Three Things All Nonprofit Marketers Should Know About CTV

June 22, 2021

If you’ve kept a close eye on shifting consumer behavior over the last 12-14 months, you know that Connected TV, or “CTV”, is more a part of consumers’ lives than ever before.

For those of you who may need a refresher, CTV refers to any TV that can be connected to the internet, can access content beyond what is available from a cable provider, and can load and stream digital content.

Over the last five years and particularly in 2020, the connected marketplace that these devices support has enabled marketers to reach highly targeted audiences. This targeting precision is undoubtedly valuable, and yet, there has not yet been widespread adoption of this technology by the nonprofit sector.

I was recently joined by my colleague, Senior Director of Nonprofit Strategy at ForwardPMX, Bailey Bernius, as well as our incredible client Sue Citro, Chief Experience Officer at Best Friends Animal Society, at an ANA Nonprofit virtual event: “It’s Like DRTV With Triple the Return!: Why the Time for CTV Testing is Now” In the event, we discussed how nonprofit marketers can implement CTV strategies, as well as the breakthrough success we’ve seen in Best Friends Animals Society’s programs. If your team has yet to test out the CTV waters, or if you’re looking to up your game, read the top three tips from their conversation below and check out the recording from the event here:

1. Focus on Increasing Awareness Among High Affinity Audiences

“We truly believe in focusing your efforts on reaching key people who support your mission.” One my first tips was focused on ensuring that budget is being maximized by doing the hard work at the outset and narrowing your audience scope. Checking that you meet these three steps is essential for a holistic strategy:

  • Step 1 is to create your targeted list from three sources: behavior and interest segments, site visitors, and those you have from first-party data. From there, you’ll be able to create lookalike audiences that you can also prospect.
  • Step 2 is to activate these audiences through a diverse set of placements. This includes video pre-roll, banners and OTT. Having this set up will allow you to make sure potential donors are seeing the right mix of content at the right place and time.
  • Step 3 is to select the right inventory (like Hulu, Bustle, or the Food Network) for your brand. Inventory is not static, and to ensure you are not missing any opportunities, your team should continually look for new opportunities in various private marketplaces to run ads throughout the year.

Last year, Best Friends took advantage of a new CTV spot during their pilot through the Discovery+ network to gain visibility during the channel’s annual Shark Week. This opportunity was great example of brand alignment, as both Shark Week and Best Friends are centered around animal causes.

2. Solidify Measurement Approach

Measurement continues to be an evolving and ever-present challenge for marketers, and CTV is no exception. As we spoke about during the session, CTV is still a non-clickable environment, so that does come with its limitations being that a traditional conversion is not going to come via a CTV ad. So how do you know if someone converts once they see a CTV ad? The consumer decision process has grown increasingly fragmented over the last few years, and the average person has access to over 10 connected devices across their household. This makes it less likely than ever that someone will complete their whole donation journey on a single device.

The solution for marketers is an Identity Resolution & Device Graph which helps to stitch together user journeys to provide a clear picture of a user’s journey, from the first ad exposure all the way through to a donation. The graph utilizes one or many personal identifiers (like phone numbers, email addresses and device IDs) which are held in a blind environment to ensure privacy. And while the Identity Resolution & Device Graph gives a pretty good picture of your user journey, it’s not by any means perfect, so our team always recommends that clients supplement this with a platform like Campaign Manager 360, or holdout and lift studies. See the image below for a visual representation of the Identity Resolution & Device Graph.

 3. Ensure Creative is Cohesive

Just like any other form of advertising, if your creative isn’t resonating with your audiences, you’re not going to see results. The ForwardPMX and Best Friends team found a few key tips that will help most brands:

  • Test multiple user triggers to understand which creative concepts drive the best results.
  • Make sure the brand’s logo or app icon is present in the creative to engage users during the first 3-4 seconds of video.
  • Consider user journey by creative asset, e.g. 60-second video for prospecting, 15-second video or banner for nurturing; develop thematic assets accordingly.
  • Provide a clear, customized CTA.
  • Optimize toward best performing concepts.
  • Make sure the aesthetics of the video are coherent with the landing page and contextually similar.
  • Keep mobile in mind.
  • Video dimensions: 1920×1080.

We hope these tips were helpful for you and your team! Watch the recording from the event here to see some live walkthroughs of CTV case studies with the Best Friends team.

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