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Why Video Advertising Must Put Customers First, Not Channels

Dave Morgan
Dave Morgan  |  Executive Chairman
Published: Dec. 14, 2021

The purpose of advertising is to create customers, either immediately or in the future. And how, where and when advertising is bought matters a lot to whether or not it will be effective at doing its job.

Both when media professionals follow processes or software-buying platforms are programmed, the focus and order in how they plan, buy and optimize ad campaigns is what makes them special and better at it -- or not.

Thus, every day in the trades, we hear media firms and software platforms differentiating themselves by what they or their systems buy, optimize or solve for first. What they do “first” becomes their calling card. It might be “digital-first,” “mobile-first” or “content-first” -- or, increasingly in the world of premium video advertising, “linear-first” or “CTV-first.”

I understand the desire to take this strategy, but isn't the first rule of media execution to be “customer-first”?

There was a time when each media channel was so siloed, specialized and individually impenetrable that optimizing media channel by channel, in a one-after-the-other manner, was the bread and butter of being a media professional.

That’s no longer the case. Now, the significant majority of ad-supported video consumption is either entirely digital, and thus fully addressable, or is materially digital and can be targeted in highly granular ways -- as national linear TV is today, finally -- and thus is proto-addressable, to borrow a phrase from Forrester Research.

In this world, no advertisers with any kind of breadth and scale in their consumer offering should be channel-first when they can build video campaigns across TV, streaming and embedded digital video. There’s no longer a need to only buy linear, or only streaming, or only digital video and not buy across all in an integrated, automated and optimized fashion.

Now, modern marketers can focus on the critical features that they need from premium video ads first and foremost: reach, brand impact and sales response. And they can get those with certainty, efficiency and speed (CES).

Getting this “CES” from cross-channel video campaigns is becoming the new table stakes in video ad campaigns as digital-born marketers and media professionals ascend in our industry and increasingly drive budgets in an omnichannel way, focused first on reaching and impacting target customers -- and only secondarily on each channel.

What do you think? Are we finally ready to truly embrace customer-centric media execution?

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An earlier version of this blog was originally published by MediaPost.