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All Of OTT Vs CTV — Why Connected TV Is The Premium Option


This is part of the “Comprehensive Guide To Connected TV Advertising” — Click here to learn more

When it comes to OTT (over-the-top) and CTV (Connected TV) advertising, the acronyms are so often used interchangeably that there remains a great deal of confusion surrounding the terms.

This can add a whole new layer of complications while trying to find reliable strategy guidance for your next campaign. To be clear, there is a distinction. 

OTT encompasses all of the different methods and devices in which video content is accessed through the internet instead of traditional cable or satellite TV, which includes CTV. We’ve previously broken down the entire OTT advertising ecosystem at a high level, but still continue to receive a high volume of questions on what is considered premium OTT inventory in this new, constantly evolving space. Without a doubt, the answer is CTV.

Before we detail all the reasons why this is the case, it’s important to note that Strategus uses the term CTV to distinctively and specifically refer to Connected TV devices. This includes both smart televisions (e.g. Samsung, LG) as well as televisions with hardware add-ons to access internet content (e.g. Amazon Firestick, Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, PlayStation, Xbox, etc). 

What makes CTV the clear winner in the premium OTT inventory discussion?

In a recent survey conducted by IAB, the majority of media buyers planned to allocate a larger budget towards CTV in particular. This is not surprising considering the growing trend of consumers making the jump from traditional TV to digital streaming services. However, this also means that the space is, in fact, growing saturated. To be competitive, understanding the why behind a trend will place you in a far better position than simply following the masses.

At a high level, the advertising industry has known for years that video content generates higher emotional impact and brand awareness overall, compared to other types of advertising campaigns like banner ads. At a tactical level, there are several reasons why CTV is the best place to stream a video ad, from ads not being skippable to having near 100% view rates.

Specific advantages of CTV over other OTT device categories:


1. Premium content

Context: Thinking about this topic from a content perspective, the shows and movies that are available for people to watch on their CTV’s (on services like Hulu, Sling, Tubi, Etc.) tends to be exponentially higher than 99% of user generated content. This will be a driving force for why more individuals continue to make the transition to digital streaming services. 

Implication: Because the content is top notch, the targeted viewer is already highly engaged in a show or movie that they love. This allows for a better association when a CTV ad runs in between or during episodes. Additionally, quality content will attract more consumers and the pool of potential viewers will increase over time.


2. Engaged audiences + near 100% view rate

Context: With viewing habits now resembling linear TV, there is higher ad consumption overall. As this continues to trend upward, having an already engaged audience is going to dramatically reduce the effort needed to make an impression on a view. When advertisers are marketing to an already engaged audience, the result is a near 100% successful view rate.

Implication: Because there is almost a guarantee that the ad is viewed to completion, brand awareness is higher and consumers are more likely to remember the product and/or brand name. The overall effort needed to create this memorability is lower compared to other platforms. This is due in large part to the sheer screen size of the device and streaming CTV ad loads are smaller than traditional tv, (which inherently drives higher recall & awareness).

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3. Ads are not skippable

Context: Ads are not skippable. The advantage here is obvious. What might not be so obvious is why this makes a difference on a CTV over other OTT devices like, laptops, tablets, etc. Think about it. Ads are not skippable…while the audience is engaged… watching premium content.

Implication: With CTV devices, there is a much higher likelihood that the consumer you are targeting is more focused and less likely to miss your spot. Even if they walk out of the room, they can still hear your ad because they will want to hear when the show comes back on. 


4. Less potential for brand safety issues

Context: Brand safety is not a new conversation by any means. Having content inappropriately associated with the wrong type of messaging can really impact or taint your client’s reputation in a negative way. Here is where we need to reiterate that CTV content is higher quality in general.

Implication: With premium content, there is a significantly lower chance that you will accidentally run an ad with poorly placed timing or in the midst of questionable content as occurs often in other placements like Facebook and YouTube. CTV also allows for contextual targeting to really ensure the ad is being delivered with the right context. 


5. Easier to guarantee the impressions on CTV

Context: When it comes to measuring the success of a campaign, one of the most important things for advertisers to know is whether the numbers are reliable. Ad fraud is a constant concern for advertisers and with things like impersonator bots, ad interactions can easily be falsified. With CTV, it is easier to guarantee the impressions and the risk of fraud is lower.

Implication: At Strategus, we are the only company (that we can find) that can guarantee 0% of impressions serving on mobile (even if it is premium, long-form inventory like Hulu or Sling). Which is a pretty scary thought if you are thinking of putting any dollars into mobile OTT. Catering uniquely to CTV allows us to further protect against potential ad fraud with verified impressions. Strategus can place ads in mobile OTT IF requested, but we do not by default as a commitment to quality.


6. Largest Digital Device in the Home

Context: The CTV, with maybe a handful of exceptions, is the largest digital device in the home. If we look at this from purely a logistics and hardware perspective, there is a huge advantage of having this much physical screen space to play with. From a creative standpoint, this also means being able to really think outside of the box when it comes to the narrative arc and storytelling aspect of the campaign.

Implication: Because it is the largest screen in a consumer’s home, it is nearly impossible to avoid. If the CTV is turned on, the viewer will not be able to miss the ad whether or not they are fully paying attention to it. Advertisers can heavily leverage this fact to get creative with the video itself and really draw the consumer into the story, for maximum emotional impact and brand resonance. 

>>Between CTV and linear TV, which one is better?

The OTT and CTV Bottom Line

All the trends point to OTT and CTV advertising being the next big era in digital advertising. It is a new industry, but it has picked up some very impressive traction in a short amount of time. When it comes to having a competitive edge, Strategus is a firm believer that understanding the nooks and crannies of any space is the way to get ahead and stay ahead. 

Talk To A Strategus OTT Expert


The OTT and CTV space will grow more saturated, undoubtedly. We are already seeing buyers make the shift into placing more ad dollars into CTV in particular. Instead of simply following the crowd and reacting to the headlines, we know that the difference is in knowing. CTV is often confused for OTT and vice versa. It can be confusing to navigate all of the nuances in this arena, especially since the information is limited.

As innovators and leaders in the space, our team is proud to be one at the forefront. Whether you want to strategize about the right move for your next campaign or pick our brains to understand the industry better, our team is more than happy to chat. Contact us at any time.

Andy Dixon is a seasoned Content Writing Specialist at Strategus, renowned for his expertise in creating engaging and impactful digital content. With over a decade of experience in content creation, Andy has honed his skills in a variety of niches, ranging from technology and marketing to education.

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