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How advertisers can unlock CTV

To say that Connected TV (CTV) has revolutionised how UK audiences watch content would be an understatement. Since smart TVs started to become more common in UK households in the early 2010s, CTV has evolved at breakneck speed.

Today it’s almost ubiquitous in UK households – over two-thirds of UK households have made it a regular part of their content watching diet. And where audiences head, advertisers are sure to follow. Currently UK advertisers are commiting £1.17 billion of ad spend to reach users via CTV, with this figure set to double by 2026.

Let’s look at what opportunities are driving the increasing spend commitment from advertisers – and how they can optimise their CTV spend.

The CTV explosion

The power of reaching consumers via the biggest screen in the house has long been known by advertisers. In a world increasingly saturated with ads, this format continues to cut through and garner audience trust – UK consumers place ads on TV and CTV as their most trusted.

Increasingly as well, viewers are shifting towards ad-supported formats of content streaming as they look to cut down on paid subscriptions. Driven by the new ad supported tiers offered by streaming giants Netflix and Disney+, it is predicted that two-thirds of UK consumers will use at least one advertising-based video on demand (AVOD) service monthly by 2024 – a five percent increase on the prior year.

One trend to watch that will drive this expansion of ad-supported viewing is the emergence of Free Ad-Supported Streaming TV (FAST) services. These channels offer niche content in a format similar to traditional TV. For instance, the current most prominent player in the UK FAST landscape ITVX offers viewers genre-specific channels such as ‘The Oxford Detectives’ and ’90s Favourites’. These channels allow advertisers to tap into usually hard-to-find audiences with laser-sharp targeting.

As Google looks to phase out the cookie, CTV offers a way to continue to reach audiences in a highly targeted yet privacy secure way. The power of placing ads near contextually relevant content has been long known, and with the increasing number of specialist and niche channels, marketers can find the audiences even faster.

Measurement is also becoming more mature. The UK independent ratings agency BARB (Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board) has recently made moves to start tracking viewing on streaming services such as Netflix and Disney+, while the emergence of measurement solutions such as automatic content recognition (ACR) is providing more granular insights in a privacy-secure fashion.

Not the complete picture yet

CTV is very much still maturing, and as a result, still experiencing a number of growing pains:


While the wealth of options available to consumers is what has drawn them into CTV in the first place, for advertisers, navigating this increasingly fractured landscape is not easy. The multiple platforms, apps and devices make it tough to create truly holistic campaigns.

Lack of measurement

There have been great strides forward in measurement – however its capabilities still fall short when compared to online channels. For marketers under increasing pressure to increase ROI, this lack of transparency may make them think twice about committing spend. There are also issues with the frequency of ad delivery, leaving target audiences underserved or bombarded by the same ads.


While the amount of time viewers are spending with CTV is increasing, linear TV is still able to pull in large numbers of viewers – especially for large, one off events such as football games or reality show finals. The wealth of options available on CTV mean users are more spread out, consuming content at different times and in different places.

Ultimately there is a need for a more unified CTV ecosystem. This will require greater collaboration between all players in the ecosystem to help create standardised measurement. This will not only mean advertisers can better optimise their spend, but also create a better advertising experience for audiences.

The power of programmatic

Increasingly marketers are turning to programmatic purchasing to drive their CTV campaigns. While its usage is not as widespread as other digital channels, this automated way to purchase ad slots is gathering pace within CTV.

Programmatic has the potential to reunite the fragmented ecosystem. Demand side platforms (DSPs) are using increasingly sophisticated programmatic advertising technology and AI algorithms to target specific audience segments across various CTV platforms and optimise ad placements in real time.

For marketers, this means that they can reach their target audience at scale in a cost effective manner.  The increased use of automated buying also benefits users. Ads can be increasingly personalised and the frequency of ads better managed.

If you would like to find more about how to unlock the potential of programmatic CTV get in touch on xxxxx