What are the biggest challenges facing agencies today? How is the media planning and buying process evolving, and how can sellers help that process along?
To answer these existential questions, we sat down for a series of interviews with agency changemakers. Up now: Omara Hernandez, SVP, Group Director, Canvas Worldwide.
Hernandez has two full decades of experience in this space, on both the linear and digital sides of the ad divide. She’s never seen anything like the shift to streaming that occurred in 2020. “The growth accelerated beyond what anyone imagined at that point,” she says.
Canvas was ready. The shop has a couple of clients who embraced the shift to digital, “long before the industry has,” Hernandez says. “They're already investing significant amounts of dollars in this space.”
“Digital” is not a monolith, though, and there are several strategies at play. “We have a lot of clients who do a lot of programmatic,” Hernandez says. There's a lot more inventory premium, inventory available in programmatic for connected TV and OTT.
Another strategy is going to direct-to-device, which Hernandez says has been key to unlocking the potential of premium digital video ads. Direct-to-device has three big advantages, according to Hernandez:
“One, it allows us to be able to buy into an ecosystem of apps where we don't necessarily have to sort of cherry pick which ones we think are the best and do direct deals with those guys,” she says. “It allows us to deliver a swath of streaming opportunities there.”
Secondly, direct-to-device is one of the few ways to reach consumers who are leaning into non-ad-supported environments—ads on a Smart TV’s home screen are the “last gas station for 100 miles” of the TV world. “It’s super important because there's not many ways to be able to reach those people other than that and maybe some other digital spaces, because usually those folks are not heavy TV users either,” Hernandez says.
And the third thing? “A lot of the direct to devices also have automated content recognition, which I'm super geeky about,” Hernandez says. ACR represents an opportunity for Hernandez and her clients that helps strategically deliver incremental reach to what they’re running on a television set. “It allows us to measure what we're running from a television perspective,” she says, resulting in a more holistic reach and frequency approach between digital and linear.
While the Upfront and Newfront processes settle back into something approaching normal, Hernandez is excited to see how the CTV space develops over the next couple of years
“I'm really proud of our clients too, who have embraced this space earlier than a lot of the industry,” Hernandez says. “They trusted that this was a space that was going to grow and develop even before they actually had proof that it was impacting their business.” Now that the proof is in the pudding, it’s time to act.
Enjoy the full interview below: