Research Digest

Thinking Long Term With Connected TV Ads


  • Historically, short-term thinking drove results in the first year of a campaign launch, with profit losses in year two and onwards, ultimately eroding the long-term profit potential of their brands.
  • The asymmetry of long and short effects reveal that long-term, brand-building Connected TV ads deliver on short-term sales goals.
  • Connected TV ads work double-duty on both short- and long-term activations by addressing top-of-the-funnel and bottom-of-the-funnel objectives.
Brand Building Ads Also Drive Short Term Sales

What matters more to a performance marketer—achieving short-term or long-term goals? Likely, it is both. Ten years ago, marketing effectiveness experts Peter Field and Les Binet released The Long and the Short of It, a study of the short-term flaws of marketing theory. Fast forward ten years, with new marketing channels like Connected TV entering the mainstream, new developments have since challenged many of these theories. This article examines how advertisers can balance short- and long-term thinking through the lens of CTV advertising.

How Do We Distinguish Between the Long and Short?

The long and short are not binary—both serve the same ultimate purpose, to drive performance. Simply put, the ‘short of it’ as we’ll refer to in this research digest is defined as sales activation, or bottom-of-the-funnel activations which serve a 12-month goal. Marketing messages include a clear call-to-action, for example: “25% off all mattresses for 24 hours only” or “Test drive our newest car model” or “Visit our website.”

However, the ‘long of it’ is defined as top-of-the-funnel activations with a three-year plus timeline, with an emphasis on brand building and creating long-term memories in the customer psyche (and ultimately a change in human behavior). Marketing messages are more subtle, but no less effective than the short of it. These attempt to build awareness of brands, such as driving consideration among consumers who don’t think their beer is for them (case in point—the ‘Easy to Drink, Easy to Enjoy’ Bud Light ad which premiered at this year’s Big Game) or getting consumers to think their premium brand is premium (think most luxury and beauty brands). These types of ads do not ask for an immediate call-to-action, unlike their short counterparts.

The Mistake Marketers Make By Confusing the Long and Short With Tactical Absolutes

One big misconception is that advertisers should shoebox their media according to short- or long-term activations, for instance using one form of media for short activations and the other for long-term branding. However, any medium can serve either purpose, or both. As brand consultant and former marketing professor Mark Ritson says, “The long and the short of it, like everything in marketing, should be media-neutral.”

Short-termism is Killing Advertising Effectiveness

Unfortunately over time, marketers have veered towards satisfying short-term objectives over long-term ones, which was a result of the industry at large valuing short-term goals (think annual prize giving like the Cannes Lions awards), which pulled marketers toward trying to meet more immediate goals. However, while brands did make more money in the first year by satisfying short-term activations, they also started to lose potential profit in year two and onwards, thereby eroding their long-term brand goals.

Long-Term Thinking Paired With Connected TV Advertising Works Double Duty

A study by research company System1 tracked 18,000 ads over the past four years revealing that  it is possible for ads to work double-duty, but not in all cases. The chart below maps a furniture brand TV commercial along with others (illustrated as the dots) distributed up and down the Y-axis. This measures the short-term spike rating (vertically) and the long-term rating (horizontally). Any ad performing above a 1.1 spike rating in the top half of the chart demonstrated above average potential to drive short-term goals. However, follow along to the right of the chart and you will notice that these dots taper off, which indicates that these types of ads don’t build brands in the long term. 

The Short Does Not Deliver the Long

Long-term thinking produces different results as shown in the first chart in this article. This time, we see that an ad produces better results in the long-term, but also at delivering results in the short-term also. Connected TV advertising is primed for both the long and the short, since it is a full-funnel channel that is built with performance in mind. Make your Connected TV ads work double-duty by paying attention to creative best practice that will move the needle:

  • Short: Focus on rational, bottom-of-the-funnel, product messaging that hones in on product benefits and features, with a clear call-to-action throughout the Connected TV ad or with an end card. Pair these conversion-focused messages with your retargeting efforts. 
  • Long: Focus on brand messaging—such as highlighting the brand’s mission and values. Utilize emotion to connect with the viewer. This should be paired alongside prospecting, or upper funnel efforts.

We recommend splitting your advertising budgets and divide it into two types of ads using the creative guidelines above. These will eventually be united within your overall campaign. If budget permits, a third CTV ad that combines equal parts short- and long- elements. Using CTV solutions like MNTN Performance TV enables advertisers to test between these three types of creatives to see which message is resonating with your audience, and iterate your creative over time. Given that long-term ads have the best potential at driving short- and long-term goals, these should be switched on and kept running as evergreen ads throughout the year but supplemented with short-term ads during key promotional moments.


Over the past decade, marketers have adopted more short-term thinking, with immediate sales, revenue and profit in mind—at the expense of achieving long-term, brand building benefits. However, recent studies reveal that ads designed with long-term thinking in mind (focusing on brand building and creating long-term memories in consumers minds) also drive short-term goals. Connected TV advertisers should utilize brand messaging that highlights their mission and values, and keeping these running throughout the year, while utilizing short-term ads during promotional events or moments. Ultimately, Connected TV advertising platforms like MNTN Performance TV should be used to test different types of long- and short-term messaging, as it provides valuable insights for brands for optimal performance.


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