For advertisers, the first year of the new decade was especially testing with nonexistent live entertainment and low prospects of major gatherings.

These unsettling realities—coupled with unpredictable consumer demand resulting from ongoing economic uncertainty—paint a bleak short-term picture for advertisers of all stripes. Alongside challenges, however, uncertainty also creates opportunity.

Where is that opportunity? For advertisers, it’s where we all are: at home, watching something on a screen. Enter CTV. 

America Is Online

Couch-bound Americans with fewer options for amusement have turned to binge-watching their favorite shows, movies, and YouTube channels. Let’s be honest: at this point, you’re probably even watching stuff you don’t like. According to Nielsen, this trend will continue, and U.S. content viewing could shoot up by as much as 60% this year.

Savvy advertisers are moving quickly to adapt, shifting spending to nontraditional video channels such as YouTube, programmatic video, and (perhaps most significantly) a connected TV.

A connected TV is simply a TV—or a device using a TV as a display—that can connect to the internet, allowing viewers to access content not typically offered by cable providers.

For advertisers, connected TV advertising is a gold mine of opportunities because of the advanced targeting and measurement capabilities that traditional TV doesn’t offer.

Unlike the TV spots you see on cable networks or broadcast stations that are delivered to a mass market, CTV advertising is mainly aimed at a specific audience or customer segment. CTV offers robust targeting capabilities and flexibility and control that media professionals need in a chaotic business environment.

Shifting Buying Opportunities

As younger Americans continue to cut the cord and ditch cable in large numbers, the growing popularity of CTV also reflects changing consumer behavior. With around one-third of all digital ad impressions attributed to CTV, advertising should already be a critical component of any audience-based video buying strategy. If it’s not yet a part of your media mix, now is the ideal time to change that.

Recently, we’ve seen a substantial increase in CTV inventory as streaming hours continue to increase. Moreover, subscriptions for streaming services are also on the rise.

Audience-based buying is much more about reaching the right person than playing on the right program. If brands are willing to change the way they approach TV reach and frequency, they can achieve substantial cost efficiencies and earn a much better return on investment from CTV advertising.

Implementing CTV Advertising

If you’re thinking about expanding your media mix to include CTV, start by striving for balance. The days when advertisers could go all-in on linear TV and expect to achieve a full reach are long gone.

With that being said, it probably doesn’t make sense to throw all your money at CTV marketing, either. Your goal should be a balanced media mix, but finding the right balance takes knowing your audience. When accounting for audience demographic characteristics, pay special attention to age. Generation Z audiences are likely never to purchase linear TV packages, while Baby Boomers hold strong in that category.

Likewise, be sure to capitalize on overarching synergies within your strategy. No matter which demographics you’re trying to reach, it’s impossible to achieve 100% reach against any of them. But an audience-first, video-anywhere strategy can give savvy marketers the next best thing.

To reach your audience across all platforms and screens, strategically incorporate CTV and linear TV, as well as YouTube and online video, into your media mix. This strategy should still account for your unique audience, and you can certainly get even closer to maximum reach— especially if you’re also able to optimize quickly.

Again, marketers who understand the strengths of each tactic (and can optimize in real-time) can use different tactics in creative, complementary ways. Advertising on CTV allows marketers to target niche audiences with authentic, tailored messaging that generally results in higher engagement. Align your CTV creatives with campaigns across different platforms to enhance your brand message and keep your organization top of mind among your target audience.

Not surprisingly, the advertising world has been heavily affected by the global pandemic. Although some advertisers are cutting budgets where it no longer makes as much sense to be targeting people (e.g., theme parks or airport billboards), up-and-coming methods like connected TV advertising carry a significant amount of promise, which makes a case for shifting spend even stronger. With so much uncertainty ahead, why wait to experiment with your strategy?