Personal Development

Connected TV Advertising: How CTV Ads Work

(Last Updated On: April 11, 2023)

Streaming TV has seen a significant rise in popularity in recent years, a feat driven by a combination of technological advancements, changing consumer preferences, and the emergence of new streaming services.

One of the key drivers of the rise in streaming TV is the growth of high-speed internet access. This trend has made it possible for users to stream high-quality video content in real-time.

Brands are now tapping into the trend by placing ads on internet-connected TVs, a form of ad known as Connected TV Advertising.

In this guide, we will expound more on what connected TV ads are, how they work, and the benefits of using these types of ads for your campaigns.

What is Connected TV (CTV) Advertising?

Connected TV (CTV) advertising refers to a form of ads delivered via internet-connected TV sets through streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and more.

This type of advertising has a relatively short history, but it has seen significant growth in the past few years. In fact, the first CTV ad was aired in 2008 when Hulu launched its streaming service and began delivering ads to internet-connected TVs. At the time, CTV advertising was more or less a niche market. Only a few companies were involved in this space.

The growth of CTV advertising started to accelerate around 2015 when major players such as Amazon, Roku, and Apple began to enter the market. The growth had a lot to do with the introduction of programmatic advertising technology, which allows advertisers to target audiences based on data and algorithms just in other paid digital media ads

Popular CTV ad types

This advertising offers several types of ads that advertisers can use to reach their target audiences. There are Pre-roll ads, which play before the content starts on a streaming service, and can be either skippable or non-skippable.

Mid-roll ads are another option-they play in the middle of the content, such as during a TV show or movie, and are typically non-skippable.

Another popular CTV ad type is display ads, which appear on the screen while viewers are browsing the streaming service’s interface. These ads can be targeted based on the viewer’s interests and behavior.

There are several ad options for advertisers to reach their target audiences on the big screen, using the precision of digital advertising to deliver their messages to the right people at the right time

What is the difference between Connected TV and OTT?

You are perhaps wondering how CTV compares to the OTT type or rather, what is the difference. Well, a CTV refers to a television set that is connected to the internet, allowing viewers to stream content from online sources such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, or Hulu. CTVs can be connected to the internet via a variety of methods, such as Wi-Fi, Ethernet cable, or streaming device such as Roku or Apple TV.

OTT, on the other hand, refers to the content that is delivered over the Internet, bypassing traditional cable or satellite TV providers. This content can be accessed on a variety of devices, including CTVs, smartphones, tablets, and computers.

OTT services will also include streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and YouTube. In other words, CTV is a device, while OTT is a way of delivering content. CTVs are one of the devices that can access OTT content, but they are not the only ones. OTT can also be accessed on other devices such as smartphones, tablets, and computers.

What’s the difference between CTV Advertising vs. Addressable TV?

Addressable TV refers to TV advertising that is delivered to specific households or individuals based on data and targeting capabilities. Addressable TV allows advertisers to target specific households with relevant ads, rather than broadcasting ads to a broad audience.

While both CTV advertising and addressable TV offer more targeted advertising options than traditional linear TV advertising, they differ in their delivery methods and targeting. CTV advertising is delivered over the Internet and can be targeted based on digital data, while addressable TV is delivered through traditional TV channels and can be targeted based on set-top box data.

Both CTV advertising and addressable TV offer advantages for advertisers who are looking to reach specific audiences with relevant messages. CTV ads are more flexible in terms of targeting capabilities, while addressable TV offers a more traditional TV viewing experience with targeted advertising capability

What’s the difference between CTV Advertising vs. Linear TV?

Linear TV advertising refers to ads that are broadcast on traditional TV channels at a specific time slot. These ads are typically delivered to a broad audience and cannot be targeted based on individual viewer data or behavior.

Linear TV advertising is often bought and sold through media buying agencies and sold as part of a broader media package

CTV advertising, on the other hand, is delivered over the internet to viewers who are watching streaming content on internet-connected TVs.

Again, CTV advertising is typically delivered through programmatic advertising platforms, which allow advertisers to target specific audiences based on demographics, interests, and behavior.

CTV advertising offers relatively more flexibility and precision in terms of targeting capabilities than linear TV advertising

Compared to linear TV ads, CTV advertising tends to offer users the ability to reach specific audiences with relevant messages. Linear TV advertising delivers a broader reach with limited targeting capabilities.

Why use Connected TV advertising

Connected TV (CTV) advertising provides advertisers with several benefits; no wonder it is an increasingly popular choice for reaching their target audience.

Here are some of the benefits of adding CTV to your ad campaigns:

Targeting capabilities:

They allow for granular targeting based on demographics, interests, and behavior. This enables advertisers to reach specific audiences with relevant messages and increases the chances of engagement and conversion.

Brand safety:

CTV advertising typically takes place in a controlled, premium environment, reducing the risk of ads appearing next to inappropriate content. This is especially important as concerns over brand safety continue to grow.

Measurable results:

These ads allow for detailed measurement and reporting of ad performance, including metrics such as impressions, completion rates, and viewability. This provides advertisers with invaluable insights into the effectiveness of their campaigns and helps optimize future efforts.


They also offer flexibility in terms of ad formats, lengths, and creative options. Advertisers can choose from a variety of ad formats, including pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll, as well as interactive ad experiences such as overlays and shoppable ads.

Wider Reach:

They enable advertisers to reach a growing audience of cord-cutters and cord-nevers who are shifting away from traditional linear TV. This audience is typically younger, more diverse, and harder to reach through traditional TV advertising.

How to Set up CTV Ads

Pick the right platform

To get started with CTV ads, you will first need to pick the right platform. Some of the popular CTV platforms in the market include Roku, Hulu, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung Ads, and Tubi.

One of the key CTV advertising best practices is to ensure that the platform you pick aligns with campaign goals and target audience.

These include things like a platform’s targeting capabilities, available ad formats, measurement, and reporting capabilities, brand safety measures, reach, cost, and integration with other advertising channels.

Ensure that you select the right CTV ad platform to help you reach desired audiences with relevant messages.

Set up and run your CTV Ad

You are now ready to set up and serve your ads through the platform of your choice. You can do this on your own or work with an agency to make things easier.

Follow the platform’s specific instructions for uploading ads to ensure that they are displayed correctly. They should also meet the platform’s technical requirements.

Generally speaking, here are the steps to upload and run your CTV ad:

• Create the ad

Create the ad using video or image assets based on the platform’s ad specifications. This may include selecting the ad format, aspect ratio, length, and resolution.

• Export the ad

Export the ad in the correct file format and size for the platform.

• Log in to the platform

Log in to the CTV ad platform using your account credentials.

• Create a campaign

Create a new campaign or select an existing campaign to add the ad to.

• Add the ad

Upload the ad to the campaign by selecting the option to add a new creative. This may involve selecting the file to upload and specifying the ad’s title and description.

• Configure the ad

Configure the ad’s placement, target audience, budget, and bidding strategy based on the platform’s options and your campaign goals.

• Submit the ad:

Once the ad is configured, submit it to the platform for review. The platform may take several hours or days to review the ad and approve it for display.

• Monitor the ad

Monitor the ad’s performance once it goes live, adjusting targeting or creative as needed to optimize results.

Tip: Use the right metrics and measurements to monitor the performance of your ads. These include metrics like reach and frequency, completion rate, viewability, engagement rate, and cost per acquisition (CPA).

Wrapping up

CTV ads are just getting started but they are already delivering value to businesses that have joined the bandwagon!

As per the current trends in the niche, the future of Connected TV (CTV) advertising is projected to grow faster in the coming years.

Streaming services are still gaining popularity and more viewers are transitioning away from traditional linear TV.

CTV platforms will continue to develop advanced targeting capabilities and integrate with other digital advertising channels.

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