Our Insights

Connected vs. Linear TV: Dialing in the Right Media Mix

July 17, 2020

How have you spent your time in quarantine? Searching Amazon for above ground pools? Ordering mass amounts of groceries (and wine) through apps or online? Googling how to entertain your kids all day, every day? Experimenting with Zoom backgrounds for your next conference call? No matter what category you may fall into, one thing is for sure, all of our daily routines and media habits have changed post-outbreak and will leave a lasting impact on the media landscape for years to come.

One of the most noticeable changes that COVID has made on the media landscape — impacting consumers, networks, and advertisers — has been the surge of streaming TV through connected devices. Connected TV refers to TV devices that can be connected to the internet to allow you to play streaming content. This can be done through TVs connected directly to the internet, such as SmartTVs or AppleTVs, or through devices including Roku and Amazon Fire TV Sticks. They can even be gaming consoles, such as an Xbox. Connected TV then allows users to access a host of streaming apps — Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Crackle, CNNgo, FXNow, etc.

While all TV watching has increased after stay-at-home orders were put in place, CTV has seen 3x higher growth gains verses linear TV, which is also known as broadcast TV as it airs programming at scheduled times. Much of this was due to live sports being canceled, Hollywood studios making movies immediately available through streaming due to the closure of theaters, and the bingeable content consumption that CTV allows for. In fact, U.S. CTV household penetration is set to hit 80% in 2020 with 74% subscribed to at least one streaming subscription. This subscriber number jumped by 2.5 million just in the first quarter of 2020, with Netflix alone gaining 16 million new subscribers during this time. It is also important to note that the surge in CTV has also seen increases in cord cutters. Roku, for example, released that 54% of their users are cord cutters, which means they are no longer reachable through linear TV.

As an agency that buys CTV, we have been able to witness the rise of CTV usage over the past couple of months through the increase in inventory and decrease in CPMs for our clients. For brands, it’s important to note the surge of CTV so that you make sure you are effectively and efficiently reaching your audience during this time. Likewise, plan on maintaining consideration of CTV as a channel moving forward. CTV has the unique ability to couple high-impact, living room commercial spots with advanced digital targeting including 3rd-party audiences, look-a-like models from your customer base, and even retargeting from your site.

For example, we can build a CTV branding campaign targeted to job titles of those who are in the market for your product, serving them awareness message ads. In addition, we can also include a direct response CTV campaign component to target users who have been to your site but not yet purchased your product serving them a message to “Buy Now”.

This mix makes CTV a valuable media component, not only for branding campaigns, but also for mid- to low-funnel efforts.

As an integrated agency, we know that while CTV usage is rising, linear TV still plays an important role in audience reach and overall media campaign effectiveness. Balancing and finding the right mix of CTV and linear TV can be tricky, but luckily we have in-house experts and tools to help measure and plan for the most efficient use of media dollars. The fact is, linear TV no longer provides the necessary reach to all audiences. It is more important than ever to work with a team that specializes in both platforms to ensure your message is reaching your audience and applying advanced integration strategies across them to ensure success.

Let us know if you would like to connect to find the right mix for your next campaign!


Angela Parrish