ctv advertising

With the rising popularity of streaming television, political advertisers are shifting away from broadcast and cable TV, budgeting more of their ad spend on CTV advertising (Connected Television).

As a form of digital advertising, CTV provides significant advantages over traditional television advertising. At its core, CTV includes more sophisticated targeting capabilities, digital tools to better manage your spend and the option of interactivity. But the largest advantage is the likelihood of a better ROAS (Return On Ad Spend). 

Getting the most out of CTV requires a digital media buying team like we have at Arena, that has experience in areas traditional media buyers most likely do not have. Otherwise, you could be setting yourself up for failure. 

To do CTV right, your digital buying team needs access to and expertise in the digital advertising marketplace. In addition, your team should have established relationships with marketplace vendors like DSPs (Demand Side Platforms) and publishers, who combined, provide the bulk of digital ad inventory.

At Arena, we believe informed clients tend to avoid making impulsive choices that lead to unfavorable outcomes. To that end, let’s start by demystifying CTV. 

What is CTV advertising?

Streaming video content, delivered to an Internet-connected device (i.e, mobile phones, computers, tablets, etc.) is referred to as OTT (Over The Top). When that connected device is a television, it is referred to as CTV.

CTV advertising is digitally sold video advertising that appears during streaming television programs by way of streaming apps like Roku, Fubo, Tubi, ESPN, YouTube TV, Hulu and others. This is facilitated by Smart TV operating systems and external devices that connect your non-smart TV to the Internet (e.g., Apple TV, Roku, Vizio, gaming consoles).

CTV advertising is sold like other digital advertising ad units. CTV ad inventory is made available on digital advertising marketplaces where it is purchased, managed, optimized and reported like all other digital advertising ad units (e.g., programmatic display, search, etc.). 

How is CTV different from broadcast and cable TV advertising?

In some respects, advertising on broadcast or cable TV is very similar to CTV advertising. With both, you’ll still need to:

  • define your objectives and set a budget
  • understand your target audience 
  • create quality ad content, and 
  • ensure compliance to regulations, etc.

But this is where the similarities end. With CTV, the following tasks are vastly different.


With broadcast and cable television, you or your buyer choose specific channels, programs and time slots that satisfy your targeting goals. With CTV, there are many more options to target your audience.

You can still buy media contextually and target specific programs. However, since this is a digital product, you also gain access to targeting tools that allow you to adjust your targeting in real time—as needed to optimize your campaign. First Party targeting to a voter file and ACR or device listening are additional edges to narrowly target only available on CTV.

Like other digital advertising units, you also gain access to sophisticated targeting technologies like Automatic Content Recognition TV Retargeting (ACR TV) and Geofencing/Geotargeting. Check out this case study on how Arena used ACR TV to help a congressional candidate win a tough race. 

CTV inventory follows a digital targeting audience structure that also allows digital media buyers to utilize first-party data (e.g., targeting unique voters from a list) and audience segmentation. It’s imperative to have the infrastructure and understanding of how to utilize these target audiences with digital advertising to run an effective campaign.

Monitoring and analyzing performance 

With broadcast TV, reporting is often very inaccurate and slow. CTV advertising provides accurate, real-time reporting, which can offer insights that allow you to optimize your campaign at a moment’s notice. As such, it’s important that your CTV ad buying team has the ability to capture and understand the data being reported. 

Interactive advertising

With broadcast and cable TV, your ad content plays through and it’s done. Many CTV advertising platforms and advertising units extend the value of your spend by offering interactive opportunities like QR code scanning and click-through. An experienced digital ad buying team will know when and how to leverage these advanced features. 

What is High quality inventory?

Not all inventory is created equally. With CTV, there are thousands of streaming channels and programs that make up the universe of inventory available to you.

Like broadcast television, you can hand-pick programs you are familiar with. While this can get you some quality inventory, most of the inventory you actually receive with CTV will be programming unknown to you. This is why it’s important to work with a digital team like Arena, that has established relationships with DSPs and publishers, who know what inventory to avoid. 

With access to high-quality inventory, an experienced digital media buying team will help you:

  • minimize the risk of ad fraud, where advertisers pay for views or clicks that are not from genuine users but rather from bots or fraudulent schemes
  • ensure your ads are not placed with inappropriate content that could harm your brand’s reputation
  • ensure better contextual placement to provide a better user experience and reception of your messaging
  • receive valuable data that you can use to optimize your campaigns

Working with a media buying team that has the digital buying experience and relationships with publishers ensures the inventory you buy is the highest quality.

Maximize your CTV advertising ROAS 

The digital team at Arena has been working in the political CTV/OTT space for more than a decade. Our team has the experience and relationships with digital marketplaces and publishers that will help you maximize your ROAS.

With our experience in the political space, we turn orders around quickly and make changes and shifts throughout the campaign as performance fluctuates or goals change.

If you are interested in CTV advertising and want the best performance for your dollar, contact us now. We’ll make it easy by scheduling a brief discovery call and putting together a winning plan for your digital campaign or advocacy group.

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