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Connected TV: The Commercial Break Redefined!

Remember when you eagerly awaited Tuesdays at 9:00pm for your favourite TV show to air? It was the same time that Nielsen Families would gather around the TV and log their viewing habits into their diaries. Nielsen’s sampling methodology and number crunching would be used to identify the age and gender (more or less) of the people watching almost every program on the dial – so advertisers could use it to buy media. This resulted in ads for beers, cars and brokerage firms dominating the NFL Sunday timeslot because Nielsen’s panel identified the viewers as men, aged 18-49.

By comparison, most individuals under the age of 30 have no idea what day or time their favourite shows are on, nor do they need to. Today’s viewers watch programming whenever and wherever they want via one of the half-dozen streaming devices and services in a statistically typical American home. And they will likely watch every episode of a single season or two before moving to a different program, since every show is available whenever they desire. Consumers now control the day, time and screen—thanks to streaming content and connected TV (CTV).

Additionally, advertising during that coveted Tuesday 9:00pm time slot was hard, really hard because of accessibility and the financial commitment associated with it. Advertisers had to deal with spreadsheets, Nielsen, insertion orders, emails and phone calls. Today, the outdated planning and buying processes no longer apply. So much has changed and definitely for the better. Advertisers are continuously looking to reach the right audiences and that requires something more complex than just age and gender and a guess at what the audience might buy.

In order to help advertisers understand where their audiences are spending their time and what motivates them to make a purchase requires data. Luckily, the data-driven, automated TV planning and buying across all forms of TV content delivery approach has arrived. It’s time to redefine the commercial break!

How does CTV advertising work?

CTV consists of any type of TV that can be connected to the internet and can stream digital video at a viewer’s convenience. CTV is a subset of over-the-top (OTT), which includes apps and services that don’t require subscriptions to traditional cable or pay-TV service.

CTV ads are sold as impressions using software automation and advanced data, reaching viewers who stream content on demand. Ad spots are purchased when a viewer matches your desired audience, creative messaging then appears in full-screen, 100% viewable environments.

Leveraging the benefits of Connected TV

If you follow the flow above, the benefits to marketers are enormous. TV advertising is no longer just for the big boys with deep ad dollar pockets. Linear TV has not, and will not be fully abandoned in favour of CTV in the near future, so marketers who have advertised on linear TV will be best served by media strategies that combine linear TV with CTV. You need to think of CTV as a complement not a replacement.

Like linear TV, CTV content is also viewed across the traditional TV screen and occupies attention and space in a household. The ads shown over CTV are still streaming via the same big TV screen, even if it’s not over traditional broadcasting avenues. Linear TV advertisers have a great opportunity to reach elusive viewers by employing an incremental CTV plan or increase frequency to those consumers who were already reached by a linear TV ad.

For those marketers who have never had the luxury of big TV budgets and planning, the barriers to entry for advertising on TV have been lowered with CTV due to:

Increased Accessibility

There’s more new TV content than ever before. As the number of TV channels has increased, networks have turned their focus to original programming. According to eMarketer, the amount of original scripted TV content has nearly doubled in seven years.

Media buyers have more choices for TV spend. While the increase in TV delivery options makes for a fractured environment, the reality is that there are now more opportunities for brands to reach their target audiences, in more efficient ways.

Advertising on CTV enables marketers to combine premium, high-impact video inventory with specific audience targeting—1st-party targeting, 3rd-party targeting, lookalike modelling, retargeting, and even cross-device targeting.

Ads can also be served based on specific parameters, like only on certain device types, specific device make and model, frequency capping, geography, and time and day. It couldn’t be easier to get in front of the right viewer by running a pure CTV campaign and measuring success via website engagement, or even sales from the impressions served on CTV—simply by adding a conversion pixel in the campaign.

CTV can be executed as a complement to other tactics or as a standalone offering. With the audience targeting and attribution capabilities that until recently were only possible with digital, CTV delivers a big campaign impact by merging the precision of digital to the effectiveness of TV.

Lower Financial Commitment or Better Budget Allocations

In the world of programmatic buying, CPMs tend to be higher for CTV inventory because the inventory is premium and more limited, but the audience is much more captive. In comparison to advertising on a regional or national scale with linear TV, the financial commitment is lower.

In terms of media waste, CTV provides huge opportunities to really hone in on a target audience. Ideally, brands can use 1st-party data to target their audiences and tailor their campaigns accordingly. Then, they can use geography and other details to really reach and resonate with those viewers. The ability to target on CTV provides better audience efficiency and reduces the noise of reaching irrelevant viewers and households.

Understand the Impact with Data

Unlike traditional TV buying, where marketers would have to wait weeks or months for performance reports, CTV advertising provides the ability to assess progress against goals and metrics, while a campaign is live—and adjust the buy before the campaign ends. Marketers can also:

  • Overlap a CTV buy with any digital segment to understand the impact of TV on digital conversions, such as website visits or purchases.
  • Upload and incrementally reach new audiences on different screens, including TV, desktop or mobile.

Getting more from your advertising ultimately means understanding how TV fits in with the other screens your customers use. And with data as your guide, you can be sure you’re delivering the most impactful advertising to the most valuable audience, no matter which channel your customer chooses.

For more information on connected TV and StackAdapt, contact your StackAdapt representative or request a demo.

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