Samsung Ads’ Marj Hetherton On Why CTV Is The Most Exciting Area Of Advertising

Samsung Ads’ Marj Hetherton On Why CTV Is The Most Exciting Area Of Advertising

Connected TV (CTV) has quickly become de rigueur for audiences in Australia. But as more brands and platforms lean into the sector, it continues to be one of the most exciting channels for brands to reach consumers in engaging and innovative ways.

Few understand that better than Marj Hetherton, Samsung Ads ANZ sales director. Ahead of the B&T Awards and the second running of the Best CTV Campaign category, sponsored by Samsung Ads, we caught up with Hetherton to get her insights on the sector and why every brand should be getting involved if they haven’t already.

What excites you most about the current CTV scene?

Streaming isn’t going anywhere. Right now, nine in 10 people stream content on CTV devices and there’s still more growth to come. Over the next year, subscription (SVOD) and free streaming (FAST/AVOD) viewership is expected to increase more than any other channel or service.

Marj Hetherton, Samsung Ads ANZ sales director

As the adoption of Smart TVs grows, and new ad-supported tiers continue to roll in, more and more brands are leaning into CTV advertising.

The biggest development over the last year has been the increase in appetite for driving incremental reach. This is a very cost-efficient and effective way of reaching streaming audiences that missed a linear campaign. We’re starting to see clients drive real outcomes and go from testing to investing quickly.

We’re also working with advertisers to ensure the frequency capping debate is a thing of the past. Automatic Content Recognition (ACR) can not only reduce the overlap between CTV and linear TV ad exposure but helps manage reach and frequency. There are a lot of innovations coming, but getting these simple foundational use cases right is key to making marketing dollars work even harder, unlocking further value for brands.

What recent exciting developments or learnings in CTV has Samsung Ads been involved in?

Branded content focuses on building connections with audiences: it combines the best of storytelling and advertising. However, the distribution of long-form branded content has been somewhat limiting. Traditionally brands would drive audiences to long-form branded content on linear or social networks. Now for the first time, we can showcase branded content within the Smart TV home screen, driving views and aiding audiences on their journey of discovery and providing impact on the biggest screen of the house

By thinking creatively beyond traditional ad spots, brands can use native Smart TV advertising solutions to reach audiences as soon as they turn on the TV. This can be anything from trailers all the way through to pop-up FAST (free ad-supported streaming TV) channels within Smart TV environments.

Let’s talk about Samsung Ads’ Gaming Hub. Why do you think the gaming ecosystem is so interesting for advertisers, and how is CTV a good way to tap into its audience?

Today there are more than three billion people playing games worldwide and, like music and TV before it, the future of gaming is streaming.

Samsung TVs have long been built for gaming, ensuring the ultimate experience on the biggest screen in the house. Now, through our newly created game streaming platform, Samsung Gaming Hub, users can instantly play without downloads, storage limits or even a console. Just turn on your TV and start playing.

The launch of the Gaming Hub offers advertisers a key differentiator because it doesn’t just engage hardcore gamers. Its ease of use widens the pool to casual and social gamers.

Samsung TV also enables advertisers to reach gamers before they even move into the Gaming Hub environment. What this means is brands are no longer limited to reaching audiences in-game.

Finally, by gathering insights into gamers’ behaviour across the screen, including how they watch across traditional and streaming environments, advertisers can tailor and target campaigns using a more comprehensive picture of their audience.

Speaking of advancing trends, with the rise of generative AI this year, how does Samsung Ads plan to leverage AI technology for CTV?

Awareness is a necessary focus for any advertiser or brand. But on the flip side is the need to drive a business outcome and 2023 has, without a doubt, become the year of efficiency and accountability for our partners.

CTV provides brands with the outcome-focused foundations to measure and attribute the impact of an ad campaign on consumer behaviour. For advertisers who want to see consumers enter their digital real estate and take specific actions like page views, form fills and purchases, early tests in the US show CTV is delivering real results.

But, AI and machine learning are only as powerful as the insights they sit on.

Lastly, Samsung Ads is returning as a sponsor of the CTV Campaign category for the B&T Awards, which is very exciting! What would make an award entry stand out as a winner to you?

This is still only the second-ever B&T award for CTV campaigns, so winning – or even simply entering – this category is an opportunity to stamp a pioneering outlook on a fast-growing space.

What I think we’re going to start seeing through this year’s entries is the next iteration of ads that go way beyond repurposing TVCs. Over the last 12 months innovative marketers have spent their time exploring a world of new opportunities: merging creativity and insights, thinking outside the box and bringing disciplines together.

From high-impact native ad formats that focus on ‘reaching the unreachables’ before they move into ad-free environments to immersive and innovative shoppable solutions, I’m intrigued to see what creative advertisers come up with.

However, just as importantly, I’m keen to understand how brands have combined data-driven precision with this level of creativity

Campaigns that succeed in connecting with the audience and impact the bottom line will be the ones to stand out.

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