7 min read

What is CTV Advertising? Can CTV Advertising Drive Leads?

This post is a part of our “Comprehensive Guide To Connected TV Advertising” — Click here to learn more!

Last year, traditional TV ad spend saw its sharpest decline in sales since the Great Recession. Globally. Since entering the digital era nearly two decades ago, we have witnessed human behavior completely transform when it comes to content consumption. The introduction of arenas like search, social media, smart phones, and on-demand streaming has changed the landscape of advertising.

Think about the declining sway of conventional advertising archetypes that used to be the norm… Positioning an ad and building credibility using a subject matter expert? — There’s Google right in everyone’s back pocket giving 25 contradictory opinions.! Celebrity product endorsements? — Not trustworthy are they even real people anymore or just algorithms of themselves?

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With so much data, so many sources of content, so many options for entertainment at our fingertips, not only are traditional advertisers finding themselves battling for their audience’s declining attention span, they are also working with a slowly shrinking pool as the number of cord cutters making the jump to subscription based streaming services increases.

As these shifts take place, the advertising space is also changing rapidly.

Vocabulary is changing each day and new terms are being introduced and tossed around constantly. In 2019, we heard about OTT (over-the-top) advertising all year. CTV (Connected TV) advertising and programmatic are a couple of other hot topics at the moment.

At the time of this article, the unprecedented COVID-19 quarantine has only amplified the popularity of OTT and CTV advertising even further. In the midst of social distancing and stay-at-home orders, more people are at home consuming content than ever. And the ability to target these hyper specific demographics in their living rooms is extremely attractive to marketers and advertisers across the board.

How can CTV advertising drive leads, not just be an awareness campaign?

Whether or not you believe that Connected TV advertising is the future, it is the present, and it is happening now. As traditional ad-supported broadcasts and cable keep plummeting, streaming services continue to climb. This cord-cutting movement is occurring in greater numbers across all age groups, not just within millennials and Gen-Z (although we do see peak levels with the 18-34 demographic). So the question isn’t whether or not OTT and CTV advertising is the right move, it’s how can you best leverage OTT and CTV advertising to capitalize on leads?

As the very first firm to programmatically place video ads into OTT/CTV content, our team knows the intricacies of successful OTT and CTV advertising campaigns better than anyone. It is important to understand some key things:

  • Ads are predominantly non-skippable on streaming services (Roku, AppleTV, ChromeCast, etc.) 
  • Internet-connected TV ads are nearly 100% viewable
  • OTT and CTV ads are more easily targeted to desired consumers compared to traditional TV buys

Now. Non-skippable, 100% viewable ads sound great–and they are. But, if they are not relevant, they will not have enough impact. With every CTV advertising campaign, there needs to be a certain level of focus on quality lead generation. The opportunity to be tactical in our approach already exists. Audience targeting is easier than ever with the amount of data we have in our hands. It is a matter of how to be strategic with budget allocations, overall campaign strategies, pacing, etc.

It cannot be emphasized enough: serving ads programmatically on OTT and CTV is not enough to guarantee a plethora of leads. Not anymore. You might get lucky, but there are other levers that need to be manned as the ecosystem evolves to help drive conversions or whatever goal your campaign has.

Here’s what every marketer should be thinking about with every CTV advertising campaign

1) Optimizing audience targeting

What is the purpose of crafting an amazing ad if it isn’t viewed by the right person? Over-the-top (OTT) audience targeting eliminates the trial and error, allowing you to speak directly to your core audience. The more specific, the more effective.

Whereas traditional TV advertising is limited, OTT audience targeting is highly sophisticated and allows for a deep level of personalization. Beyond the standard geographical and demographic targeting, we have the incredible ability to accurately segment by individual behavior, interests, and even context. 
Read that again. Yes, context. A gluten-free, fitness loving, college student that makes impulsive purchases between 11PM and 2AM on her mobile device, mostly on weekends? Yes, you can serve ads directly to her. This is the level of targeting we can leverage in order to create relatable, engaging ad impressions. You simply cannot compete if your concept of “effective targeting” is still stuck at the rudimentary age, gender, location level.

2) Blending with other channels including retargeting to drive trackable conversion actions

CTV advertising is effective because full-screen, full-motion videos, on the largest digital device in the household have a stronger emotional impact than other forms of advertising such as influencer marketing or digital banners. The downside is the inability to get a click action. People cannot (and will not) click to go somewhere when they are watching their Apple TV or Roku. 

Because brand resonance and customer engagement are notoriously difficult to measure when it comes to CTV ads, a strong campaign will incorporate other channels by retargeting. To avoid over-saturation of the same content to the wrong individuals, we recommend a strategy focused on targeting individuals with a high video completion rate. 

Once a viewer watches a CTV ad to completion, we can then retarget those individuals with clickable call-to-actions on their mobile phones, tablets, and computers. This added qualifier of only re-engaging with viewers who have completed the initial CTV ads, ensures that the messaging has higher relevance and a higher chance of sales success. It is this combination that allows you to essentially track the conversion performance of the CTV ad with the retargeting campaign.

3) Reporting and attributing performance

Reporting and attribution tracking are mission critical in determining the success of any campaign. If it can’t be measured, it can’t be replicated. On the other hand, measuring the incorrect metrics can easily lead you down the wrong path as well. 

As we’ve noted, CTV ads are not “clickable” which can make attributions particularly tricky. But ultimately, there are a few important pieces of data we want to think about. First, how many of the target consumers are watching the video to completion? Second, how many of those consumers are then following up and visiting the advertiser’s website? Third, what device is streaming content and which of those devices are showing your ad. 
At Strategus, we specifically created the Attribution Suite to answer all of those questions (and many more). The motivation behind creating a full-function product suite for both online and offline attribution is simple: we want to know who saw your ad and what actions they did or did not take after. Only then can we have a true, objective ROI on each CTV ad campaign.

The Bottom Line

OTT and CTV advertising are still considered to be in their infancy, but this new frontier is already evolving rapidly. In the current day, there is media overload and distractions on every imaginable platform. The marketers who hone in on the best practices now will be the ones to leave their competitors in the dust. 

Should you consider OTT / CTV advertising? Without a doubt. Big data is no longer a source of concern or fear for the average consumer. The narrative has shifted from: why do they know so much about me? to what in the world does this ad have to do with me?

Talk To A Strategus OTT Expert

We have more options than ever before. Furthermore, we are growing accustomed to having personalized, tailored ad experiences. In essence, marketers have spoiled and conditioned us. CTV campaigns alone may bring awareness, but conversion requires dedicated lead generation efforts. This is what we specialize in. 
Our team has been running these campaigns non-stop since the very beginning, and have a deep understanding of how the landscape is changing. We are always happy to deep dive into the topic;
contact us to talk through specific questions or use-cases.