Mobile Prodigies Want Rich-Context Connections To Connected TV

Today’s younger generations aren’t watching television so much as they are engaging with it through connected TVs.

Today’s younger generations aren’t watching television so much as they are engaging with it through connected TVs. In fact, the overall rise of the connected TV as an increasingly common device in consumers’ households — nearly 40% in the U.S. have one — is a powerfully promising scenario for any digital advertiser.

Recent evidence shows that mobile prodigies — our term for millennial and Gen Z consumers between the ages of 13 and 36 — are plugging into connected TV. In collaboration with YPulse, we recently surveyed 1,000 of these up-and-coming spenders. Here are some of the top-line insights emerging from what they had to say about these devices, published here for the first time.

Personal Data-Sharing: Relevance Opens Channels

When asked which device they would share personal data with, in exchange for relevant/personalized ads, 53% of under-18 participants and 43% of over-18 participants selected connected TV. Other device options that received less support included in-store digital signage (25% for those under 18 and 30% over 18); outdoor digital signage (19% for under 18 and 16% for over 18); and in-car screens (18% for under-18 respondents and 16% for over-18 respondents). 

What’s interesting to think about here is what we know about the rising influence of Gen Z within these two broader demographic segments. As Gen Z Insights points out, some 84% of Gen Z consumers recently said out-of-home advertising is perceived to be less intrusive than other types. And so, as they exercise increasing presence and influence throughout the market, we may see these statistics start to shift.

Still, at present, when stacked against emerging digital device types for which data permissions must be granted, connected TV dominates the collective millennial and Gen Z consumer mindset among our respondents. In my opinion, CTV wins here not only because we watch CTV in our homes, but also because the very hardware on which it arrives is familiar and feels safe. These mobile prodigies want to know what they’re getting and what they’re giving in return. Furthermore, success in the connected TV space boils down to the quality and context of the content.

Understanding Mobile Prodigies As Connected TV Viewers

Strategies for capturing attention, imagination and inspiring action among these younger consumers can be approached as follows. Two excellent points can be summarized from Nola Solomon’s look at connected TV in a recent Adweek article:

• Let data be your guide. With the kind of first-party data that the always-on mobile prodigies permit marketers to access in return for relevance, offers and inspiration, doorways open to understanding audience demographics. Digital marketers and advertisers should then match those segments with connected TV to create content that is meaningful instead of interruptive.

• Understand the environment. Just as the content consumption within a news app differs from the way a consumer explores content within a retail app, connected TV is a landscape of many platforms and experiences. While data will drive deeper understandings of audiences, marketers and advertisers must take their work into the human space of understanding what is being consumed and then align creative so that it is relevant to mobile prodigies’ experiences.

With connected TV, just like with mobile, relevance and context are the driving factors in capturing the time, attention and, ultimately, conversions of mobile prodigies. That being the case, it’s going to take some innovation and hard work to make sure data-forward marketing lives up to the connected TV potential.

To help bring that picture into focus, 66% of surveyed mobile prodigies said that smartphones were the most likely avenue for relevant ads that are personalized to their location, likes and preferences. Interestingly, less than one-third of the respondents (24%) cited connected TV as the environment in which they see creative that speaks to them.

This may have something to do with recent evidence that millennials primarily consume content via nontraditional TV platforms such as Netflix, and so their exposure to nontraditional advertising may well be weighted toward the influencers and less broadcast-oriented brand-to-consumer relationships those channels promote.

Long story short, advertisers seeking consumers on connected TV channels must work to bring the best practices of mobile creative to the television ecosystem. Indeed, when it comes to attracting mobile prodigies through connected TV screens, advertisers must venture outside the conventional TV-think that has dominated the in-home box. Success will require a shift to thinking about connected TV as another mobile device, part of a spectrum of federated mobile experiences.

There’s good reason for this approach; connected TV advertising has tremendous growth potential. According to eMarketer, there are 182.6 million connected TV users in the U.S. — roughly 55% of the population — while ad spending on connected TV was projected to reach $8.2 billion in 2018. The time is now to capitalize on mobile prodigies’ interest in the new TV technology, with connected TV ads that are as compelling, interactive and as targeted to this group as those on other digital devices. When it comes to young consumers, a premium-quality connected TV campaign is poised to earn their data permissions and future shopping dollars.

Julie Bernard is CMO at Verve.

This story first appeared at Forbes.

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