UK marketers expect to spend more on Advanced TV ads in the next 12 months

Tuesday, November 24th, 2020
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70% of UK marketers expect to spend more on Advanced TV advertising in the next 12 months, FreeWheel research reveals

  • According to new European survey of UK, French, German, Spanish and Italian marketers – consisting of both advertisers and agencies – Advanced TV elicits a high level of optimism from UK marketers

LONDON — FreeWheel, a Comcast company, and a leading provider of video advertising software, today reveals that 70% of UK marketers surveyed expect Advanced TV ad spend to increase in the next 12 months. Advanced TV refers to video-on-demand (VOD), connected TV (CTV), over-the-top (OTT), audience-based linear advertising, programmatic advertising and addressable TV.

Understanding Advanced TV in the new advertising world

This research was conducted by independent media research firm CoLab between 19 September 2020 and 5 October 2020, after a period of time that has resulted in significant changes to consumer behaviour and disruption to the advertising ecosystem. The research, commissioned by FreeWheel, is an attempt to understand how this disruption has created challenges and impacted spending priorities for European marketers, and how it has changed their expectations about the year ahead. The findings reveal high levels of optimism from respondents in the UK about Advanced TV advertising, but also illustrate a difference of views between advertisers and agencies in relation to the benefits of adopting Advanced TV advertising and its perceived obstacles.

Key findings: UK advertisers and agencies fix their sights on the upper funnel

Of the UK advertisers and agencies surveyed, they are closely aligned on the importance of upper funnel marketing objectives for the next 12 months, with a significant majority (65%) of UK respondents citing customer acquisition as their top priority. This is balanced with importance placed by marketers on customer retention, with 57% of UK marketers focusing on customer loyalty.

While their wider marketing priorities are aligned, UK advertisers and agencies see Advanced TV platforms contributing towards their priorities in different ways. UK agencies see VOD and connected TV as contributors to the lower funnel objective of customer retention – 38% for VOD and 45% for connected TV. Whereas UK advertisers choose these platforms to feed into upper funnel objectives of customer acquisition (41%) and brand health (36%).

UK marketers are enthusiastic about Advanced TV investment forecasts: A significant finding and positive story for the advertising market

The research shows the majority of UK marketers expect to see growth in spend across Advanced TV generally in the next 12 months, but highlights differences between advertisers and agencies when it comes to growth expectations for specific platform spend.

According to the same survey, UK advertisers are most confident about the year-on-year growth of Connected TV (+18%), VOD (+17%) and OTT (+12%). UK agencies, on the other hand, see the top three platforms to be Addressable TV (+17%), VOD (+16%) and programmatic TV (+11%).

Reasons UK marketers spend on Advanced TV: The drivers

The most important driver for 77% of UK agency respondents is the ability of Advanced TV to manage frequency of exposure to campaigns, while 60% cite the opportunity to reach new audiences as an important factor. For UK advertiser respondents, the single transaction point appeals most at 63%, which is followed by the ability to better manage frequency of exposure to campaigns at 59%. At a more top-line level, UK agencies were focused more on the digital aspects of Advanced TV, while UK advertisers prioritised the benefits related to traditional TV. UK agency survey respondents ranked the top drivers of Advanced TV as frequency and exposure management and individual ID rather than household targeting, which all conveys a focus on digital capabilities. Whereas UK advertisers see the potential for Advanced TV to complement and amplify traditional campaigns, with top drivers highlighted being unified transactions and the ability to extend linear reach.

Reasons UK marketers do not spend on Advanced TV: The inhibitors and obstacles

In terms of inhibitors, UK marketers are well above their European counterparts on ranking the perceived cost of Advanced TV as an obstacle at 66%. This is far higher than the average response across the five European countries surveyed, which stands at 54%. UK agencies unsurprisingly point to more practical aspects of running Advanced TV campaigns as concerns. Two-thirds of UK survey respondents highlight difficulties in effectively running linear and Advanced TV campaigns simultaneously, which could also be an area that feeds into UK advertiser concerns over a lack of accurate measurement tools. A unified approach to linear and Advanced TV could encourage the take up of these platforms for both UK advertisers and agencies.

The need for greater understanding: How Advanced TV can be deployed effectively

Although UK marketers are broadly aligned on the importance of upper funnel marketing objectives, the research also points to some differences as to how Advanced TV can be deployed towards their objectives. This suggests there is a need for better understanding in the industry about Advanced TV platforms, and awareness more broadly (ranked in third place as an inhibitor to Advanced TV take-up). Part of the reason this knowledge gap exists could be the perception from UK agency respondents that there is a lack of willingness from advertisers to explore new channels.

Virginie Dremeaux, Executive Director, Product and Sales Marketing International, FreeWheel, said of the findings: “Both advertisers and agencies in the UK identify targeting and reach benefits from Advanced TV, which is reflected by optimism about investment in this channel in the next 12 months. Marketers overall are aligned on priority objectives of customer acquisition and retention for the coming year, but there are significant variations in perception of how Advanced TV can meet these objectives, and this is shown by different expectations from advertisers and agencies for the growth potential of specific Advanced TV platforms.

“Therefore, this research points to a need for greater awareness and understanding about how each Advanced TV platform can contribute towards upper or lower funnel marketing objectives. Critically, the research also points to the potential for a unified linear and digital approach to TV prompting take-up for both agencies and advertisers. This would also help enable a consistent approach to Advanced TV campaigns that means brands can meet their marketing objectives and get the best return on investment from these premium platforms.”


500 marketing decision makers in the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain were surveyed between 19 September 2020 and 5 October 2020 – 38% of respondents were comprised of advertisers and 46% of respondents were comprised of agencies, with the remainder comprised of media owners or others. For the UK specifically, 100 marketing decision makers were surveyed between 19 September 2020 and 5 October 2020 – 32% of respondents were comprised of advertisers, 48% of respondents were comprised of agencies, with the remainder comprised of media owners or others.