Why Local TV Is Keeping Many Brands On The CTV Sidelines

Melissa McKay Director, Media Booyah Advertising

On TV & Video” is a column exploring opportunities and challenges in advanced TV and video. 

Today’s column is by Melissa McKay, director of media at Booyah Advertising.

National brands rushed to advertise in local markets in 2020 due to COVID, civil rights protests and the election, leaving little budget or consideration left for connected TV (CTV) efforts. 

But localized advertising – executed programmatically with personalized creative to boot – can be effective on CTV and linear TV. In fact, CTV ad spend remains only about 10% of linear TV spend, despite the channel’s skyrocketing popularity. 

Brands who get on board will realize that localized advertising can be as effective on CTV as it is on linear TV – and it’s easier, faster and more affordable with programmatic buys. With localized advertising, we’re able to tailor the message to the consumer based on psychographic and demographic data sets related to their location. Ad creatives can include location-based customizations and calls-to-action specific to each locale to maximize the ad’s resonance with consumers. There is certainly something to be said for using this type of localized approach, as personalized ads show five to eight times the ROI on ad spend.

For a national brand to take this personalized approach through the traditional TV buying process, the question becomes: Is the juice worth the squeeze? 

This is due to how linear TV has traditionally been bought; an advertiser decides to buy local TV spots and then must communicate with each station within the designated market areas (DMAs). Local linear TV offers many pros, such as being geotargeted and fraud-free, but it also takes time to execute due to the manual nature of the tactic. 

why local tv is keeping many brands on the ctv sidelines

This is where CTV comes in. A consumer’s intention does not change whether they decide to watch linear or connected TV. The only element that differs is how the ad is bought and displayed to the consumer. 

CTV offers national brands the opportunity to take on a linear TV approach by leveraging the technology that comes with connected devices.

CTV is not the only way to bring a localized strategy to the TV screen. Programmatic DSPs now offer local linear TV buying as well, with Google’s Display & Video 360 being one of the latest to give advertisers the ability to buy local spots from stations affiliated with national broadcast networks.

The ability to test a localized approach on TV is more attainable than ever before. However, instead of taking the manual route of buying placement, advertisers now have greater flexibility to automate a localized approach with programmatic solutions. 

This means that the local TV market is no longer reserved for local buyers – any advertiser can dip their toes into this space. Now, a national brand can take on a more personalized approach with TV ads by leaning into programmatic placement.

The real winners that benefit from buying local TV programmatically are companies that have franchises in only some of their DMAs. These advertisers historically have bought national TV because it’s the fastest route, but it also means they serve ads in locations where they are not based. 

I’m sure you can think of a business you saw advertised on TV that was inaccessible to you as a consumer – for me, it’s Sonic Drive-In. A great deal of waste occurs here when brands resort to buying national TV because of the time and effort associated with local TV. 

Thankfully, there is no longer a need for this blanket national approach. CTV has opened the floodgates to a new world of local media buying, giving advertisers the ability to test in markets before expanding. This helps prove the value of TV in a cost-effective manner while giving advertisers time back in their day. 

No matter the size of your business, localized CTV is now an option, and it will only continue to become easier and more programmatic in nature.

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