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It’s a make-or-break holiday season for retailers: Here’s how CTV can help

Tremor Video’s Stephanie Scheper details how retailers can effectively use connected TV during the holiday shopping season.

5 min read

Marketing Strategy

It’s a make-or-break holiday season for retailers: Here’s how CTV can help

Glenn Carstens-Peters / Unsplash

Retailers have a lot riding on this holiday shopping season. To find and engage consumers, a growing number are turning to connected TV. CTV consumption was on the rise before COVID-19, but the pandemic accelerated its adoption. In fact, CTV has grown faster than any other device during the pandemic — with 307% growth YoY in Q2 2020.

The explosion of new content providers, devices and viewers have made scale challenges a thing of the past for CTV. This, coupled with advancements in targeting and new custom creative opportunities, has led to a surge in advertiser adoption. US CTV ad spending will increase 27.1% to $8.11 billion in 2020, a “bright spot” for the ad industry, according to eMarketer.

Retailers across categories, including high-luxury brands, are leveraging CTV for a host of use cases, including building market share, getting promotions out quickly, adapting messages on the fly, driving conversions and utilizing non-skippable units to increase engagement with niche audiences.

Here’s how you can get the most from CTV this holiday season, by coupling targeting capabilities with personalized creative to reach and engage shoppers during these unprecedented times.

Understand the consumer mindset

This year, consumers are shopping online throughout the holiday season more than ever. Early reporting shows online shopping on Black Friday increased 22% to a record $9 billion. To get in front of competition and shipping woes, advertisers must continue to focus on e-commerce in their holiday campaigns. Brick-and-mortar will still comprise a large percentage of retailer revenue, but more than 71% of US adults plan to do more than half their shopping digitally.

So, be sure to personalize your call-to-action based on the region — this is not the one-size-fits-all approach we were limited to in the past. Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO), the ability to dynamically change your creative based on consumer data attributes, makes it simple to update your ad based on geography or even more granular data. While it might make sense to encourage foot traffic and promote BOPIS (buy online, pick up in store) in some places, you will want to focus on delivery and online conversions in many regions.

Lean into data

The brands seeing the most success this season are asking, “How refined can I get with the data available?” They are using first- and third-party data to target the consumers most likely to convert, for example, by deploying location-based data to target consumers who are actually leaving the house. That way, brands don’t waste budget when trying to drive footfall. Brands are also making an effort to engage consumers who made holiday purchases across similar products or stores last year.

Be sure to take advantage of automated content recognition (ACR) technology to reach consumers based on their viewing behavior. You can serve your ads to audiences who haven’t seen your campaign on linear TV or viewers who have been exposed to a competitor’s commercial. This can be a cost effective alternative to linear TV, allowing you to reach the same viewers as your competitor, at a lower price.

Don’t leave the second screen up for grabs

We’re seeing a majority of retailers taking an omnichannel approach, so think beyond the biggest screen in the house. If you are a big-box retailer sponsoring a television event, use ACR to retarget people who are watching the event with mobile ads. If you are advertising across CTV, retarget audiences who have seen, or are seeing, your creative with interactive ads across devices that reiterate your message and drive brand touchpoints.

Try a QR code

COVID-19 accelerated many technology trends, including QR code adoption — at restaurants, on product packaging, and in advertising. Retailers are building custom ad units with QR codes that allow audiences watching CTV to immediately open an app or website on their device by capturing the code. The tool not only drives engagement and conversions — it can also be a means of authenticating a user across devices.

Tell a personalized, sequential holiday story

To maximize CTV’s value, couple data targeting with creative storytelling. Retailers are using sequential ad units to tell richer stories and deepen customer connections. So, consider starting with creative A — a brand-building, splashy moment — then retargeting people who saw unit A with creative B — a new message that zeroes in on a brand value or product. The final creative can then feature a specific offer and promo code to drive conversions.

Sequential storytelling is more powerful when it is relevant to the consumer. Create multiple ad versions and use data to customize creative based on shoppers’ preferences and behaviors, at scale. For example, if you are a retailer with beauty and fashion products and you know a customer is more interested in beauty, use DCO to update your message accordingly. The shopper’s eyes will light up when they see the ad because it will feel like it was made specifically for them.

The 2020 holiday season will be a make-or-break proposition for many retailers. CTV is a powerful way to connect with audiences and maximize the impact of your ad spend during this critical time. With CTV adoption increasing, it is time to familiarize yourself with best practices, so you can create campaigns that stand out and drive action by marrying television’s immersive viewing experience with richer audience data and customized creative across screens.


Stephanie Scheper, vice president of Sales and head of Retail at Tremor Video.