Connected TV

Connected TV Inventory: Definitive Guide for Advertisers

Connected TV Inventory: Definitive Guide for Advertisers

6 Min Read

According to recent statistics, nearly 60% of Connected TV (CTV) users in the U.S. consider CTV ads more relevant than traditional TV ads. If you want to capitalize on this trend and target your audience base with engaging content, you must find quality CTV inventory. Here’s everything you need to know about Connected TV inventory.

What Is Connected TV Inventory?

“CTV inventory” refers to the ad spaces or slots available on platforms and devices that stream online video. This includes a wide range of applications, from the on-demand shows on streaming services to the streaming apps themselves. 

Types of CTV Inventory

CTV inventory comes in all shapes and sizes, depending on which stakeholders in the streaming content ecosystem are offering it. Let’s take a look at the who’s-who of the CTV inventory landscape. 

Content Owners

Content owners are the studios or networks — think Paramount+ or Peacock — that produce and own binge-worthy series and movies. They often sell ad space within their content to generate revenue, making them a valuable part of the CTV inventory supply chain.

App Owners

App owners like Netflix and Roku operate the platforms that deliver the content directly to your viewers. They control the ad inventory within their apps and are therefore key gatekeepers for CTV ads. (Note: In many cases, app owners are also content owners — both Netflix and Roku produce/own content in addition to building and operating the platform on which people watch it.)

Demand-Side Platforms

Demand-side platforms (DSPs) are the tools advertisers use to buy ad inventory across the CTV landscape. You can use these platforms to automate ad purchases across a wide range of inventory sources through what’s called “programmatic bidding.” 

CTV Ad Formats

Connected TV inventory comes in several formats, each offering a unique way to reach and engage viewers. Some formats you’ll encounter include:

Pre-Roll Ads

Pre-roll ads play before the start of a streaming video. They’re the appetizers of the CTV ad world, teasing what your brand has to offer before viewers dive into their content.

Mid-Roll Ads

Mid-roll ads are similar to traditional TV commercials, in that they play during breaks in the streaming content. These streaming ads are highly effective, as they appear when audiences are already deeply engaged in the show or movie they’re watching. 

Post-Roll Ads

Post-roll ads appear after the content has finished playing. They can be a great way to put eyes on your brand while the viewer decides what to watch next, or while the viewer is binge-watching and letting episodes auto-play. 

Banner Ads

Banner ads are the billboards of the CTV universe. They typically display on the menu screens of streaming platforms, catching consumers’ eyes as they browse their viewing options. 

Overlay Ads

Overlay ads pop up over the content during playback, offering a subtle yet effective advertising method without totally taking over the screen. This type of CTV inventory is most common on streaming platforms like YouTube. (A new form of overlay ad gaining traction recently is the pause ad, which appears over content while it’s — you guessed it — paused.)

CTV Placement Types

Choosing the perfect placement for your CTV ads will help you maximize your reach and mobilize your audience to action. Here are some of the most common CTV placement types.

In-App CTV Ads

In-app CTV ads are served directly within streaming applications, whether it’s on a mobile device or smart TV or through OTT devices like Roku or Amazon Fire Stick. They can appear as banners, sidebar ads, or overlays. 

Over-the-Top (OTT) Devices

OTT devices are the hardware that streams content from the internet directly to your audience — your Apple TVs, Amazon Fire sticks, Rokus, and so on. Ads on these devices are integrated into the streaming experience, making them part of the viewer’s chosen content. Some OTT ads are skippable, while others aren’t.

Smart TVs

Smart TVs have built-in internet connectivity and support for various streaming apps. Ads here can appear within the apps or as part of the smart TV’s interface.

Gaming Consoles

Internet-connected gaming consoles, like PlayStation or Xbox, serve as another vessel for streaming content, allowing gamers to switch from playing to watching. You can deliver ads like banners, in-app content, and more on these devices.

Mobile Devices

Roughly 30 million consumers watch CTV content on their smartphones. This makes mobile devices a prime location for CTV ads. Ads can be tailored and optimized for these smaller screens, offering a more personal viewing experience.

How to Buy CTV Ad Inventory

There are two main ways to buy CTV ad inventory: through programmatic marketplaces or non-programmatically (i.e. directly from the publisher). 

Programmatic Marketplaces

Programmatic marketplaces use automated technology to buy and sell CTV ad inventory. This method takes the hassle out of purchasing Connected TV advertising and allows for real-time bidding on available ad space. 


Direct sales involve the purchase of ad space directly from the content or app owners. This approach gives you more control over where your ads are placed and can be negotiated based on specific campaign needs. However, it’s a hands-on process that comes with a lot of back and forth.

How to Evaluate CTV Inventory Providers

When it comes to choosing a CTV inventory provider, there are several factors you need to consider carefully.

Brand Safety

Working with providers who can guarantee that your brand’s reputation remains untarnished is essential. Brand-conscious CTV inventory providers will ensure that your ads aren’t displayed alongside content you don’t want your brand to be associated with.

Fraud Prevention

With digital ad fraud on the rise, it’s critical to select providers with robust measures in place to prevent fraudulent activities and safeguard your investments. The best providers will employ modern cybersecurity protocols and do their part to preserve your reputation.

Premium Networks

Ideally, you want to go with providers that can offer access to premium networks. These networks typically have high-quality content and a loyal viewership, which can translate to better ad performance.

Transparent Measurement

Work with providers who offer transparent CTV measurement using reliable metrics, such as impressions and video completion rates. This transparency is vital for analyzing and optimizing the performance of your CTV campaigns.

Premium vs. Non-Premium CTV Inventory

You wouldn’t pay for billboard advertising space in an unused industrial park or alongside a highway that’s closed for construction. Why? Because few, if any, members of your target audience would see it. The same premise applies to CTV inventory.

While you can reach some consumers with non-premium CTV inventory, you’ll be fighting an uphill battle. That’s why you should prioritize premium connected TV inventory. Quality inventory is the key to driving results, maintaining brand safety, and achieving a strong return on ad spend (ROAS).

MNTN Performance TV: Premium Connected TV Inventory

MNTN Performance TV specializes in providing premium CTV inventory, with an emphasis on high-quality, brand-safe placement and performance-driven results.

MNTN is a go-to for brands looking to make an impact with their CTV advertising. Our top-notch CTV inventory, dynamic campaign measurement tools, and client-centric approach help advertisers get more out of every performance marketing campaign. 

Book a demo today to learn more. 

CTV Inventory: Final Thoughts

Navigating the CTV inventory ecosystem may seem daunting, but it’s a journey worth taking. When you know what sort of Connected TV inventory is available, you’ll be better equipped to leverage this ever-growing performance marketing channel.Remember, evaluating inventory providers is essential. You not only want to ensure that your ads reach the right audience but also that they reflect positively on your brand. With premium CTV inventory, you’re more likely to hit the mark on both counts, making CTV ads a central component of your advertising strategy.