Mar 14 2023
Jane Frye

Connected TV Advertising: Best Practices for Planning, Targeting, and Measuring


How many streaming services does your household have access to? Maybe you pay for Amazon Prime and Netflix, but you use a roommate’s Paramount Plus login, your best friend’s Peacock credentials, and an ex-partner’s HBO Max account that they conveniently never logged out of. Welcome to the wild world of connected TV viewing!

The lack of unified connected TV (CTV) inventory is mildly frustrating for consumers (wait, which app can we stream the new Mandalorian episode on?), but it’s doubly so for marketers. Add in the fact that it’s tough to know who precisely is in front of a TV set at a given moment, and it’s clear that, much like the broader marketing landscape, CTV is complex.

The cost of this complexity and fragmentation can extend beyond the consumer experience, trickling all the way down to team satisfaction and turnover rates. CTV media fragmentation results in inordinate amounts of time spent on the low-value, manual tasks necessary to cobble together data and holistic insights from many disparate media sources. In the context of burnout within the digital advertising industry, it’s critical that brands and agencies seek out ways to automate as many of the workflow-related aspects of the media buying process as possible in order to retain talent and avoid the high costs of turnover.

Despite the challenge of fragmentation and the need to embrace tech to streamline CTV advertising, savvy marketers know that connected TV is an effective channel to include in a marketing mix. After all, nearly 85% of US households now own a connected TV device, and 46% of US adults watch content on a CTV device every single day. And, it remains one of digital advertising’s fastest-growing channels, with CTV ad spend projected to hit $31.77 billion by 2024 (a whopping 10.2% of total digital media ad spend).

To make the most of this booming channel, advertisers need to understand how to work around industry fragmentation to run effective CTV campaigns and connect with viewers when and where they’re watching video. Read on to learn how to most effectively plan, target, and measure CTV campaigns in today’s digital advertising landscape.

Best Practices for Planning CTV Ad Campaigns

Planning an effective CTV campaign requires marketers to grapple with pain points related to targeting and measuring. While identifying targeting parameters and KPIs early in the planning process is best practice for any campaign, it’s even more important when it comes to CTV (more on this later!), due to the channel-specific challenges those areas present.  

In addition to identifying KPIs early in the planning process, planning for optimizations is another best practice for the early stages of a CTV campaign. This could include preparing multiple versions of the same video, editing them to different lengths, and planning to A/B test them to see which lengths perform best. Setting yourself up to be agile throughout the campaign will only make things easier once your media goes live.

Once you’ve identified your KPIs and planned for optimizations, consider the following when planning an effective CTV campaign:

  • All eyes are on you: Since CTV ads are 100% viewable, full-screen, and almost always non-skippable, it’s important to design ads that captivate your audience and elevate your unique brand voice.
  • No one likes a repeat: Okay, the same cannot be said of our favorite shows (Season 2 of The Office for the fourth time? Yes, please!) But, when it comes to advertisements, viewers can quickly get burnt out by watching the same CTV ad over and over. Marketers can plan to use frequency capping to mitigate this.
  • Quality matters: Most CTV devices have a large screen and support high-definition creative. Use this to your advantage! No one wants their ad to be remembered for its blurriness.

Best Practices for CTV Targeting

Okay, you’ve identified your KPIs, planned for optimizations, and made intentional creative choices based on your audience. On to CTV targeting!

There are many targeting opportunities in the realm of CTV. BasisTV+, for example, offers more than one thousand advanced TV targeting parameters within the platform. Let’s dive deeper into some of these targeting opportunities!

First, contextual advertising solutions are privacy-friendly, scalable, and cost-efficient, making them a no-brainer for CTV campaigns. These audience segments are classified using groups such as content category, broadcast type, production type, app store, and device, in order to better target media based on user viewing habits. For example, a home décor brand may want to run their ads within a content category that features home improvement projects, and a gaming company may want to target viewers tuning into CTV inventory through gaming console devices.

Leveraging private marketplace deals (PMPs) is another privacy-friendly way for CTV marketers to target. Within a PMP auction, advertisers can layer on contextual, first-party, and demographic data to further target specific audiences.

A few other key targeting tactics that advertisers can leverage within their CTV campaigns include geotargeting, dayparting, and retargeting. These allow marketers to reach viewers in specific locations and at specific times, and to extend their first-party segments across devices.

A final note on effectively targeting your CTV ads: Intentionality is key! If your allowlist is too limited (i.e., you’ve layered on too many different targeting tactics), it will be difficult to effectively scale your campaign and reach a broad audience.

Best Practices for Measuring CTV Ad Campaigns

As explored earlier, fragmentation is one of the most pressing challenges facing CTV advertisers—and it can make measurement and reporting especially tricky.

One of the best ways to maintain focus is to intentionally plan and optimize towards specific key performance indicators (KPIs), which will also help to ensure that you’re connecting with the right audiences, in the right ways.

So, which KPIs should marketers consider when planning CTV campaigns? VCR tends to be the most common (and no, we aren’t talking about those clunky rectangles you held onto for years because you were sure they’d be worth something someday). Video completion rate, aka VCR, tells advertisers the rate at which their ad was viewed in its entirety. Other KPI options to consider for your CTV campaign include:

  • Reach: The number of people exposed to an ad at least once during a specific period of time  
  • Top-performing tactic: Which apps, devices, or domains are most impactful with your audience
  • Impressions delivered: The number of times an ad is placed in front of the reached population within a specified period
  • Cost per completed view (CPCV): Total advertising cost / completed video views
  • Frequency: The number of times people are exposed to an ad

There are a variety of partners—or, even better, full-service advertising platforms with a variety of partner integrations—that marketers can layer onto a CTV campaign to leverage custom capabilities for each campaign and optimize towards specific KPIs.

BasisTV+, for instance, features several notable CTV partnerships that advertisers can leverage within their campaigns. These include:

  • Peer39: Allows advertisers to target based on the content most relevant to their specific audience, brand, and product(s)
  • Comscore: Provides data assets to surface predicted behaviors without cookies
  • AddThis: Allows teams to create their own list of custom keywords for more granular targeting
  • Dstillery: Gives advertisers the ability to create a lookalike audience to expand their brand’s reach

Next Steps: Connected TV Advertising

While the fragmented nature of CTV advertising presents marketing challenges, brands and agencies willing to think outside the box and test creative solutions will enjoy the broad brand awareness, leads, and sales/conversions CTV offers. Part of running effective CTV campaigns today really comes down to planning: Marketers who do the upfront work of identifying KPIs and audience targeting tactics will see gains once their campaigns go live. Another key piece is leveraging a platform for your CTV campaigns that makes things simpler, rather than more complex.

Beyond using the strategies we explored to be intentional about planning, targeting, and measuring CTV campaigns, marketers need to stay in-the-know about this ever-evolving channel. If you’re looking for a deeper dive on strategies to embrace the connected TV advertising opportunity, check out our Connected TV Advertising Guide. In it, we analyze the latest data, trends, and research so that marketing teams can make the most of their CTV ad spend.

Get the Guide