May 16, 2023

Linear + CTV: Future-Proofing Your Media Strategy

Despite what the 21st-century surge of cord-cutters and cord-nevers may lead you to believe, linear TV and the long-stay impact of its advertising capabilities won’t be headed for demise anytime soon. There’s no doubt that the era of streaming and OTT/CTV is well upon us—reaching 142 million adult viewers across the globe—but abandoning the traditional TV marketing…


Despite what the 21st-century surge of cord-cutters and cord-nevers may lead you to believe, linear TV and the long-stay impact of its advertising capabilities won’t be headed for demise anytime soon.

There’s no doubt that the era of streaming and OTT/CTV is well upon us—reaching 142 million adult viewers across the globe—but abandoning the traditional TV marketing method might just lead to more campaign losses than gains.

Like most things in marketing, the best TV advertising efforts exist in a unit, and a diversified strategy—using both CTV/OTT and linear in tandem—keeps your brand relevant, in touch with your most valued leads, and seeing greater results.

What Is the Current State of the Industry?

A decades-old household staple, linear TV boasts a history of success at driving scale and delivering a broad reach for advertisers.

In recent years, however, the industry has experienced a significant disconnect, leaving many marketers looking to tack on other mediums to their strategy, particularly digital and CTV/OTT.

The age of converged media strategies has been a long time coming, and it’s not just because there are more opportunities than ever to get your brand known. Challenges in today’s linear TV landscape are taking marketing teams back to the drawing board, especially when faced with roadblocks like:

  • Limited linear measurement: Linear TV is still measured using the 50+-year-old gross rating point (GRP) system, which makes it difficult to track the number of viewers who saw your ad in a meaningful way and then decided to take action.
  • Migration to CTV: As the number of viewers tuning into linear drops, marketers can no longer afford to keep a tunnel-vision focus on the traditional TV medium and miss out on reaching a wider audience.
  • Fragmented approach by media partners: With digital advertising channels on the rise, media partners are going about leveraging traditional linear TV in muddled ways, leaving brands with the challenge of establishing marketing branding and efficiency.

The evidence supporting convergence media approaches is here, and the figures are more than telling. According to a MediaScience/Effectv study, viewers exposed to TV and digital ads—versus digital ads alone—spent 3x more time with the ads, had a twice better brand recall, and rose their purchase intent by 15%.

But the power of combining CTV and linear is still unfolding, and advertisers going into this year’s first multi-currency upfront still cite fragmentation and measurement as top challenges in the converged TV space. Despite the industry’s current pain points, forward-thinking marketers are still embracing the potential of what a convergent media strategy can do, what its future holds, and how it can fit into their budget.

Where Ad Dollars Are Shifting

Ad dollars are moving, and what’s behind the migration is the eager marketer ready to capitalize on the impact of convergent media.

While search and social, mobile apps, and digital display continue their reign as the preferred channels for direct-to-consumer (DTC) marketers—receiving the largest shares of ad dollars in 1H 2023—a growing number of brands are shifting budgets to support increased spending on CTV/OTT.

In fact, 65% of those investing in CTV/OTT advertising in 1H ’23 report it being their first time funneling dollars into the channel, and over half (57%) of all marketers opting for this digital solution will spend more on it than this time last year.

By allocating extra budget to performance TV, advertisers have a leg up in not only staying competitive and reaching a highly targeted audience but also remaining insightful of their campaigns’ true impressions.

Because of the combined, rich data of performance TV and linear TV, over two-thirds of DTC marketers are leveraging CTV/OTT campaign insights to influence and optimize their linear strategies—and hail bigger results.

How Do TV Insights Work?

TV insights deliver the data you need to refine your marketing efforts and make more informed decisions on the who, what, how, when, and where of a successful campaign. Using these linear and CTV/OTT performance insights, you can enhance your advertising strategy and better resonate with your audience in three different ways:

  • Activate: Combine the power of linear and digital data to drive higher performance and better understand your consumers by enriching on-site user data with footfall, location, and demographic data.
  • Measure: Define KPIs and metrics relevant to campaigns and get recommendations and targeting strategies to draw insights from and make smarter campaign decisions.
  • Optimize: Measure and optimize your buys across digital by taking into account real-time linear TV data and visualize it in easy reporting and graphics.

Whether your main goal is fueling your branding, performance, or both, determining the best ways to go about your strategy is made possible with comprehensive TV insights, particularly when it comes to ACR technology.

The Impact of ACR Insights

The everyday smart TV is one of the primary propellors of granular TV insights. With automatic content recognition (ACR) technology built into these devices, smart TVs are able to identify nearly any content—including linear and CTV—playing on-screen and serve as grounds for immense data collection, helping advertisers with:

  • Measuring viewership and performance
  • Targeting and ACR retargeting ads to specific audience segments
  • Building audience profiles
  • Gauging the gap (or overlap) between the number of people who were exposed to an ad on traditional TV versus CTV
  • Connecting ACR data to other sources to determine how many viewers purchased the product advertised or visited the brand’s website after exposure

Although the total number of ACR-enabled TVs currently on the market is unknown, Vizio accounts for over 21m devices as of April 2023, signaling that marketers have plenty of ACR data sources to tap into for their CTV and linear campaigns.

The Benefits of CTV and Linear Convergence

CTV/OTT without data-driven linear TV advertising (and vice versa) is like developing a media buying plan without an experienced media planning strategist in your corner.

It meets the mark, but at what cost to your campaign?

These complimentary marketing tactics are best when leveraged together, and it’s not just because they reach a much wider audience. When you prioritize the combined power of a convergent TV strategy, you can:

  • Drive true measurement and action
  • Connect the digital and linear world
  • Enrich your data stack and leverage it to drive your competitor conquesting efforts
  • Understand exposure data across linear to inform your CTV/OTT buys
  • Avoid fatigue with the right frequency by connecting your CTV/OTT and linear delivery

It’s easy to fall into the trap that the cord-cutting phenomenon is positing—linear TV is on the decline. However, current viewing numbers suggest that we’re not quite there yet, and ditching traditional TV is only jumping the gun since it accounts for just under 50% of daily views. It still remains a highly saturated medium, and by keeping it in the modern era marketing landscape, advertisers are able to maximize their spending in more ways than one.

When you embrace the capabilities of both performance and linear TV, you’ll boost the data at your fingertips, the reach of your campaigns, and the relevance of your brand, all while staying in touch with industry standards.

Get Started With Digital Remedy

CTV viewership and adoption continue to grow, and with it comes a proliferation of Performance TV, from ad-supported and subscription models to a hybrid of both.

Using TV insights through Digital Remedy, you can optimize your buys across digital by taking into account real-time linear TV data, increasing transparency in your TV buys, finding those hard-to-reach audiences, and measuring more effectively. With our customized digital media buying solutions, we’ll help you tap into your most telling insights and drive your future campaign strategies in ways that deliver the highest return on your investment.

Even more, advertisers can now run their linear media with us, bringing TV planning, activation, and measurement all under one roof. Listen to our RVP, West Coast, Mike McLaughlin expand on why and how Digital Remedy helps advertisers converge their linear and CTV strategy.

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Ready to take your TV campaigns to the next level? Speak with a member of our team to learn more.