How to deliver privacy-first personalized experiences via TV

Streaming TV is booming due to opt-ins and personalized content, demonstrating how one-to-one relationship building can offer more effective ad experiences.

How to deliver privacy-first personalized experiences via TV

Almost two full years after the COVID-19 pandemic established our screens as the primary way millions of us work, attend classes, communicate and shop, one of the undeniable victors has been streaming television. 

According to The Trade Desk, two-thirds of U.S. households were or planned to be either cord-cutters or cord-nevers in 2020. Currently, 74% of all U.S. households now have some form of subscription video-on-demand (VOD) service, and the over the top (OTT) and connected TV (CTV) market is expected to double over the next five years, generating revenue of over $94 billion. All this presents enormous opportunities for advertisers.

The main reasons viewers have shifted from linear to streaming are convenience combined with the specialized content that OTT offers to niche audiences. These audiences have traditionally been ignored by broadcast networks, because such internet-delivered programming arguably doesn't have the mass appeal necessary to justify national ad spends. What it does have, however, is powerful audience targeting.

Arshdeep Sood, a solutions engineer at OneTrust PreferenceChoice who appeared at the Ad Age Next: Streaming conference Nov. 9-10, 2021, says that CTV's ability to target content and advertising to specific viewers can create exceptional personalized customer experiences.

Advertisers are recognizing this advantage by shifting their advertising budgets, Sood noted. The IAB reported in the 2021 Marketplace Outlook Survey that 60% of digital buyers had planned to shift linear TV dollars to CTV this past year. Among digital buyers who are shifting linear TV budgets to OTT/CTV, 80% said the main reason is targeting and efficiency. 

The massive shift from linear to CTV allows advertisers to craft a better and more seamless customer journey across devices. And consumers want this too, Sood said.

“The scope has increased more than ever before: 74% of CTV viewers are using multiple channels to begin, continue and complete a purchase. For example, I might see a product on a TV application that sparks my interest, continue seeing it on my mobile device and then eventually make a purchase on a website.”

Sharing a one-on-one relationship

In the early days of ad-supported video on demand (AVOD), one of the biggest pain points was frequency capping. One 30-minute sitcom broken up by the same corny insurance ad can drive anyone insane after the fifth or sixth viewing Worse, it can alienate potential customers from both the brand and the AVOD platform in general. 

According to Sood, the personalization available on CTV is similar to the kind that publishers can offer to customers due to the one-on-one relationship both sides share. Its clear that for CTV, the opt-in choices for viewers are akin to the menu of products that a publisher offers subscribers when they sign up. It’s also clear that the personalization that CTV channels can offer viewers, based on their opt-in choices, can fuel both a stronger one-to-one relationship and better ad experiences.

The key to success is for CTV platforms to communicate to viewers that opting in will result in better experiences for them. AVOD content will air ads regardless of whether viewers opt in, but opting in will result in ads for products and services that are actually relevant to their interests. 

“The more opt-ins we get, the better we are able to understand our user’s profile at the publisher or the ad-server level, and then go ahead and use those profiles to render various relevant advertisements across platforms of engagement," Sood said. "The more we are able to understand the end-user, the better experience we can give them.”  

Another similarity between the CTV opt-in and publishers' subscribers is their relevance and increasing value to advertisers via the kind of first-party opt-ins both share. Not only will the owners of that data be able to create more valuable experiences for their users, but those experiences could be improved in an omnichannel collaboration from platform to platform throughout the customer journey. 

First-party data: the coin of the realm

Privacy regulation is the driving force behind third-party cookie deprecation, to be phased out by Google in late 2023. Similarly, online advertising driven by first-party data also is privacy-compliant, and so is its CTV-consent counterpart. Privacy regulations like CCPA and GDPR have been in effect for long enough to offer lessons about the impact compliance will have for brands and how that informs the customer experience.

“In the three-plus years that GDPR has been in effect, the opt-in rates have actually gone up,” Sood said. “The reason behind that is, one, the organizations that were obliged to surface those notices and get the user's consent are now more comfortable with the idea of surfacing it and know exactly what is working for them.

“Second is the fact that they have been able to identify the right language for value exchange,” Sood said. “And the third thing is consumers—or rather the data subjects in the EU—are now aware of their rights. They are aware that this is something that exists across platforms and websites and mobile applications.” 

Sood notes that all this has created a baseline expectation that organizations that deliver advertisements without even asking my consent or knowing who I am won’t build the right kind of trusted relationship with customers.

“And that trust—whether it's respecting customers' privacy or rewarding customers with personalized experiences—is the foundation for the advertising, regardless of the platform,” Sood said.