A Brand Marketer’s Guide to Video

Media consumption has evolved over the past few years, with more and more audiences opting to consume video content in new ways. To address these increasingly fragmented behaviors, media companies have created new platforms, new devices, and new channels to reach consumers when and where they’re watching video. Brand marketers and their agencies have tried to quickly adapt to keep up with these new players, but this progress is not without growing pains and confusion.

The first step to successfully expanding your video strategy is understanding the different platforms available. While they may all serve video content, the way the media is purchased—and how it’s measured—varies. Here’s a breakdown of the differences.

Understanding Traditional TV

Traditional TV continues to play a major role in video content, accounting for more than 60% of video viewing in the United States.1 Data has helped make targeting more precise, but most broadcast TV options still follow a more traditional, large-scale buying process. Historically, campaign results were not reconciled until the campaign ended, but today new measurement tools are available that provide in-flight performance insights for TV, enabling marketers to optimize their campaigns earlier.

  • Linear TV: This is the “original” delivery of video content. Content is typically delivered at a scheduled time through an over-the-air broadcast, cable set-top box, or satellite. Recently, it also expanded to streaming from traditional cable and satellite providers, as well as streaming providers such as YouTube TV. Ad space is usually purchased directly with TV networks during the annual upfronts or through scatter buys throughout the year and is targeted toward large demographic groups.
  • Data-Driven Linear: This is a more targeted form of linear TV, in which marketers can use additional audience data (beyond just demographics) to optimize their ads. Marketers still buy large reach audiences and measure impact like linear TV.
  • Addressable TV: This is an even more targeted approach to traditional TV, where marketers can serve video ads to only relevant households. It is more expensive than data-driven linear, but much more targeted. While it is traditionally still measured like linear TV—after the campaign is completed—it is much easier to tie exposure to real-world impact due to targeting an authenticated audience. Additionally, brands are increasingly looking to pay for measurement themselves instead of receiving it as a “value add” from media companies.

What Changes with Digital Video?

The newer players—which we refer to as digital video—more closely resemble the digital ad buying and measurement process, allowing marketers to test tactics and adapt quickly. Advanced, third-party measurement partners can provide weekly analytics that show whether a brand’s advertising reached a qualified audience, if those exposed converted to the brand by filling a prescription, or if they visited a doctor. These metrics are much more impactful because they show real-world outcomes.

Additionally, because media can be purchased programmatically, marketers can reach their intended audiences much more precisely than with large-scale TV buys. This means marketers can use privacy-safe health segments, consumer data (demo, geo, purchase history, etc.), and past media consumption data to target their audiences.

  • Connected TV: Content is delivered on a TV, usually through native streaming applications within the operating system of the television. Examples include smart TVs that have built-in internet connections such as Samsung or Vizio televisions. Ad space can be purchased through guaranteed insertion orders or programmatically.
  • Over-the-top TV: Content is delivered via the internet to any screen, without requiring a traditional cable subscription. These include online streaming services, such as Hulu; gaming consoles, such as PlayStation or Xbox; or connected devices, including Roku, Apple TV, or Fire TV. Ad space can be purchased through guaranteed insertion orders or programmatically.
  • Online Video: Content is delivered on-demand via the internet. Examples include YouTube and Vimeo as well as pre-roll ads within traditional websites such as news or sports sites. Ad space is usually bought programmatically but could be purchased through an insertion order.

So, How Should My Brand Invest?

With video, as with all advertising, there is no “one-size-fits-all” strategy. However, core principles that every brand should follow are to have a clear goal as well as a way to determine whether a campaign reached the right audience. With those two factors determined, any brand team can execute across video, regardless of their experience in the channel.

Veeva Crossix has worked with brands with different needs at different stages of video investment. All of them recognized the importance of objective third-party measurement to ensure their tactics worked and to validate their budgets to leadership. Two examples of how brands addressed the different video options are:

1. Video Veterans: A brand recognized that some of its target audience did not consume linear TV and decided to experiment with new video tactics to reach them on new platforms. The brand wanted to understand if it could replicate the impact of TV but at a lower cost. The brand set up a measurement plan that compared the reach and impact of digital video alone with the combined reach and impact of its digital video and traditional TV investments. By investing in video placements that can be measured like digital, such as videos that appear within platforms like Amazon, Hulu, and Roku, it was able to shift its strategy quickly depending on channel performance.

2. New to TV: When COVID-19 hit, a pharma company that historically did not invest in TV or video decided to use their budget for video buys because access to HCPs was so limited. Since it was a new tactic to them, they spent their budget on linear TV buys and knew they needed a measurement plan to validate their investment to leadership. The TV placements resulted in a 65% lift in conversions over a similarly qualified audience. The success shown through robust measurement prompted the brand to continue to invest in linear TV for another year.

Every brand is on its own journey and is bound to encounter unchartered territory. By working with the right campaign foundation and the right partners, all brands can have a smoother and more successful trip, whether they are expanding existing media channels, optimizing their current media, or moving into new channels.


  1. https://www.broadbandtvnews.com/2020/07/28/linear-tv-remains-dominant-form-of-tv-viewership-in-2019/#:~:text=Linear%20TV%20accounted%20for%2063,Television%20Viewing%20Time%20Report%20%E2%80%93%202020
  • Sarah Caldwell

    Sarah Caldwell is General Manager, Crossix Analytics at Veeva. Sarah is responsible for Crossix measurement and optimization and audience targeting solutions at Veeva Systems. Crossix leverages connected health data to help life sciences more effectively activate, measure, and optimize their marketing investments. Sarah joined Crossix in 2007 and has consulted with pharmaceutical brands across various therapeutic areas and business situations, including launch and loss of exclusivity.

  • Nick Illobre

    Nick Illobre is VP, Product Strategy at Veeva. Nick has more than 10 years of experience in marketing technology, media planning, and buying and developing innovations for data usage in television. Nick has extensive knowledge of both marketers’ business objectives and how media and audiences can be leveraged to achieve them using advanced analytics.


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