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Content Is the Key to Mastering CTV Advertising Strategies


In the fast-evolving domain of connected TV (CTV) advertising, anticipated to grow to $40.9 billion by 2027, the strategic selection of content emerges as a crucial driver for success — especially in 2024. To increase the effectiveness of your CTV advertising campaigns, you need to make discerning content choices, establish robust partnerships with the right content owners and platforms, and choose the best inventory to place your ads. But this probably sounds easier said than done.

So, how can you successfully make your way through the complex world of TV advertising to secure the best CTV content for your brand — and master your CTV advertising strategies for 2024? Let's dive in.

How To Select CTV Content

1. Dig into Your Audience Data
When beginning your CTV content journey, you first and foremost want to do your homework by starting with your audience. Leverage research partners who can uncover critical insights into where your target audience prefers to consume their media and video. For instance, is your audience made up of cord-cutters or a hybrid of both cable TV and streaming viewers? Are they tech-savvy brand loyalists? All this data will help you inform your creative messaging that will resonate most, as well as the medium that will perform the strongest.

2. See How CTV Fits into Their Overall Video Consumption
Then, once you have data about your audience, you can determine the best content to prioritize engagement. Begin with an overarching video strategy to see where CTV fits in. You may find out that your audience likes watching live sports, social videos, on the big screen in their household or out in public. They may prefer a blend of service models including CTV, TV Everywhere, video on-demand (VOD), ad-based video on-demand (AVOD), etc. What's essential is to get a bigger picture of their overall video consumption and then hone in on where CTV is appropriate in their customer journey.

3. Determine the End Outcomes
Afterward, further narrow your decisions by focusing on the end outcomes you want your campaigns to achieve. In other words, what do you want the viewer to do after or while they see a video? Are you planning on launching upper-funnel, middle-of-funnel, or lower-funnel campaigns? And how will these outcomes align with any other channels in the customer journey?

Look for content that delivers the results you're looking for, ties back to overarching business outcomes and fits seamlessly with the other channels in your media mix. And if your viewers are tech-savvy, consider new shoppable formats, where offers are sent directly to their phones.

Developing Robust Partnerships in a Fragmented Ecosystem

To secure the best inventory and maximize the effectiveness of your campaigns, you'll want to partner with content owners (also known as publishers) and platforms. But the CTV ecosystem has more players than ever, from content owners like Paramount, Peacock, Disney, and Warner Bros. Discovery to platforms like Amazon Ads, The Trade Desk and Roku OneView. So, where do you start?

First, identify which content owners and platforms prove to be the most effective for your campaigns. Who has inventory your audience prefers to watch? What deals can you tap into? What analytics do they provide? What are their buying capabilities? What are the benefits of working with them? How do they define "premium" content?

Next, partner closely with the main content owners and platforms to get the most out of your CTV ads. Close partnerships offer various advantages including unique sponsorships and innovative first-to-market opportunities to help drive your brand's performance — benefits you won't be able to access without a strong partnership or relationship.

Forming robust partnerships with select publishers and platforms— instead of just loosely working with many — will provide the best opportunities for your brand.

What If You're Outsourcing?

Not every brand has the resources, time, or budget to establish partnerships with content owners and platforms. If you're outsourcing part (or all) of your CTV advertising campaigns to a marketing agency, look for one that offers a holistic approach that's rooted in your desired business outcomes instead of vanity metrics for video. Find an agency that can connect you with the right publishers and platforms to deliver results that impact the campaigns' objectives and maximize the engagement and ROI of your campaigns.

Be Mindful of Transparency in the Bid Stream

CTV is known for its transparency issues — it's one of the biggest reasons brands who've traditionally advertised on linear TV are reluctant to invest more in CTV advertising. A lack of transparency in the bid stream can also prove to be a hurdle to overcome.

If a buyer is only looking at a bundle — such as what happens when bidding on inventory on free ad-supported TV (FAST) channels like Pluto TV, Tubi, Sling Freestream, and Xumo — they won't know what show the viewer is watching. In this case, you could under-bid for your inventory or be over-paying on your bid.

This is where selecting and partnering with the right content owners comes into play. Look for content owners that deliver transparency into what content is being served and what's working. When you have this transparency, you can interpret behavior signals and determine if your inventory is helping reach the desired audience in a desired context. You can also pinpoint if your content is driving the outcomes you're looking for or if it was suitable for your audience.

And when partnering with you, the content owners can curate and customize the level of transparency you need to get the most ROI.

How to Choose Inventory

One of the largest challenges that brands face is accessing and activating CTV inventory. This gets into the effectiveness of choosing the right partner to use as your programmatic activation platform. You could work with a content provider, content distributor, a supply-side partner or buy via an ad server, for example — all of which have different ways to provide transparency in reporting where your ad was placed and within what content.

The most effective way to address this is to lean into a partner, such as a marketing agency or a supply-side platform (SSP), who has navigated the landscape and has determined the most efficient, direct paths to the inventory you want and need to produce strong outcomes. Find a partner who's done the research, tested, and proven out what is most effective.

Use Content to Power Your 2024 CTV Strategies

As CTV advertising continues evolving in 2024, the future remains bright for brands that know the importance of content in driving business outcomes and that develop a strategic approach to choosing content for their campaigns. Careful content considerations, robust publisher relationships and inventory selectivity will enable you to break through the noise and achieve your campaign goals.

Content will remain king this year — and by leveraging the right content with the right partners to its fullest, you'll master your 2024 marketing strategies, and then some.

The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.

Andrea Kwiatek is the director of strategic partnerships at Goodway Group, where she manages existing partnerships with leading and emerging players across the digital advertising ecosystem and facilitates deal negotiations with strategic partners to bring innovative solutions to our clients.