All Things TV: How to Combine Linear and CTV Advertising

All Things TV: How to Combine Linear and CTV Advertising

For staggering reach and great commercial opportunities, linear TV still works a treat. But with an increasing number of cord-cutters and cord-nevers ⁠— 54% of Americans according to this report ⁠— advertisers should consider adding a similar, yet different channel to their strategy.  One word: CTV. In the US alone, in 2021 CTV ad spend increased by 59.9% to a total of $14.44 billion, with advertisers keen to grab a slice of the market. It’s time to get involved: CTV is the fastest growing advertising channel and there’s plenty of opportunities for you to tap into.

For a more in-depth view on how to plan a holistic linear and CTV approach we had a chat with Joshua Fulfs, Director of Digital Activation, DCMN and Blair Mitchell, Client Partner at DCMN. They spilled the tea, on all things CTV, with a whole host of learnings and strategic insights. That’s not all — we have two more knowledge drops for all CTV enthusiasts — a how to guide for CTV campaigns and a webinar in our SCALEup series with Adjust’s Gijsbert Pols, Lead Product Strategist. Tune in! 

What is the difference between linear, CTV and OTT? 

different sized pencils on blue background

Linear: Linear TV is the classic, old-school TV where audiences can watch content live as it is broadcast via cable, satellite, or ‘over the air.’ 

OTT: OTT stands for over-the-top and allows users to watch content on demand, as opposed to only viewing broadcast content. Audiences can subscribe to the different streaming platforms they consume and some of these platforms include Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and OTT devices include smartphones, laptops, tablets and smart TVs, among others. 

CTV: CTV is a subset of OTT. It is the method by which content gets delivered – the device where viewers can consume content. The different types of CTV streaming devices include Xbox, PlayStation, Roku, Apple TV and more. 

To make things simpler, here’s an example to tell you how OTT and CTV differ. When you watch Amazon Prime on your smartphone, you are streaming OTT and when you play this same content through a Firestick connected to your TV, you’re streaming via CTV.

…So how can linear and CTV work together? Our experts explain

What would be the benefits of CTV advertising vs. linear TV, specifically in the US?

Joshua: The biggest benefit of CTV as compared to linear TV is the higher level of targeting it offers, something that increases the odds of your message reaching the potential target audience. It allows for more granular targeting options, unlike the mass targeting of linear TV. 

Blair: While CTV is growing in viewership across all demographics, it still skews towards younger, more tech-savvy audiences. Many CTV viewers may also be cord-cutters or cord-nevers who are not reachable via linear TV. Conversely, many linear viewers are not reachable via streaming and if your target audience skews older you may be missing your ideal viewers.

Joshua: Another benefit would be the direct attribution possibilities. Even though linear attribution has become more trackable, CTV is an inherently digital medium and allows for more direct attribution. That being said, there are limitations on both linear and OTT tracking, as they each rely on cross-device models.

What are your thoughts on combining CTV and Linear TV?  

Blair: We view CTV and linear TV as best used in conjunction. Both channels use a TV screen to convey a message, but in different ways that complement each other. Linear allows us to make a big splash, maximizing your reach across nearly 121 million TV households in the US. CTV allows you to zero-in on your target audience, engaging with viewers that are separate from traditional TV, yet just as valuable. 

Joshua: The pros and cons of the two tactics balance each other out. High CPMs are a result of accessing highly-targeted, premium inventory on CTV. However, we can counterbalance this by incorporating a layer of cost-efficient linear media, increasing reach and frequency at the same time. Ultimately, the decision to either select one channel over the other or activate a combination of both, will be based on what exactly you are trying to achieve through the campaign.  

Speaking of measurement possibilities, how can one really measure a CTV campaign? 

Joshua: Depending on the tools used to attribute a campaign, there are a few different approaches marketers can take. These include using IP addresses, MAIDS (Mobile ad IDs), and other identifiers with device graphs such as LiveRamp and Tapad for tracking in real-time. These methods allow us to attribute a mobile device install from a CTV impression. However, there is still a probabilistic element to this type of attribution. Along with these methods, you could also try vanity URLs and QR codes, depending on your campaign goals. 

What targeting capacities are there available to marketers trying out CTV?

Blair: For targeting the right audience with your CTV campaigns, there are two sources you can look into: second and third-party segments. We can tap into user data from OTT partners like Roku or Samsung, or rely on third-party segments from data providers like Oracle and Acxiom. Second party data will share more demographic and viewership information, while third party data delves into the interests or intents of the target audience.

That’s interesting, but we also need to tackle retargeting. What’s the best approach for this? 

Joshua: When it comes to retargeting, you can begin with activating your first-party data. For example, if you’re a gaming studio, this means onboarding lapsed users or users of other games to reach with a CTV campaign. Additionally, you can build an audience of users who were exposed to a CTV ad and retarget them via other channels like online video or display ads. For mapping this audience to a different platform, you would most likely require a partnership with a company like LiveRamp, which comes at an additional cost. 

Interested in trying out CTV? Reach out to our experts at

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