CTV Targeting Best Practices: 4 Tips for Higher Performing Advertising Campaigns

How can your brand achieve extensive advertising reach without putting valuable marketing dollars at jeopardy? Create a smart CTV targeting strategy. 

TV advertising is a high impact advertising channel for building awareness and increasing share of voice by reaching your target audience in a non-skippable environment. However, the landscape is shifting. 47% of the U.S. TV viewers are already cordless and, by 2025, there will be over 235 million connected TV viewers. Is your brand reaching them? 

In this article, I’ll lay out how you can leverage the targeting and addressability benefits of connected TV in your large-screen video advertising plan. By the end, you will be able to apply four key learnings to your CTV targeting strategy to improve both your marketing ROI and your audience’s experience with your brand:

  • Pair cable and streaming for optimal reach and frequency
  • Diversify streaming platforms based on your CTV campaign goals
  • Leverage the addressability of CTV audience targeting
  • Lean into the power of contextual CTV targeting and premium placements

4 CTV Targeting Tips

#1 – Pair Cable and Streaming for Optimal Reach and Frequency

Before we dive too deep into specific CTV targeting strategies, let’s get one thing straight. We aren’t saying you should ignore linear (cable) television to go all in on digital. Linear TV is still one of the fastest ways to effectively reach mass audiences. However, the best way to achieve comprehensive consumer reach at an appropriate frequency is having the right mix of CTV, OTT, and linear. 

Traditionally, marketers would pour the majority of their big-screen budget into linear TV, and save a small fraction for CTV. There was a misperception that CTV had limited efficiency and reach. It was also more difficult to control ad frequency and compare measurement between linear and streaming. That has since changed. Today, these channels are beginning to speak the same language in terms of measurement, allowing for cross-platform comparisons and omnichannel reporting. 

Treating CTV as simply an incremental tactic is not only outdated, but inefficient. Connected TV ads can offer much greater control in regards to reach and frequency versus linear buys. To maximize results, pair linear and CTV/OTT in your media plan to create an omnichannel video strategy. Then, use cross-channel integration platforms to avoid siloes or ad fatigue, as well as understand impact. 

Hear why there should be a more equitable distribution between traditional and streaming television from our President, Sean Cotton, in this short video clip:

#2 – Diversify Streaming Platforms Based on Your CTV Campaign Goals

CTV targeting success comes down to knowing your marketing objectives and aligning that with placements that make sense based on where your audience consumes television content. You may be understandably concerned by the fragmentation of connected TV. There are so many streaming services and devices that it feels challenging to unify the experience. 

When evaluating targeting decisions, you have to evaluate what you value most: 

  • The streaming platforms on which your brand appears (Hulu, Disney+, Netflix, etc.)
  • Reaching audiences on a 1:1 basis

If you really want to advertise on a select few premium streaming platforms, you should be open to targeting a broader audience. Layering multiple audience segments on top of strict inventory limitations causes difficulties with achieving scale. But, you can leverage research to justify this strategy knowing that your audience spends time on platforms like HBOMax or Hulu, and take comfort knowing your ads are running on quality inventory. 

If your priority is reaching a highly specific audience, cast a wider inventory net. Look beyond the Hulus and walled gardens like Amazon Prime and YouTube TV, and instead lean into an omnichannel CTV buying strategy. While this will require more due diligence to ensure brand safety among lesser known CTV services, it creates an opportunity to take a more holistic approach to the opportunity across your consumer base.

#3 – Leverage the Addressability of CTV Audience Targeting

The golden rule of marketing – do everything in your power to avoid wasting media dollars. At least that’s our philosophy at Coegi. Needless to say, the typical “spray and pray” approach often used to reach broad audiences with linear TV makes us cringe a little. By using data-driven CTV partners, you can still reach broad audiences without overspending. 

There are a lot of data providers that can be activated to reach users on a 1:1 basis. This audience-first approach reaches high-value, addressable segments without overspending on mass media buys. Plus, you improve the user experience by serving relevant content in an engaging, large screen format.

You can also gain greater addressability through automated content recognition – an effective technology to simultaneously improve your audience targeting, ad personalization, and measurement in a privacy preserving way.. Automated content recognition (ACR) technology captures and identifies audio and visual on-screen content. It can capture any content being viewed on a smart TV screen: linear, streaming, video-on-demand, commercials, video games, etc. This data is fingerprinted and can be tied back to IP addresses, creating unique user IDs for specific devices 

The primary ACR targeting methods include:  

  • Target based on ad exposure (competitive conquesting)
  • Content affinity (live tentpole events, shows watched, games played)
  • Viewership behavior (cord-cutters, sports fans, etc.)

ACR data empowers you to better understand and reach your unique audience, as well as personalize messaging. 

#4 – Lean into the Power of Contextual CTV Targeting Strategies and Premium Placements

Audience targeting offers many benefits in the ability to drill down to specific behaviors, purchase history, and more. However, to maximize CTV targeting success, it’s important to balance audience-based and contextual targeting strategies. 

Why? Households share devices, so you cannot always be sure the person you are trying to reach is the one in front of the screen. Additionally, third-party cookie deprecation will impact overall addressability. Contextual CTV targeting does not rely on third-party cookie data, making it a more future-proof solution. It is also a valuable tool to achieve scale by targeting specific networks and content genres using audience affinity data. 

If you want to put a true stake in the ground, secure premium CTV placements through programmatic or direct publisher buys. Think live sporting events, award shows, or an ad spot on the latest Netflix series taking the world by storm. 

These premium placements are more expensive, with CPMs often ranging between $40-50. But, it’s critical to understand the value of running your brand’s message alongside highly recognizable content. If your audience is made up of huge sports fans, the impact of running a thirty-second ad spot during the NBA Finals could be invaluable to your long-term brand performance. Premium CTV placements both elevate trustworthiness for newer brands and energize existing brands. 

Learn more about how to optimize your CTV budget with quality inventory from Coegi’s Director of Programmatic Operations, Hannah Schatz, in this clip: 

The ways in which viewers consume TV are changing, but the overall love of programming remains. Knowing your brand and how your target audiences index against specific content is essential in the future of CTV targeting strategies. Implementing these data-driven targeting tactics will give you access to higher-quality ad space. 

For more information, view our OTT/CTV Advertising Webinar here or access our TV 2.0 Guide to gain a better understanding of the CTV ecosystem. 

CTV Advertising Best Practices: Q&A with The Trade Desk 

Your CTV advertising questions answered.

If you’re interested in streaming television advertising but have never run a campaign, you likely have many questions. How do I create an effective campaign? Is it worth the time and money? How will I know if it’s working? 

In this Q&A article, we sat down with two CTV experts – Jake Richardson, Director of TV Partnerships at The Trade Desk, and Hannah Schatz, Director of Programmatic Operations at Coegi. They answered common questions about connected TV so you can feel confident using this high-impact channel to reach your brand goals. 

What is something most marketers don’t know about connected TV advertising?

Jake: One of the biggest unlocks we hear from clients is that certain TV shows or events are not available for programmatic purchasing. While that was once true, we’ve made great strides with our TV partners. They have realized the value of having programmatic inventory. Now, anything available on linear can be reached via streaming or connected TV. That even includes things like live sports.

Hannah: Connected TV is not bought, sold, or delivered the same way as traditional TV advertising. With CTV, ad slots are not determined by certain air times or channels. Rather, CTV ads are shown one at a time to a specific target audience/viewer.

What’s the biggest misconception among advertisers about CTV?

Jake: Pricing – many believe connected TV is less ‘efficient’ than linear TV on a household reach basis. However, the true power of CTV advertising is that marketers can tap into consumers on a more precise data-driven basis, with individual households. This makes that inventory substantially more appealing than traditional TV where targeting can be limited to a DMA or age and gender at best. What’s a better use of budget: spending it on households that are not interested in your product or spending it on audiences that have shown interest or even purchased previously?

Hannah: The idea that premium TV content is only available on one platform. For example, a brand wanting to reach Bravo viewers can access them on Hulu, but also on other streaming platforms such as SlingTV, DirectTV Stream, and FuboTV.

How can brands ensure they are running ads on high-quality CTV inventory?

Hannah: Look at what you are buying before launching your campaign. DSPs, like The Trade Desk, package their premium CTV inventory into private marketplaces (PMPs) of different categories (News, Live Sports, Entertainment, etc). Without executing through PMPs, the buy is open to all inventory coming through as “CTV” in the bid stream. This can result in buying less desirable ad slots.

For more tips on selecting CTV inventory to maximize your budget, view the video below:

What targeting approaches should marketers consider to reach their audiences on CTV?

Jake: One of the most important pieces of advice we give to our clients and brands is to start with an audience-first approach. With linear TV, we use contextual parameters to help narrow our audience. However, with CTV we have incredible user data that allows more granular targeting. Relying on contextual parameters in an audience-first world hinders your ability to unlock CTV’s full potential.

Hannah: Consider what is more important to you: the platforms your brand appears on or the audience you want to reach. If you want to target a niche audience AND only be on 2-3 streaming platforms, you will likely lack scale. Instead, be open to casting a wider net in terms of inventory if targeting a small audience. On the other hand, be open to targeting a broader audience if you only want to appear on a few streaming platforms

How can brands control CTV ad frequency?

Jake: Ad oversaturation isn’t just wasting money. It diminishes the consumer experience with your brand. The benefit of buying CTV via platforms like The Trade Desk is that it allows for holistic frequency capping. This means you can control and leverage frequency across not just CTV buys, but across the entire media mix. 

How can marketers measure the impact of CTV advertising on business results?

Jake: Traditionally, we don’t think of CTV as a direct response channel. By combining CTV buys with your omnichannel digital approach, marketers can track traditional digital KPIs – even on CTV inventory. Leveraging the power of multiple digital channels working together gives advertisers the most out of their CTV buys. 

Brands and advertisers can also evaluate campaign efficacy in real-time and shift accordingly when marketing goals change. Also, you can add in data from retail media partners like Albertson’s, Target, or Walgreens for greater performance insights and, in some cases, to measure tangible sales results.

Hannah: CTV advertising success is not just measurable by front-end metrics like video completion rates or cost per completed view. I often recommend running a brand lift study. This provides insight into how your video ads impacted an audience’s awareness or consideration of your brand. CTV also allows for offline conversion tracking. This records how many times a viewer was exposed to your ads before taking a key action. 

What strategies can brands use to connect measurement results from omnichannel campaigns?

Jake: Omnichannel measurement is one of the key differentiators of platform-based buying, as compared to buying television in siloes. We counsel clients to bring as much of their existing digital buys into the platform. Then, they can measure campaigns across all of the publishers and channels. By leveraging linear TV audience data via our Audience Accelerator product, advertisers are also able to understand their linear TV footprint and adjust their digital channel strategies to ensure these buys complement one another.

Hannah: It’s important to take advantage of real-time measurement and optimization. CTV advertising offers more flexibility than linear TV. For example, CTV can measure which creative message worked best, as well as what audience responded the most with the final action, such as a product purchase. Those converted users can then be suppressed from targeting on other channels running in tandem. This ultimately leads to less media waste.

How is CTV advertising evolving to drive lower-funnel conversions?

Jake: Much of this shift is being driven by the addressability of CTV measurement; but also by emerging channels. More and more, we are seeing interactive creative that evokes a response. This comes through both third-party vendors and publishers themselves. We’ve found that new creative formats are increasingly able to drive toward brands’ KPIs thanks to technological innovation in the space.

Hannah: Pixels, site visits, and site activity can be tracked on any programmatic campaign, including CTV. As a result, you can measure CTV by the number of lower-funnel activities such as: 

  • Number of site visits driven
  • Cost per site visit 
  • Conversion rate of on-site actions. 

This allows us to refine TV campaign objectives beyond broad awareness and reach. 

What should marketers consider when balancing cost and effectiveness on CTV?

Jake: Since marketers can now activate in real-time on an individual household level, they can better determine which impressions are worth their dollars. Instead of spending money on ‘cheap reach’, media buyers can make every impression count. While CPMs may be more costly on a per-unit basis, omitting out-of-demo impressions results in biddable CTV with much greater inherent value.

Hannah: Consider what placements are going to elevate your brand’s position. Some are more costly but have powerful engagement. For example, supplementing your buy on a large live sporting event to reach many users on multiple streaming platforms can have a major impact worth the premium

What should marketers consider when putting together their CTV creative strategy?

Jake: Marketers should treat CTV creative much like they do traditional television creative. This is a chance to tell a story. It’s also an opportunity to engage closely with your customer on the largest screen in the room. 

Also, keep in mind that you can target a very specific set of viewers. For example, a food delivery service using the offerings at The Trade Desk could activate real-time weather data to target streamers with warm dinner options in Kansas City when it’s raining. I cannot understate the effectiveness of this kind of real-time pivot.

Hannah: As you tell your story, keep a cohesive narrative, whether you have 15 seconds or a full minute. Also, ensure your video is of the highest quality possible as premium publishers have thresholds on things like bitrate. Finally, run A/B tests to determine which creatives resonate best with your audience. 

How can brands be more innovative with CTV advertising?

Jake: One of the best things about CTV is the speed and agility and the ability to test and learn more quickly. You can improve campaign relevance and effectiveness in ways that can be challenging to achieve on linear. 

Hannah: Consider incorporating emerging ad formats and tactics to increase overall ad relevance and engagement. For example: 

  • Interactive ad elements such as map functionality or QR codes 
  • Dynamic creative optimization to deliver personalized ads to target audience groups
  • Real-time geographic data to deliver CTV ads to your target audience based on their location/environment 

Finally, what are your best tips for running a successful CTV campaign?

Jake: Iterate, iterate: iterate! The power of CTV is real-time feedback. Taking the data and measurement that comes part and parcel with a CTV buy will allow you to quickly adjust buying behavior. The end result is higher return on ad spend and less waste.

Hannah: To maximize CTV campaign success, focus on three key areas: audience, context, and measurement. 

  • Audience: Avoid wasting media dollars by taking advantage of addressable CTV targeting. Activate first-party audiences by purchasing data from partners like Catalina, retail media providers, or exposure data from Samba TV.  
  • Context: Make sure your ads are running around high-quality programming that is relevant to your audience. 
  • Measurement: Establish CTV campaign KPIs that are clear, meaningful, and trackable. This will enable you to attribute success and see its value in your overall strategy. 

Download our CTV Ecosystem Infographic here to understand the key terms and players in the streaming landscape. 

For more strategic tips and information, access our Connected TV Advertising Guide.

The OTT/CTV Advertising Opportunity | Webinar

OTT/CTV advertising has officially met the reach of broadcast television. Streaming and connected TV devices exploded in 2020 as more consumers stayed home and cut the cord. In 2021, there were nearly 214 million connected television users, and that number is projected to increase to 230 million by 2025.

If streaming TV ads are new to you, you likely have many questions about the landscape. 

  • How are users consuming television today? 
  • Who is streaming versus watching cable? 
  • How do you address cross-device streaming? 
  • How do you measure and test connected TV ad performance? 

You’re not alone. These questions are top of mind for many marketers. CTV is constantly changing and capabilities evolve seemingly overnight. To clear up some of that uncertainty, we answer these and many more questions in this webinar. 

Coegi partners with leading industry experts from TheTradeDesk, Magnite, and iSpot.TV. In this webinar, the panelists clearly explain the immense opportunity available to advertisers in streaming TV. You’ll come away from this webinar with a much stronger understanding of the advertising opportunity on CTV and how to leverage it for maximum marketing ROI. 

In addition, you’ll learn: 

  • The latest trends in OTT/CTV advertising for brands and consumers
  • Ways to strategically incorporate premium CTV inventory into your campaigns
  • Recommendations on how to effectively measure CTV

For more resources, download our free CTV Advertising Guide.

Targeting Tourism Audiences With CTV Advertising Campaigns

The Brief

A state tourism client tapped Coegi to implement a CTV advertising campaign with the primary goal of driving awareness. We used a test-and-learn bidding strategy to identify optimal bid numbers across platforms. This allowed us to allocate the client’s budget across the most impactful CTV channels. Using this strategy, we achieved more even spend, higher unique views, and improved cost efficiency.


Total Views

Unique Reach

Cost per Unique Reach


In programmatic CTV advertising campaigns, platforms will often optimize spend distribution towards total views. This oversimplification causes premium placements like Hulu to consume a disproportionate amount of the budget.

That risk was actualized when early reporting showed 99% of campaign spend going to Hulu and only 1% driving views on other high-indexing channels. As a high-impact platform, Hulu was important, but we wanted to ensure we were using other channels to expand the audience reach and maintain cost efficiency. 


Our specialists manually adjusted and optimized bids across different channels to create an even spend distribution. The goal was to identify the “sweet spot” that would give each strategic channel an appropriate amount of the budget.  Once the optimal channel mix was identified, the spend evened out to be 60% in Hulu and 40% distributed among other channels.

By serving ads to more niche channels such as Travel Channel, HGTV, and Discovery, we were able to reach key audience segments and boost overall ad performance. This generated 2,750,490 total completed video views, a cost-per-view of $0.05, a unique reach of 470,867 and a post-per-unique-reach of $0.31. 

Premium CTV channels can consume a disproportionate amount of budget. Correcting these standard optimizations with a manual test-and-learn strategy is necessary to find the ideal budget spend and maximize cost efficiency.

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Connected TV Advertising | The Comprehensive Guide

Ready to get started with connected TV advertising?

To many brand advertisers, television is the ultimate brand-building and storytelling medium. The TV is the largest screen in the house that rightly commands the lion’s share of the advertising budget.

Programmatic TV buying is beginning to take hold and will become a dominant buying procedure in the not so distant future.

Why Connected TV?

A key differentiator of CTV is in its use of audience data, allowing for addressability that can’t be replicated by linear TV.  Advertisers can use can first and third-party data, lookalike modeling and retargeting to connect with consumers across tactics and at every step in their journey.

This is possible because of cross-device mapping. This allows a user’s audience profile from other devices to integrate with their connected TV.

Unlock Coegi’s comprehensive guide to automated buying strategies for the new era of connected TV advertising.

The CTV/OTT advertising market is rapidly growing and ever-evolving as more and more consumers move to streaming services. Many marketers have questions such as: 

  • What is programmatic TV buying? 
  • What are the best buying tactics for CTV advertising? 
  • What are the emerging trends for the future of CTV/OTT advertising? 
  • How to determine your ideal TV advertising strategy? 

In this guide, we answer these key questions and more to enable digital marketers and media buyers to tap into the lucrative Connected TV opportunity. 

Download the guide

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