OTT (Over-the-top) and CTV (Connected TV) advertising has been a big topic for conversation in advertising and marketing technology recently. Connected TV is THE big opportunity in Ad tech.


Because TV is an industry that has undergone significant disruption and we are only at the start of that journey. Advertising in the TV industry is fragmented without any party or technology player owning the lion’s share of the market and CTV is offering far greater opportunities because of the targeting options and the incremental reach.

Advertising opportunities in the CTV environment will continue to grow as we are seeing brand budgets shifting significantly to this channel. Popular AVOD (ad-supported Video on Demand) OTT video services such as Hulu, Amazon Prime, NBC, Bravo, and ESPN are seeing significant growth. SVOD (Subscription-based Video on Demand) services such as Netflix and Disney+ have recently announced ad-supported tiers, signaling a shift that other SVOD services may follow.

The future paints an even more promising picture for digital viewing, with linear and digital viewing expected to be roughly equal by 2023. The continued shifts in viewing have already made marketers consider it as no longer a trend but a mainstream way of consuming content.

In a nutshell, OTT and CTV markets are on the turning point of explosive growth and movement in this part of the industry. Let’s cover a couple of basics and clarify a few terms to see what are the benefits of CTV and OTT for marketers and advertisers.

What is Over-the-top (OTT) advertising?

OTT or (Over-the-top) refers to media services that allow access to TV content. It is a method of delivering content like television and film via the internet on cross-platform devices like Smart-TVs, laptops, mobile phones, tablets, gaming consoles, and any other gadget that are connected to the internet. In simple terms, it’s the evolution of satellite and cable broadcast services and classical program broadcasting.

Viewers nowadays set their own agenda and their own TV program. The program and episode of choice is available to be watched on demand by the user at any time of the day on any device, whenever it is convenient for them.

There are many examples of popular ad supported OTT video services (AVOD – ad-supported Video on Demand) including Hulu, Amazon Prime, NBC, Bravo, and ESPN. Subscription-based models (SVOD – subscription-based Video on Demand) such as Netflix and Disney+ have recently announced ad-supported viewing options; signaling an industry-wide shift to models with at least some ad supported tiers.

What is Connected TV advertising?  

Connected Television or CTV refers to video content consumed on a TV screen delivered via an Internet connection. In that definition, CTV is a set of smart devices that lives within the OTT ecosystem. Prime examples are Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Roku, Chromecast or gaming consoles, like PlayStation and Xbox. CTV ad spending is estimated to grow by 48.6% in 2021 according to the latest CTV study done by eMarketer.

What is the difference between OTT and CTV? 

The definitions of OTT and CTV sound very similar and therefore it is not surprising that it leads to confusion for many video consumers. So let’s try to have a look at the difference between these two terms. In a nutshell, the IAB Techlab recommends the following when it comes to the distinction between OTT and CTV:

  •   Use CTV to refer to a specific type of device
  •   Use OTT to refer to content

CTV refers to TV screens only — not laptops, desktops, or smartphones. Whereas OTT can be consumed on any device.  While OTT can be consumed on a TV screen, it can also be consumed on an iPhone, which is a very different experience, and correlates to many factors for advertisers.

What are the benefits of OTT and CTV? 

OTT ads and CTV ads bring several benefits to the table:

Scale: Thanks to widespread internet penetration and technological advances like fiber-optic internet and 5G, OTT contents can reach large global audiences at scale.

Targeting accuracy: Granular targeting options based on behavior, technology, demography and geography are available, cross-screen.

Brand safety: Ads are delivered in a premium and brand-safe environment.

High completion rates: Ads on CTV devices are hardly ever skippable, even if they are, users are in a lean-back position when they are watching content on CTV devices, so they are more likely to embrace and tolerate the advertising. Therefore completion rates for CTV ads are well above 90%.

Creative ad formats:  Ads on big screens like CTV devices will have a great impact on the audience. But it is not only the size, in comparison to ads on linear TV, CTV is also interactive on participating publishers. CTV devices can be the canvas for new creative and interactive ad formats that can boost positive brand awareness or recognition.   

Ad tolerance: People are more tolerant and open to ads they see while relaxing and watching entertaining content at home on their couch on TV, especially when the ads are relevant to the user. CTV provides a similar experience to traditional TV, so users are accustomed and more tolerant towards advertising spots so that they can enjoy their favorite TV shows.

Retargeting possibilities: Marketers can use their 1st party data to address their audiences on the big screen, which is a big plus compared to linear TV buys. 

Viewability: CTV ads have great viewability rates due to being delivered on the big screen. If you want your ad to be seen, go with the CTV screen. CTV can also be measured as opposed to linear TV.

Cross-device targeting: Messages can be amplified by retargeting CTV ad viewers across all of their devices.

Cross-device measurement: Using a device graph, you can measure a post-CTV impression activity and connect your ad spend to a business goal – whether a user visits a website, walks-in to a store location or makes an online purchase.

Automatic Content Recognition (ACR) / Competitor Conquesting: Using technology that is built in TVs, you are able to target audiences who were already exposed to specific TV ads.

How can you improve your TV advertising strategy with Grapeseed Media?

The reach of traditional television is declining. Smart TVs and other streaming devices are booming. Ad spend on CTV devices is exploding, fueled by the changes that were brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. There is a lot of appetite for the big screen.

Brands are moving their TV budgets into CTV and advertisers will need to learn how to navigate these new territories. CTV technology offers plenty of great benefits, but there are some pitfalls and challenges that marketers need to overcome. The key is having a strong partner around that helps you to dive into these new waters to take full advantage of CTV’s potential. 

Grapeseed Media will help you craft a data-driven CTV solution that will increase brand awareness and brand recognition. CTV offers a better way of addressing your audiences on TV and Grapeseed will continuously optimize to ensure strong viewability, high completion rates and campaign efficiency across screens.  Don’t hesitate to take advantage of this opportunity and reach out to us today!