CTV offers next-generation ad experiences, so why is most creative stuck in the broadcast era?

CTV offers next-gen ad experiences, so why is most creative stuck in the broadcast era?

Brands that fail to shed their broadcast roots will never unlock the creative potential of CTV.


The potential that Connected TV (CTV) has to deliver highly personalised ad content that boosts conversions for brands is largely being wasted. Too often ads on CTV are simply repurposed from linear campaigns that don’t take advantage of the platform’s interactive capabilities, adding little value to audiences or advertisers.

CTV has captured the eyeballs of the population in a big way. Strategy Analytics found that the number of UK households using CTV devices had reached 19.2 million by the end of 2020 — 68% of all households — compared to 17.3 million in 2019.

Advertisers, too, are throwing their weight behind CTV. According to figures from Spark Ninety, CTV advertising in the UK was worth around £930m in 2021, up from £515m in 2019, while the IAB rates the UK as Europe’s most advanced CTV advertising market.

But the additional investment many brands are putting into CTV risks being wasted if they don’t tap into the full capabilities of the technology. To get the most from their spend, they have to adapt their content to the platform.

CTV offers the best of both worlds

In many ways, CTV represents the best of both the linear and digital experience. On the one hand, you have the captive audience of linear TV, while on the other, the targeting possibilities of digital advertising.

CTV has not only the sights, sounds and action that engages viewers, but also the interactivity and measurability that give advertisers the ability to achieve the best possible ROI from their campaigns.

While advertising on linear TV tends to focus on awareness and views, CTV has more to offer. CTV platforms can utilise first-party data – such as viewing history and contextual audience segments – to provide digital-like targeting, giving brands the chance to reach consumers that are genuinely interested in their products and services, and have a higher chance of converting.

For example, someone regularly watching programmes about cookery and food may be interested in grocery deliveries, meal subscriptions, kitchen furnishings and equipment, and so on. The CTV devices that people use also provide clues; set-top boxes may suggest a different demographic and viewing experience than gaming consoles, for example.

Brands need to create next-generation ad experiences

To take advantage of the targeting possibilities of CTV, advertisers need to think about creating next-generation experiences for audiences. By utilising the interactive capabilities of CTV devices, brands can look beyond simply boosting awareness and views, and focus on other areas of the funnel.

QR codes and “send to phone” prompts, for example, increase engagement and provide utility for consumers, while also serving as a method of attribution for advertisers – the CTV version of a click. With adaptable Dynamic Creative Optimisation (DCO) strategies, brands can also adjust the type of ad or product they display to a viewer based on factors such as the date, time, location and even the weather. And while QR codes can be embedded into the creative, they can also be dynamically generated on a per-delivery basis, allowing attribution to be tracked to the exact time and location where the ad was served.

To move a potential lead closer to conversion, QR code links shouldn’t just take the viewer to a generic landing page. Deep linking offers the possibility of leading the consumer to a shopping cart pre-populated with the advertised item ready for quick checkout. This ability to drive lower funnel conversions is making CTV an increasingly popular platform for forward-looking ecommerce businesses who are creating “shoppable” ads, yet they seem to be in the minority at the moment.

Optimising creative performance lies at the heart of CTV ad success

While interactive ads are a must to get the full potential from CTV platforms, to be truly effective they need to be backed up by robust cross-platform measurement and attribution methods, merging technology with creative to optimise campaign performance.

Enhancing the creative elements of digital advertising campaigns and ensuring they are adapted to suit CTV relies on having a full understanding of how the creative is performing. Technology allows for real-time analysis of creative performance, as well as the tools for making changes while campaigns are live, in order for advertisers to maximise impact.

It’s common for advertisers to make in-flight tweaks to adjust reach, frequency and inventory. By applying these same principles of real-time, data-driven optimisation to the creative elements of their campaign they can begin to realise the possibilities of CTV advertising.

Advertisers must focus on CTV-specific content

CTV’s connected nature and the technical capabilities of CTV devices has resulted in a platform teeming with tech-enhanced creative potential. Simply transplanting ads from the linear space with little or no changes isn’t good enough.

Advertisers who want to stand out in the increasingly crowded CTV space need to leverage advanced creative technologies to enhance the user experience with interactivity and personalised content.

Brands that fail to shed their broadcast roots will never unlock the creative potential of CTV, providing opportunities for digital native and ecommerce brands from outside the traditional TV advertising world to usurp them.

Jessica Hogue is GM of measurement & analytics at independent advertising and measurement platform Innovid.

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