Advertising, Connected TV

Streaming TV Advertising: The Definitive Guide for Marketers

Streaming TV Advertising: The Definitive Guide for Marketers

7 Min Read

OTT, CTV, AVOD, SVOD–the world of streaming advertising can seem like a whole new language – one filled with acronyms. As people continue to cut the cord, advertisers are following, making the jump from their previous linear ad campaigns to streaming ads. But joining the shift to streaming TV advertising doesn’t need to feel overwhelming – let us break down the basics.

What Is Streaming TV Advertising?

Streaming TV advertising is advertising that runs within TV content watched through an internet-connected device rather than ads you may see on traditional linear television. These streaming TV ads will appear either before or during streaming content found on ad-supported networks and apps.

While Netflix may be the first streaming channel that comes to mind, which does not feature ads within its content, free ad-supported TV is continuing to grow in popularity. Two-thirds of viewers said that they would prefer to watch ads rather than pay for a subscription to watch content, as long as those ads are relevant and not too burdensome.

Many cord-cutters originally ditched cable to avoid the big monthly bill, so they are selective in how many subscription streaming channels they sign up for – those monthly fees add up quickly.

The demand for inexpensive streaming experiences is so clear that even subscription-based services are taking note; HBO Max recently introduced a new, cheaper subscription model that included ads to help make up the price difference.

With a bevy of channels for consumers to pick from, many viewers are willing to sit through a few ad breaks in exchange for free, or less expensive, premium content.

How Does Streaming Advertising Work?

Advertisers use these ad-supported platforms to serve targeted ads to viewers based on their online behavior, interests, and demographic data, similar to online advertising strategies.

Ads can be interspersed within a streaming show or movie, akin to traditional linear or cable TV advertising breaks, but with the added benefit of detailed analytics and viewer data for measuring ad performance.

Now, let’s discuss a few terms that are often used in conjunction with streaming TV advertising: OTT, CTV, AVOD, and SVOD.


What does OTT advertising mean? OTT advertising stands for “over-the-top advertising” meaning content comes over your cable box via the internet, rather than through a cable or satellite. More specifically, OTT refers to the technology that allows content to be delivered via the Internet.

What does CTV advertising mean? CTV stands for connected television, meaning content watched via a device connected to the internet. This may be TV content watched on a mobile device, but more and more, people are shifting back to the TV screen in their living room. Streamers may watch CTV through an internet-connected streaming device, such as a Roku or Apple TV, or through a Smart TV that connects to the internet directly.

While there is a slight difference between OTT and CTV, they are more commonly used interchangeably, so you may see CTV being referred to as OTT despite their nuanced difference.


Now that we have outlined OTT and CTV, let’s take a look into a few types of CTV (aka OTT!) content.

AVOD and SVOD are two types of content found on streaming platforms and ones that we’ve already mentioned above.

  • AVOD stands for “Advertising-based Video On Demand” meaning TV content that has ads throughout.
  • SVOD stands for “Subscription Video on Demand” and refers to channels with content behind a paywall; viewers must pay to view the content, usually without the inclusion of ads.

Despite a frenzy of SVOD channel launches over the past year (including lots of channels ending with “plus”), viewers are starting to be selective about what services they will pay for, opting instead to watch ads in exchange for having to pay.

How Much Does Streaming TV Advertising Cost?

Advertising on streaming TV not only reaches an audience migrating from traditional linear TV, but it is also more cost-efficient than previous TV advertising options.

Linear advertising requires big budget commitments upfront, limiting which businesses can take advantage of the inventory, as opposed to CTV advertising which can be purchased on a month-by-month basis and be spread out across various campaigns.

Not only is the commitment less, but streaming advertising dollars go much further in reaching the right audience. Linear TV ads are bought on Gross Rating Points (GRP), essentially hoping that a percentage of viewers are within the target audience. Instead, streaming service ads can be specifically targeted to the correct audience, whether that is a specific demographic or an interest (ex. streamers who are currently looking to purchase an automobile). This ensures that everyone who sees the ad within the campaign has a high potential to convert.

Speaking of conversions, this is yet another area that makes CTV advertising even more efficient than linear TV advertising. With MNTN Performance TV, TV ads are no longer just an upper-level marketing tactic. Advertisers can track lower-funnel metrics and KPIs, such as return on ad spend (ROAS) and site visits. This added level of transparency allows for all ad dollars to be spent efficiently, ultimately making CTV ad campaigns more cost-efficient than linear campaigns. 

What Streaming Platforms Serve Ads?

When it comes to the word “platform,” people use it in multiple ways. “Platform” may refer to the actual device used for streaming. Popular platforms include Roku, Fire TV from Amazon, and Apple TV. Alternatively, “platform” may mean a channel found on one of these devices, whether that’s Netflix, Pluto TV, or Disney+. These channels are available across the devices listed above, much like an app is available on both iPhone and Android phones.

A few examples of ad-supported streaming services, or those with ad-supported tiers, include:

  • Hulu
  • Peacock
  • Sling
  • Paramount+
  • HBO Max
  • Pluto TV

So where do the ads actually show up? It comes down to the type of channel. As mentioned above, AVOD (advertising-supported video on demand) channels have ad breaks within their content in exchange for offering their content for free. This is where streaming ads are served, no matter which device the channel is accessed through.

Why Performance TV Is Your Best Bet for Streaming TV Ads

Now that you are a streaming advertising expert, it’s time to take advantage of your know-how and get your ads in front of this key audience. That’s where we come in. Performance TV makes it easy to launch a campaign, reach your target audience, and track performance. 

  • Campaigns ASAP: MNTN’s platform is as easy as setting up your other performance marketing campaigns – just upload your creative, select your audience and you’re all set. No need to sweat if you don’t have creative available – MNTN’s Creative-as-a-Subscription can help with that. 
  • Reach the Right People: Explore the world outside linear’s GRPs with both first-party and third-party targeting options. Retarget those who have visited your site or upload your CRM lists to connect with your loyal customers. In addition to those first-party options, 3rd-party targeting is available through our partnership with Oracle Data Cloud giving you access to tens of thousands audiences. 
  • Measure Your Success: We know that how your campaign performs is of the utmost importance. Easily create new reporting dashboards, select what data is most important to your objectives and rearrange the layout for easy viewing. Plus, Performance TV can fully integrate with your Google Analytics account so you can easily compare results to your initiatives on other performance platforms.
  • Appear within Quality Content: You can rest easy knowing that your ads will only run alongside Living Room Quality content. This means that all campaigns will run exclusively on premium content served directly on TV screens rather than mobile devices and tablets. Plus, MNTN offers a TV Network Report so you can see which channels perform the best for your business.

Advertising on Streaming Services Works. 

Your audience is streaming – your TV ads should be too. With custom targeting and in-depth reporting, now is the time to take advantage of streaming TV ads and see what the CTV world has to offer.