Over the past several years, the lines between TV and Digital have become increasingly blurred. What was once a very black and white delineation — television meant linear programming and commercials; digital meant online content and static ads — is now a grey area.

However, at the intersection of TV and Digital, a blended and video-centric advertising format has become a must-have tool in the modern marketer’s toolbox: Connected TV (CTV).

Over the past few years, CTV emerged as a viable and proven tactic. According to eMarketer, CTV usage is forecasted to reach 8 out of every 10 US households in 2020, so its scale is significant. Additionally, CTV ad spend is projected to rise by 26% over the next year, showing that brands have bought into the concept and are putting significant budgets towards CTV within their media mix.

Challenges of the Traditional TV Landscape

We’ve all heard the drumbeat: cord-cutting is accelerating, TV viewers are migrating to streaming platforms, and younger audiences have completely detached from traditional television. Linear TV still functions as an effective mass reach strategy, but there are challenges that advertisers are forced to address along with limitations in the buying model.

First, the mass reach of Linear TV translates to media waste and inefficient spending. The legacy process of buying commercial spots inherently means a portion of the budget is not reaching a brand’s target audience. The granularity of digital targeting has exposed the shortcomings of broad demo-based TV targeting.

Fragmentation is another challenge. TV content is readily available across multiple devices, and viewers now completely control where, when and how they consume television. Is content considered “television” when a viewer is streaming from Amazon Video to their Chromecast?

Finally, digital media has also shed light on the shortcomings of traditional television measurement. Ratings are becoming less relevant with each passing upfront season, and advertisers are rightfully demanding the same actionable insights and measurement they’ve come to rely on with digital campaigns.

CTV as a Viable Solution

The benefits of CTV are easy to see for advertisers. CTV puts high-quality video messaging on the largest and most-engaging screen in the household – the television. CTV ads are nearly always unskippable which means the video completion rates are typically north of 90%.

From a targeting perspective, applying demographic, location and behavioral data allows advertisers to reach specific target audiences across CTV inventory. KORTX partners can leverage more than 600 audience segments based on deterministic attributes derived from more than 167M US AT&T customers. Combine those with contextual content options, and the targeting capabilities of CTV far exceed the limitations of traditional TV.

Fragmentation is combated by partnering with a one-stop shop for CTV inventory to achieve scale, a model KORTX has developed by offering access to multiple inventory platforms and sources across all content categories. Not only does this provide valuable incremental reach beyond linear, it also gives advertisers a direct line to cord cutters and OTT streamers.

CTV measurement mirrors the actionable insights from digital campaigns that advertisers use to make strategic decisions. Impression-level reporting, video completion rates and viewability all contribute to a holistic view of CTV campaign performance while also allowing for mid-flight optimization.

Best Practices & Strategy Tactics

While CTV might not be a strategic fit for every brand, there are many marketing scenarios for which CTV can solve challenges and present opportunities for elevating a holistic digital approach:

Upper-Funnel Execution:

CTV is an effective upper-funnel strategy that can amplify branding and complement lower-funnel digital strategies. It also allows brands with smaller budgets to access engaged TV audiences – national commercial spots might make sense for Wells Fargo, but a midwestern regional bank chain can leverage CTV to promote brand awareness with precise geo-targeting.

The Best of TV + Digital Video:

CTV is surging because it combines the most attractive components of linear (reach/engagement) and digital video (targeting/measurement). Create an addressable CTV strategy with KORTX by choosing from more than 600 audience segments, and measure the effectiveness with completion rates, clicks, impressions, CTR% and conversions.

Unskippable and Engaging Video Ads:

CTV viewers are more accepting of ads given the acknowledged value exchange of brand advertising for free (or reduced price) video content. Interactive CTV ads allow the viewer to take specific actions, and marketers to track deeper engagement metrics and ROI.

Reach Exclusive and Valuable TV Audiences:

The 18-29 demographic spends more time per week consuming content via connected TV than with social media, linear TV or podcasts – showing that CTV can provide critical reach and exposure for this valuable audience segment (source).

Charting a Path Forward

Advertisers partner with KORTX to streamline their CTV strategy through a single source, and tap into inventory scale that allows granular targeting against a specific audience. Whether it’s setting up a broad-reach awareness strategy, or structuring a private marketplace deal, brands should consider CTV as an effective component of their cross-channel media strategy.