OTT Attribution — How TV for Brands is Changing

Mar 22, 2022

Jason Fairchild

Co-founder and CEO, tvScientific

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TV advertising has historically been dominated by big brands. But tvScientific’s OTT Attribution solution opens up the medium to any digital-first brand.

OTT Attribution is Changing the Future of TV – for Brands, Publishers, and Viewers

TV advertising has always been the domain of a few hundred brands. Precise OTT attribution is poised to democratize the medium with profound impact.

OTT Attribution

​​The TV advertising landscape has changed a lot since Don Draper’s heyday, but one constant has been the relatively small number of companies that use the medium. Today, a full 80% of US households have connected TVs (CTV) and a whopping 60% of viewing is now delivered via streaming services and apps. But more than 80% of the $72B US television advertising market is dominated by only 300-500 national advertisers. Compare that to the more than 9M active advertisers on search and social and you can see a massive disconnect. And opportunity.

If TV is no longer linear and is now a digital medium, what’s keeping those millions of digital-first brands from taking advantage of the power of TV advertising? The issue has been OTT attribution and now that it’s solved, TV advertising won’t be the same – for brands, publishers, and consumers. Here’s how.

Our comprehensive guide, What Is OTT Advertising? Why Over-The-Top Is the Channel to Watch, can help take your strategy to the next level.

The TV Advertising Accountability Barrier

TV has always been a broad reach medium and, historically, advertisers need BIG budgets to reach mass audiences. That priced out most advertisers.

But even brands that could afford to be on TV struggled to understand how effectively the TV spend was working, or if it was working at all. Intuitively, smart marketers knew that (most) TV campaigns were meeting core goals and KPIs. But could they prove it to their bosses? That’s where things sometimes got tricky.

You created a great ad and executed a smart media plan. Your target saw the ad, remembered it, or maybe even made a mental note to circle back. So the next day, they type the brand name into a Google search and navigate to your website. The website click gets attributed to Google and your TV ad gets zero credit. Then your boss asks why you wasted all that money on the TV ad.

But what if TV attribution methodology evolved to allow you to track the full customer journey? It’s not future talk anymore.

Introducing Precise OTT Attribution

At tvScientific, we’re the only CTV platform offering optimized media buying, comprehensive measurement, and 1:1 attribution on a direct, self-managed basis. tvScientific is a performance advertising platform for connected TV that, for the first time, enables any business to use TV with ease, precision, and measurability to reach consumers and generate growth. To fully appreciate OTT attribution and how it will change the TV landscape, it’s important to understand how it works.  

How Does the tvScientific OTT Attribution Method Work?

How did we solve OTT attribution? With the tvScientific Method, we deliver your ad to a household's CTV and identify the IP, which is stored in an exposure file. We then append that exposure file with any additional devices tied to the household IP. If and when the ad-exposed consumer completes your desired action (website visit, download, form completion, purchase, etc.) on a smartphone, laptop, or tablet, we see that action and collect the data. Whereas without OTT attribution, the attribution for the action would have gone to Google, with the tvScientific Method, we know the CTV ad deserves credit.

What Does OTT Attribution Mean for the Future of TV?

The impact of CTV and reliable OTT attribution can’t be overstated. For starters, more than two-thirds of CTV consumers are not only “ok” with ads, they prefer ad-supported content rather than an ad-free subscription. In fact, the study revealed that a full 60 percent of consumers who were served relevant ads actually enjoyed the viewing experience. Of course, consumer engagement in ad content while involved in an opt-in activity like TV viewing will be significantly higher than having a digital ad pop into your feed while you’re in line at a coffee shop.  This shift to engaged viewers being targeted (and re-targeted) with relevant ads will undoubtedly lead to significant jumps in ROAS.

Quite simply, TV advertising will never be the same again – for marketers, consumers, and publishers. This article has already noted how  the Future of TV will be different.   No one can predict everything the future will bring, but here are some other implications  we’re thinking about:

For Publishers:

Already, 60% of content is delivered via streaming services and apps. With the world's population stuck at home during the global pandemic, consumer adoption of these services accelerated. This trend will only continue, with cord-cutters expected to outpace linear TV viewers by 2024.

Publishers will increase revenue by selling ad inventory directly to brands and retain consumers by delivering improved viewing experiences. Streaming services and CTV platforms will continue to invest billions in more and better content, to the delight of consumers and marketers. And more inventory will equal a more affordable way for companies of any size to get on TV.

For Companies and Brands:

First and foremost, the opportunity for millions of companies who never dreamed of getting their message on TV is there for the taking. That in itself will be a game-changer in the TV viewing experience of the future. It won’t just be huge insurance companies, pharmaceutical giants, car companies, and beer sold back-to-back-to-back.

A different, but related point is that this will change a company's ability to scale and grow quickly. Being able to capitalize on the power of television with the precision of digital marketing will be a major accelerant to the growth of countless small companies.

Unlike linear TV, OTT attribution will allow advertisers to target and retarget specific audience segments, increasing the efficiency of ad spends. Traditionally, with linear TV advertising, a marketer may want to seed a message and hope for a 3x frequency before moving on to a secondary campaign goal. But with OTT attribution, a new ad can be served to a customer as soon as that 3x threshold is met. Rather than relying on a handoff to search or social to pull the consumer through the funnel, marketers can use OTT retargeting and continue to use the power of the big screen to achieve those goals.

With linear TV, creative testing is still sometimes done via storyboards and online panels. CTV allows incremental testing against smaller specific audiences and campaign objectives. The test and learn playbook of today’s social media will become the playbook of tomorrow’s TV advertising.

For Consumers:

Let’s get the most obvious change out of the way — with so many more companies using TV, consumers will be exposed to an explosion of new brands, products, and messages.

But when brands marry the precision of digital with their TV advertising, they will be able to find and deliver the right audience and the right message, as well as track those outcomes. For consumers, this means more appropriate ads will be delivered to your screen. Maybe you'll no longer have to shake your head and wonder why you're getting a steady stream of Rogaine, Medicare benefits, and random prescription drug ads when you're a healthy 35-year-old woman. Wouldn't that be nice?

Finally, is it possible that the combination of an ocean of new brands on TV with dramatically better targeting might even lead some consumers to stick around for ads and not skip them? Skeptics might say that’s too ambitious. But we'll be watching.

How Can We Help You?

tvScientific is the only CTV platform offering optimized media buying, comprehensive measurement, and 1:1 OTT attribution on a direct, self-managed basis. Whether you’re a big brand or a small company wondering what CTV advertising could do for you, tvScientific enables any business to use TV advertising with ease, precision, and measurable performance to reach consumers and drive growth. Get started today.

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