How to Buy Connected TV Advertising

By: Jeff Muir, March 14, 2022

Media planners and buyers are hearing a lot about the opportunities inherent in CTV advertising. And for good reason, it’s clear that viewers’ video consumption habits have recently trended toward CTV vs traditional linear TV. And while the migration rate appears to have softened, the trend is still toward consumers moving to CTV even as some embrace both models of video consumption.

This means that for growth-focused or larger brands that need TV advertising as part of their marketing mix, someone needs to be on top of the CTV opportunity.

What is Connected TV?

Let’s discuss the basics of buying CTV then. CTV, or a Connected TV, is a TV that’s connected to, and gets its signal from, the Internet instead of a cable box or an over-the-air antenna. It might be a ‘smart TV’ and have the ability to process signals internally, or it may be connected to a streaming device like a Roku box that takes the internet-based signal in and outputs it as a traditional TV signal for the TV to present it.

This means that the TV now has a unique ability to present advertising vs other forms of linear TV. An individual TV can now be made to be addressable with advertising, much like a computer connected to the internet. Targeting options that are available through ‘Identity Resolution’ providers such as leveraging first or third-party data can now be used to micro-target advertising. Connections can be inferred across groups of devices, (including the TV itself and mobile or laptop devices that are part of a consumer or household’s group of technology) that enable interesting attribution models to be created or even retargeting across devices to be implemented.

How to Get Started

Like other internet-enabled devices, advertising on CTVs can now be done programmatically through a piece of software.

This opens up the possibility of DiY advertising into the CTV ecosystem, as well as working with various partners such as AudienceXpress so that’s really the first question to answer as you think about ‘how to buy Connected TV’.

Like with any business decision, there are pros and cons to each alternative.

Large Brands or Agencies

If you’re a very large brand with an in-house agency capability or a very large agency, you’re probably already gaining expertise in running CTV campaigns. There may be nuances that you’re missing as you climb the learning curve, but often the goal is to be self-sufficient in these areas. For large agencies, there’s also a financial (tax) incentive to place media programmatically, so while agencies are always striving to make the best decisions for their clients, this factor is hard to ignore. Large agency holding companies have entire units dedicated to these types of things, so naturally they’ll skew toward developing in-house capabilities as well.

Mid-Size Agencies and Growing Brands

For mid-sized agencies or brands still in their growth phase, there may not be the dedicated resources available to climb a complex learning curve. The immediacy of needing to run campaigns now may nullify taking this on internally anyways and the risk of bad campaign outcomes can make climbing the learning curve seem dangerous, at least near-term.

That means that for some organizations, adopting Connected TV advertising with a partner can make sense, even if only at first.

A partner can bring a lot of value to the table. For example, FreeWheel media brings the following skills and capabilities:

  • Experienced Connected TV strategists
  • Connected TV case studies that verify our approaches
  • Unique creative solutions
  • Attribution partners that can connect media investments to campaign goals as well as third party validation of reporting
  • The ability to run Connected TV, Linear TV, and Unwired TV campaigns, creating synergy, reach, and value
  • Access to Connected TV inventory, which means that you avoid the costs associated with the ‘waterfall’ of tech it can require a typical media agency to assemble to get access to Connected TV inventory

If you’re just getting started with Connected TV advertising, reach out. You’ll find us willing to engage in early-stage conversations and help you to work through your strategy, KPIs and consult with you to develop a short and long-term roadmap for your organization.