Connected TV

The Top Mistakes Brands Make With Their CTV Ad Spend

The Top Mistakes Brands Make With Their CTV Ad Spend

5 Min Read

If you missed the 2023 streaming recap, we’ll be honest: you missed a lot. Between the Hollywood strikes, delayed content releases, platform fragmentation and consolidation (yep, those are all happening at the same time), and the rising cost of subscriptions, there’s a lot to catch up on. 

But we don’t want you to get the wrong idea — there’s no reason to be pessimistic about 2024. The challenges the industry faced in the last year are actually creating incredible opportunities for advertisers with the right ad streaming strategies. 

Stephen Graveman, Strategic Content & Research Manager at MNTN, recently joined eMarketer to discuss the top mistakes brands make with their Connected TV (CTV) ad spend and how to make the most of their budgets going forward. Let’s take a look at their conversation: 

2023 Was a Big Year for CTV

Like we mentioned above, 2023 was a knockout year for CTV. We’re just going to scratch the surface, but let’s take a look at a few highlights of the year to give us some context before diving into 2024 strategies:  

Ad-Supported Streaming 

In 2023, many streaming platforms got acquainted with ads — even those who swore they’d never use them. And since roughly half of these streamers are charging double what they were when they launched their services without ads, many viewers are taking advantage of these lower-cost, ad-supported tiers to save their wallets. 

Plus, more viewers than ever are taking advantage of free ad-supported TV (FAST) platforms. Nearly half of US households watch content on FAST channels every week — and one study found that most of those viewers think FASTs deliver great value. 

Hollywood Strikes 

During the writers’ and actors’ strike, many advertisers were concerned about the future of CTV. But don’t worry — reruns stepped in to save the day. Whether you tune into your comfort show, regardless of new content, or are just looking to catch up on an older show people have told you to watch, rerun content is a massive part of streaming services. (Remember the whole “Friends” debacle?) And they’re keeping these platforms popular, even when there’s no new content to air. MNTN Research found that 45% of viewers said they’d watch reruns of existing shows if they didn’t have new content to watch. 

Fragmentation and Consolidation 

While it might feel like fragmentation and consolidation shouldn’t go together, they’ve stuck by each other all throughout 2023. You know what they say: when one platform door closes, another one opens. 

While some platforms are coming together, like Disney+ and Hulu, others are splitting — even within the same brand. Amazon, for example, will soon have ad-supported Prime video in addition to Freevee, its FAST channel. 

The Mistakes We Don’t Want You To Make 

We’ve been in the CTV space for a while. Not to age ourselves, but we’ve seen a lot of shi…fts in streaming. With this always-on, quickly evolving industry, there are always new challenges, and you can’t let them stop you in your tracks. 

Instead, we believe in finding the opportunities within these challenges and taking full advantage of them. 2024 is expected to be the best year yet for streaming advertisers — you just need to have the right strategies to make it through. 

Not focusing on attribution 

One of the key mistakes we see advertisers make: missing out on accurate and reliable reporting. There’s been a ton of conversation around this topic in the industry, and while we think that’s great (and necessary), it’s left a lot of people uncertain about the right way to move forward with CTV attribution

At MNTN, we believe in more transparency around reporting and attribution. So we created Verified Visits™, an attribution model that ensures our platform only takes credit for visits it actually drove. If another referral source is found, MNTN doesn’t take credit for that visit — ensuring you know exactly how your performance marketing channels are, well, performing.

Missing your audience 

While the rapid movement of CTV is a sign of a maturing industry, it’s also created a challenge for advertisers trying to follow their audiences across platforms and ad tiers. Instead of putting all of their eggs in one basket (or, all of their money on one streaming service, if you want to be literal about it), advertisers should craft an audience-first strategy to reach viewers across platforms. 

At MNTN, we believe an audience-centered approach is critical to an effective Performance TV strategy. With the right audience targeting tools, you can worry less about fragmentation and focus on reaching your audience while they’re watching their favorite content. 

Not buying premium, brand-safe inventory 

Many brands think they have to stick with the same strategies they’re used to on linear TV, which often boils down to reaching as many people as possible. And if that’s what you’re after, then more power to you. But with Performance TV, you’ve got the opportunity to do more with your TV ads — and, honestly, you should take advantage of it. 

To ensure you’re making the most of it, your ads need to be viewed alongside premium, brand-safe inventory. According to MNTN Research, brand safety helps drive stronger performance on CTV, including an increase in conversions and view time for ads. They also found brand safety is important to both advertisers and consumers, so getting it right creates a win-win situation. 

Thinking Strategically About CTV Ad Spend 

This past year was streaming’s best year yet — but we’re betting 2024 is going to be even better. And we don’t want you to waste time or money chasing the wrong strategies. To learn more about effectively spending your CTV ad budget, watch the full webinar here