The streaming wars are well underway and intensifying, as Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Apple TV+, Roku and many more services battle for subscribers. With an ever-expanding battleground, it stands to reason that the segmentation of the streaming market is changing the way that companies are collecting data and, in turn, driving dynamic marketing trends.

The marketing industry has reached an inflection point. With today’s fragmented TV landscape, marketers are facing a dramatic shift in consumption habits as more consumers continue to drop their cable providers and switch to streaming services. By 2022, nearly 25% of U.S. households will ditch traditional TV in favor of "cord-cutting," according to eMarketer. Reasons for the switch range from increasing value to amplifying experience and boosting viewing options — in 2018, streaming-first companies netted around 30% of Emmy nominations.

On top of that, traditional TV formats have even more to worry about. As eMarketer points out, this year, “U.S. consumers will spend more time using their mobile devices than watching TV,” with smartphones as the primary source of consumers’ media consumption. Moreover, the rise of mobile video has certainly disrupted the landscape. Industry forecasts estimate that mobile video ad spending will nearly double in the U.S. from 2019 to 2022. However, despite the evolution of our industry and consumers’ changing viewing habits and preferences, traditional TV won’t be leaving us anytime soon, so advertisers and marketers must still be capable of reaching the right audiences in the right places and with the most relevant messages at all times.

Of course, with an increase in mobile viewership and the ability to "stream anywhere" comes a growing — and very real — risk of distraction. Thirty years ago, when the commercial break arrived on-screen, brands only had to compete with physical distractions such as restless children or laundry. But in today’s digital age, they face a myriad of distractions. With almost half of adults frequently watching TV while also using another device, the need to compete for a customer’s attention has increased exponentially and almost impossibly. As a result, marketers and brands not only have to craft personalized messages in real time, they must also create content that is compelling and relevant enough to bring the viewer’s attention to the TV screen.

So, with an unprecedented number of streaming choices for consumers and more potential viewing distractions than ever before, how can brands use streaming data to their advantage? Here are some tips to get marketers started.

• Know your audience: Understanding your audience is fundamental for any brand or marketing initiative. However, equipped with the granular data that streaming services provide, marketers can truly maximize their overall performance and return on investment (ROI). But first, they must ensure a solid data analysis process that delivers the data needed to accomplish this goal.

• Set specific goals for all marketing campaigns: Knowing your targets remains the core of all successful marketing decisions. What percentage of click-throughs or view-through attributions are you aiming for? Brands and marketers can compare goals with results in order to measure success — and readjust as needed. 

• Use people-based marketing as the guide for decision making: One advantage of the streaming wars for marketers is that streaming companies find themselves paying more for marketing as they compete for consumers. This, in turn, helps to further specify the audience for each service. Marketing teams can use this to their advantage to ensure that the customer base of the designated streaming service overlaps heavily with that of the brand. At the same time, brands are able to specify the kind of content they want to be associated with and target their digital advertisements accordingly. Today, consumers expect a personalized customer experience that’s relevant in the context of any given moment. Brands can create these positive interactions by building off of timely, accurate and person-level data from streaming services. 

• Continually assess the efficacy of your strategic marketing and recalibrate as needed: Your ROI should constantly be measured against your brand’s goals. Too often, brands get caught up in momentary marketing success, thinking this means that a given strategy should continue. However, factors such as current events, upcoming brand changes, audience shifts, etc. are all variables to regularly and consistently evaluate, as they can quickly impact content and results. 

Unlike traditional TV advertising, digital advertising formats like streaming services provide brands with data not just about who is watching, but where, when and if their advertisement led to a desired action. The key for marketing leaders is to effectively and appropriately capitalize on valuable insight and target consumers who we know are most likely to engage with the brand. Only then can we truly maximize our ROI during the streaming wars. 

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