Why Ad Format Innovation Is Crucial for the Future of TV and Streaming

Consumers expect more—here’s how you can deliver

There is limitless content in today’s crowded media landscape, and consumer attention is splintered across screens. And while identifying the best ways to effectively engage audiences has been the focus of advertisers for decades, current content consumption trends present a unique challenges for brands of all shapes and sizes.

To compete and stay relevant today, brands must revamp their strategies and create engaging ad experiences that grab the attention of their audience. Let’s look at how and why advertisers can create memorable experiences best suited for today—experiences that won’t fall victim to the skip button.

Consumers are the top priority

Ad fatigue is ever-present as consumers are bombarded with advertisements everywhere, all the time. Viewers can block ads out and even become desensitized to them, especially if the message is not relevant. And with second screens becoming more prominent, how do brands stand a chance of getting their message across?

Consumers are more likely to respond and interact with an ad if it’s applicable to their interests. In fact, 89% of consumers like when ads tell them something relevant that they didn’t already know, and 74% appreciate when an ad reminds them about something they need to purchase, according to a survey of U.S. consumers fielded via Suzy last year. Having a clear understanding of what audiences are looking for and when they are engaging is crucial for brands looking to innovate, looking for ways to meet their audiences where they are.

Another way to engage consumers is by creating personalized and interactive experiences. With tailored and unique ad formats, consumers are more likely to interact with what they are viewing, giving the brand an opportunity to drive engagement while also improving the customer’s experience.

This is where distributors play a key role. Advertisers should look to work with distributors that use cutting-edge ways to engage with consumers, be it through interactive ads, or through utilizing common user behaviors. For instance, DIRECTV was the first to launch Pause Ads—dynamic ad units that appear when a user pauses any form of content on DIRECTV and DIRECTV Stream—and have continued to innovate to make the experience even more targetable and measurable. Not only is this an effective tool for advertisers, but consumers also like the format because relevant and timely messages are delivered without disrupting their viewing experience.

Innovation budgets are a necessity

Innovation budgets used to be part of “test” budgets for brands and agencies, but now this concept is becoming a standard part of advertisers’ media budgets. Innovation around creative ad formats is becoming more embedded as part of an overall media strategy.

In fact, 51% of advertisers say that innovative ad formats, as in shoppable or QR codes, will have at least a moderate impact on their media spend decisions over the next two years, according to the report “Addressable Enters the Mainstream.”

This will help advertisers cut out the clutter and help reach an audience whose media habits are maturing. It will also increase reach organically and create new avenues to engage customers.

Because viewers always have their mobile devices with them, advertisers can drive relevant messaging by integrating innovative opportunities like QR codes. For example, during the 2022 Super Bowl, Coinbase debuted a striking one-minute ad that consisted solely of a colorful bouncing QR code. When scanned, the code brought viewers to the brand’s website offering promotions. This interactive ad format was so well-received by consumers that the Coinbase site eventually crashed from the influx of traffic.

An ever-changing landscape

It’s never been more crucial for advertisers to think outside of the box and create thoughtful ad experiences that are best suited for today’s consumers. The best way to do this? Keep the viewer experience at the center, with minimal interruptions and an emphasis on relevance in messaging.

DIRECTV Advertising helps brands and advertisers spark this kind of creativity by extracting consumer insights and ideating on fresh and inventive ways to successfully engage with viewers. For brands and advertisers to win over audiences in today’s environment, they must prioritize innovation and tailor their approach to the evolving needs of modern consumers.

Matt Van Houten’s views on media, advertising, technology and innovation come from 15-plus years and 360-degree of industry experience working across the entertainment and media sectors at powerful brands, scaled distributors and respected universities.