Wurl CEO: Advertisers should optimize for bottom of the funnel on CTV

With the saturation of streaming services, content discovery continues to be a major challenge for consumers and streaming services alike. And according to the CEO of Wurl, Ron Gutman, advertisers should be paying more attention to the bottom of the funnel in conjunction with tech-driven consumer behavior insights as they look to increase return on investment in the CTV space.

Wurl, a connected TV (CTV) software provider, was gobbled up by mobile ad company AppLovin last year for $430 million to help expand the platform’s reach into the CTV market — a market Gutman described, during a Q&A session held at Advertising Week New York on Monday, as the best for advertisers to take advantage. He touted Wurl as a pioneer in offering native free ad-supported television (FAST) channels on CTV, alluding to its deal with Samsung in 2018. Currently, Wurl has around 3,000 channels that it distributes, monetizes and offers user acquisition services for.

Gutman explained in the session that CTV inventory offers “the best of both worlds” in brand awareness because of its non-skippable structure with a captive audience and chance to “create emotional connection with people that are seeing the ads,” alongside the ability to measure content and target consumers specifically in a way traditional TV can’t.

“What we've seen is that the content has migrated, but the viewership has not migrated.” He predicts that will take place in the next five years, where eventually “we will see close to nothing” in terms of viewership on traditional TV like cable and satellite.

“Streaming has a lot more content, much better content, a lot of niche content that you can't get anywhere else. People just don't know about it. So how do you get them to know about it?” Gutman believes the answer is a counterintuitive focus on the bottom of the funnel, which he feels is a “neglected” audience. Speaking directly to marketers, he said, “If you didn't optimize the bottom of the funnel, do it tomorrow because that's money on the table.”

The bottom of the funnel refers to late-stage potential customers who are closest to making a purchase or taking a desired action. Reaching 100% measurement for this segment can’t really be done manually, according to Gutman, and can only be done through machine learning (ML) tools automatically observing consumer behavioral patterns.

Wurl put this take to action earlier this year with the roll-out of its Content Discovery advertising platform. The platform leverages ML algorithms that aim to pair viewers with their desired content and targeted content marketing creatives. Gutman emphasized its greater ability to increase ROI and return on ad spend (ROAS) through real-time observation of every consumer’s viewing and spending behavior to determine if they will make a given advertiser’s KPI.

If so, the tool can target what content that person should receive and at what frequency. “You don't need to worry about connecting the right ad to the right person, the machine learning does it for you,” he said. When a person reaches a certain level of brand recognition or completion rate, it then retargets them on mobile, Gutman noted. “We've noticed that many, many times we can see someone watching television and then we find them with an advertisement on their mobile device.”

Gutman closed the session by saying “it’s a very simple conversation” between CMOs and CFOs to invest in the performance marketing tactic. “Then all the burden is on tech companies [to] fulfill as much as they can [for] your bottom of the funnel.”