CTV or Traditional – What’s the Best TV Advertising Strategy?

As our world becomes increasingly digital, the advertising industry is no exception. Today, we’re breaking down the differences between Connected TV (CTV) advertising and traditional TV advertising, examining the pros and cons of each, and discussing their key features.

What Is CTV Advertising?

CTV advertising refers to video ads streamed on internet-connected devices like smart TVs or mobile phones. These ads are delivered during a viewer’s movie, TV show, or other video content. 

The rise of streaming services has created a new opportunity for advertisers to reach specific audiences with targeted video ads.

Pros of CTV Advertising

One of the primary advantages of CTV advertising is its targeting capabilities. Unlike traditional TV advertising, which often casts a wide net, CTV allows advertisers to reach a specific audience based on factors such as viewing habits, interests, and demographics.

Furthermore, CTV advertising provides real-time analytics, allowing businesses to measure their campaigns’ success and adjust their strategies accordingly. It’s also flexible which means that businesses can choose the platform and ad type that best fit their campaigns.

Cons of CTV Advertising

On the flip side, CTV advertising requires a deeper understanding of digital advertising. While CTV reaches a broad audience, it may miss out on certain demographics who do not or are less likely to use streaming services. Also, the audience could have a negative attitude toward advertising since it is relatively new on streaming devices compareed to traditional tv.

What Is Traditional TV Advertising?

Traditional TV advertising refers to commercials aired during television programming on broadcast, cable, or satellite TV. It’s been around for decades and is still a significant part of the marketing strategy for many of the world’s largest companies. 

Pros of Traditional TV Advertising

Traditional TV advertising offers a broad reach, making it an excellent choice for brands looking to target a general audience. It also has a certain prestige attached to it, often associated with large, established brands. 

TV ads can be particularly effective for visually stunning or emotional content that benefits from a larger screen.

Cons of Traditional TV Advertising

However, traditional TV advertising has its drawbacks. It lacks the precise targeting of CTV, often leading to wasted impressions on viewers outside the target demographic. It’s also generally more expensive than CTV and doesn’t offer real-time analytics, making campaign adjustments more challenging.

Key Features of CTV and Traditional TV Advertising

CTV advertising is characterized by its personalization and measurability. Advertisers can tailor their ads to specific audiences and measure their impact in real-time. It’s an ideal medium for reaching consumers when they’re relaxed and engaged

Traditional TV advertising, on the other hand, excels in reach and impact. Its wide audience base and the emotional power of TV ads can create substantial brand awareness. However, it’s less flexible and measurable than its CTV counterpart

Comparing CTV and Traditional TV Advertising Components

Let’s take a look at some of the universal components of TV advertising and how they work within these two strategies.

Delivery Method

Traditional TV advertising delivers commercials through broadcast, cable, or satellite channels during scheduled programming. On the other hand, CTV advertising utilizes internet-connected devices to stream ads during video content on various platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu.

Audience Targeting

When it comes to audience targeting, CTV advertising has a clear edge. It can target specific demographics, viewing habits, interests, and behaviors, thereby ensuring ads reach the intended audience. Traditional TV advertising, however, casts a wider net, targeting a broad audience with less precision.


CTV advertising offers more flexibility, allowing advertisers to adjust their campaigns based on real-time analytics. Traditional TV advertising is less flexible due to its pre-scheduled nature and lack of real-time data.


CTV also excels in interactivity. Viewers can engage with the ads, sometimes even making purchases directly through the ad like in the case of QR codes. Traditional TV ads lack this feature, being a one-way communication medium.


CTV provides robust analytics, giving advertisers insights into Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) such as impressions, views, and completion rates. This enables data-driven decisions. Traditional TV advertising’s analytics are less detailed, with measurements often based on estimated viewership.

Cost Structure

Traditional TV advertising typically has a higher cost structure, considering airtime and production costs. CTV advertising can be more cost-effective, especially with programmatic buying that allows for efficient, automated ad placements.

Ad Formats

CTV offers various ad formats like in-stream video ads, interactive ads, and overlay ads. Traditional TV mainly sticks to the standard commercial format, aired during programming breaks.

Ad Avoidance

Ad avoidance is more common in traditional TV with viewers switching channels during a commercial break. With CTV, ad avoidance is less prevalent as ads are integrated into streaming content, and some platforms don’t allow skipping.


Traditional TV still has a broader reach, especially among older demographics. However, with the rise of cord-cutting, CTV’s reach is rapidly growing, especially among younger, digital-savvy audiences.


Traditional TV advertising benefits from familiarity, being a well-established method. CTV, although newer, is quickly gaining acceptance as more people adopt streaming services.

Production Costs & Ad Frequency

Production costs for traditional TV ads can be high, but these ads can be aired multiple times across a wide variety of channel lineups and airtime slots. CTV ads may have lower production costs, and the frequency can be controlled more precisely based on viewer response.

Local vs. National

Traditional TV advertising can target both local and national audiences. CTV advertising also offers this flexibility, but with added advantages of precise targeting and personalization.

Closing Notes

In conclusion, both CTV and traditional TV advertising have their place in a comprehensive marketing strategy. The choice between the two will depend on the specific needs of your business and your target audience.

So, whether you’re a digital-native brand looking to leverage the precision of CTV advertising or an established business aiming for the broad reach of traditional TV, understanding the differences between these two mediums can help you maximize your advertising efforts.

Need Some Help With Your Digital Advertising?

Ready to supercharge your digital marketing efforts? The team at Conversion Pipeline is here to help. With our expertise in all facets of digital advertising, we can craft a comprehensive strategy that meets your unique business goals.

Don’t navigate the complex world of advertising alone. Let us unlock your brand’s potential. Contact us today and let’s start turning clicks into conversions!

Michael Delpierre
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