The role of creative and relevance in driving attention to TV ads

Helen Quaid, Product Director at Finecast, explains how relevance, and the right creative, are key to driving attention to TV advertising.  

Relevance is one of addressable TV advertising’s greatest assets. By working with multiple content and data partners, we at Finecast are able to help brands target ads at those viewers most likely to be interested in them, based on their demographics, lifestage, income, place of residence, purchase behaviour, and many other factors.

This relevance is what makes addressable TV so appealing to brands of all types and sizes. But now, we are focusing our efforts on applying relevance to creative to make the ads people see on addressable TV even more powerful, and drive attention.

The power of attention
Attention is what every advertiser craves, but establishing how best to achieve it is not easy. To find the answer, last year we commissioned Amplified Intelligence, the leaders in attention metrics, to carry out a study assessing audience attention levels to TV content in the UK. By examining the effect different variables had on attention, we were able to identify the key factors that influence attention, and also place a value on attention in different contexts.

We used eye-tracking technology to collect attention data from 250 households who watched 7,503 ad views from 18 Finecast clients across a selection of programming from Finecast streaming TV (OTT) content providers. We then analysed the results by audience variables. These included factors like age, gender, affluence, life stage, light TV viewers and main shoppers.

A concurrent study of broadcast linear TV attention was also conducted. To evaluate the effect of attention on brand choice, we utilised Short-term Advertising Strength (STAS) measurement. This is discrete choice modelling to determine brand uplift between exposed and non-exposed groups. This meant, after watching the programming, each participant visited a virtual store and completed choice tasks designed to measure brand choice uplift against a baseline.

What we found was that the biggest influencer of attention is the platform on which the ad was viewed. OTT outperforms linear TV in winning viewers’ active attention (i.e. the viewer is actively looking at the ad on the screen). Active attention on OTT ads also correlates with increased sales for the advertiser.

The second biggest influencer of active attention is audience. Ads targeted at the right audience are more likely to gain their active attention. The creative message is also key to driving attention and engagement.

Defining creative
Creative and creativity are subjective terms that mean different things to different people. They can embrace everything from the words, visuals and the format of an ad, to the story it attempts to tell. But on addressable TV, brands can take creativity even further, with concepts and technologies that are simply not available on other platforms.

One of these is QR Codes. Using a QR Code within an ad enables us to measure with great accuracy the impact of an ad on addressable TV. We can see how many times the QR Code was scanned, and the conversion rate of the scan to whatever it leads to, whether that’s to sign up to a newsletter, download an app or make a purchase. The data also enables us to run tests around what times of day QR Codes work best and what sort of incentives perform best in convincing viewers to scan.

Dynamic Creative Optimisation
Dynamic Creative Optimisation (DCO) is one of the most exciting areas in OTT advertising right now. It works on the premise of serving different creative to different viewers, based on a number of variables, such as the viewer’s postcode; the time of day; the weather; and even their previous exposure to ads from that brand so you can serve up different, sequential messaging. We are working on DCO with another GroupM company, Choreograph Create. Their software does the  decisioning around what ad will be served, based on the data they get back. It is fully integrated with our platform, which makes it supremely easy for us to manage operationally. Choreograph Create send us one tag, and based on that, we can run unlimited variants of the ad in our system.

DCO is extremely powerful, enabling a travel company to target a family with a summer holiday creative and at the same time target young couples with weekend city breaks. A car company could target an eco-conscious consumer with an electric car ad and a priceconscious consumer with a used car ad, and dozens of other variables, all within the same parent ad unit. It also minimises wastage, and delivers more granular data at the creative level.

It’s early days for the technology, and we are still working hard to refine our offering, but as we do so, we are keen to bring brands, agencies and creative with us on our journey to make OTT advertising even more creative, more relevant, and therefore more powerful.