Growing Pains, Growing Solutions
Of course any tectonic shift is not without its growing pains.
The concept of scale in today’s market, for example, “creates some level of anxiety with clients and brands and agencies as they see the diminution of ratings accelerating faster than the diminution of demand,” Ward says. “So you see CPM increases in the Upfront marketplace and say, ‘Hey, ratings are declining but rates are increasing. What’s going on?’ That’s because at the end of the day, TV still provides that reach.”
“Buying media within the OTT space will fluctuate based on how audiences are consuming video content,” notes Ford’s Schoder. “Our video strategy is a holistic audience approach.”
In conversations with agencies and brands, Ward says he’s identified three consistent must-haves on their short lists: scale, consistency and simplicity.
Delivering on those measures has led Ampersand to achieve strong recent campaign results, including a 72 percent lift in travel rewards cards opened for a client via an addressable VOD campaign, and a 49 percent addressable linear and VOD conversion lift for a hotel brand seeking to increase bookings.
“They want media efficiency and brand outcome, tied to the full funnel from brand awareness to brand engagement to purchase/sales data,” he says. “We aren’t going to move away from TVs value proposition—we want to double-down on that—but we think there’s an opportunity to layer on better data, better targeting and better measurement solutions.”
The measurement piece remains a work in progress, as brands drill down on which metrics make sense for a given campaign. “The biggest gap for Ford in this space is managing frequency across our full video strategy for Linear TV + Full Episode players,” Schoder says. “It would be important for us to be able to look at frequency across linear TV plus CTV—both direct and programmatic—plus addressable TV.”
Ward says it’s important to not understate the importance of simplifying the process for clients in a market where options abound. “Their margins are tighter than ever and if we make it complex and labor-intense, they’re going to go to the digital guys. Facebook makes it very easy and TV doesn’t always,” he says.