Commentary: How Linear Buyers Can Extend Their Audience with Connected TV Advertising


This article originally appeared in Rapid TV News

By: Ryan Horn, Senior Vice President of Marketing at

Over the past year, the pandemic has been a catalyst for the consumption of streamed television content. This follows recent industry trends as traditional TV continues to see a drop in viewers while cord cutting continues to become more popular and streamed content grows. So much so that “cord-nevers”, those who have never paid for linear television have even emerged as a market themselves.

Fortunately, by adding connected (CTV) advertising into their portfolio and running it concurrently alongside their linear buys, advertisers can achieve incremental reach – the ability to extend your audience by reaching consumers you are unable to, or would be unable to reach through linear TV ads – to capitalize on their investments. Simply put, this will allow advertisers to ensure they’re capturing those still viewing on linear TV along with those who have switched to streaming.

Linear television was always the best way to reach large audiences. For years, TV advertising reigned as different events and shows raked in millions of viewers. Few other formats and media outlets could captivate as many eyes as events such as the fabled Superbowl, which routinely has more than 100 million viewers tuned in. However, streaming platforms and their original content has begun to eat into those audiences, causing the traditional TV crowds to slowly start to erode. Pay-TV subscriptions declined 7.5% year-on-year over the past 12 months, representing the largest drop ever for pay-TV. With consumers spending more time in their houses over the pandemic, how and where they consumed content drastically changed resulting in the loss of subscriptions for pay TV.

Cord cutters, those who leave linear TV subscription packages for the use of CTV only, and cord-nevers have cemented their own space for consideration as they continue to grow in numbers. Whether it be price or interest in specific content, more people have been leaving linear TV than ever before; a trend that will continue long after the pandemic. CTV provides the perfect opportunity for advertisers to capture the desired audience with the same TV spot creative they have used with linear TV, the same long tail form of content, in a non-skippable format. When run concurrently with linear advertising, it guarantees advertisers that they can capture all eyes of their audiences no matter how they are watching programs.

Benefits of CTV advertising

CTV advertising has always had an expansive list of benefits offered to advertisers who use the available platforms. First off, CTV advertising has the ability to target individuals more precisely than those who would be watching linear. While advertisers on linear have a general baseline understanding of who may be watching what content and when, CTV advertising provides much more advanced targeting capabilities as opposed to linear. The paradigms of linear television force advertisers to pick a specific time slot or a specific show. With CTV advertising, you can cast a much larger net since your ads can be served at any time, within any content. In other words, with CTV, advertisers can target prospects based on their online and offline behaviors to make sure they are targeting the right consumer at the right time across any connected device, regardless of which show they are watching or when they tune in. Advertisers can still, of course, serve ads on specific content via CTV just like they would with linear, but there are more options to be able to effectively hit the same eyeballs and the same audience as linear in order to achieve the coveted incremental reach. Simply put, you can get your same message to the same people no matter where they are consuming their content – whether it’s linear or CTV – by running both concurrently.

Perks of CTV advertising attribution

CTV advertising attribution provides advertisers with a way to track both online and offline actions to show the real ROI of their advertising campaigns. Advertisers will see that CTV advertising provides more precisely targeted ads, which require fewer impressions, to drive the same if not more action. What’s more, advertisers can take advantage of the advanced measurement capabilities available with CTV to find out what’s working and what’s not, and optimize accordingly during the middle of the campaign. This granular level of attribution gives advertisers the ability to drive extremely high level performance for their CTV campaigns. Although linear television is not going anywhere quite yet, advertisers that understand how to achieve incremental reach with CTV are the best set up to see success. It provides advertisers with a way to ensure they are still able to connect with their target audiences no matter the shift in viewing habits. And with the advanced attribution capabilities, you’re able to prove performance of the buy, adding a perfect complement to linear TV advertising, ensuring that you’re achieving incremental reach without letting your audience erode or wasting impressions.