Connected TV 7 Min Read

In the Midst of Facebook’s Brand-Safety Firestorm, Is Connected TV a Safe Haven?

Written by Tim Edmundson

Facebook is hands down one of the most effective ad channels available to advertisers today. Unfortunately for the social network’s ad offering, that hasn’t been the focus of recent headlines. 

In a story that’s still developing, Facebook has come under fire for brand safety issues arising from the organic content found on its platform. Social media has become the epicenter for divisiveness on all things controversial, and agencies—along with the advertisers they represent—can’t be confident their ads will be paired with agreeable content. This has led to a Facebook boycott from notable names like Coca Cola, Unilever, Starbucks, and other heavy hitters. In a year fraught with controversy, many brands want to avoid it even if it means shutting down an effective ad channel. 

As ad dollars move away from social media, it begs the question as to where these advertisers will shift their focus. And there’s a good chance the answer to that is Connected TV advertising. Its inherent brand safety, coupled with its use of rich data to target consumers (similar to that of Facebook) make it an enticing option for both brands and agencies alike. With this shift in ad spend, it’s a possibility we see Connected TV become a dominant performance marketing channel. 

Television Is The Ultimate Brand Safety Play

Television is inherently brand safe, and that’s because it has an advantage other ad channels don’t possess—it’s loaded with regulatory oversight. It’s that oversight that, while not its primary reason for being, has inadvertently created a brand-safe environment for advertisers. The type of explicit, divisive content that can appear on social media does not appear on television. That type of stuff just doesn’t fly with the FCC. 

That’s not to say TV is flawless. It has seen its fair share of ad boycotts. But the major difference is that TV advertisers can always shift their ads to other shows or networks. There are other places to serve ads. With social media, they don’t have that option. Social ads appear alongside organic content to make them more engaging (it’s a major reason why they’re so effective to begin with) and advertisers can’t control what content their ads are paired with. That opens them up to a risk that many now deem not worth it. 

Advertisers looking for a brand-safe harbor can turn to television. And with the advent of Connected TV, advertisers who need to see a measurable return on their investment can now treat it similarly to how they’ve treated Facebook—as an ad channel that delivers results. 

Connected TV Has Modernized Television Advertising

While television has traditionally struggled to compete for ad dollars tied to specific performance goals, Connected TV has changed that. Facebook has done very well in this arena because its ad infrastructure is set up to deliver on that promise. Connected TV advertising is built the same way. 

Much like Facebook, advertisers can target consumers based on a number of data points including interests, geography, demographic, income, and more. They can track the number of impressions served to audiences, as well as a long list of performance metrics including return on ad spend, site visits, and conversions. 

Connected TV has transformed television into a digital marketing channel; that just wasn’t possible until television evolved into a streaming medium. And when you combine its digital capabilities with the impact of TV advertising, you have a formidable ad channel. 

Looking for a brand-safe video performance channel? Request a demo for SteelHouse Performance TV.

A Performance Option Tailored to Agencies

Agencies have two primary responsibilities to their clients: generating performance, and protecting their brands from controversy. Social media advertising has delivered well on the former, but has been found lacking on the latter. Connected TV, meanwhile, delivers on both. 

Connected TV offers agencies the rare chance to sell a performance marketing channel that is brand-safe and loaded with top-tier content. Competition among streaming services is getting fiercer by the day; NBCUniversal’s ad-supported Peacock, for example, will be the latest to join the fray on July 15th. This increased competition has led to a content arms-race, where streaming networks are trying to outdo one another by locking up classic programming and creating new shows. This ultimately results in a big win for agencies, as they can offer clients top quality content paired with an ad channel that delivers performance. 

That adds up to a compelling pitch. If their clients are looking for an alternative channel to spend their budget that shields them from social media’s troubles, agencies have a go-to in Connected TV. 

Connected TV Can Be the Next Great Ad Channel

The recent firestorm around brand safety may be a net positive for performance-driven brands and agencies alike. It’s forcing many to look for alternatives, and along with the pandemic’s impact on total streaming time (up 81% year over year), it may very well fast track Connected TV’s adoption by advertisers. 

For those driven by performance goals, that would be good news. Based on SteelHouse data, Connected TV campaigns have averaged strong results:

  • 3X return on ad spend
  • $0.03 cost per completed view
  • 1.82% site visit rate

Results like that are why Connected TV has a chance to become the next great ad channel. And with agencies and advertisers scrambling to find a safe harbor for their campaigns, it offers a compelling, brand-safe alternative.