Strategies for getting the most out of CTV advertising, from Warner Bros. Discovery, Tubi, and more

Time spent with connected TV (CTV) by US adults will be within one hour of linear next year, at 2 hours and 3 minutes (2:03) and 2:48 per day respectively, according to our forecasts. CTV usage is outpacing ad spend on most platforms, but spend is growing rapidly as Netflix, Disney+, Max, and Amazon Prime Video push more viewers toward ad-supported tiers. As the CTV ad floodgates open, advertisers need to make sure they’re maximizing ad value by thinking of CTV differently. Here are four things experts suggested keeping in mind at last week’s Advertising Week New York.

1. Mitigating spend waste

One of the biggest advantages of CTV and programmatic advertising in general is in their ability to mitigate waste, said Simran Kaur, associate director of programmatic at agency EssenceMediacom.

This waste mitigation doesn’t only come from enhanced demographic targeting; CTV retail media partnerships allow advertisers to target based on purchase history.

Put it to work: A brand selling diapers will reach a lot of uninterested viewers if it targets all adults 18 to 45. But if the brand focuses on people who have bought diapers in the past year, it can hone in on potential customers.

2. Creative

Ads should be interactive and offer users something to follow up on, said Allison Goreham, senior media director at Warner Bros. Discovery.

Put it to work: Buy now buttons, QR codes for discovering more information, and ads with a trivia component are all ways to encourage purchase or offer brands insight into which users could be most valuable for retargeting.

3. Transparency

CTV ad buying is fragmented, with ads available for purchase directly from streamers and TV networks, via programmatic platforms, and from CTV device-makers.

“In the bid stream, advertisers are always pushing for more and more transparency. They want to get close to the show level,” said Ally Appelbaum, senior director of publisher development, self-serve at video ad platform Nexxen. But show-level transparency is likely not going to happen in the CTV world, especially as advertisers are still willing to buy inventory without it.

Put it to work: Without show-level transparency, advertisers need to make sure they’re buying what they think they’re buying. Purchasing directly from an end seller like a streaming platform or from a reseller that has been vetted can offer that control.

4. Scarcity

CTV inventory is less scarce than linear. But while placements may be plentiful, viewer time is still limited, said Melanie Brown, vice president of advanced TV at Tubi. And while people can stream whenever they want, watch time will not explode just because content availability does.

Put it to work: Attention metrics can help quantify not just if an ad is seen, but also whether the message is noticed and absorbed. For CTV, this means looking at metrics like how long users spend watching skippable ads and collecting cognitive and emotional data to recognize the true impact of ads.

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