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German CTV marketers are seeing serious results with first-party data

Two men within a Connected TV's streaming UI open up an app like a file cabinet and review papers with data.

Illustration by Dave Cole / Getty / The Current

As CTV ad spend grows in Europe, many German CTV marketers are diving into the channel and finding considerable success, leveraging first-party data to find expanded, relevant audiences.

A May IAB Europe report shows that connected TV (CTV) ad spend in Europe grew 23.5% from 2022 to 2023, the latest available figures. In Germany, CTV ad spend grew 19.7% over the same period.

But the German CTV ad market could be set for even faster growth than its European peers. Recent research from ExchangeWire shows that 90% of German respondents think that in the next two years, they will run at least a “medium-high” proportion of their campaigns (defined as at least 41%), via CTV.

This trend isn’t limited to Germany — the forecasted picture is similar across Europe — but German marketers outpace the region’s average (79%). That may be because CTV user growth in Germany is predicted to outpace even Britain’s over the next few years.

As audiences move to streaming, it’s only natural that marketers follow. But marketers aren’t just chasing viewers: addressability is often touted as one of CTV’s main advantages over linear TV. And many German marketers are increasingly reaping the benefits of TV’s more technologically advanced evolution.

Pinpoint precision

Rossmann, one of Europe’s largest drugstore chains, wanted to convince moms to buy its Babydream diapers. It added CTV to its linear TV activity and used its own first-party-data to create lookalike audiences and seeds that resembled its ideal customers.

These first-party data-powered audiences were 3 to 4 times more likely to generate a sale after seeing the CTV ads. In fact, Rossmann reported 20 in-store sales for every 1,000 media impressions delivered against its own data.

"Our first TV campaign was a complete success, with both immediate and expected longer-term results,” says Tatjana Koch, performance marketing manager at Rossmann. “We’ve already repeated the campaign twice on a smaller scale and seen a growth in Babydream sales."

First-party data can help brands find hard-to-pinpoint audiences in CTV environments. So discovered Bosch Professional as it attempted to identify and reach an expanded audience of tradespeople on CTV.

Like Rossmann, the storied German firm used first-party data to create lookalike segments of people with similar characteristics to its most valuable customers.

The 93% view-through rate it achieved — which shows how many people watched an ad all the way through, without skipping it — confirmed Bosch Professional had indeed found current and potential future fans on CTV.

Beyond targeted campaigns, first-party data is also showing its chops on a much larger scale in Germany.

As eBay Kleinanzeigen rebranded to Kleinanzeigen, the company turned to its own first-party data to reach its most active and valuable buyers and sellers. It wanted to ensure they were aware of the rebrand while maintaining their brand affinity.

Kleinanzeigen’s first-party data, which informed “seeds” from which it developed similar audiences, helped it reach more than 4 million unique — and highly relevant — households through an omnichannel campaign that ran on CTV, online video, and display in addition to linear TV and out-of-home.

The first-party data opportunity on CTV

While CTV advertising is growing fast in Germany, some marketers in the country continue to have concerns. The ExchangeWire report shows that 83% of German marketers worry about ad fraud and the perceived lack of standardized measurement on the channel.

Only 14% of respondents worry about low addressability on CTV — a point underscored by the effectiveness of the campaigns from the likes of Rossmann and Bosch Professional.

At the same time, only 32% and 50% of respondents rely on CTV identifiers and probabilistic identity graphs, respectively.

This suggests there is still plenty of room for the growing adoption and usage of first-party data as seeds to reach audiences streaming their favorite shows, in Germany and beyond.