Connected TV Advertising | Digital Marketing Strategy

CTV Advertising: What It Is, And How It Benefits Your Marketing Strategy

By Shaun KanaryDec 30 /2021

The way we consume entertainment has changed dramatically over the past decade, but TV advertising has largely stayed the same.

Connected TV (CTV) advertising is a way to meet viewers where they are and build brand awareness as they stream their favorite shows.

Here’s a closer look at how CTV advertising works, the benefits of using it and how to measure the results.

What is CTV Advertising?

CTV advertising is a type of programmatic marketing that reaches consumers on any TV that is connected to the internet while they use apps or streaming services. These are referred to as over-the-top, or OTT services. There are several different platforms you can use to buy connected TV ads, including native advertising platform StackAdapt.

StackAdapt uses automation and relationships with data providers and publishers to show ads on the OTT services where your target audience spends their time, including Netflix, Hulu and Disney+, as well as other apps and services that don’t require a subscription. This makes the ads feel more relevant to them and less disruptive.

(Think about the headlines that appear under Paid Partner Content when you’re scrolling through CNN that explain how to refinance your mortgage, transfer a credit card balance or choose the best stocks.)  

With CTV ads through StackAdapt, you can set a specific target audience and run full-screen ads in several different formats, including 15-second ads, 30-second-ads and 1-minute ads. The platform purchases ad spots and displays an ad when a viewer meets your targeting criteria.

You can also choose to show the ads only on certain types of devices, in certain geographic areas or at certain times.  

4 Benefits of CTV Advertising

While traditional TV commercials were only accessible to the biggest brands, CTV advertising offers a more affordable way to reach specific groups of people. Here are just a few of the benefits.

1. Reach people where they are

The best marketing campaigns meet consumers where they are, and that’s increasingly on connected devices. Consider these CTV advertising statistics:

  • 80% of U.S. households have at least one connected TV, including a smart TV, video game system or streaming box
  • Nearly 40% watch content on a connected device daily
  • Over a quarter of households have said they plan to cut ties with cable TV by the end of the year
  • Globally, streaming is up 266% over the past three years
  • More than 500 million unique viewers watch 200 billion streams per year, according to research by Conviva

CTV ads capitalize on this massive shift in consumer habits. It’s no wonder that advertisers spent over $13 billion on CTV ads in 2021, a nearly 50% increase from the previous year. Conviva’s research shows connected TV ad impressions were up 30% in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the previous quarter, and 85% of those ads were delivered as intended.

2. More precise targeting at a lower cost

If you want to reach women between the ages of 35-45, you could spend upwards of $100,000 on a 30-second TV commercial that reaches a national audience. If your product has the potential to appeal to millions of women and yield tens of millions of dollars in sales, the payoff is worth it. But if you’re selling something to a more narrow audience — such as female HR executives — it’s going to be a lot more difficult through traditional TV advertising.

With connected TV advertising, you can identify a target audience from a list you already have, such as people who like your brand on social media, or create a lookalike audience. This allows you to reach your target with a lot less wasted budget.

3. It’s harder for viewers to opt-out or change the channel

With traditional TV advertising, viewers can skip through commercials by changing the channel. CTV ads are harder to skip once viewers have already opted in to the show they want to watch. Yes, they could mute the ad, but CTV ads are significantly shorter than the average commercial break. While some streaming platforms do offer ad-free viewing for extra fees, most consumers don’t pay that extra cost, according to StackAdapt. Four out of five CTV viewers in the US and 7 out of 10 in Europe still see ads.

4. The ability to measure success with real-time reporting

With TV ads, advertisers only receive performance reports after a campaign has been running for a month or more. Because CTV advertising is hosted by a digital platform, you can see results virtually anytime and make adjustments as needed, just like you would with pay-per-click advertising.

How do you measure the success of connected TV ads? First, you’ll need to consider what action you want viewers to take since most aren’t going to click something on the spot unless they’re watching TV from their laptop. Your ad could send them to a QR code, a promo code or a vanity URL.

Then you can analyze the number of view-through conversions or the number of people who visited your website after watching that ad.

More recently, YouTube announced it’s expanding its video action campaigns to connected TVs so that when viewers see an ad, they also receive an invite to shop on their desktop or smartphone.

“With a quarter of logged-in YouTube CTV viewers watching primarily on TV, the living room is becoming an essential place for brands to drive incremental conversions with new audiences,” said Romana Pawar, director of product management for YouTube ads, in a blog post. 

Fitting CTV Advertising Into Your Digital Marketing Strategy

Like other forms of native advertising, CTV advertising is a good way to build brand awareness. Think of them as another way to reach your audience to supplement ads you may already be running through a pay-per-click campaign or on social media.

There’s a reason Hershey has been running the same holiday commercial since 1989 and didn’t make a new version of it until 2020.

Repetition works. While there’s no official rule on effective frequency or the number of times a consumer has to hear a message before they take action, many still believe it takes at least seven times for something to sink in.

CTV ads are just one part of the bigger picture when it comes to your digital marketing strategy. If you want consumers to know about a new product you’ve launched specifically for developers, think about all the different websites they visit and the platforms they use. They might see your ad on Reddit, see a similar ad a few days later while watching a YouTube tutorial, and see it again on a Friday night when they’re streaming their favorite show. By then, they’ll be more likely to remember the name of the product and they’ll know where to go to learn more.

Once they visit the product page, they might not be ready to buy, but you use a pixel to start building an audience of people you later retarget with Facebook ads. At that point, they might be more ready to consider a demo or start a free trial.

An Effective Demand Generation Strategy

No matter what tactics you try, it’s important to have a single common thread that connects them all. You need a strong marketing strategy that answers the question of why consumers should choose your brand over your competitors and the creative elements to bring it to life. CTV ads are just one of many ways to amplify your strategy through demand generation, which includes SEO and paid media.

To learn more about how to develop an effective demand generation strategy that will help your brand stand out in the coming year, check out this resource.

The New Demand Generation

The Author

Shaun Kanary

With several years of marketing & sales experience for both the Cleveland Clinic and John Deere, Shaun brings a wealth of healthcare, consumer goods and industrial B2B marketing experience to Kuno Creative. Additionally, Shaun is a recognized authority in digital marketing and advertising as a respected college professor at Lorain County Community College, a professional speaker and columnist.