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Local TV Advertising: How to Buy TV Ads and Measure Success

Local TV Advertising- How to Buy TV Ads and Measure Success

Local TV advertising combines the big-screen impact of television with the efficiency of location-based marketing. It also allows smaller businesses to build brand awareness — without necessarily breaking the bank.

But not all approaches to local TV advertising are created equally. There’s a major difference between ads served through traditional broadcasting methods and those placed on streaming TV. This is why media buyers should understand the nuances in targeting and measurement when planning local TV campaigns. 

Cord-cutting has also dealt a significant blow to traditional pay-TV, leading to a loss of millions of customers each year from 2019 to 2022. But advertiser adoption still lags behind.

Roku’s Q4 shareholder letter explains:

"There remains a significant gap between viewership and ad dollars on TV streaming. In 2023, U.S. adults aged 18-49 spent more than 60% of their TV time on streaming, while advertisers spent just 29% of their TV budgets on streaming."

In this guide to local TV advertising, we detail how to place commercials on traditional linear and connected TV. Keep reading for a look at how the two mediums compare and additional considerations to take into account.

What Is Local TV Advertising?

local tv advertising

Because CTV allows you to target individual viewers and measure campaign performance, you’ll want to align on campaign goals before thinking about your creative. 

Local TV advertising describes television commercials that run within a local market to promote products or services. Unlike the commercials that air during the Super Bowl or must-see TV, these ads target viewers in a particular city, town, or region with more actionable messaging.

This allows businesses to connect with a more focused audience, thereby increasing their visibility and customer base in their specific service areas. Advertisers can take this targeting a few steps further by swapping out traditional TV ads for programmatic CTV.

As an example, a Miami-based window installation service wanted to run a campaign targeting affluent homeowners in the area. Through the precision of CTV, the company could narrow down its ideal audience— targeting ads based on household income, recent purchases, lifestyle triggers, and geofencing at the zip code level. 

These ads would then be served to those specific viewers on whichever streaming apps they tuned into, giving the company detailed insight into campaign performance data.

Advantages of Advertising on Local TV

advantages of advertising on local tv

Since the dawn of television, commercials have captured our attention and become a part of our culture. This is because TV audiences often concentrate on what’s on the screen and co-view these ads with their friends and family. 

For local businesses looking to reach a targeted audience, TV advertising proves to be a compelling choice for several reasons.

  • Audience Reach and Engagement: Local TV advertising holds the unique opportunity to target specific demographics and geographic areas. And in the case of live sports broadcasts or must-watch TV shows, these viewers are often more engaged than they are when scrolling through social media.  

  • Multi-Media Delivery: Thanks to catchy jingles, easy-to-remember slogans, and repeat characters, TV ads can bring brands to life and make a memorable impact on viewers.

  • Big-Screen Effect: Despite the era of multiple devices, viewers remain highly attentive to TV content. And unlike other video ads such as those that run on YouTube or Instagram, TV ads can’t be skipped or swiped.

  • Credibility: Local TV advertising helps build credibility by reaching viewers while they engage with programming that holds significance for them, whether it's the news, entertainment, or sports. The big-screen exposure also fosters trust.

  • Cost Effective: When placing local TV ads using CTV, smaller brands can connect directly with their customer base within the local market. This helps minimize ad waste and boost performance.


Industries that Benefit From Local CTV Advertising

Local TV advertising has long been a powerful tool for businesses to connect with customers in their immediate vicinity. However, the rise of connected TV (CTV) has breathed new life into this strategy. Unlike traditional linear TV, CTV boasts superior targeting capabilities, allowing advertisers to reach specific demographics and tailor messages with laser precision.

At Strategus, we work with companies in the following industries to design and execute local TV campaigns:

  • Art and Entertainment: From college sports to Broadway musicals, CTV is a perfect fit for entertainment brands because it showcases the sights and sounds of an event on the biggest screen in the house.
  • Education: CTV offers education providers a targeted way to connect with high school graduates, professionals seeking career advancement, alumni, and more. 
  • Home Services: Home services like plumbers, electricians, and landscapers can leverage CTV to reach local homeowners with targeted ads based on their needs.
  • Law Firms: Modern legal marketing is all about being in the right place at the right time. And with CTV, law firms can identify prospects in need of expertise by customizing their audience based on recent auto collisions, urgent care visits, or occupation type. 
  • Political: Political advertisers are turning to CTV's targeted reach to deliver hyper-focused messages to specific voter demographics.
  • Retail: From furniture stores to luxury goods, CTV allows retailers to target local consumers with product-specific ads, influencing purchase decisions at the peak of home entertainment.

CTV for Auto CTA Banner

Types of Local TV Advertising: Linear vs. CTV

Media buyers have two primary options when buying local TV ads: traditional linear TV and programmatic CTV. Many choose to take a converged approach, combining the content-centric approach of traditional TV with the audience-specific tactics of programmatic CTV.  

Understanding the unique strengths and capabilities of each can help inform how your budget is allocated across these two mediums.

Linear TV Advertising-1

Linear TV Advertising
How It's Purchased Traditional TV ads are purchased from publishers based on the channels and shows being broadcast on scheduled linear channels.
Delivery Method Broadcast over scheduled linear TV channels.
Content Format Live TV or pre-recorded shows on local networks and MPVDs 
Ad Placement Within designated commercial breaks during TV programming.
Audience Targeting Limited options based on general demographics and viewership.
Metrics & Measurement Insufficient data on ad performance and attribution.
Programmatic CTV Advertising-1
Programmatic CTV Advertising
How It's Purchased

CTV ads can be purchased from TV networks and apps in a similar fashion as linear TV, or they can be placed programmatically through real-time bidding, enabling advertisers to only reach their target audience.

Delivery Method

Streamed over internet-connected devices and platforms.

Content Format

Live TV and on-demand content on
FASTs like Pluto, vMVPDs like YouTube TV, and HVOD streaming services like Netflix.

Ad Placement

Integrated within on-demand streaming content as a pre-roll or mid-roll, or placed programmatically into commercial breaks on FAST apps and vMPVDs.

Audience Targeting

Advanced audience targeting that combines first- and third-party data sources to build custom audiences.

Metrics & Measurement

Comprehensive data analytics, real-time measurement, and
sophisticated attribution capabilities (depending on your CTV provider).


How to Buy Ad Spots on Linear

When purchasing local TV ads on legacy TV networks, the process works as follows:

  1. Identify Your Target Audience: With legacy TV, the onus is on media buyers to figure out where their audience is tuning in. As such, the first step is to understand your target audience and make some assumptions about the shows and time of the day they’re most likely to watch TV.

  2. Contact the Station: Next, you’ll want to contact your local stations for details on price and viewership numbers. Some stations can target ads based on a specific demographic (such as viewers aged 50+) but that’s the extent of their targeting capabilities, so you’ll need to be comfortable with a large portion of your ad impressions being served to people who don’t fit your ideal buyer persona.

  3. Negotiate Ad Rates and Schedule Your Ad: Ad rates are dynamic based on the network, time of day, day of the week, and number of ad spots purchased. Most stations also have a minimum ad buy, so you’ll want to start there. Once you’ve settled on a station and time of the day that makes sense for your target audience, you can schedule your ads to run based on the specific programming they’ll accompany.

  4. Track Your Results: Measurement capabilities are quite limited on linear TV, so calculating ROI will be a bit of a guessing game. You’ll want to pay attention to any metrics prompted by the call-to-action (CTA) used in your ad (e.g., phone calls that resulted from an ad telling viewers to call your branch directly), and also review the station's affidavit of performance.

How to Buy Ad Spots on CTV With Strategus

If you’re looking to run local ads on CTV, we’d suggest working with Strategus as your managed service provider. Here’s how the process works:


  1. Onboarding: We get to know you, your brand, your goals, and your audience. We’ll work with you to build custom audiences based on a mix of tactics such as retargeting website visitors, modeling lookalike audiences from CRM data, finding in-market buyers that match specific demographics, and more.

  2. Planning and Strategy: Once your target buyers and KPIs have been pinned down, we’ll develop a strategy that’s personalized to your business needs. We provide access to countless publishers and marketplaces — giving you that agility to reach viewers wherever they are and adjust your campaigns on a dime. 

  3. Campaign Activation: Our CTV experts execute customized campaigns and monitor the data, so you can focus on what you do best. Most of our campaigns also incorporate cross-device retargeting to drive performance across additional touchpoints.

  4. Reporting and Attribution: We’ll provide all the tools needed to quantify ROI and understand your customers’ journey, including a 24/7 dashboard and an evolving roster of attribution solutions. You’ll gain insight into the entire buyer’s journey, from first ad exposure through purchase.

  5. Continuous Optimization: CTV ads can be adapted on the fly, so we take a hands-on approach to monitoring performance and optimizing accordingly. What’s more, we’ll schedule reporting calls as needed to make personalized recommendations and discuss alternative tactics.

  6. Ongoing Support: Because our team of experts becomes an extension of your team,  you’ll have resources to ask questions, make changes, and scale your campaigns as your local TV advertising needs grow.


While traditional linear TV still holds value, the rise of connected TV (CTV) presents exciting new possibilities for local advertisers. Local CTV's data-driven approach replaces broad assumptions with precise targeting, allowing advertisers to reach specific demographics and curate messages that resonate with individual viewers. This shift empowers brands to move beyond "spray and pray" tactics and engage audiences with personalized experiences across various devices. Strategus Co-Founder Joel Cox explains:

Advertisers can now use digital identifiers aggregated from multiple data sources to engage, say, a 35-year old woman who drives an Acura, who is also an organic food shopper who loves yoga. You can make an impression with ads optimized to her interests, devices, shopping patterns, and location. You can start with a quality video ad on her living room TV that draws her in with sight, sound, motion and a message relevant to her lifestyle or shopping habits. You can then re-target a follow-up call to action on her laptop when she reads the news, on her mobile phone when she visits a competitor’s location or any number of custom parameters.

Interested in learning more? Reach out today for a free consultation on local TV advertising with Strategus.


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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