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VAB’s Cunningham: DTC Brands Reflect the Current State of Television

Credit: BeetTV - Affiliate
Published on November 18, 2019 - Duration: 10:00s

VAB’s Cunningham: DTC Brands Reflect the Current State of Television

To get an idea of how TV’s role has changed for marketers, just look to DTC brands, says Sean Cunningham, CEO of the Video Advertising Bureau.

“They reflect what the current state of television is, which is full funnel, all the time,” Cunningham told Beet.TV at the Beet Retreat hosted by Horizon Media in New York City.

Cunningham says these brands’ TV ad spend has surged to amount to $4 billion, and that their interest in television signifies its newfound status as a performance marketing channel.

Used to call-to-action campaigns on Facebook and Google, DTC brands are now looking to TV to do two things at once: build brand awareness and affinity, and drive conversions while gathering audience insights.

That capability didn’t happen overnight.

Cunningham says addressable TV is something that marketers were told about for a “better part of a decade” before it became reality.

The rise of data stack and tech stack equipped platforms like Facebook and Google – platforms that lack the premium content of TV – lit a fire under the networks, which had the content but not the data or tech capabilities.

“Another race, essentially was on,” says Cunningham, adding that the arrival at addressable is the outcome of networks’ and marketers’ investment in first-party data, as well as the ability to put that data into action.

Now, companies can mesh data with the content that drives companies to spend with TV distributors in the first place.

“I’m not saying race over, race won, but race well run to say for the marketer, I’m going to run as hard as humanly possible so I can mesh this data with the content as a TV company.

That meshing together gets them to a place where they don’t have to decide between content, context and tech.

They get it all.” As marketers adjust to new capabilities of addressable, and look for results, Cunningham says the most important thing to do is to give it time.

While there will be short-term results, the real value comes in the long play.

“The first question marketers should ask is how long should I do this.

The answer is quarter, after quarter, for a couple of years, because you need to understand the full-funnel implications of what you’re doing,” says Cunningham.

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