The Ultimate Guide to CTV Ads

ctv ads

eMarketer estimates that 113.1 million viewers watched CTV ads in 2020 alone, and by the end of 2022, that figure should rise to over 130 million.

If you’re wondering what these ads even are, you’ve come to the right place. CTV stands for Connected Television Advertising, and these brilliant little marketing tools might just be what you need to grow your brand. 

Read on and learn more about how CTV ads can help you scale your business.

What Are CTV Ads?

Connected Television Advertising (CTV) is also known as over-the-top advertising (OTT). Businesses can place these advertisements on TVs or any device with access to the internet. You’ve likely seen CTV ads displayed on devices such as;

  • Computers
  • Mobiles
  • Gaming devices such as Xbox
  • HDMI sticks such as Chromecast and Amazon fire stick
  • Streaming boxes such as Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV
  • Smart TVs

What Are the Similarities and Differences Between TV Advertising and CTV Advertising?

TV Ads are the type of advertising that targets linear TV viewers based on city or borough-level data and segmenting programs to add relevant adverts. An example you’ve seen before is TV channels inserting children’s toys advertisements during Cartoon commercial breaks. 

CTV ads are usually more targeted to the individual user or family level, not the city or state as a whole.

Both TV ads and CTV ads can include household targeting capabilities. Yet, CTV ads are better at adapting to individual groups.

Why Use CTV Ads?

Growing Reach

The number of users that will access CTV ads is growing exponentially. Connected television already eclipses regular TV ads in terms of engagement and will soon reach more people than traditional TV ads.


The total number of views determines the cost of CTV Ads. You can comfortably track the number of views on your CTV ads and budget the amount of money you wish to spend on them. You can then opt to generate an exact number of impressions to your selected audience group at a fixed cost.

Analysis of Data

Almost all CTV Ads platforms provide you with free data analysis services. 

Analyzed data metrics come in handy in understanding the performance of your ads. The information from data analysis will influence how you tweak your targeting goals to get optimal results.

CTV Ads Metrics

Impressions Delivered – Once the platform delivers your CTV ad to a user, they count it as an impression. If your ad was not viewed but was still potentially visible to a user, it’s still considered an impression.

Video Completion Rate (VCR) – This metric analyzes the number of viewers who watched your CTV ad to the end and converts it to a percentage. VCR is an essential metric for tracking how engaging your ads are to your target demographic and whether or not you are connecting with your audience.

View-Through Conversion – The metric measures how often viewers see your CTV ad and do not interact initially but later decide to engage with it. Retargeting is an integral part of any successful internet marketing campaign, so this metric can come in handy for those purposes.

Frequency – This measurement determines the average number of times your CTV platform delivered your ad to a household. The platform divides the total number of impressions by the times each user viewed the ad to calculate the frequency.

Premium and Responsive Audiences

You can run your ads during times audiences are highly engaged, for instance, during events such as a sports game, live concert, a season premiere, or finale. Timing your ads right will allow you to reach unique audiences with the potential for a high return on investment.


You need to ensure that your ads are of high quality. The more creative your video, the more likely viewers will contribute to your coveted VCR statistics. 

There are different groups of CTV audiences you need to keep in mind when creating your ads. Here are what the industry refers to them as;

  • Cord Cutters are a group that subscribes to some TV channels and decides to stream online videos.
  • Cord Shavers is the group that streams online videos and does not watch TV channels.
  • Nevers is the audience group that has never streamed an online video or subscribed to a premium channel.

Offer a Variety of CTV Ads Formats

CTV ads allow you to experiment with different ad formats. You can try out and discover which ad design and call-to-actions drive the most engagements and have the highest return.

The different formats you can use include interactive videos, call-to-action, animated ads, and static ads.

Premium Publishers and Inventory

Premium publishers such as Hulu, Fire Tv, Vevo, and Vudu now offer CTV ads services. Major networks such as NBC, Fox, and ESPN have also started running these ads.

CTV ads will provide an opportunity for massive inventory because of this massive range of providers.

How to Get Started With CTV Ads

Launching a CTV ad campaign is similar to traditional advertising strategies. You need to outline your marketing objectives, define your goals, develop a plan and execute it.

Below is a detailed rundown of a process you could follow for CTV ads:

Clearly Define Your Target Audience

The first thing you need to think about is your target audience. You should then break the data for these potential customers into three categories;

Demographic Data – includes your prospective clients’ age, geographic location, and income bracket.

Personal Interests Narrow down to your audiences’ hobbies and recreational activities, personal goals and ambitions, as well as their social and family lives.

Audience Purchasing Behavior Study and understand the purchasing patterns of your audience. What sort of information do they need before they decide to buy your product? 

Find out where they are in the sales funnel so that you can coin appropriate messages.

Decide What CTV Ad Inventory and Creatives to Use

Think about where best you can find and target your prospective customers. You may choose an app or a network accessed by handheld devices or opt for TV-only ads. 

Once you decide on the ad inventory, you should invest in an ad creative who will help you translate your idea into an eye-catching CTV ad.

Note Down Your Metrics and Benchmarks

You should be able to set a performance benchmark as your metrics come in. Note down successful ad campaign strategies that generate high metrics for future campaigns.

CTV Ad Deliveries and Insertions

The following sequence of events helps to deliver your CTV ads to the right audience:

  • Creation of Target Audience – Analyze collected data from a CTV service provider so you can tap into the relevant pool of users.
  • Ads sent to CTV or OTT Platforms – Send your preferred ad to your chosen CTV or OTT platform once you have selected the target audience. 
  • Display the Ads – The adverts are then downloaded and uploaded by the platforms of your choice to run during your preselected period.
  • Reporting and Analysis – CTV platforms monitor the performance of your CTV and carry out an analysis. The generated report helps you to know what to improve on and what you did right.

Key Techniques Used for the Insertion of CTV Ads

Client Side Ad Insertion (CSAI)

In this method, you need to directly load your ad to the over-the-top (OTT) device and then display them to the audience. This method is the older and more used approach but is susceptible to loopholes such as ad blockers.

Smooth Stream Ad Insertion (SSAI)

In this process, you need to mix the ads and core content. The ad is then displayed in the form of transitioning frames on the audience’s device. This technique effectively evades ad-blocking software as the device often doesnt recognize them as advertisements.

The unblocked transition gives SSAI an advantage over traditional CSAI in terms of the overall product engagement but can often be the more expensive option.

You can also include clickable ads and call-to-action buttons. Both of these types of ads can have CTA buttons that stick around after the ad finishes.

Critical Challenges of CTV Ads

Lack of Transparency

There is a lack of universal identifiers between platforms, and it is impossible to clearly define the target audiences subscribed to the different CTV platforms. This lack of clarity makes it hard to build a campaign that covers several CTV networks.

Different Requirements for Multiple Platforms 

There is a lack of standardized ad formats and technologies across platforms that offer CTV ads. This issue means you have to use different metrics across other media, so you often can’t use the exact same ad over multiple platforms, adding to production costs.

Limitation of Ads Format

There are downsides to adding unique ad features such as clickable and non-skippable functions. Once you make your ad non-skippable, you cannot count the clickable element and vice-versa.
If your ad is non-skippable, it will also skew the engagement metrics as the users won’t have any choice whether they finish the ad or not.

No Access to Certain Types of TV Audiences

Platforms usually have some form of content restrictions. Events such as live streaming of local news, primetime shows, and huge sports events are a prerogative of traditional TV networks. 

Such audiences may therefore be out of reach to you unless you employ traditional tv advertising too.

Measurement of CTV Ads Campaign Metrics

Some CTV and OTT platforms fail to indicate the channel that an ad ran on. That is why you will find that critical agencies still prefer measurable traditional forms of TV advertisement over the programmatic approach.

Vulnerability to Fraudulent Activities

The rapid expansion of the CTV Ads business has attracted fraudulent characters who are keen to exploit existing loopholes. It is also hard to confirm the authenticity of network traffic as fraudsters can generate fake traffic and impressions and shortchange you.

Protecting your investment in CTV ads by using a reliable platform like is critical to eradicating the possibility of dodgy metrics. 

Marketing Strategies for CTV Ads

Use Multiple Channels to Retarget Viewers

Adapt the multiple channels approach to capitalize on retention rates and improve engagement rates. Seeing the same brand on various platforms makes them memorable. 

Aim to advertise across several platforms and maximize your CTV ad campaign.

You could also target the same demographic with your social media campaigns to increase efficiency.

You can Identify the vital points (such as call-to-action buttons) that your audience interacts with most, then implement them across all platforms. This strategy will help you create a seamless transition into an even more engaging campaign.

Personalization of Ads

Introduce words or catch-phrases that will help personalize your ads and help audiences easily identify with them. Enrich your messages in a manner that will encourage your audience to engage and drive conversions. 

Establish a Large Dataset

As mentioned earlier, the data returned from CTV ads is incredibly actionable. You should frequently check on what the data for each campaign is telling you. Then compare with subsequent campaigns – rinse and repeat.

An experienced marketing guru can help draw these comparisons and provide excellent advice moving forward. The service provider to a managed CTV campaign can help demystify the statistics soo.

CTV Ads Management Services

Media Shark provides an all-encompassing managed CTV advertising service. Specialized companies such as ours combine their experience in audience targeting across platforms to ensure you meet your marketing goals – we take the guesswork out of the equation.

Even though CTV ads have a few limitations, they offer vast benefits and opportunities that most other mediums can’t compare to. 

You could choose to run a CTV ad campaign independently, but there are complexities and obscurities that experts can help you navigate to provide a much better result. To optimize your CTV ads campaign, get a consultation from professionals

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