV measurement capabilities have also progressed, with marketers shifting to a data-driven approach, the upfronts have failed to fully adapt to these changes.

The measurement landscape in TV advertising has become increasingly complex, making it challenging for marketers to accurately evaluate the impact of their campaigns. Historically, marketers have relied on broad demographic-based buying and KPIs like reach to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns. However, these metrics do not connect back to value and growth, because they do not take an audience-first approach.

While upfronts provide a level of guaranteed reach, the quality and value of that reach can vary. For example, imagine repeatedly seeing ads for jet skis when you are actually in the market for a family car. The traditional buying method based on demographics, rather than what you already know about your customers, can potentially result in budget inefficiencies, negatively impact brand perception, and limit conversion opportunities. Reach is a spectrum and to achieve quality reach, you should prioritize an audience-centric approach to buying and measurement by focusing on audiences that align with your desired goals and business outcomes.

Potential limitations of media mix modeling for CTV

Many marketers also use media mix modeling (MMM) to measure their campaigns to better understand what’s driving ROI. While MMM can provide valuable insights into overall marketing performance, it may not be suitable for every marketing strategy or tactic because different strategies often require specific metrics. MMM may not accurately reflect the true performance of Connected TV (CTV) for the following reasons:

  1. Incomplete assessment of CTV data: Although data on CTV advertising is increasingly available, many MMM approaches are not designed to fully capture the impact of CTV advertising. For example, MMM often struggles to account for the impact of online-to-offline and offline-to-online customer journeys as well as the influence of digital advertising on physical store visits. This can lead to an incomplete assessment of its true performance compared to other advertising channels.
  2. Unique targeting capabilities: CTV advertising has unique targeting capabilities that may not be fully captured by traditional MMM approaches, which typically rely on aggregated data and broader demographics. For example, CTV allows you to target specific households based on first-party data, third-party data, and viewing habits, which can be more effective than targeting based on demographics alone.
  3. Different measurement metrics: CTV measurement is not uniform and can vary across a spectrum of metrics based on your goals. Some campaigns may focus on increasing reach while others may prioritize driving sales or engagement. This can make it challenging to compare CTV performance with other advertising channels using a standardized MMM approach.
“I don’t love media mix modeling. The race to the bottom doesn’t necessarily translate into actual business outcomes. We can buy $1.50 banners all day and get a billion impressions and ROI will probably go up just based on how the model works. But effectiveness is defined as revenue due to media, and we have goals as a team. So if you’re not driving top-line revenue, are you really bringing the value you’re supposed to be bringing to the business?”

Vinny Rinaldi
Head of Media and Analytics at The Hershey Company, speaking at the Forward ’23 event

The CTV opportunity: measuring beyond reach

While MMM remains a common high-level measurement approach, you have an opportunity to supplement your MMM with additional CTV measurement to help accurately depict the customer journey and identify key online and offline channels and touchpoints contributing to conversions.

Today, we have a variety of audience-centric measurement solutions that align with the evolving nature of TV advertising. With CTV on The Trade Desk, you can go beyond proxy metrics to connect your campaigns to real business outcomes:

  • Incremental reach: You can leverage our iSpot incremental reach reporting to help better understand CTV’s reach beyond what’s possible with linear TV.
  • Brand Lift: Measure the impact of CTV campaigns on driving lift for key brand metrics, including awareness, consideration, and purchase intent with Brand Lift powered by Lucid, a Cint Group Company.
  • Inferred Brand Intent: Measure viewer browsing behavior before and after being served a TV ad to infer changes in brand engagement as a result of your advertising.
  • Offline measurement: Measure the impact of CTV by connecting exposures to your TV commercials to offline signals like foot traffic and sales.
  • Retail sales measurement: Connect your CTV campaigns to online and in-store sales from leading retailers like Kroger, Walgreens, and Walmart.

There are many CTV measurement solutions available to meet individual needs, and your account team can help you identify which option works best for your goals and how to get the right data into your media mix models to help you more accurately measure the true impact of your CTV advertising. You can also check out our MMM best practices.

As CTV continues to grow in popularity and consumption, leveraging a tailored CTV measurement and reporting strategy can position you at the forefront of this evolving landscape. By harnessing the power of data-driven insights, you can capitalize on the opportunities presented by CTV measurement for long-term success.

With CTV on The Trade Desk, we can help you move toward KPIs that matter most to your brand — the ones that connect your CTV advertising to actual revenue-based outcomes, helping you drive value and growth.

Connect with The Trade Desk to learn more about our CTV measurement suite.