Volume 18 No. 2: CTV and investing in emerging channels

Connected TV. Podcasts. TikTok. Even virtual reality. 

They all offer advertisers new opportunities to reach potential customers. But emerging channels are inherently untested. And risky. 


How to invest wisely in emerging marketing channels

Each week, we break down another marketing concept so you can skip the hype and get directly to what works. 

eMarketer's 2023 forecast “US Time Spent with Media” sheds light on how marketing investments don’t match up with consumer behavior. 

  1. Consumers spend 60% of their time on digital media. Yet marketers allocate a whopping 75% of ad budgets there. 

  2. 24% of daily media consumption is still linear TV. But it only gets 17% of ad dollars. 

  3. And despite users only spending 7.6% of their time on Facebook and Instagram, these platforms get 20% of all digital ad spend. 

Why the mismatch? Well, some channels are simply easier to advertise on than others. Digital offers easy entry points, advanced targeting, and the appearance of strong measurability. 

On the other hand, emerging channels like CTV, TikTok, and AR/VR advertising pose unique challenges.  

For example, people spend 25% of their digital media time per day watching CTV, but brands invest less than 10% of their ad dollars there. To some, this might be surprising, especially when thinking about how much industry media has focused on CTV’s potential for marketers. But early on, CTV struggled with a lack of ad inventory. (Some of the biggest streaming platforms, like Netflix and Disney+, didn’t even offer ad-supported options until recently). Inventory that was available was pricey. And while CTV promised to bring the accountability of digital to TV, there is still no standardized currency for CTV measurement

Only now (years later) are these challenges starting to be resolved thanks to clearer industry standards and evolving technology

When a marketing channel first comes into existence, there’s no playbook for success. No guide filled with best practices. Legal guidelines may not even be formed. 

For marketers, this creates a dilemma. Avoiding emerging channels could mean missing key opportunities to connect with consumers. But jumping in headfirst will likely lead to problems, too. 

The best approach usually involves dipping your toes in the water, learning what you can, then developing a strategy for scale while the channel matures. But don’t wait too long, or you’ll find yourself finally going big on a channel just as consumers pivot to the next new thing. 

Key Takeaway: Yes, there is a difference between where people spend their time and where brands invest their money, but for a good reason. Emerging channels include new challenges for marketers. The solution is often testing before scaling somewhere new.


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