With the lines between branding and performance marketing blurring, the days of archaic, one-size-fits-all ad campaigns are over.
Creating an OTT/CTV performance campaign that works and works well relies on a number of things, but what trumps the list in 2023 may be more holistic than what we’ve seen in past years.
To ensure your connected TV advertising efforts are optimized for success, you need to know what makes an effective performance marketing strategy aligned with today’s best practices.
Branding Vs. Performance
When starting a connected TV campaign, marketers face a choice: Is this a branding or a performance campaign? Not that the two are wholly mutually exclusive—a branding campaign will have a performance impact and vice versa—but the choice between the two will determine the primary campaign objective.
With a branding campaign, your main goal is to build brand equity—establishing your value proposition regarding your reputation, values, quality of offerings, and trustworthiness, all in the minds of your customers. This type of marketing is mainly used to raise awareness about your overall brand, or it can be an effective way to generate hype on the product level, particularly when it comes to a new launch.
These campaigns involve slow-burning strategies, and their return on investment may not occur immediately—rather, taking weeks, months, or even years to witness real results. Along the way, however, you can track KPIs to measure how well your brand is resonating with your audience with metrics like engagement and interaction.
On the flip side, performance marketing aims to improve brand performance and impact real-world outcomes like sales, leads, or site traffic. Digital marketers who choose this type of media planning strategy have high hopes of guiding their audiences through the marketing funnel all the way to conversion. Performance marketing implies 2 key facets:
- Outcome Measurement: Ability to measure real-world outcomes
- Optimization: Ability to move budget toward what’s driving those outcomes and away from what isn’t
With high-volume lead generation and quick, easily trackable ROI, performance marketing is favorable for immediate results or when budgets are tighter, where every out dollar must correspond to an equal or greater amount in. Powered by personalized messaging, clear calls to action, and compelling ad ideas, these campaigns encourage viewers to respond directly to the ads in ways that drive bottom-funnel KPIs.
Bridging the Gap Between Branding and Performance Marketing
Traditionally, branding and performance have existed as two completely separate disciplines: Branding as a long-term strategy; performance as a short-term one. Branding to drive perception; performance to drive demand. Branding as a trust builder; performance as a sales pitch.
The list goes on.
Fortunately, the gap between brand and direct response marketing is starting to close, and advertisers are no longer left scrambling to pick a side of the coin.
Measurements for what were once considered upper-funnel media channels are starting to improve, highlighting what many advertisers may have missed all along: Lower-funnel media can impact branding, and upper-funnel media can impact performance.
Brands are now paying equal attention to how they tell their story and the ways they target and measure their true impact.
Bridging the gap no longer entails a drastic shift in mindset—there’s an art and science to both that can never fully merge. But a clear alignment of the two will bring about a holistic, granular understanding of the effects of your cumulative investment, considering the nuances of every stage of the buyer’s journey.
When marketers combine the data, technology, and benefits of the two once-opposite disciplines, they can craft strategies with both long-term brand awareness and measurable outcomes.
Selecting the Right Creative Strategy
Savvy marketers know that bringing an ad idea to life isn’t just about the desired outcome—it’s also about the right creative. With the average person seeing an estimated 6,000-10,000 ads a day, cutting through the clutter is no easy feat unless your ads are made to be remembered.
Whereas linear TV was once the traditional branding channel, recent advancements in ad tech have brought newer, more innovative opportunities to deliver an incredibly engaging audience experience.
OTT/CTV, in particular, offers the high-impact brand storytelling power of traditional TV coupled with the targeting, analytics, and interactivity of digital. These capabilities create a compelling environment for audiences to interact with messaging alongside premium content, helping to drive conversion rates.
When launching a creative strategy that works for your brand and advertising goals, it’s important to segment your marketing channels by funnel level and different messaging strategies based on customer touch points. You’ll need to plan to allocate your spending based on:
- Upper funnel: OTT/CTV is treated—and operates the best—as a paid awareness channel that serves as a first point of introduction. While ads in this stage of the marketing funnel likely won’t lead to same-day conversions, with attribution reporting, you’ll be able to study your customers’ journey after that first touch point, helping you pivot your strategy accordingly.
- Middle funnel: When targeting consideration audiences, you’ll want to get them to your site so they can learn more about why they should do business with you. OTT/CTV campaigns that provide relevant, personalized messaging are more likely to capture the attention of your middle-funnel audience and distinguish you from the competition.
- Lower funnel: Whether you’re driving real-world action or retargeting your customers for further engagement, your lower-funnel strategies are what seal the deal. Audiences in this stage of the marketing funnel are ready to buy—meaning you need CTV creative that nudges them to that final path towards conversion.
The right creative strategies look different for every marketer, and they aren’t built overnight. But with knowledge of the industry’s best practices, you can ensure your strategy is up to code, speed, and the standards of your target audience.
Best Practices for Your Media Planning Strategy
A performance marketing strategy that combines the best of both worlds—branding and direct response—can be a shot in the dark if not executed correctly. To avoid blindly firing into the abyss, you need to cultivate an expert media buying strategy that hits the target without misses.
Some of the industry’s best practices to keep in mind as you navigate a multi-dimensional performance marketing strategy include:
- Invest in high-impact creative within premium content: CTV advertising is on the rise, bringing the mighty hand of your competitors with it. Brands can deliver an engaging ad experience for audiences through interactive & dynamic creatives. These attention-grabbing and impactful formats will help improve campaign performance and ensure your brand surfaces in customers’ minds long after they’ve watched your ads. And what good is an eye-catching creative if not run in a brand-safe ad environment? Running campaigns within premium OTT inventory/publishers will ensure your budget is being spent on impressions from real humans, not bots.
- Leverage data to create personalized creatives: Studying your audience to create data-driven, personalized experiences is not a new concept in marketing. Yet, over 97% of programmatic advertisers fall short in the personalization of their target audience segment. Data helps inform your future business promotional ideas in the most relevant, granular way. Consider leveraging a sequential creative messaging funnel strategy to reach key target audiences with relevant messaging following initial ad exposure to help guide them along the path to purchase while keeping your brand top of mind.
- Beware of using highly specific value propositions/benefits: For viewers who know very little about your brand, it’s hard to see the relevance of the specifics. Ads with very specific features are best suited for retargeting ads, as viewers have already gotten the chance to get to know what you’re all about.
- Test different messaging/creatives: Not so long ago, marketers looking to make their way to the traditional big screen couldn’t adequately test their messaging and creatives. Testing makes perfect, and, fortunately, it’s what OTT does best. With a premier CTV platform, you can test and retest all your greatest assets, whether it’s a quick A/B run or real-time monitoring of how your audience received your last ad.
- Work with a premier media planning partner: In any advertising strategy, performance is the ultimate objective. But you won’t have the insight you need to drive your future decision-making without a media buying partner that provides full transparency of how well you’re pacing toward your goals. By working with an experienced, industry-leading partner in your media planning strategy, you’ll have the tools you need to optimize your campaigns and overall performance.
- Utilize multiple attribution methodologies to improve campaign performance: Work with a performance partner that provides you with the comprehensive reporting needed to identify exactly what’s driving desired results among consumers. By measuring and assigning credit to different variables in your campaign, you can determine the true impact of each of them on any KPI.
Discover how incrementality analysis helped our QSR client determine which creative messaging drove the highest incremental lift. From these insights, the client shot additional video spots that aligned with the high-performing messaging.
Digital Remedy As Your Performance Partner
Performance means different things to different marketers (and has traditionally been associated with direct response). At Digital Remedy, we believe in having a solid base for delivering performance, no matter the KPIs (upper- or lower-funnel)—meaning more outcomes and more ROI for our clients.
We’ve spent 22+ years building and evolving the best performance solutions in the market—while providing a new standard in tracking, transparency, and results via comprehensive attribution insights.
Performance is at our core. Our omnichannel performance branding solutions enable advertisers and agencies to effectively activate, measure, and draw insights across the right channel to drive a stronger impact and performance outcomes.
We recognize the importance of understanding the complete consumer journey so that no marketing funnel stage is ever optimized in isolation. Your consumers’ attitudes and behaviors are bound to change—meet them where they are with a flexible, agile approach and platforms that evaluate your most effective journey to purchase.
Speak with a member of our team to learn more about how we can help you maximize your OTT/CTV performance strategy today.