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What is Connected TV (CTV) Advertising? A Beginner's Guide

Aiden Dalley

Sr. Manager, Product Marketing

The age of streaming services has arrived, bringing with it the chance to connect with your audiences dynamically and creatively. Connected TV (CTV) advertising refers to delivering targeted advertisements through internet-connected television sets or devices, departing from traditional TV advertising. Unlike its predecessor, CTV leverages the power of the internet to deliver content, providing a more personalized and interactive viewing experience. As consumers increasingly shift toward streaming platforms and on-demand content, the rise of CTV has become a defining trend in the advertising industry. This shift has altered how advertisers reach their target demographics and opened new avenues for creativity and measurement, impacting how brands connect with their audiences in the digital age.

Growth of CTV Advertising 

As consumers bid farewell to cable constraints, the television landscape has become a sprawling jungle of streaming choices. With many options at their fingertips, audiences can curate their viewing experiences, and advertisers need to adapt quickly. Riding the wave of this streaming revolution, CTV advertising has evolved into a formidable force, allowing brands to connect with their audiences in a highly targeted manner. The importance of CTV advertising lies in its ability to capture cord-cutters’ attention and deliver personalized content that resonates with diverse consumer preferences. CTV’s growth is a testament to the evolving nature of consumer behavior. It underscores the undeniable significance of adapting strategies to meet audiences where they are — on the platforms of their choice.

Different Mediums for CTV Ads

Connected TV encompasses a diverse array of devices, each playing a unique role in shaping digital entertainment and advertising. Smart TVs are the backbone of CTV advertising, integrating internet connectivity and built-in applications. This convergence allows advertisers to leverage data for precise targeting and directly engage audiences with personalized content on their television screens. Streaming devices like Roku and Amazon Fire Stick have further democratized content consumption, offering users access to streaming services on traditional TVs. Gaming consoles have also entered the CTV integration arena, as platforms like Xbox and PlayStation provide avenues for streaming applications and advertising. Moreover, the prevalence of mobile devices has facilitated cross-device targeting, enabling advertisers to extend their reach from TVs to smartphones or tablets.

Why Advertisers Choose CTV

  1. Targeted advertising capabilities: Connected TV advertising provides a sophisticated playground for advertisers to tailor their messages to specific audiences, reaching consumers based on interests, geographic location (down to the zip code level) and viewing time of day. CTV enables advertisers to target entire households, with this capability, they can generate awareness and interest from large audiences. The CTV landscape enables advertisers to craft personalized campaigns, ensuring their messages resonate with the right viewers at the right time. 

  1. Reach and engagement opportunities: With a vast and diverse audience tuning in to streaming services, CTV provides an expansive canvas for brands to connect with consumers. The platform’s ability to deliver content across a multitude of devices, from smart TVs to streaming sticks, ensures advertisers can engage audiences easily, regardless of the viewing medium. Additionally, CTV can offer interactive features, like clickable ads and interactive overlays, enhancing user engagement and fostering a more immersive advertising experience.

  2. Measurable and data-driven results: CTV provides analytics and insights, allowing advertisers to track and analyze campaign performance with precision. From viewer demographics to ad engagement metrics, advertisers may be able to access data that facilitates a thorough understanding of their audience’s behavior. This data-driven approach enables marketers to make informed decisions and optimize campaigns in real time, achieving a higher return on investment. 

  3. Cost-effectiveness compared to traditional TV advertising: CTV allows advertisers to allocate budgets more efficiently by offering flexible pricing models, like cost-per-thousand impressions (CPMs) or cost-per-completed view (CPCV). This flexibility ensures that advertisers pay for actual engagement and impressions, maximizing the value of their marketing spend. Additionally, the targeted nature of CTV allows brands to reach set audience segments, reducing wasted ad spending on broad, untargeted campaigns. 

Advertisers can utilize the power of AdRoll’s BidIQ to fine-tune their CTV campaign budgets for optimal efficiency. With its real-time AI bidding optimization, BidIQ ensures maximum value from every marketing dollar. Drawing upon a wealth of data from thousands of advertisers over a decade, BidIQ dynamically adjusts bids, securing strategically relevant ad placements at the most favorable prices, reducing costs compared to fixed agreements. By surpassing fixed agreements that lock in costs for ad slots, BidIQ consistently maintains lower campaign expenses, enabling advertisers to achieve greater cost-effectiveness in their CTV advertising endeavors. 

4 Strategies for Successful CTV Campaigns

1. Understand your target audience

Using CTV’s targeting capabilities, advertisers can deliver messages that resonate with specific viewer segments, increasing the likelihood of engagement and conversion. This understanding should extend beyond basic understandings, encompassing insights into viewing habits, preferred genres, and device preferences. By cultivating a deep understanding of the audience, you can effectively position their brands within the context of viewers’ preferences, fostering a connection that goes beyond a mere advertisement to become a meaningful part of the viewer’s content experience.

Moreover, this audience-centric approach helps optimize your ad creatives, ensuring they align with the preferences and behaviors of the target demographic. Whether through humor, emotion, or storytelling, understanding the audience enables you to craft campaigns that capture attention and leave a lasting impression, enhancing the overall success of CTV advertising initiatives. 

2. Create captivating, tailored content

CTV allows for a more immersive and cinematic viewing experience, and advertisers should leverage this by developing content that takes full advantage of the platform’s capabilities. High-quality visuals, compelling storytelling, and attention-grabbing aesthetics are essential components. Since viewers often lean toward longer-form content on CTV, your brand can tell more nuanced and captivating stories, fostering a deeper connection with the audience. 

Interactive and dynamic elements can further enhance the viewing experience on CTV. Incorporating eye-catching creative or even gamified content can grab attention and encourage viewer participation. The key is to balance creative innovation and deliver a seamless user experience. Additionally, tailoring content to suit the larger screens and enhanced resolutions common in CTV ensures visual optimization. By prioritizing creativity and adapting content to the unique attributes of CTV, you can elevate your advertising campaigns beyond conventional advertising, transforming them into memorable and enjoyable experiences for viewers.

3. Utilize data for personalized ad experiences

CTV platforms can provide advertisers with data, from viewer demographics to content preferences and habits. By diligently analyzing this data, advertisers can craft targeted and relevant ad experiences that resonate with individual viewers. Personalization goes beyond simply addressing the viewer by name; it involves tailoring the content, messaging, and even the timing of ads to align seamlessly with the viewer’s interests and behaviors.

This might involve recommending content similar to what the viewer has already watched, presenting products or services aligned with their preferences, or even delivering promotions at times when they are most likely to engage. The result is a more engaging and less intrusive ad experience, fostering a sense of connection between your brand and the viewer. 

4. Collaborate and partner with streaming platforms

Streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu have established massive and engaged audiences. By collaborating with these platforms, advertisers gain access to a vast viewer base, allowing them to showcase their products or services to a diverse and captive audience. Partnerships can involve exclusive advertising placements, integrated sponsorships, or co-branded content, providing advertisers with unique opportunities to integrate their messaging into the streaming experience.

Collaborating with streaming platforms enables you to leverage the platforms’ insights and analytics. Understanding viewer behaviors, preferences, and engagement patterns on these platforms lets you refine targeting strategies and optimize ad placements for maximum impact. These collaborations also offer the potential for creative and innovative ad formats that align with the platform’s content, ensuring a contextually relevant advertising campaign.

As the era of third-party cookie deprecation unfolds, connected TV stands out as a resilient and promising alternative. With its ability to deliver personalized content without relying on traditional tracking methods, CTV offers advertisers a privacy-conscious solution that ensures audience engagement while respecting user privacy preferences. 

Discover more cookie-free advertising alternatives with AdRoll—connect with us today!