Connected TV (CTV) surpassed mobile as the channel with the greatest share of global video impressions, with 46 percent of all video impressions, up from 40 percent in 2020. Meanwhile, mobile dropped from 43 percent to 39 percent, a sign that consumers keep flocking to streaming devices to get their content.
That’s according to Innovid’s 10th annual Global Benchmarks report, which uncovers CTV’s critical role in the converged TV landscape and outlines deeper measurement and optimization tactics marketers can use to improve their CTV strategies as advertisers shift their spend to the channel.
In its report, Innovid explains three main findings, including:
- As CTV takes center stage, plan for streaming dominance.
- Advanced creative outperforms at engaging audiences.
- CTV reach and frequency have room to scale.
As CTV Takes Center Stage, Plan For Streaming Dominance
As restrictions eased and the world opened back up in 2021, consumers continued their pandemic-induced obsession with streaming. And as they flocked to CTV.
In 2021, as CTV comprised the largest share of video impressions across all devices, CTV ad spend in the US reached $14.4 billion. And while global video experienced year-over-year (YOY) growth across all devices, CTV earned the highest increase at 47 percent—more than twice the rate of mobile (16 percent) and desktop (14 percent).
Needless to say, CTV is no longer in its experimental or emerging stage. It’s an integral pillar in the marketing landscape and offers consumers a premium viewing environment coupled with data-informed targeting and captivating ad formats.
CTV outpaced mobile and PC’s growth to secure its position as the medium with the highest impression volume globally considering that more time spent watching CTV meant less time spent watching linear. In 2021 in the US, linear TV declined and is projected to continue that trajectory according to eMarketer. The pandemic also accelerated the rate at which cord-cutters replaced pay TV with streaming.
According to Innovid’s research, linear and digital viewing are expected to be roughly equal by 2023, so marketers should embrace converged viewing across linear, CTV and digital.
Innovid also found that every vertical increased its video contribution to CTV ads in 2021. The five leading verticals allocated more than 50 percent of video impression share to CTV. These figures were:
- Travel, 63 percent
- Auto, 60 percent
- QSR, 58 percent
- CPG, 52 percent
- Retail, 51 percent
Programmatic: The Rising Star
As convergence accelerates and brands demand more speed and flexibility, programmatic video advertising is on the rise. According to Innovid, slightly less than 33 percent of CTV impressions were served programmatically in 2021. Programmatic and social buying gained ground as broadcast native publishers lost it. And according to eMarketer, CTV will soon account for more than 20 percent of total programmatic video ad spending for the first time.
CTV impression share by publisher type in 2021 was as follows:
- Broadcast, 54 percent (down from 61 percent in 2020)
- Programmatic, 30 percent (up from 26 percent in 2020)
- Social, 13 percent (up from 10 percent in 2020)
- Other, 2 percent (up from 1 percent in 2020)
- Digital,1 percent (unchanged from 2020)
Advanced Creative Outperforms At Engaging Audiences
As consumers increasingly expect personalization and relevancy from advertising on digital platforms, advanced video creative—including dynamic and interactive formats—has allowed marketers to respond while also delivering higher performance through engagement as well as incremental time earned.
According to Innovid, here’s what engagement rates by device and video format look like in 2021:
- Dynamic video, 0.7 percent
- Interactive video, 0.9 percent
- Dynamic video 0.5 percent
- Interactive video, 1.3 percent
- Interactive (non-choice), 0.5 percent
- Interactive (choice), 23.7 percent
- Interactive (total), 5.4 percent
Interactive CTV Grabs Top Billing With Engagement, Video Completion Rate And Time Earned
Marketers have more opportunities to monetize through interactive video ad formats. Interactive video creative provides more engagement than dynamic video across mobile and PC. And interactive CTV creative does far better than interactive mobile and PC, at 5.4 percent overall.
Interactive CTV’s performance stands out, in part, due to its ability to drive earned time with consumers. This translates to more opportunities for brand awareness and conversion. Advertisers who engage advanced creative have achieved an additional 47 seconds of time earned in 2021: that’s 11 seconds higher than 2020, according to Innovid. Interactive CTV led the charge by producing an incremental 72 seconds of time earned between brands and potential buyers.
Engagement rates, video completion rates (VCR) and time earned by video ad format included:
- Dynamic video achieved 0.5 percent engagement, 72.9 percent VCR and 28.9 seconds earned.
- Interactive video on mobile and PC achieved 1 percent engagement, 62.4 percent VCR and 34.8 seconds earned.
- Interactive video on CTV achieved 5.4 percent engagement, 94.7 percent VCR and 72.3 seconds earned.
QR Codes Drive Interactive CTV Growth
Quick response (QR) code usage skyrocketed in 2021 given its touch-free, easy-to-use functionality. At the same time, CTV experienced similar growth with the largest activity coming from QR codes, which drive consumers to landing pages with detailed product information and opportunities for conversion. According to Innovid, QR codes have seen impressive engagement, with a scan click rate of 0.02 percent. While low in comparison to display metrics, this incremental engagement reflects high intent and follow-through on the part of the audience.
Here, shorter ads are best at capturing consumers. Across all devices, videos 30 seconds or less produced stronger completion rates of 80 percent or more when compared to longer-form videos, which saw completion rates of 67 and 77 percent. Last year, marketers utilized shorter formats’ successful completion rates as more than 95 percent of all video ads were 30 seconds or shorter.
CTV Reach And Frequency Have Room To Scale
CTV campaigns in the US reached on average 9 percent of the more than 95 million households with CTV that Innovid can reach. Despite a surge in advertiser CTV adoption, 58 percent of campaigns included 19 million or fewer impressions and reached a mere 3 percent of households on average—representing an opportunity to increase reach.
Here’s what household reach based on impression volume looked like in 2021:
- Over 100 million, 36 percent
- 40-99 million, 18 percent
- 20-39 million, 9 percent
- Less than 19 million, 3 percent
CTV Frequency Isn’t Maxed Out
CTV’s average frequency of 4.1 exposures shows it’s possible that marketers have greater leeway for reaching new households and can shift investment into CTV without risking oversaturation. But Innovid notes that frequency can be problematic if left unchecked so it’s best for marketers to maintain a holistic household view to understand and manage over-exposure.
On average, only 8 percent of campaigns had a high frequency of over 10 exposures, while 67 percent had a low frequency of one to two exposures, and 25 percent had a medium frequency of three to nine exposures.
Innovid concludes the report with three CTV advertising best practices:
- Plan for streaming dominance. Mobile is giving way to CTV, linear is catching up and streaming remains part of a cast of players. Real-time actionable intelligence is key to maximizing the whole and driving favorable business outcomes.
- Enhance engagement with advanced creative. Think beyond awareness and make video work across the funnel through data-driven formats that incite action with geo-targeted relevance and QR codes.
- Maximize reach while managing frequency. Gain a unified view of reach and frequency across the converged media landscape by adopting an always-on cross-platform measurement.