April 11, 2022

3 Reasons to rethink your 2022 upfront strategy

If you're on the fence about rethinking your upfront strategy, here are three reasons activating your upfronts programmatically will make your streaming dollars go further.

No items found.

by Beau Ordemann, Head of Advanced TV Sales and Strategy at Yahoo

The pandemic forced advertisers to rethink and refresh their TV media strategies. As we approach this year’s Upfronts, the industry anticipates the most normal season since 2019. It's a welcome – if not a bit shaky – return to the tradition that provides value for both networks and advertisers through a futures market. Despite optimism that production disruptions and live event cancellations may finally be behind us, evolving and new consumer habits remain.

With so many streaming platforms emerging over the past two years, planning and executing Upfronts has become increasingly complex. Remember how advertisers could reach virtually every household in the U.S. just a few years ago by contacting a handful of TV networks to place a buy? Achieving the same result today requires buyers to interact with a myriad of broadcasters, SVOD and AVOD platforms, taking care to extend reach while avoiding over frequency due to overlapping households.  

Last year $4.5 billion in CTV spend was committed during the Upfronts, and this year, that number is expected to grow upwards of 30% to $6 billion.1 With the OTT portion of Upfronts continuing to expand, more and more marketers realize the benefits of using a single platform to activate a unified strategy. Leveraging programmatic technology to streamline upfront buys is becoming increasingly popular. We’re only in the second quarter of the ‘21-22 upfront cycle, and we’re already seeing a 4X increase in the number of brands executing their upfront CTV buys in the Yahoo DSP relative to this time last year. 2

Broadcast buyers and programmatic teams are often siloed, but we believe both teams can take advantage of this changing TV landscape to benefit clients. If you're on the fence about rethinking your upfront strategy, here are three reasons activating your upfronts programmatically will make your streaming dollars go further.

1. A DSP offers a single platform to consolidate all your upfront deals

The TV media landscape might be fragmented, but that doesn’t mean your activation process has to be. An insertion order-based activation is very manual, requiring you and your team to work across dozens of networks and AVOD partners to manage creative assets, aggregate report data and make campaign or budget changes. The workload that comes with a traditional activation can cut into your ability to spend time evaluating and refining your campaigns.

When you activate in a DSP, you still run the show when negotiating your upfront deals. But once they’re in place, your team can manage all of them and all your creative in one easy-to-use platform. Pacing and reporting are consolidated and available every day, making it much easier to monitor delivery and performance, including insights based on your linear TV spend. Most importantly, you’ll be able to make impactful changes in the scatter market quickly and efficiently with the same access to premium TV content you’re used to buying.

2. Drive more media accountability with better insights

Activating all your media in one platform gives you better, more valuable data. And with better data comes better insights, which you can leverage to understand, streamline and optimize your media buying. This enables you to do much more, such as minimizing overlap and improving frequency control across networks and AVOD partners, which drives maximum impact from every media dollar. For example, if one of your AVOD partners had significantly less overlap with your linear TV campaign, you know it’s a smart place to double down in the CTV scatter market.

Select partners like Yahoo are taking it a step further by providing a holistic view of incremental reach to linear with tools like our Unified TV Report or real-time reporting on how TV campaigns contribute to business outcomes like customer engagement and sales, helping you optimize current or future campaigns. Ultimately the goal is to inform smarter negotiations and smarter TV investment.  

Here’s an example. A customer wanted to know which upfront CTV partners were driving the most effective cost per incremental reach to linear. Gaining access to this information for the first time via our Unified TV Report enabled them to construct a scatter plan that drove 121% more incremental households to linear than if they had used the same uninformed media mix.3 In its most basic application, you can see insights like this drive smarter investment decisions on reach efficiency.

By activating in a DSP, you get a unified view of delivery and reach, making campaign performance measurement even easier.

3. Make your upfront strategy interoperable with your omnichannel strategy

Programmatic unlocks the ability to weave upfronts with your broader marketing strategy more seamlessly, allowing you to target audiences and supply that amplifies reach. You can retarget or sequentially message users who have been exposed to your upfront buys across CTV to drive them down the purchase funnel. Or, you might wish to control frequency across CTV and other devices at a user level.

These interoperability mechanisms and omnichannel insights are available much more rapidly (real time or near real-time) in the programmatic world compared to linear (monthly, quarterly, or even post campaign). More evidence why activating in a DSP can help you get more from your media dollars while saving your team time.

Finding the right programmatic partner

The right programmatic partner can help you shift your upfront strategy to achieve the greatest impact. Look for a partner who offers cross-channel measurement powered by automatic content recognition (ACR) or set-top box (STB) data at no cost, a scalable, future-proofed dataset to power those insights and a dedicated service to help your team navigate the CTV landscape at every step.

Activating within the Yahoo DSP provides all of this, including the lowest tech fee of any DSP and no hidden fees, ensuring a seamless activation with robust platform training and friendly technical support. With Upfronts upon us, now’s the time to start planning with programmatic.

Contact us today to start reshaping your upfront strategy for long-term performance.

1 Benes, Ross, 30 June 2021. “US upfront CTV ad spending will surpass $4 billion this year.” eMarketer.com.

2, 3 Yahoo, Internal data.

No items found.

Ready to Start?
Hey, So Are We.

Our sales team can help you truly connect to audiences with unified solutions scaled for growth.

Get in Touch