Blog How mobile marketers can master CTV adve...

How mobile marketers can master CTV advertising in 2023


Connected TV is no longer a new topic in the marketing world, and yet, many app marketers still haven’t added CTV ads to their marketing strategies. In 2023, this is a mistake. According to tvScientific, over 80% of consumers subscribe to more than one streaming service, and 91% of them are subscribed to at least one ad-supported streaming service. With video completion rates of connected TV ads as high as 95%, CTV campaigns should be in your marketing mix.

So, how does CTV advertising work? We’ll tell you!

Below get everything you’ll need to know to get started in CTV advertising—from the different CTV ad formats you’ll need to know, to how to maximize user acquisition for these campaigns.

Part 1

What are connected TV ads

A CTV ad is a digital advertisement that is displayed within streaming content on a smart TV or an over-the-top (OTT) device. CTV advertising examples include ads that appear alongside TV shows or live streams and interactive ads that give users actions they can take within the ad.

Already, Shoppable content is the next big thing for CTV, with QR codes, video action campaigns, and pause screens grabbing viewers’ attention. One of the biggest benefits of connected TV advertising is that users are much more likely to pay attention to an ad streamed through a connected TV device than a static ad on their mobile device  Studies show ad tolerance for things typically streamed on a bigger CTV device like TV series, sports, and news is higher than ads shown on games, podcasts, or short-form videos, which are usually done on mobile.

How does CTV advertising work?

Similar to other forms of digital advertising, CTV ads are sold and purchased in an auction. This is done via programmatic media buying by which ads are bought with automated technology in one of three ways:

  1. Real-time bidding (RTB)/Open auction: Inventory prices are determined via a real-time auction.
  2. Private marketplace (PMP): This operates the same as an open auction, but is an invite-only auction.
  3. Programmatic direct: In this case, a publisher forgoes an auction to sell inventory directly to an advertiser at a fixed cost.

Before we dive into the process of buying CTV ad inventory, let’s review the technological mediators used to coordinate the buying between an advertiser and a publisher.

Technological meditators

Supply-side platform (SSP): Uploads and connects inventory to multiple ad exchanges/potential buyers.

Demand-side platform (DSP): This software is for advertisers and allows media buyers to compete with one another, making better deals for the advertisers.

Ad exchange: This is a digital marketplace in which SSPs and DSPs are automatically matched. When several advertisers bid for the same category, an auction is performed in milliseconds.

The CTV ad buying process—in 6 steps

  1. A user selects the content they wish to view.
  2. The available information on the viewer is sent by the publisher to an ad exchange.
  3. An automated bidding process starts for this particular user.
  4. An SSP provides information like content selected, location, age, etc.
  5. DSPs with creative criteria matching the information provided by the SSP automatically place bids.
  6. The DSP with the highest bid is selected, they resolve the bid and place the ad in fractions of a second.

Part 2

How to create a CTV ad campaign

Crafting a successful CTV advertising campaign requires strategic planning, the right ad assets, and reliable measurement tools.

  1. Define your strategy

    First, decide what you wish to accomplish with your CTV ad. Traditionally, video advertising has been used for brand awareness. However, now that CTV allows new measurement and targeting capabilities that weren’t available with linear TV, they are also perfect for performance marketing user acquisition (UA) campaigns.

    No matter how short your CTV ad is, take the opportunity to tell a story and have a clear narrative. That story could be as simple as demonstrating the positive impact your product will have on the viewer's everyday life, displaying the tangible benefits while evoking positive emotions. You could also choose to contrast your product to competitors and show why it’s unique.

    Always consider your audience when designing your CTV ad. What is important to them? What type of content resonates with them, and how does your brand relate to it? Depending on your brand, you can look at current entertainment trends and events and reference these trending topics to capture attention in a fun and timely way.

  2. Set your KPIs

    Like any other marketing campaign, it’s essential to determine the key performance indicators (KPIs) you will use to monitor the success of your connected TV campaign.

    For app marketers, these KPIs can be:

    Impressions: The number of times the ad has been shown

    Completion rate: Percentage of users who watched the ad to the end

    View-through rate (VTR): This measures the completion rate by how often a user viewed a full ad.

    Attribution or assists: Tracking how the CTV campaign viewership impacts app conversion events. (We call them “assists” here at Adjust. Read more here.)

    Cost per mille (CPM): The cost of one thousand impressions.

    Cost per completed view: Compared to the CPM, this metric is a ratio of the cost of the campaign and the total number of completed views.

In Adjust’s CTV measurement solution, CTV AdVision, marketers can track their selected KPIs at a glance using performance visualizations from our CTV dashboard.

CTV AdVision dashboard
  1. Buy your ad inventory

    Mobile marketers have the edge over other buyers when purchasing CTV ads because they are already accustomed to the programmatic landscape. However, buying CTV inventory is still different. While major content owners, such as WarnerMedia do not always sell their inventory themselves, streaming services, like Hulu, have their own DSPs, selling their own inventory. When choosing an inventory supplier, it is essential to consider your business goals and region.

    At Adjust, we believe Your MMP’s CTV solution is only as strong as its partner coverage, which is why we’ve cultivated one of the largest CTV partner networks for our clients. Check out the article above to see which Adjust-certified DSPs, streaming services, agencies, and more, you can connect with via Adjust. And, see our article here covering What is programmatic media buying? for additional information.

  2. Format for the viewing experience

    When creating a CTV ad, consider the nuances of the medium and the context of the viewer. You can get the six ad formats advertisers are working with here: Connected TV ad formats, as well as the latest CTV advertising trends. While CTV ad viewers will be viewing your ad on their TV at home, streaming devices can also include laptops, tablets, and mobile devices. Also, CTV users are increasingly active. This is something gaming apps have notices as they hop on board as CTV growth continues by increasing their apps for CTV as well as the use of gamified ads.

    Viewers will be on different devices at varying levels of engagement, so follow these general guidelines:

    Keep it short

    While it may be tempting to create CTV ads in the vein of premium television channel placements, OTT viewers have different expectations. It’s generally advised to keep your CTV ads short and to the point — between 15 and 30 seconds.

    Have the right specs

    Taken from the IAB Technology Lab, we’ve collected CTV ad specifications below:

    Size and frame rate

    • Size Ratio | 16:9, 1920×1080
    • Length | 30 seconds max, 15 or 30-second slots
    • File Format | .mp4 or .mov
    • File Size | Max size 200MB
    • Frame Rate | Must be constant; 23.98, 25, or 29.97 FPS
    • Bit Rate | Greater or equal to 2500 KBPS

    Audio specs

    • Overall Mix Level | 10db to -14db
    • Dialogue | -12db to -15db
    • Music | -18db to -22db
    • Sound Effects | -10db to -20db with occasional spikes up to -8db

    To see specs by platform, such as video specs for Hulu, Roku, YouTube, and Netflix, check out this Guide to Connected TV Video Ad Specs.

    Leverage the user interface (UI)

    When buying ads directly instead of programmatically, formatting options open up. You may be able to access in-UI and in-video banners, sponsor a free movie, place an ad on a pause screen, and more. Take advantage of any platform-specific opportunities to display your ad in a creative way.

    Avoid user fatigue with frequency and refreshes

    When planning your CTV ad campaign, it’s important to consider the frequency of ad exposure. Avoid oversaturation by setting frequency capping with your SSP. Frequency capping is the tool used to manage the number of times your ad can be viewed by a particular user daily, weekly, or monthly. Setting it too high can lead to user fatigue while setting it too low can lead to underexposure, as multiple exposures are important for user recall and action.

    Refreshing your creatives can also help avoid user fatigue. This can involve shooting multiple versions of your ad, telling a sequential story over a number of different ads, or making small variations such as overlays or end cards that evolve with time or reflect current events.

    Determine the best fit

    Adjust research has shown that over 75% of consumers engage in ‘dual screening,’ or watching CTV while using their mobile phones. Mobile marketers can make use of this dual screening by cross-targeting CTV viewers with ads on their mobile devices. Adjust’s CTV AdVision solution enables marketers to attribute mobile app installs and post-install events to ads shown on CTV devices and transform CTV into a performance channel.

    With automatic content recognition (ACR) technology, advertisers can determine which ads best fit the viewer’s current watching experience, and see who has viewed their ads and on which device, allowing them to target mobile device users based on programming they have watched on their CTV. Users are more likely to react positively when ads are relevant to the content they’ve been watching.

    Contextual targeting and sentiment analysis capabilities with your publisher can ensure your ad is shown at the right time. For example, if you were advertising a vegan recipe app, you wouldn’t want it to play during a documentary advocating the Paleo diet.

  3. Pinpoint your target audience

    You can take several approaches to reach your target audience watching on a CTV device.

    • Contextual targeting:  Viewers are shown ads based on the streaming content they view most often.
    • Demographics: Ads based on genre, age, or media genre preference.
    • Channel targeting: Ads based on the app or streaming service a viewer uses.
    • Geolocation: Users are shown ads based on the region they are in.
    • First-party data: These are ads given to users based on user-specific data that is available via a CTV platform. Often vendors allow clients to bring their one first-party data for optimal targeting.
    • Second-party data: This is when ads are shown to viewers based on data from databases linked to CTV platforms.
  4. Measure your campaigns

    In order to determine whether your tests, experiments, and campaigns are matching their KPIs, advertisers need measurement capabilities. Some of the options mobile marketers have to measure the impact of CTV ads on mobile include the following.

    • DSPs usually don't have additional costs beyond the master service agreement and often allow you to import your first-party data on app installs and post-install events to improve measurement and targeting. However, the data is limited to their own inventory.
    • TV attribution companies only look at your CTV campaigns, giving an isolated view. While you can analyze CTV advertising by itself, you can't measure its impact on the other running campaigns.
    • A mobile measurement partner (MMP) can provide an advanced analysis of your campaign performance, assigning credit for conversions across all marketing channels. This allows you to understand the value of your CTV campaigns in the context of your entire marketing mix.
  5. Test, test, test

    While CTV may feel like linear TV, it’s important to remember it’s not. CTV is interactive, testable, and real-time, with the ability to iterate, segment audiences, and retarget viewers. Your CTV ad can be tracked, measured, and improved. As with any programmatic ad, testing your ad creatives and delivering them to targeted audiences will ensure the best performance.

    Record different variations of your ad intended for specific audiences, and A/B test the creatives to find which performs best. This also goes for finding the optimal runtime for your ad. Edit down your 30-second version to a 15-second version and test each length to determine which performs better.

Part 3

Adjust and CTV campaigns for app marketers

It’s more essential than ever that app marketers be able to prove their CTV campaigns’ return on investment (ROI). Adjust’s CTV AdVision, is the first connected TV comprehensive measurement solution for app marketers.

CTV AdVision

With CTV AdVision, you can:

  • Measure mobile installs and post-install events resulting from CTV ads.
  • Connect CTV app installs to your CTV campaigns.
  • See the impact of CTV campaigns on your other marketing campaigns.

Confidently invest in your OTT and CTV advertising campaigns and make CTV a mighty performance channel for your app marketing today. Request your demo now.

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