Connected TV, or CTV, is a platform that combines the old with the new. Instead of rushing home from work to catch a television episode, viewers can use CTV to watch entire episodes and movies from start to finish, whenever they please. This is an easy routine to ease into as the CTV experience, delivered directly through the television screen, mimics the age-old experience of watching linear TV. Users are focused, entertained, free to eat popcorn and lounge around, but what’s different is an entirely new level of customization and convenience. The allure of CTV has been slow to attract media planners due to standardization concerns and traction uncertainty. However, planners and advertisers can’t ignore the 204 million people – or 60% of the total population – that will watch CTV at least once a month by 2022 in the US. These numbers only stress the importance of making room for high-impact CTV efforts in your company’s media plans over the course of 2019.
What is CTV and How is it Provided?
Unlike linear TV, or TV that is transmitted to homes and viewed as scheduled, connected TV uses a streaming internet connection to deliver personalized, easily controlled video content. Like digital content, CTV advertising is sold on an audience basis and comes hand-in-hand with ample targeting opportunities. CTVs can be Smart TVs, (in which streaming apps are embedded) or over-the-top (OTT) connected TV devices like Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire Stick, or Google Chromecast. Gaming consoles such as XBox or PlayStation can also provide similar streamable content to audiences. The total connected TV audience is around 182 million people and the number continues to grow as more ‘cord-cutters,’ (or those cutting linear TV off for good,) begin to enter the playing field. Last year, CTV surpassed mobile as the screen on which the most digital video impressions were served. And this year, more and more viewers are looking into these providers for alternative viewing options.
The Leading Concerns
Though CTV continues to grow in popularity, the platform is still undergoing a number of improvements and transformations. There is a lack of standardization, for instance, in the data that providers obtain and share regarding advertisements. Ad inventory is spread out across a wide range of players and a uniform measurement system has yet to be established to compare results. CTV is also viewed negatively in terms of frequency – sometimes viewers may seem the same ad over and over again while streaming their favorite television series. Thankfully, programmatic is putting this trend to rest with frequency capping controls that are available at the household level. Gaps still remain, but results are reassuring and solutions are arising. Acknowledging these concerns, (which are minute compared to CTV’s benefits,) will strengthen advertisers who plan to enter the space before industry-wide guidelines are solidified.
The Benefits of Investing in CTV
The video experience and precision of CTV provides advertisers with unique opportunities. Targeting is a major draw to connected TV, (i.e first-party targeting, re-targeting, lookalike models, etc.) as is its non-skippable advertisements. Because of the latter, the completion rate of CTV ads typically averages 95% or higher. And because of the former, advertisers can define specific household parameters, (i.e geography, time, and frequency,) to reach the best group of people at the best moment. CTV ads are also bought based on impressions, which only assists in reaching the most specific households possible. All of this combined and you’re ready to meet the right person, in the right place, at the right time. To overlook this growing mode of communication would be a missed opportunity.
It is important to remember that connected TV is not a replacement for linear TV. Instead, CTV is a complement that many consumers explore when linear TV isn’t serving up the best content. By exploring both, a marketer has the opportunity to reach TV watchers, cord-cutters, and those who venture between the two consistently. And as CTV continues to grow in popularity, more doors are opening to bring your company’s reach to a whole new level.