Unlocking the Superpowers of CTV Advertising


By Sergey Lobko-Lobanovsky, Chief Technology Officer, ElementalTV

Streaming TV has not only become the most popular form of TV entertainment for audiences, but it has also edged out the linear broadcast for the first time this year, ultimately changing the advertising landscape as a whole. Streaming is attracting more ad dollars, as brands invest more into streaming TV ads than traditional linear. This year alone digital media advertising will continue to grow exponentially accounting for over 50% of ad spend. But are advertisers really taking full advantage of the CTV market? And where do the opportunities lie to provide an enhanced, high-performing ad experience?

With over 27% of U.S. households reporting to the Trade Desk that they plan to cancel their pay-TV package by end of the year, advertisers may be wondering if the widespread popularity of CTV is just a pandemic-induced fad. Make no mistake — CTV advertising is here to stay. The future of CTV advertising is bright, and according to a 2021 Pew Research Center survey, the rate of cable cutters is projected to increase by 27% this year.

Not only does it remain as one of digital advertising’s fastest-growing channels, but a 2021 Nielsen study also concluded that CTV usage continues to remain above pre-COVID levels. The high adoption rate makes sense due to the “lean in” nature of viewership that exists within the CTV realm. Ad viewers are consistently more engaged with advertisements on OTT and streaming platforms. Why? Because they are tuning into the content they care about and are therefore more willing to watch an ad. And not just watch the ad, but actively engage with it, likely leading to more conversions.


When approaching linear TV, the main goal is to capture as many eyeballs as possible, many of which may not belong to the target audience. When designing an ad strategy for CTV, there are clear opportunities to create more personalized ad experiences through the perspective of micromarketing. We see this when a major retailer correctly utilizes targeting capabilities to raise awareness of a local promotion within a certain group in a targeted DMA. For example, a nationally recognized dealership brand can spotlight a local car dealership and can advertise to people living within a 5-mile radius. The precision used to target the audience has a more controlled range than linear TV ever knew in the past.

Let’s dive into that notion a bit further. By taking the myopic approach of flooding the airwaves of a particular DMA with desired messaging, as is typical with linear TV ad strategy, advertisers often overlook the ways in which video content metadata can drive engagement. In harnessing the full scope of metadata, advertisers can use granular targeting to laser in on consumers by using a number of criteria such as neighborhood, web browsing habits, demographics, devices and more. These targeting tools allow for the maximization of ad spend dollars through increased measurement of relevance in real-time, which mirrors the capabilities of social media marketing.

Successful marketers know that repetition is key to the success of an ad strategy. Traditionally, brands utilize their ad dollars by purchasing multiple spots on linear TV and, at times, ads may be placed in filler spots that aren’t always ideal for ad buyers. CTV puts the media buyer in control by providing a myriad of targeting options that can be used to adjust a media strategy as needed. CTV ad viewers can be contextually targeted based on preferred programming or targeted based on visits to a brand’s website, as well as demographically. These ad viewers can also be reached on smart devices that are not accessible to linear TV.

The options with CTV advertisements seem limitless, which can understandably feel daunting at times. However, now is the time to embrace that uncertainty to drive toward greater innovation. To work with brands and agencies to tell great stories — to create and share ads that resonate down to the hyperlocal level. In the next generation of CTV advertising, the opportunity to build authentic brand affinity, brand engagement and awareness are boundless. Now is the time to embrace the future of CTV advertising.