CTV Advertising vs. Linear TV: The Quick and Dirty Guide

Linear TV

Last Updated on January 21, 2024 by Umer Malik

Advertising is no child’s play; you can’t afford to simply put your content out there and hope viewers take the bait. 

If you wish to get into television advertising and you’re looking for the best platform to maximize leads, you must get a better understanding of linear advertising and connected TV advertising. Each advertising method has its unique properties and benefits that could be the determining factor for whether or not it aligns with your campaign goals.

What is Linear TV?

Linear television is the traditional cable TV we are more familiar with. Linear TV has specific programs lined up at specific times, and for a subscription fee to your cable provider, you can enjoy these shows. These shows only air on specific channels at predetermined times, and people with satellite or cable set-top boxes can access linear television.

Although linear TV is older than connected TV and the modern streaming platforms, linear TV does have modern upgrades that align with the fast-paced modern world. Users can use a DVR to record their shows and enjoy them at a later time. In the marketing world, linear TV is extremely competitive as it offers limited airtime.

What is Connected TV?

Simply put, connected TV is any device (television) that can stream content directly from the internet without the aid of a set-top box or satellite connection. Rather, CTV uses Wi-Fi or a direct connection to the internet to display content.

Connected TV is one of the most competitive forms of targeted video advertising today. Ads on Connected TV are primed to reach the company’s target audience due to the additional data and information marketers have at their disposal. Brands can fine-tune their marketing strategy until ads are tailored to meet only the audience that is interested in specific products.

CTV devices connect TVs to paid streaming services (OTT apps), where they can access content and on-demand videos whenever they want, from wherever they are. OTT platforms include streaming services like Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime. Due to the services connected TV offers and how conveniently users can watch their favorite shows from multiple devices, users are deviating from linear television and switching to connected TV more these days.

What is CTV Advertising?

If you’re wondering what CTV advertising is, you’re asking the right questions. CTV advertising is targeted ads that users are most likely to engage with. These ads are placed on televisions that can be connected to the internet, rather than traditional cable TV.

Some of the many benefits of CTV advertising include its accessibility, high conversion rates, and the fact that ads are tailored to the audience’s demographics, leading to higher audience interaction.

Advertisers are taking note of how brands are thriving with CTV ads and are including it more in advertising strategies.

Comparing CTV Advertising vs Linear TV

Knowing the benefits of both types of advertising will help you decide which method works best with your advertisement campaign and goals.

Linear TV Advertising

Live events

Connected television might be more modern and reach younger audiences, but linear TV allows viewers to enjoy live events and shows that might not be broadcast on streaming services. These events are everything from live sporting events to current news updates.

Live sporting events such as the Super Bowl offer marketers a huge opportunity to convert sales with advertising. Forbes conducted research that showed that 42% of viewers watch the Super Bowl only for the halftime show and advertisements. 

Advertising on specific channels

Cable TV advertising allows brands to broadcast their content to specific audiences on a selected channel at specific times. For example, it is common knowledge that older people or people with a 9-5 tune in to watch television early in the morning or late at night.

Other specific demographics will watch their preferred channels at specific times, and brands can target these groups to market their products.

Reaching older audiences

Older audiences who are more comfortable and familiar with traditional cable might have difficulties accessing content on a connected TV. To reach these demographics, brands are better off advertising on linear TV which is more or less a regular joint for these folks.

Connected TV Advertising

Younger audiences

Just like the older folks are more likely to tune into their familiar shows on linear TV, streaming platforms and CTV are more common among the younger audience. A study conducted in 2021 revealed that CTV users were between the ages of 18 and 34, while 70% of people within the same age bracket subscribed to a streaming service in 2020.

User-targeted content

CTV devices work with OTT services which provide marketers with more detailed information on the audience to tailor more specific ads. Brands with a better understanding of users such as their age, location, gender, and more information, can create content that is more likely to resonate with different sections of their audience, rather than a generic ad for the latest hair straightening technology reaching a middle-aged man.

Tracking ad conversion rates

CTV connects users to their favorite shows on the internet via a strong mobile connection or Wi-Fi signal. Brands will receive information about the success of their ads and how users are interacting with them in real-time. With the knowledge of how users interact with different ads, enterprises can track the success of their ad campaigns and make changes where necessary to build better ad content in the future.

It is no secret in the television and advertising industry that linear TV is losing customers to streaming platforms and connected television; in fact, reports show that 33 million Americans canceled their cable subscription in 2018 while 84% of US households have at least one active subscription to a streaming service or connected TVs such as Roku TV, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, or Chromecast.

The question of which of these platforms to use in delivering ads is entirely up to the brand and what their campaign goals are. Which platform you should use depends on your target demographic, your budget, and the products and services you offer, among other things.

Apart from this, if you are interested to know more about What to look for in a cable TV provider then visit our Entertainement category.