Why You Can’t Ignore CTV Anymore

April 18, 2023
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    Smaller marketing budgets have made CTV seem out of reach for some brands– but with CTV viewership increasing and the barrier for entry to OTT advertising decreasing, that no longer has to be the case.

    With Disney+ and Netflix adding ad-support tiers to their subscription packages and FAST (Free Ad-Support Streaming TV) content growing, the opportunities for CTV and OTT advertising continue to rise.

    Nearly 80 percent of US households watch ad-supported streaming services. And as Americans continue to cut the cord on linear TV, advertisers across the board are devoting more and more of their budget to CTV targeting. CTV ad budgets are expected to edge out linear TV in 2024, and CTV ad spend is expected to reach 26 billion dollars this year. Even B2B organizations are getting in on CTV ads, making CTV and B2B advertising a whole category of its own. So what’s to stop smaller businesses from hopping on the bandwagon?

    The answer? …. Not much. 

    It used to seem that there was a high barrier for entry into the CTV space–now that’s changing. CTV targeting is just as accessible to smaller brands as other avenues of advertising–and more accessible (and promising a greater return) than linear TV advertising.

    It’s the perfect time for smaller brands to try out CTV and OTT targeting, especially this early in the CTV game–as CTV continues to grow and usher out older forms of advertising.

    The one we expect to see phased out first? Linear TV.

    Linear vs. CTV for small brands

    With all local businesses competing for the same local spots on linear TV, demand for an ad spot is high. And you’re not even sure you’re reaching the right audience, since local ads are more based on an indeterminate geography and the broad categories of people that might be watching a certain program.

    Traditional linear TV ads usually require a larger budget because of competition, placing commitment, and incentives to place multiple ads spots. And with concerns about whether you’ve targeting the right audience up in the air since reporting comes months after the initial ad placement, it makes sense for smaller brands to switch budgets over to, or craft a budget for, CTV targeting as an avenue for advertising.

    So instead of choosing between a prime-time TV ad that would maybe reach your desired audience (a spray-and-pray approach), you can reach the exact audience you want programmatically, which is a whole lot cheaper and a way more efficient use of budget.

    CTV ads can be bought on a cost-per-impression basis, which makes CTV targeting an affordable option for small businesses. And the more specific your audience gets, the less you have to spend on CPI.

    CTV targeting–better than ever

    As CTV continues to grow, like all advertising, it’s going to become more and more personalized, localized, and real-time results-driven. And if you’re a small business with a limited ad budget, every impression counts. 

    OTT targeting lets you be as specific as you need to be, down to the zipcode, behavioral attributes, age, gender, location, interests, education level, income level, personal interests, and consumer behaviors. 

    Using IP addresses, device IDs, and other first-party data to target households and individual users, CTV targeting provides excellent attribution, too.

    Because of CTV’s excellent attribution, you can track your audience through detailed analytics in real time, adjusting your targeting. Which brings us to CTV’s next advantage for small businesses.

    CTV reporting is real time (and real cool)

    Linear TV reporting is usually delivered after a campaign is over, so there is no way to make adjustments during the flight. And it can take months to get any insight at all. 

    OTT targeting offers near-live reporting (depending on the platform), and further measures the performance of the creative–-tracking ROI and conversions. These metrics are important for businesses looking to make the most of their budget.

    And with view-through attribution, brands can know if someone saw an ad, later grabbed their laptops and researched it, and finally bought the product. They can know each ad along the way that drove the consumer’s decision–perfect if you’re launching an omnichannel campaign. 

    And because reporting occurs in real time, marketers can adjust their budget away from what isn’t working toward what is–whether it’s creative testing, the specifics of their audience, the publisher they’re using, or even the time of day they run their ads–all during the life of the campaign.

    More creativity with creative

    By far the biggest worry for small-budget CTV is the creative. But CTV wins here, too. While it might take more effort than a banner ad, or an ad on social media, there is leeway in choosing what kind of CTV ad you’ll launch. Not enough budget for a long ad? Grab a 6 second spot instead of a 20 second spot, and you’re set. 

    With smaller ad spots and with streaming CTV audiences being more forgiving, it makes sense to make low-budget or more “creative” creative. Consider, for example, ad spots on YouTube. YouTube content tends to be DIY and homespun–which means ads can have those same qualities. 

    Linear TV audiences may be less forgiving, with shiny content made by large teams of people. But CTV ads are allowed authenticity, can be product-focused (since you’re targeting the right audience), and shorter. You can also reuse ad spots for social media and other parts of your campaign.

    And with more and more creative agencies and freelancers to choose from for putting together an ad, CTV provides the ability to deliver affordable, smaller, more targeted campaigns on the screen.

    Better engagement rates with CTV

    Unlike linear TV, which employs a “lean back,” viewing state, CTV is more “lean in”–that is, viewers are more engaged–whether that means actively choosing what content to watch or intensely binge watching a show. This also means they’re paying more attention to the ads that are being shown before or during their selected programs.

    CTV advertisements have a retention rate that is 3.8 times higher than linear TV–all due to making for a more engaged, “lean in” audience.

    How can Stirista help?

    Well, we’re a coveted partner for small businesses, and we can lead you the whole way to a CTV campaign that will knock your audience’s socks off. We’re proud to announce that we were awarded not one, but TWO badges on G2, the peer-to-peer business service and software review site. Not only are these acknowledgments highly coveted, they’re also our first of what we hope to be many more!

    The first badge was the “Momentum Leader” badge, which is only given to products in the Leader tier in the Momentum grid rank for the top 25% of their category’s products by their users. The other was the “High Performer” badge, given to products in the High Performer quadrant in the grid report that have the highest customer satisfaction scores.

    Brands, it’s your job to “lean in” to CTV and OTT targeting. Stirista can help you determine the right budgeting and campaign strategy to reach your KPIs and guarantee a high ROI. It’s about time, too–as CTV continues to grow, it can no longer be ignored–by big and small businesses alike.