Connected TV Marketing: Key Strategies Across Industries

Illustration of a blue car and a QR code to represent a connected TV marketing strategy

Television advertising is undergoing a monumental shift.

In 2019, less than one-tenth of combined US linear and connected TV (CTV) ad spend was dedicated to CTV. Now, it accounts for one-third, and EMARKETER predicts CTV’s share of ad spend in the US will be nearly equal to linear TV advertising by 2028.

Despite its meteoric rise, some advertisers and agencies have yet to incorporate CTV into their multi-channel advertising strategy.

Whether you’re new to CTV or looking to level up your skills, here’s what you need to know about developing a connected TV marketing strategy that meets your goals. 

Why Invest in Connected TV Marketing

As millions of people cut ties with their cable providers, more households are turning to connected TV for streaming content. 

Roughly 88% of US households own at least one internet-connected TV device, such as an Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV Stick, or gaming console. 

Although many of them stream content through paid subscriptions to services like Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, and Peacock, free ad-supported (FAST) and ad-supported video on demand (AVOD) options are on the rise.

According to the New York Times, in the first three months of 2024, 56% of new subscribers to a streaming service chose a lower-priced ad tier. As a result, US ad-supported streaming subscriptions are predicted to grow by 82.8% in 2024, helping make CTV the fastest-growing major ad channel in the US.

As viewers continue shifting from traditional linear TV to streaming platforms, CTV advertising allows advertisers to reach engaged audiences at a lower cost than traditional linear TV advertising while future-proofing their marketing strategies.

The Elements of a CTV Marketing Strategy

Before you start selecting publishers, building creatives, and placing bids, it’s important to understand the five elements of a successful CTV marketing strategy.

1. Audience Segmentation and Targeting

With traditional linear TV advertising, a network allocates certain ad breaks during scheduled programming. An advertiser then works with an agency or network to purchase ad slots during specific shows or times based on the target audiences, ratings, and overall costs.

Linear TV ads are a great option if you want to reach older demographics and don’t mind who in a household sees your ads. 

However, with its IP and device-based targeting capabilities, CTV advertising allows marketers to go super granular and leverage 1st-party and 3rd-party data to target specific users and audiences at scale. 

Unlike traditional linear TV advertising, you don’t have to guess if you’re targeting the right audience. Advertisers selectively can purchase impressions based on specific preferences, viewing habits, demographics, interests, and behaviours. This helps reduce ad spend, increase engagement, and improve overall campaign performance.

That said, it’s important to remember that, unlike display advertising, CTV doesn’t have unlimited scale. There are only so many ad spots available during a commercial break, and the more targeting you add, the smaller the pool of users you can reach realistically in a designated market area (DMA). 

If building brand awareness is a top priority, don’t be restrictive with your publisher list. Instead, spread your budget across multiple publishers to maximize your reach while still targeting the right users.

2. Content and Creative

Unlike video advertising, CTV advertising provides a more immersive and cinematic experience. 

While traditional linear TV and programmatic video advertising have their benefits, CTV ads can be watched on larger screens, broadcast in 4K, and shown in more relaxed settings, making them more engaging than traditional advertising channels.

Think about it: when someone visits a website, they probably aren’t paying attention to every display ad they scroll across. With CTV ads, the viewer watches them while waiting for their content to play. That puts them in a more engaged and receptive frame of mind.

To maximize CTV’s potential, advertisers should invest in creating high-definition, attention-grabbing advertisements that stand out from the crowd.

That said, creating a CTV ad doesn’t have to be a blockbuster movie production. Many advertisers have found success repurposing existing traditional linear TV or video ad creatives, using 15 and 30-second spots (try to catch a viewer’s attention in the first three seconds), and playing around with different calls to action (CTAs) and creative variations.

Just ensure you follow some basic guidelines. The StackAdapt Creative Studio team says to follow these CTV creative best practices when creating and exporting CTV ads:

ResolutionHD resolution is strongly recommended (1280 x 720 for 720p, 1920 x 1080 for 1080p)
Ad Length15 to 30 seconds is the most common
Aspect Ratio16:9
File FormatMP4 is preferred
File SizeUnder 1 GB

3. CTV Ad Types and Formats

Traditional linear TV advertising mainly consists of 15, 30, or 60-second video ads played before, during or after scheduled programming.

Similar to traditional TV ads, CTV has pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll video ads that can be played in-stream before, during or after streaming content. But CTV advertising offers even more ad formats and types to engage viewers: 

  • Interactive ads allow viewers to play mini-games, answer surveys, click on ads to get information sent to another device, or scan QR codes to learn more about a product or service. 
  • Overlay and companion ads can be inserted on top of or displayed alongside streaming content, so they don’t interrupt the flow of content. 
  • Shoppable and sequential ads can be used to sell products directly through a viewer’s TV or tell a story over multiple commercial breaks.

Really, the sky’s the limit in terms of creativity and functionality, and the range of ad types and formats only grows more impressive with each passing year.

Check out IAB’s digital video and CTV ad format guidelines for general information on ad formats and specs. Or, speak with someone on our team to see what you can do in StackAdapt.

4. Platform Selection

One of the main reasons advertisers and agencies turn to demand-side platforms (DSPs) for CTV advertising is to automate the process of purchasing ad inventory across multiple ad exchanges, networks, and publishers at scale.

When selecting a platform, your DSP should not only provide access to native, display, video, CTV, audio, in-game, and digital out-of-home for multi-channel campaigns, but also offer premium inventory through top-tier publishers like Disney+, Hulu, Peacock, CNN, and HGTV. 

It’s important to note that many premium publishers care about the user experience just as much (if not more) than generating advertising dollars. As a result, with some of the big names in streaming, fewer ad slots may be available to place bids on, limiting your reach.

That doesn’t mean advertisers should ignore top-tier publishers. When you think about brand exposure, high-quality content generates high levels of audience engagement. But with equally engaging FAST platforms like Pluto TV and Tubi, advertisers can access a significant amount of scale due to the sheer volume of content they have available.

CTV advertising platforms should also be easy to use. You should be able to find the publisher you care about and activate an ad in minutes instead of waiting weeks or months for an ad to be delivered like you would with a traditional linear TV ad campaign.

5. Measurement and Analytics

With CTV advertising, buyers have different KPIs, such as cost per completed view (CPCV), video completion rate (VCR), unique device breakdown, and view-through conversions, depending on what they deem effective or the industry they operate in.

That said, reach and frequency are probably the two most important CTV metrics to track as part of your CTV marketing strategy.

  • Reach measures the number of unique viewers who see your advertising campaign over a specific period. A higher reach means more potential customers are seeing your ads. Tracking reach is important because it shows the overall visibility and exposure of your CTV campaigns. This helps advertisers determine if their ads are effectively reaching their target audience.
  • Frequency measures how many times a unique viewer sees your ad. Monitoring frequency is essential to prevent ad fatigue. However, a certain level of frequency is needed to build brand awareness and recall.

Reach and frequency are crucial for optimizing CTV ad campaigns, and finding the right balance is key to building campaigns that resonate with viewers and meet your goals.

CTV Marketing Strategies by Industry

From political campaigns to retail promotions, here’s how CTV advertising can help marketers across different industries achieve their digital advertising goals.

Use CTV to Reach More Voters

In 2024, political ad spending is projected to have a bigger effect on linear TV ad spending than the summer Olympics, with EMARKETER forecasting that US linear TV political ad spending will reach $7.06 billion USD.

For many political advertisers, traditional linear TV is still one of the most efficient ways to engage voters and educate them about potential candidates and specific issues. But when it comes to increasing awareness, CTV is becoming an important part of political advertisers’ digital marketing strategies.

CTV’s political ad growth has outpaced all other formats tracked by EMARKETER, increasing 506.3% between 2020 and 2024. In 2024, political ad spending will represent nearly half of all US digital political ad spending.

With CTV, political advertisers can combine 1st-party data (like voter lists and donation histories) with 3rd-party data and create personalized ads based on important issues, demographics, and viewing habits to hone in on specific households and engage voters. They can also use IP addresses and device IDs to retarget viewers on other platforms, helping to reinforce key messaging across multiple touchpoints.

While CTV provides ​​pinpoint accuracy compared to traditional linear TV, political advertisers should consider using both to reach an even larger audience. An EMARKETER report found that advertisers who leveraged both linear TV and CTV achieved a 32% increase in total reach compared to those who used linear TV alone.

Use CTV to Increase Sales and Foot Traffic

Brand exposure is the name of the game in retail advertising. If a customer has no idea what you sell, what’s in stock, or what’s on sale, they probably aren’t going to visit your store.

One of the major advantages of CTV advertising is that CTV devices are connected to the internet. This means advertisers can leverage 1st-party data from in-store visits, previous purchases, and cookies to target households directly using hard data like their IP addresses and device IDs.

As a result, retailers can get super granular with their targeting, cherry-picking individual IP addresses for customers who are likely to convert and segment audiences based on their geographic location. This allows advertisers to target the perfect buyer.

Not only that, but with its enhanced attribution and measurement capabilities, retailers can leverage device graphs to tie online purchases and in-store foot traffic back to CTV ads to get a holistic view of campaign performance.

Want some inspiration? Here’s a 15-second CTV ad the StackAdapt Creative Studio team put together as an example for a grocery store chain. Note the QR code at the end. It increases engagement by encouraging viewers to scan and find out about special offers and provides advertisers with valuable insights they can use for cross-device marketing and campaign optimization.

Use CTV to Transport Viewers to Inspiring Destinations

Similar to retail, building brand awareness is one of the main goals in travel and tourism marketing. But unlike in retail, the consideration phase is often a lot longer, with Expedia Group reporting that the average traveller takes about 71 days of research and planning before booking a trip.

Because of this, travel and tourism marketers often wait for consumers to express interest before serving them ads. EMARKETER reports that travel advertisers spent $3.92 billion USD of their collective $6.79 billion total on search in 2023 and are projected to have the highest search ad spending penetration of any industry in 2024.

The ability to understand the lifecycle of an individual user and what they’ve browsed over the past several weeks or months can tell an advertiser a lot about where someone’s considering travelling.

Ad frequency matters. Travel and tourism marketers can retarget users who have visited their site or expressed interest in a destination with CTV ads and use the power of high-def streaming to make them fall in love with far-flung locales. 

For example, Marriott recently partnered with Samsung Plus for a series of CTV ads that showcased the design inspiration behind some of their best-known hotels, increasing awareness, brand favourability, and consideration above the usual industry benchmarks.

Want some more design inspiration? Here’s a CTV ad example the StackAdapt Creative Studio team put together for a fictional resort that has the cinematic flair of an action sports movie.

Use CTV to Reach the Right Decision Makers at Scale

Historically, B2B hasn’t done much business with CTV.

Part of that has to do with a common misconception about the cost of CTV ads. Some think they’re prohibitively expensive. In actuality, the cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM) for premium CTV inventory is often only $15 to $30 USD, making CTV a cost-effective way for B2B marketers to reach their target audience without breaking the bank.

With LinkedIn reporting that only 5% of buyers are ready to make a purchase at any given time, consistent engagement is crucial in B2B marketing. The B2B buying process can take an average of one to five months (and sometimes up to a year, if not longer) and approval from five decision makers before a business makes a purchase or signs a contract.

With its precise targeting and broad reach, CTV allows advertisers to reach the right decision maker at the right time. 

B2B marketers can target ads based on demographics, job titles, industries, and individual companies or use an account-based marketing strategy to target specific decision makers—even if it’s one particular person, day after day—with tailored messaging to build awareness before sales calls or push prospective customers down the funnel.

Here’s a B2B CTV ad example the StackAdapt Creative Studio team made for GoCO that really helps its HR software stand out from the crowd.

Overcoming CTV Advertising Challenges

Creating a CTV marketing strategy can present several challenges for advertisers. Here are three of the most common obstacles and how choosing the right DSP can help overcome them:

Ad Fraud

As CTV grows in popularity and ad spend increases in the space, fraudsters are using tactics like IP and device spoofing, geographic misrepresentation, and invalid traffic generation to deceive advertisers and drain ad budgets. DSPs like StackAdapt use 3rd-party ad verification vendors, inventory filtering and inclusion lists, and machine learning to identify fraudulent bid requests and ensure ads only get shown to real audiences.

Limited Reach

Advertisers often limit their reach by focusing on well-known platforms. StackAdapt provides access to hundreds of apps, streaming services, networks, and shows. By expanding their targeting, advertisers can use the platform to maximize exposure and effectively reach their desired audience.

Frequency Capping

According to EMARKETER, 30% of marketers and publishers believe more efficient frequency capping would increase their CTV advertising spend. High ad frequencies can negatively impact a viewer’s perception of a brand, not to mention waste ad spend. Marketers should consider implementing frequency caps to prevent viewers from seeing the same ads repeatedly.

What’s Next for CTV Marketing Strategies

CTV is evolving. Every day, more people are cutting ties with their cable providers and streaming content over the top. With them come opportunities to target consumers in more precise and creative ways. But the biggest transition in the space may be the amount of quality inventory available.

In 2022, Netlifx announced a lower-priced ad-supported plan and has since amassed 40 million monthly users to its ad-supported tier. Now, premium publishers like Disney+, Peacock, Paramount+, and Max all provide advertising capabilities. 

With CTV platforms acquiring rights to live sporting events and FAST platforms bridging the gap between cable and on-demand streaming, it won’t be surprising if existing publishers up the amount of ads during commercial breaks and more platforms provide ad-supported tiers in the coming years.

The future of streaming may start to resemble the programming of the past. But for advertisers, it’ll be even easier and more affordable to reach new audiences and have ads appear alongside premium content.

Ready to make the leap into CTV advertising with StackAdapt? Request a demo today.

Matthew Ritchie
Matthew Ritchie

Content Marketing Manager


Matthew is a former arts and culture reporter turned content marketer who has worked on campaigns for brands like 20th Century Fox, Red Bull, TIFF, and other internationally recognized organizations.