What Is CTV and Linear TV Advertising?

Media Measurement

If you are considering advertising on television, you need to understand the difference between linear TV and connected TV advertising. Each advertising type has vital differences and unique benefits that you should consider to choose the method that best aligns with your campaign goals.

Linear TV is the traditional method of airing TV programs at a specific time, date and channel. Shows will only air on designated channels, depending on ownership and studio rights and their content type. People will use cable or satellite to access linear TV. Users can pair linear TV with a digital video recorder (DVR) to record shows, allowing them to watch them later. Linear TV has limited time and space for air time and advertising, making it very competitive.

On the other hand, connected TV (CTV) is a device that supports streaming services and connects to TVs for viewership. These devices can be specifically for viewing streamed content, like Apple TVs, Amazon Fire TVs or smart TVs. They can also be devices with other purposes that support streaming, such as Xbox and PlayStation.

CTV devices connect TVs to over-the-top (OTT) apps — paid services where users can stream content anytime and as frequently as they want. Common OTT services include Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. While you can connect to OTT apps through CTV, OTT users can access content across several devices, like phones, laptops and tablets. CTV content can also appear on linear TV and OTT.

Some services, like Hulu, air shows weekly, giving streamers the feeling of watching them live. However, once aired, users can access that video content as frequently as they like. Because of CTV and OTT’s accessibility, more people are switching to these methods, opening a new field for TV advertising.

Comparing the Benefits of Advertising on CTV vs. Linear TV

Linear TV Advertising

When choosing between CTV and linear TV advertising, knowing the benefits can help you decide which option suits your specific goals. Even though CTV and OTT are growing in popularity, linear TV advertising still offers powerful benefits for brands, including:

  • Targeting live events: While CTV and OTT allow you to stream shows at any time, many people like linear TV’s ability to broadcast events as they happen, from global sporting events to powerful, current news updates. The Super Bowl is a huge live marketing opportunity, with millions of people tuned in to watch the game. Further, 42% of viewers say they watch the Super Bowl only for the advertisements, and 50% will end up buying from a brand featured, representing how impactful live advertisements can be for brands.
  • Reaching older audiences: Some older audiences have difficulty using CTV devices or accessing OTT services because new and changing technology is challenging to learn. However, if you want to reach these groups, 60% of viewers ages 55 and older use linear TV as their preferred content platform.
  • Selecting specific audiences: When advertising on linear TV, you have a lot of freedom to target specific audiences or marketing segments by carefully choosing channels and air times. Specific demographics will watch certain channels, helping you target these groups to market your product. Further, many audiences will tune into channels for particular shows or have viewing patterns, allowing you to time advertisements based on when your audience will most likely see them.

CTV Advertising

Linear TV can be an incredibly powerful tool for brands, allowing you to meet your marketing campaign goals. However, advertising on CTV and OTT services can provide unique benefits as well, including:

  • Creating targeted content: CTV devices and OTT apps allow marketers to understand more about users based on provided information like their age or other demographic data. Further, each OTT and CTV service attracts a specific audience because of the content they provide and user preferences. With a more specific audience, you can create increasingly targeted advertisements that are more tailored to your audience. Like linear TV, you can also narrow your CTV audience further by advertising during particular shows.
  • Reaching younger audiences: While older audiences prefer linear TV, younger audiences love the accessibility and speed streaming offers. In 2021, 54% of CTV users were between the ages of 18 and 34, and another 43% were between 35 and 54. Additionally, 70% of people between 18 and 34 actively subscribed to a streaming service in 2020, with 72% of 35 to 54 year-olds subscribing, creating a much younger user base than linear TV.
  • Tracking advertisement success: CTV and OTT users need to connect to the internet to access and stream content, allowing you to receive current information about advertisement viewership as it happens. You can discover who views your ads and for how long. With this information, you can track campaign success to make changes as needed or build stronger advertisements in the future. You can also understand more about your audience and how they interact with ads, creating more targeted content.

While both linear TV and CTV offer several benefits to advertisers, each has areas where they excel over the other. Knowing the benefits can help you decide which advertising type fits your marketing goals and audience.

How to Measure the Effectiveness of Linear TV and CTV Advertising

While choosing the right advertising platform is essential, it’s also valuable to measure your ad’s effectiveness. You can collect several types of data from TV advertisements, such as:

  • Reach: Reach will tell you the number of unique viewers who saw your advertisement. This information can help you determine how well your campaign efforts met your budget and how much revenue you made, which you can use on future campaigns. It can also break down if you are using the right platforms to reach the right people.
  • Completion rate: This component will tell you how many people finished your advertisement. It can help you understand how engaged your audience was and how long they watched for if they didn’t complete, so you can create stronger content that better meets their needs in the future.
  • Viewability: Viewability scores tell you the condition of your viewer’s watching platform. TVs provide optimal viewability because they have larger screens, while smartphones are lower because they are smaller. Understanding viewability can help you understand how you need to portray content visually.
  • Attribution: Attribution tracking allows you to understand how advertisement viewership connects with customer actions. Depending on your marketing goals, viewers might do various things, like visit your website to learn more about your company and services or purchase a product. This information can help marketing teams understand and measure advertising success and ROI.
  • Brand liftMeasuring brand lift allows you to track brand KPIs like awareness, ad recall, and purchase intent. You can also get a better understanding of how your ads are performing by demographic, network, creative, and more.

These measurement solutions allow marketing teams to calculate advertising effectiveness in many ways. Measuring ad effectiveness can help you assess important campaign strategies such as media spend, placement, channel, and even brand positioning.

Calculate Your TV Campaign Success With Cint

When planning a TV marketing campaign, knowing your options can help you determine where you can find your target audience and which method will help you reach your desired result. Choosing between linear TV and CTV can help many marketers narrow their efforts for more specified content. While planning and executing your TV marketing campaign are essential steps in the marketing process, you will also need tools and steps to measure its success to optimize marketing efforts and improve future campaigns. Cint can help provide you with real-time brand metrics to help you measure your TV marketing campaign’s success as it airs. Contact Cint today to request a demo and discover how we can help you reach your advertising goals.

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