Follow Your Audience: The Ultimate Guide to Convergent TV Advertising

Woman watching TV on on television and smartphone.

What You Need To Know To Successfully Execute Comprehensive TV Ad Campaigns

The TV advertising ecosystem is more complicated today than ever before.

It’s not just about linear TV versus connected TV (CTV) anymore — the world has moved beyond that. With major shifts like linear TV viewership continuing to decline and Netflix and Disney+ adopting paid advertising models, it’s become increasingly harder to confidently choose where and how to best spend your TV advertising dollars.

The good news? We’ve got your back. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the current TV advertising landscape, the key players involved and some practical tips and considerations for developing your TV advertising strategy so you can have the knowledge you need to be successful.

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Table of Contents

What Is Convergent TV Advertising and Why Is It Important?

Convergent TV combines any kind of linear TV and advanced TV. When we refer to advanced TV, we mean any TV content outside of linear TV models. Advanced TV usually includes CTV, over-the-top (OTT) streaming, TV Everywhere, video on-demand (VOD), subscription video on-demand (SVOD), ad-based video on-demand (AVOD), programmatic TV and free ad-supported TV (FAST).

Graphic explaining that convergent TV is a combination of linear TV and advanced TV.

Convergent TV advertising is when you advertise to consumers on any of these TV types.

Just a few years ago, marketers focused on advanced TV and its capabilities. That worked then, but things aren’t as simple anymore. Today’s viewers watch TV in many different formats — sometimes all at once. We now need to shift our focus to be more holistic, to something that encompasses both linear and advanced TV advertising – hence, convergent TV.

In fact, 9 out of 10 buyers in a 2022 IAB report anticipated a converged marketplace within the next few years, where teams plan and buy both linear TV and CTV.

IAB 2021 Video Ad Spend & 2022 Outlook graphic.
Source: IAB 2021 Video Ad Spend & 2022 Outlook

Since TV has become more complex, you need to adjust your TV advertising strategy. Continuing to work in silos keeps you from fully reaching your consumers where they are and duplicates reach and frequency — that is, where you could be overserving your audiences with an ad, which could potentially diminish their brand perspective.

Instead, factor in the TV types your target audience(s) may be watching and the devices they’ll be using and consider using multiple TV advertising types in your ad campaigns.

The Key Players in the Convergent TV Advertising Ecosystem

Here’s a snapshot of the current TV landscape:

Convergent TV LUMAscape graphic from Luma Partners.
Source: Luma Partners

Feel like your brain is about to explode yet? You’re not alone. As you can see in the graphic above, the TV world has grown increasingly more and more fragmented.

Linear and advanced TV have blurred together, with traditional linear broadcasting companies like NBCUniversal owning subscription-based OTT services such as Peacock.

As Goodway Group’s Rich Powell explains:

“We will see a continual blurring of lines in TV advertising as carriage deal renewals are negotiated. The investments Wall Street is paying attention to are broad and signal new lines are being drawn and aggressive new initiatives applauded. For example, we’ve heard Hulu, the original joint effort to capitalize on a nascent space, is 33% owned by Comcast and 67% by Disney — that shared investment future or camaraderie is in a state of flux.”

Headshot of Rich Powell, Senior Vice President – National Multi-Location Sales, Goodway Group.

So, of all of the different players involved in TV, who are the ones to pay attention to? Andrea Kwiatek, director of strategic partnerships at Goodway, recommends you specifically keep your eye on these service types when developing your TV advertising strategy:

Free Ad-Supported TV (FAST)

This TV business model delivers linear channels supported by advertisements via free apps. Similar to linear TV, FAST is a new acronym that was created to distinguish this model from subscription-based providers like Hulu. Most FASTs are owned by large companies. Popular FAST services include Pluto TV (Paramount), Tubi (Fox) and Xumo (Comcast). Also, Sling TV launched its own FAST named Sling Freestream, which is owned by Dish Network. TVREV estimated by 2025, 35% of total ad spend ($33.7 billion) will go to FASTs, and by 2027, this number will rise to 68% ($69 billion).

Ad-Based Videos On-Demand (AVOD)

AVODs are subscription-based streaming services that deliver shows and movies for a fee and include ads. With a recession threat looming, the latter half of 2022 saw 54% of households watching content on two or fewer streaming services per Samba TV, putting newer AVOD options like Netflix and Disney+ in top spots for this year. Other key AVODs are HBO Max, Discovery+, Hulu, Paramount+ and Peacock.

Recent TV Stats and Trends

Enhance your convergent TV knowledge by looking at these significant statistics and trends.

Linear TV Viewership Declined From 2020 – 2022 Across All Generations

GWI Core and U.S. Survey TV viewer data graphic from 2020 - 2022.
Source: GWI CORE and U.S. Surveys, 2022

Cord-cutting steadily increased over the two years since COVID, with older generations (Gen X and baby boomers) opting for subscription-based models like their Gen Z and millennial counterparts.

Also, according to Samba TV, less than 50% of American households watched linear TV each day on average throughout Q3 and Q4 2022. In Q3 2022, the average daily reach decreased to just 55 million viewers — the lowest it had been in the past seven quarters.

Samba TV State of Viewership Report, 2H 2022, graphic.
Source: Samba TV State of Viewership Report, 2H 2022

Samba TV’s research report also shows the correlation between brand perception and ad frequency. Seeing the same ad 5-10 times per month led to a reported decrease in brand perception by 1 in 3 adults — showing the importance of using frequency caps in TV advertising campaigns.

Digital Video Viewership and Ad Spending Will Continue To Increase

From 2020 – 2022, all generations watched more online TV, with the average time spent daily increasing for each generation. Baby boomers showed the most increased time spent since 2020 with online TV at 17 more minutes daily on average according to GWI.

This trend is expected to continue. eMarketer predicts by 2024, the time spent viewing digital video will grow and eventually outpace the time spent watching linear TV altogether.

eMarter TV vs. digital spending graphic.
Source: eMarketer, 2022

Meanwhile, digital video advertising will continue going up to an estimated $76.20 billion; Magna Global estimated that AVOD/OTT advertising will grow by 31.6% this year, but national TV advertising will decline by 6.3%.

AVODs and FASTs Will Generate the Most Revenue by 2025

For the first time ever, AVODs and FASTs are winning over subscription-based models. Per a Samsung Ads consumer survey, 75% of viewers would switch to a free or lower-cost tier if given the option. Research from the healthcare ad tech firm DeepIntent showed 64% of CTV viewers prefer to watch ads rather than pay more for content.

And by 2025, FASTs are anticipated to generate more advertising revenue compared to cable, broadcast or subscription streaming per TVREV.

TVREV graphic listing the aggregate ad spend anticipated for 2023-2027.
Source: TVREV, 2023

Marketers Will Prioritize Cross-Platform Measurement and Increase Ad Spending in 2023

In late 2022, Ascendant Network surveyed 100 of their members — including brand and agency marketing leaders — to get insights into their plans for converged TV in 2023. In a report presented in partnership with Innovid, respondents revealed plans to increase spending across linear TV, CTV/streaming and digital video this year. Most of those surveyed anticipated an increase in CTV/streaming ad spending especially.

Innovid/Ascendant Network graphic.
Source: Innovid/Ascendant Network, 2023

How To Create a Successful Convergent TV Advertising Strategy: An 8-Step Framework

So, given TV advertising’s convoluted state and the fact you’ll most likely want to use more than one TV advertising type (on top of the other kinds of ads you may be running), how can you effectively develop and execute a convergent TV advertising strategy?

We talked with Andrea as well as some of Goodway’s CTV and ad campaign experts including Senior Director Amy Burrows; Commerce Lead, Center of Excellence Laura Taylor; and Senior Trading Consultant Sarah Howcroft to best provide you with a framework you can use when creating your strategy. Here’s what they had to say.

1. Always Start With Your Audience

Focus on your target audience first because TV advertising is so complex, and the way audiences watch TV is complex. Each generation consumes video differently, using multiple channels and device types. You may even discover variations by location.

Only once you fully understand who they are, what they care about and how and when they consume media — as well as future trends — can you begin conceptualizing your strategy.

So, how do you get the data you need, whether demographics, psychographics, audience behaviors or media consumption habits? “Start with your own first-party data,” Amy suggested. “Use your customer relationship management (CRM) to uncover who your tried-and-true current audience is. Who is already purchasing your product or service? What information can you glean about people you’re already seeing success with?”

Then, match your data with data connectivity platforms like LiveRamp to get look-alike audiences with anonymous IDs. You can also use solutions like Goodway’s Passport One™, which analyzes your existing first-party data and creates new opportunities for closed-loop measurement.

For CTV-related data specifically, Laura advised:

“Go where your audience is overindexing and utilize one of the many insights analytics tools that are available to see what they are watching. With Roku’s OneView, for instance, you can upload your audience, and it will tell you what sites your audience is overindexing on.”  

Headshot of Laura Taylor, Commerce – Center of Excellence, Goodway Group.

Once you have this data and analyze it, layer in consumer research from platforms like GWI and IBISWorld, create buyer personas and eventually build dynamic audiences.

2. Choose Where TV Advertising Aligns in Your Customer Journey

Next, develop a customer journey for your target market from awareness to conversion. Identify the role media plays in the buying process and which media types lead to ideal specific actions.

Convergent TV advertising is usually viewed as part of a full-funnel strategy unless it’s part of a purely awareness-driven, top-of-funnel campaign, so identify where it would fit in with the overall customer journey.

Also, look at whether convergent TV advertising works best when paired with other ad types. CTV is a great option for this in particular. “If you’re advertising on CTV, you can complement your buys with other programmatic formats, thus reaching your audience throughout the customer journey, driving more conversions and sales,” Sarah said.

“By leveraging automatic content recognition (ACR) data from operating systems like Vizio, LG and Samsung, you can use the data to identify other devices in the same household and target with follow-up, sequential messaging,” Andrea added.

3. Identify the Business Objectives (Outcomes) and KPIs for Your Campaign  

Next, focus on measurement. What outcomes are you trying to achieve? Which KPIs do you need for your campaign, and what funnel stage are you using TV advertising for?

For example, for advanced TV, you may want to choose one of these KPIs:

Graphic listing KPIs for advanced TV advertising campaigns.
Source: The Trade Desk, 2022

When choosing your ideal business outcomes and KPIs, keep in mind what you are able to track per the TV strategy type you use. See what data is available and if you have the data attribution tools you need to truly track a consumer throughout the entire customer journey.

4. Choose Your Media Channels and Allocate Your Budget

Once you’ve identified your target audience, how they engage with TV, what key metrics you want to achieve and how and when your audience will interact with ads throughout the buying process, select the different media channels and advertising types you’d like to pursue with your strategy.

Use your budget to inform this. Then, allocate it as needed by your audiences and the different types of ads you’ll use and the frequency of these ads.

5. Select TV Platforms and Publishers To Help You Achieve Your KPIs

Whether you run your own ad campaigns, use an agency or outsource some of your advertising, your next step will be to look at different demand-side platforms (DSPs) and publishers (content owners) to help you meet your business objectives. Common DSPs include Roku OneView, Xandr Invest and Xandr Monetize, The Trade Desk, Amazon and Google Display & Video 360 (DV360). Some of the most popular publishers are Disney, Comcast NBCUniversal, Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount.

Here are some tips to follow during this process:

Get in Touch With Publishers First

Work with publishers to identify the preferred way to access their inventory that benefits you (and if you’re an agency, your clients).

“Working with publishers directly gives you access to knowledge about the various content types where your ads can be placed — not to mention unique opportunities for sponsorships, product placement, home screen placements, shopping ads, etc. If you don’t have a way to get in touch with a publisher directly, Goodway can help — we can leverage our direct relationships with the top publishers, supply-side platforms (SSPs) and DSPs.”

Headshot of Andrea Kwiatek, Director, Strategic Partnerships, Goodway Group.

Meet With DSPs and Publishers To Gather Critical Information

Use these meetings to better understand any best practices the DSPs and publishers have and any key partnerships they have in place. You’ll gain a better understanding of what content is available for ad placement programmatically versus direct. “Let’s say you want to place an ad within the series Yellowstone — that will likely not run programmatically and will be a lot more expensive than viewing an 80s movie on FAST,” Andrea explained.

Also, inquire about DSPs and publishers’ buying capabilities, features and benefits. “Determine their advantages and their limitations,” Laura said. “What’s offered by a certain platform you can’t get elsewhere?”

Be Mindful of Transparency Issues

CTV and other forms of advanced TV are known for transparency problems; that’s where positive relationships and partners can prove beneficial.

“If you work directly with a publisher, you transact in a private marketplace environment to curate the inventory you want to reach. Knowing ahead of time what inventory you’re buying means the publisher can help you optimize to goals,” Andrea explained. “You don’t want to utilize the open exchange for CTV — you’ll run the risk of buying fraudulent inventory, or content you don’t wish to be aligned to.”

The issue with transparency in CTV is the reporting — that is, knowing what content your ad placement ran on. A lot of the premium broadcast publishers still have carriage agreements, which prevent the ability to share show-level content through the bidstream for reporting. However, by working directly with publishers, often you can receive a report from them post-campaign versus accessing it directly in a DSP.

“Also, if you curate the inventory you want to run on — let’s say by genre or category with a publisher — then you’ll have a better idea of what content your ads were placed in,” Andrea said. “Another option Goodway has been testing is buying through an ad server, which provides us with more transparency, scale and efficiencies instead of just using a DSP.”

Ask Each Platform How They Classify Premium Content

With the lack of transparency and measurement in the convergent TV advertising space, many platforms are taking it upon themselves to classify what is “premium,” so ask them directly to define this so you know if their definition of “premium content” aligns with yours.

Planning on completely outsourcing your paid advertising to a marketing agency? While you may not meet with DSPs and publishers yourself, it’s helpful to do your own research about different DSPs and publishers so you can identify if the agencies you’re evaluating have the relationships you need to best place your ads and meet your business objectives. Plus, consider looking for DSP- and inventory-agnostic media partners (like Goodway Group) so you have more available options and unbiased ad-placement approaches.

“As an independent digital and programmatic media agency, we offer various customizable TV advertising options that aren’t limited by — nor beholden to — specific channels, tactics, platforms or publishers. We have exclusive relationships and partnerships with most biddable buying platforms and access to an expansive inventory so you can meet your customers where they are.”

Headshot of Natalie Canavati, VP, Business Strategy and Development, Goodway Group.

6. Strategically Align Platforms With Available Inventory

Now that you’ve selected which platforms to work with, create a strategic way to apply the right platform to the type of inventory you’re looking for. For instance, if you’re buying more than one type of inventory (audio, display, out of home (OOH), etc.), you’ll most likely want to work with multiple DSPs, or DSPs that offer various ad-placement capabilities.

“Take an agnostic approach,” Andrea explained. “As a case in point, Roku and Amazon have their own distinct inventory, so you’ll need to include them in your buying mix.” 

7.  Start Large, Then Go Small

Apply the most crucial targeting criteria to start. The broader you go with your targeting, the less expensive your campaign will usually be. Once you start seeing conversions or trends, narrow your audience further.

By doing so, you can spend less and learn more at first, then spend more when you’ve isolated and narrowed down your audience to the people who are actually converting. You’ll also ensure you’re spreading out your marketing dollars evenly and aren’t wasting money by overserving ads to consumers.

8. Test, Test and Test Some More

As with any marketing campaign, don’t just set it and forget it. Constantly test different methods, audiences, avenues and ad options with your TV advertising campaign. See if you can increase conversions or if you need to adjust your strategy based on the KPIs you may or may not meet. This will help you achieve the most success in your campaigns.

Buy Convergent TV Advertising With Confidence

With this knowledge and these steps under your belt, you’re well on your way to successfully executing your convergent TV advertising campaigns this year.

Looking for a partner to help power your convergent TV strategy? We can help. Contact us today to learn how our team can bring your TV advertising to another level.

Michelle Philippon headshot

Michelle Philippon is a content marketing manager at Goodway Group. A creative and results-driven marketer with a record for producing captivating content, Michelle loves working with Goodway’s internal subject matter experts (SMEs) to provide useful insights to help marketers power their marketing campaigns to achieve meaningful outcomes. Michelle has over 10 years of experience writing for both business and consumer audiences. She lives in Cleveland, Ohio, where she enjoys reading, hiking through Cleveland’s many metroparks, making jewelry from sea glass and drinking way too much coffee.