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CTV Retargeting: What It Is and How It Drives ROI

ctv retargeting

Imagine seeing a commercial for a local spa and making a mental note to book an appointment. By the time you sit down at your computer the next day, the thought has slipped your mind. But then a display ad pops up on your favorite weather site — making it simple to schedule a massage at that exact spa. 

This is an example of connected TV (CTV) retargeting, and it proves just how powerful the tactic can be. 

Unlike traditional TV, which lacks targeting options and insight into audience engagement, CTV ads are served in data-rich digital environments. This enables advertisers to follow people who’ve seen their ads across devices and deliver the best message at each touchpoint.

Agencies and brands can thereby run cross-channel campaigns that either retarget warm leads on the living room TV or remarket to people who’ve seen their CTV ads on supplementary mediums. In this way, CTV retargeting drives campaign performance and makes TV spots as clickable as possible. 

In this guide to retargeting, we detail how media buyers can craft sophisticated CTV campaigns that reach consumers across their many devices. We also dive into important metrics to track when measuring return on investment (ROI) and suggested strategies at each step of the buyer’s journey. Keep reading for the nitty-gritty.


What Is CTV Retargeting?

CTV retargeting describes multi-touch campaigns that reach the same users across their living room TVs, smartphones, and more using deterministic matching. In a nutshell, it’s the art of following up by delivering subsequent ads to people who’ve already been exposed to your brand.CTV Retargeting- min

CTV retargeting can go both ways. It can mean showing CTV ads to existing prospects who’ve gone cold, or it can take the form of delivering audio ads to users who’ve previously become acquainted with your brand on their living room TV. And in many cases, it’s a blend of both. 

The goal is to re-engage the same viewers who’ve already encountered your brand until they’re ready to buy. Given that it can take seven or more exposures to a brand before customers are ready to make a purchase, this helps deliver the persistence needed to convert prospects.

But designing and executing these campaigns is no simple feat. For that reason, many agencies and brands rely on a CTV managed service partner to streamline the complexities.


How Does CTV Relate to Omnichannel Marketing


In the past, the best you could hope for when advertising on TV was increased brand awareness. That’s because, unlike direct response marketing tactics that trigger immediate action, TV commercials often expose viewers to a product or service without giving any clear call to action. Likewise, traditional TV ad campaigns don’t provide media buyers with insight into which viewers see a given commercial — making it impossible to incorporate impressions into an omnichannel approach.

With the advent of streaming services like Hulu and CTV devices like Roku, this all changed. Advertisers gained the ability to precisely target viewers using first- and third-party data, and then retarget those who watched an ad on other devices via display, online video, audio, and more. In this way, brands and agencies were able to start creating cohesive CTV-first experiences that nurtured buyers down the funnel.

This transformed the living room TV into a performance channel — allowing innovators to integrate CTV into their omnichannel strategy.  

Traditional-vs-Omnichannel TV Advertising-min


Examples of Connected TV Retargeting

CTV retargeting isn’t a rigid playbook, and it can be fully customized based on how your buyers behave. You’ll also want to consider what your unique marketing funnel looks like and which channels are underserved. 

Some examples of CTV retargeting include:

  • Retargeting site visitors with a CTV ad.
  • Retargeting prospects from your contact list (first-party CRM data) with a CTV ad.
  • Retargeting users who've been exposed to your brand on CTV with a display ad.
  • Retargeting users who've been exposed to your brand on CTV with an audio ad.
  • Retargeting users who've been exposed to your brand on CTV with an online video ad.
  • Retargeting users who’ve been exposed to your brand on CTV with an in-game ad.

Ideally, you’d mix several of the tactics listed above — while continuously testing to see which channels and paths perform the best. Keep reading to find out how you’d combine these efforts into a holistic down-funnel approach.  

How to integrate CTV advertising into full-funnel campaigns 

When building a retargeting campaign, you’ll want to be intentional about the channels and messaging used at each stage of the journey. Here’s an example of how you could design a CTV-centric strategy that drives results.

Stage Channels and Approach




  • CTV ads: Expose ideal customers to your brand with awareness messaging.

  • Display ads: Increase brand visibility by running display ads on relevant websites.





  • CTV ads: Reinforce the value of your offering with subsequent CTV ads.

  • Display ads: Stay top-of-mind by reaching users who’ve already been exposed to your brand.

  • Streaming audio ads: Retarget potential buyers on music and podcast platforms.

  • Online video ads: Reach previous viewers of CTV ads on YouTube and other online video services.





  • CTV ads: Make it easy for viewers to convert by serving ads with QR codes and a clear call to action.

  • Display ads: Give users another opportunity to click through to your website when actively engaging online.

  • Online video ads: Deliver more conversion-focused messaging in an online video format.

  • Paid social ads: Place clickable ads in your prospect’s social media feeds to drive purchases.

  • Paid search ads: Reach users searching relevant keywords in Google


Combining all of these marketing efforts into a unified approach is the best way to drive performance. It also delivers the most value from your investment by keeping your brand top-of-mind until a buyer is ready to convert — and delivering relevant messaging each time you interact.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to Measure Success 

Measuring the performance of such complex campaigns requires advanced marketing attribution and reporting capabilities. While metrics about things like video completion rate (VCR) are widespread in the CTV advertising world, marketers need to dig deeper to tie ad impressions to revenue. Here’s a closer look at the KPIs that agencies and brands should demand insight into from their CTV partners.

Attribution Touchpoints

To fully quantify the return on ad spend (ROAS), you’ll want to illustrate how your prospects progress down the path to purchase. It’s also key that you acknowledge every lead that was previously influenced by a CTV ad. This means going beyond first- or last-touch attribution and connecting all the dots along the way. 

We’d suggest tracking the many attribution points that indicate CTV success. Depending on your goals and customer journey, these may include:

After ad influence

After-Ad influence

Measure how consumers were impacted by your ad with data about actions they take after watching an ad — such as researching your products and services. 

Brand Lift Studies
Brand Lift Studies

Gain insight into how campaign exposure influences awareness, attitudes, and opinions about your company.

Post-View Website View

Post-View Website visits

See direct traffic to your site that resulted from seeing your CTV ad.

Foot Traffic Attribution
Foot Traffic

Use GPS to report on users who visit brick-and-mortar locations after viewing your ad.

Online Purchase Attribution

Online purchases

Identify customers who made purchases from your online store following an ad-exposure.

First Party Data Attribution
First-party data

Determine if your customers perform any actions like a form-fill as a result of your campaign via CRM matching. 

CPG Attribution


Leverage SKU-level purchase data to tie online ad impressions to offline purchase behavior, specifically for consumer packaged goods that are often bought in physical stores.

Revenue Tracking

Implement a revenue tracking pixel to pass back the exact revenue associated with each online purchase generated by your ad campaign

Search and Social Attribution

Search and social

Link conversions influenced by your CTV ad efforts with search and social channels like paid advertising on Google, Facebook, and Instagram.

At Strategus, we offer a full suite of customizable attribution solutions spanning the many touchpoints listed above. We also continue to innovate by making our attribution suite more robust — connecting marketers with an ever-growing array of methods to track audience engagement.


CTV Metrics

Reporting Portal Laptop - min

Beyond using attribution measurement tools to gain insight into the customer journey, it’s also a good idea to set goals based on many of the metrics that can be tracked in digital advertising environments.

Impressions and video completion rates do little more than prove that your campaigns are up and running. Ideally, you’d get much further in the weeds by measuring conversions, click-through rates, and the like.

Here are some of the metrics that you might want to track:

  • Impressions: This metric provides insight into how many people saw at least a portion of your CTV ads. Although it’s more of a vanity metric in that it doesn’t quantify revenue, it still sheds some light into the reach of a given campaign.
  • Video completion rate (VCR): Video completion rate is often high for CTV advertising because the ads are non-skippable and play within user-selected content. For this reason, you should demand much more from your CTV reporting to really drive performance. Two places where VCR could add value is in showing any major trend lines that indicate an issue — as well as how completion rates vary across channels (audio, CTV, online video). 
  • Conversion Rate: Conversion rate measures the percentage of users who’ve completed a desired action. This could be filling out a contact form, making an online purchase, or foot traffic into brick-and-mortar locations. These actions should be customized to each brand and are tied directly to attribution capabilities.
  • Click-Through Rate (CTR): Click-through rate measures the number of clicks per impression. While CTR will generally be low, any increase indicates that your efforts are resonating with viewers and driving action. This metric should always be considered in terms of the goal and channel. An awareness ad won’t have a high click-through rate, nor will a CTV ad that lacks clickable elements.
  • Return on Ad Spend (ROAS): ROAS is calculated by dividing the profit made from advertising by advertising costs. Any figure greater than 1 indicates success because it means you broke even. By comparing ROAS across different campaigns, you’re able to determine which tactics are more successful and optimize accordingly. Again, full-suite attribution is a required capability to measure all the revenue generated from a given campaign.
  • Audience Segment: You’ll want to compare the metrics across audience groups to see how your message is resonating with different viewers and where there’s room for improvement. For instance, if a university finds that ads targeting individuals over age 40 aren’t converting well, they may consider adapting the creative to better resonate with those viewers.
  • Geoperformance: Geoperformance allows you to compare the metrics above across different geographic regions and determine which locations you’d like to invest more budget into based on performance.

The ability to measure all of the conversions, revenue, and clicks generated by a specific campaign is not always possible. Agencies and brands either need to streamline their efforts with a single CTV partner or build out an internal team and dashboard to consolidate the data. 

One of the major benefits of working with Strategus is that we’re able to design comprehensive campaigns that leverage the entire programmatic ecosystem, and then provide real-time insight into the metrics detailed above on our 24/7 reporting dashboard. Companies that partner with us can quickly see all of the conversions and clicks driven from a given campaign — even if the conversions took place outside of the digital ecosystem. 



How to Get Started

Omnichannel CTV retargeting is the future of B2C marketing — driving substantial improvements in the revenue generated from ad spend. One of our partners ran a test campaign comparing the performance of ads sent exclusively to a third-party data audience with those served to users who’d previously been exposed to a CTV ad. 

CTV Retargeting Statistics - min

But to get all of this right, you either need a CTV-first partner like Strategus or substantial in-house resources and CTV expertise.

If you’re ready to find out how our team of experts can work with you to develop a retargeting campaign that builds awareness through CTV ad exposure and then drive conversions across supplementary channels, contact us today. 

Don’t hesitate to learn more about our ever-evolving roster of attribution solutions, 24/7 reporting dashboard, and how we can customize our approach based on your needs. 


Traci Ruether is a content marketing consultant specializing in video tech. With over a decade of experience leading content strategy, she takes a metrics-driven approach to storytelling that drives traffic to her clients' websites. Follow her on LinkedIn at or learn more at

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