Cracking the Code: Strategies to Thrive in a Shifting Media Landscape

Navigating a dynamic ecosystem can pose challenges, yet marketers can thrive armed with the appropriate tools and strategies.

As new platforms emerge and the lines between CTV, linear and digital continue to blur, advertisers have no shortage of ways to reach consumers – but are they doing so effectively? With a crowded space and elusive viewers bouncing between screens, marketers need to cut through the noise and focus on what really matters in 2024.

Prioritize Premium Video

It’s all about quality content and brand safety in today’s landscape.

The definition of TV and what qualifies as ‘premium’ video is often in the eye of the beholder. For many consumers, premium video is all about the quality of the viewing experience. In a recent survey, 54% of consumers define TV as channels like NBC, ESPN, and HGTV, while 52% define it as streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Max. Further, 51% define TV as news and sports programming, while 49% define TV as the episodic series they watch on a TV screen. Essentially, there is no one way consumers define “TV” these days other than premium content they can access whenever they want.  

While the modern-day definition of ‘premium’ video has taken on many different meanings, it’s clear that well-produced, long-form episodic “TV” content still carries weight. Before investing in premium video, advertisers should be able to distinguish what inventory is most relevant to their specific audience and ensure that what they’re buying is fully transparent and brand-safe. 

Additional oversight is essential given the increasing incidents of ad fraud and widening fragmentation in the current landscape. Partnering with trusted publishers, avoiding objectionable content, and investing in audience-first targeting models can help advertisers ensure better brand safety. Brands can also layer in data to make each impression more valuable in reaching their core audiences.   

Strike the Right Balance Between Contextual and AudienceTargeted Solutions

As the deprecation of third-party cookies begins, marketers need a strategy that empowers them in a first-party data world. In 2024, it’s all about finding the right balance between contextual and audience-targeted solutions.    

Marketers can maximize audience-targeted solutions by leaning into precision targeting to connect with specific audiences and understand their behaviors. While the transition away from third-party cookies may seem like a major challenge, it presents an opportunity for brands and advertisers to get creative in driving ROI while simultaneously prioritizing compliance and consumer privacy. This year, advertisers must learn how to leverage different identifiers and lean on players with first-party deterministic identities based on real, known audiences to succeed.  

Brands can also leverage contextual opportunities like content metadata to gain deeper insights at a granular level, especially on CTV and streaming. This gives intel into how programming is tagged by the network, genre, series title, or rating, which can help brands position themselves within specific content environments and adhere to brand safety guidelines more effectively. For example, while 67% of US consumers report watching live TV every day, advertisers can use contextual signals to dig deeper and ensure that their brand is aligned with the right content for their message. Investing in rich datasets and leveraging content metadata helps marketers improve targeting, packaging, and transparency reporting over time.  

When it comes to contextual and audience-targeted solutions, there should be no either/or. This year, marketers should focus on finding the right balance between contextual and audience-targeted solutions to maximize their efforts and prepare for life after third-party cookies.  

Leverage Programmatic Technology To Bridge the Gap Between CTV and Linear

As CTV and linear continue to blend, converged TV opportunities are critical in reaching audiences. Advertisers should think about both linear and streaming to ensure they reach viewers wherever they are.  

According to Nielsen data, 81% of adults in the US between the ages of 18 and 65 watch both linear TV and ad-supported streaming TV, while 9% ONLY watch ad-supported streaming. Therefore, brands need to find ways to reach their total audience across many different viewing platforms and find a way to use technology to make this easier across a myriad of different partners. This is where programmatic comes into play. Advertisers can leverage programmatic to target audiences and access video inventory from many publishers all in one place, promoting a more converged approach for today’s buyers.   

As the landscape continues to converge, programmatic holds the key to enabling holistic buying and making linear TV and digital look and feel the same across the board.   

 Lean Into Ad Innovation and Addressability

With audiences splintered across platforms, traditional strategies won’t cut it when breaking through the noise and combatting unprecedented fragmentation. By leveraging opportunities like ad innovation and addressability, advertisers can better engage with audiences and maximize their reach across CTV and linear.   

 In a crowded field, non-disruptive, interactive, and user-initiated ad formats can help drive authentic awareness and engagement for brands. We also know relevancy is important to today’s consumers, with 89% of consumers receptive to ads when they are telling them something relevant that they didn’t already know and 74% appreciative when an ad reminds them about something they need to purchase. Home screen UI opportunities, shoppable formats, and pause ads can be personalized to appeal to viewer ad preferences across digital and linear, creating an immersive, engaging experience for the audience. 

Advertisers can also actively counter viewership fragmentation through addressable advertising, which enables audience reach across traditional and CTV platforms while managing reach and frequency. Using deterministic data, addressability enables 1:1 level targeting (whether at the household, person, or device level, depending on the screen), which can be used as a unifying tool to reach audiences holistically.  

Preparing for the Road Ahead  

Advertisers have a lot to grapple with in today’s complex media ecosystem, and this year’s major tentpole moments guarantee another wild ride in 2024. Marketers can make the most of their efforts by prioritizing brand-safe, premium video inventory, striking the right balance between contextual and audience-targeted solutions, leveraging programmatic to unify linear and CTV, and leaning into ad innovation and addressability. By tuning out the distractions and focusing on worthwhile strategies that translate into ROI, marketers can secure a competitive edge and set themselves up for success in 2024.