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What Are You Waiting For?

CTV is not going away, so why aren’t you investing more of your ad dollars in this space?

With linear viewership and spending levels dropping virtually every year, the epitaphs for TV advertising have been widely reported in the trades. What is lost in this chicken-little hysteria is that video advertising is thriving - thanks to CTV.

Television isn’t in decline, it’s just in transition from traditional to digital distribution channels. The same way that TV elbowed its way into the radio-dominant entertainment world of the 1950’s, streaming has arrived and is here to stay. Let’s not forget that when television made its debuted and soon dominated, radio still had a role - albeit a backseat role. Similarly, traditional TV isn’t being replaced by CTV, just improved upon and augmented.

Seismic Shifts

The CTV marketplace in the ’22-’23 upfront saw massive growth with a 35% increase in spending, which translated to over $6.4B dollars. Coupled with the time spent metrics where TV viewing and digital video viewing times are nearly identical, it clearly shows the continued growth and consumer adoption of CTV.

In fact, 2/3’s of the digital video dollars committed this upfront were spent against streaming services. eMarketer projects that total US CTV spend this year (upfront and scatter) will reach $19B this year. The upfront haul this year was more than the total, full year CTV haul from three years ago. In fact, Disney says 40% of it’s upfront spending went to its streaming platforms and Peacock doubled their upfront revenue to $1B this year.

Objective Look

As with anything in this business, when you peel back the shiny veneer & Wall Street numbers, there are some challenges & shortfalls.         

CTV Benefits-

  • Audience Targeting- More accurate & planful allocation of budgets to specific, high value audience targets
  • Original Programming- Upscale, original programming
  • Better Measurement Than Linear- Data allows for more focused view of who your ad reaches
  • More Video Eyeballs- Pool of additional impressions helping to offset linear declines

But They Have Issues Too...

  • Uniformity & Measurement - Too many walled gardens prevent the ease of buying across streaming vendors and the sharing of data between them
  • Frequency Capping – Again, the lack of shared data and the sheer number of vendors running CTV makes it difficult to set frequency caps

Getting Crowded

While streaming has been around for years, the last 3 years have seen an explosion of providers enter the fray. And they have been significant players, many of which are from traditional linear vendors looking to stem the tide of broadcast erosion and to add revenue streams. Peacock, Discovery+ and Paramount have all established viable streaming offerings in short order. It’s clear that the networks recognized the consumer shifts and had no choice but to embrace CTV or risk irrelevancy.

Over the next 12 months, there will be even more competition and more choices. Several major players will roll out their own CTV services. Disney+, Netflix and to a lesser degree, HBOMax are three heavyweights poised to add more choices to the genre. The existing footprints of Disney and Netflix alone are enormous and will increase the pool of available impressions significantly. These two behemoths have 110MM and 180MM monthly users respectively - incredible scale at launch. These two will both improves and complicate the CTV space. And HBOMax is set to be combined with Discovery+ to launch a more robust offering with differing tiers.

On the one hand, we will have more options to invest in and more competition to help mitigate costs. But the lack of standardization is a challenge. The nomenclature each vendor uses are unique to them. There is little-to no coordination between CTV partners. So there is no uniform way for brands to track a single data set across multiple partners because none of them are speaking the same language.

 

What Does This Mean For Clients

In spite of the headwinds facing CTV, the positives outweigh the shortcomings. Streaming is here to stay and it’s a valuable compliment to our media plans. It allows us to augment the losses on the linear side of the aisle with quality, targeted video impressions. Test and learn…and then test some more. Experiment and try multiple vendors to determine which ones fit your marketing objectives the best. These are fertile times to add more targeted tactics to your upper funnel media plans.

Additionally, we expect Disney+ and Netflix to offer more unique, creative messaging opportunities. They have never accepted advertising before, so with a clean slate, it would behoove them to come to market with non-traditional ad formats. In a sea of streaming sameness, the hope is that they embrace the idea of truly partnering with brands to help us bring our marketing campaigns to life in new and exciting ways.

Conclusions

The industry’s collective focus has swung decisively toward the challenge posed by audience fragmentation. The decline of cookies and other identifiers is one big reason for this shift. Another is a shift in consumer behavior that has fractured media impressions across a growing number of applications and mediums.

As the world rights itself after a pandemic that threw so many media consumption patterns upside down, the streaming world will begin to settle into a new normal. One where it is part of everyday life in a way it wasn’t before the pandemic. It has earned a seat at the table alongside the more established media tactics as a quality medium that can buttress media plans beset by the loss of affordable, quality, linear activity.

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In our continuing series of examining Google Search Trends to gain insights into the top keywords queried in the USA, we present our findings for August 2022. Every day, we capture the top three keyword phrases in terms of search volume as reported by Google Trends (US Only). Each term has an estimated query volume attached to it, which we also record. The number scale tops out at 10,000,000+ with a lower limit of 200,000+ (sometimes 100,000+). After the conclusion of the month, we look at the phrases we collected along with their volumes to get an understanding of what drove queries for the month. August 2022 - A Summary Looking through the top queried phrases by day last month, there were a few topics that surfaced as macro trends. As primary elections happened across different states, candidates and ballot questions landed in the top 3 daily queries.  The NFL preseason stoked interest in fans as they searched for their favorite team in Google results. The other big sports topic was Champions League soccer and we’ll present the sheer number of queries related to that European-centric subject. Lastly, there were TV and films that people wanted to learn more about and we’ll examine which ones were the most popular.   A Doodle and a Travolta Curiosity These two phrases were the only two that made the elusive 10 million plus club last month. Anna Mani - 8/22/2022 - 10,000,000+ queries Google changed their logo on August 23rd to celebrate “the 104th birthday of Indian physicist and meteorologist Anna Mani, one of the country’s first female scientists.”  You can read more about her on their post. We tend to see interesting Doodles get top query status as the logo is hyperlinked to a result page tied to a keyword - in this case, “Anna Mani”.  The second phrase is a bit of a head scratcher but it’s not unprecedented.  John Travolta - 8/8/2022 - 10,000,000+ queries On August 8th, Olivia Newton-John passed away and the news sent people to Google to search. When we first looked at Google's Daily Search Trends, it was her name that was the top query. From our experience, it takes 24 hours for the report to finalize.  We have seen queries shift or change completely when we revisit the report after that 24 hour period. When we looked back at the daily top 3 for August 8th on August 10th, the phrase above replaced the Olivia Newton-John query and it was the top queried phrase of the day.  The other surprising thing was there were no Olivia Newton-John related phrases in the top 3 at all.   SInce we have been collecting this data for years now, we recalled this same sort of phenomena happening when Kelly Preston, John Travolta's wife, died in 2020.  Here’s the top phrase from July 12th of that year: John Travolta - 7/12/2020 - 10,000,000+ queries Again, there are no queries related to Kelly Preston in the daily top three of that day.  The phrase that was reported was John Travolta’s name.  The AMP team is not sure what to make of this reporting shift. It doesn’t make sense that his name would be a higher queried phrase than either Olivia’s or Kelly’s.  It does make us wonder what kind of query consolidation is happening as the Daily Search Trends report gets finalized.  Is there a knowledge graph consideration? Does the weight of the John Travolta entity make the report combine related terms underneath it?  It’s odd, for sure, and for it to happen twice in the last two years is odder.  Pet Holidays Did you know that August has two days that celebrate two of the most popular household pets?  We didn’t either. 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People really wanted to know where they could see the latest installment of the Predator franchise, Prey (Hint: Hulu & Disney+) Lastly, the horror film, Orphan: First Kill also received a top 3 query phrase placement on the 18th a day before its release date. A couple of non-epic fantasy TV shows made our collection. They include a new series about an established character and an awards show:   Wednesday Netflix - 8/17/2022 - 100,000+ queries VMAs 2022 - 8/28/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Netflix is producing a TV series about Wednesday Addams, a character from the fictional Addams Family.  A trailer for the show was released on the 17th.  Also, The MTV Video Music Awards still stir a buzz and search interest in this year’s show drove more than a million queries on the day it aired. As we alluded to in the previous section, the biggest news for the TV audience was the release of 2 anticipated fantasy shows last month: House of Dragon - 8/21/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Rings of Power - 8/31/2022 - 200,000+ queries From the query volume, it appears that the Game of Thrones prequel series is more popular than the Lord of the Rings prequel series. We’ll keep monitoring to see which show’s season finale makes the daily top 3.  Elections and Federal Acts With the first wave of elections this year, we saw some queries related to US politics with high volumes last month, if only for a day.  Liz Cheney - 8/15/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Harriet Hageman - 8/16/2022 - 500,000+ queries Alaska primary 2022 Results - 8/16/2022 - 200,000+ queries Mary Peltola - 8/31/2022 - 500,000+ queries On the 16th, U.S. representative for Wyoming Liz Cheney lost in the Republican primary to Harriet Hageman.The Alaska primary results were also popular as it led to Sarah Palin loss to Mary Petola in the special election to replace the late Rep. Don Young.  The other topics in this category were related to the Kansas special election and two measures moving forward in the Federal government. 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AMP Agency’s Top Trends of Fall 2022 Predictions Report   AMP Agency has published another report as a part of their Search Insights service. This report is available for download and provides consumer and audience insights to help inform your marketing and business decisions for the Autumn season. AMP Agency’s SEO Supervisor Kevin Davis dug deep into search query data to gather useful insights for this report. “We learned a lot from producing the Summer Trends report.  Using the tools available to us, we were able to not only find products, events, and activities relevant to this time of year but also predict the ones that will be very popular this year. Looking back at query data for the past 4 years, you can see increases in volume that we feel is a good indicator of interest in the future.  I am excited to share our findings in this report.”  The Top Trends of Fall 2022 report has insights on 40 topics across 8 different categories including holidays, home decor, and food & drink.  The data presented in the report is pulled straight from Google’s Keyword Planner (US only) and is paired with our analysis of why we think the topic will increase in popularity this Autumn. Download our 2022 Fall Trends report and learn more about our seasonable predictions for this coming season.

  • 2 min read
  • September 8, 2022