How to Advertise on TV Without Calling the Cable Company

In the past, if you wanted to advertise on television you had a few options. You could work with a local cable company to have your ads placed on channels and in time slots that you negotiated. If you were interested in running national ads, you had to work with a commercial production company with the right production resources and connections.

Now things have changed. Advertisers have much more control over the process. Additionally, the popularity of cable television has been challenged by a variety of streaming services. 

These provide viewers with options they’ve never had before. Streaming services also offer advertisers opportunities to place ads in front of very precisely targeted audiences and give them access to performance data that they would never get from the local cable company.

The question is, how do you do that? How do you advertise on television without involving the cable company? Here, we will cover the basics of connected tv advertising and how you can get started.

What Is Connected TV?

If your television comes to you by way of your cable company using a dedicated line and cable box, you are watching cable television. If your television is connected to the internet, and you watch television using apps such as Netflix or Hulu, then you have connected TV (CTV).

This difference is an important distinction. The process of advertising on cable television is much different than advertising via connected TV. If you prefer to manage your television ads without involving your local cable company, then you will need to focus on CTV advertising.

Know Your Ad Options

Connected TV ads are available in three main formats. The first is an in-stream video. These are ads that are usually 30 seconds or less. They run during or before the main content and can’t be skipped.

Another option is home screen placement. These ads don’t show when content is being streamed. Instead, they are display and video ads that show on the app’s home screen. 

The final ad format is the pre-roll ad. These are shortened ads that play before the main content. They can often be skipped after a few seconds.

Choose a Provider

You won’t work with a cable provider to place your ads on a connected television. Instead, you will work with a DSP (demand-side platform) or performance television provider. 

These are intermediaries with connections to publishers and television platforms that have advertising space to sell. The provider you choose will use a process called programmatic ad buying to help your ads reach CTV audiences at the right time.

Select your provider carefully. Verify the platforms and publishers they work with, and make sure they align with the audiences you want to reach with your ads.

Create Your Ads

You have to have a collection of ads available to distribute as part of your connected television advertising campaign. These “creatives” are what will be served to CTV audiences that you have targeted as part of your campaign strategy. 

Be aware that even if you know how to advertise on TV, you may experience a learning curve. Audiences who use streaming services have different expectations when it comes to advertising. You may have to adjust your approach to create ads that are more focused.

Develop Your Targeting

You will need to establish targeting for your connected TV ad campaign. What are your desired demographics, geolocation information, interests, behaviors, and values? 

It’s important that you set these parameters for the programmatic advertising process to work correctly. In most cases, your provider will have a dashboard for you to use to build the personas you want to reach. The platform will use these personas to distribute your ads, so they are seen by people who are most likely to be interested in your products.

Set Your Budget

If you’ve used pay-per-click advertising to market your products or services, this part of the process may be somewhat familiar to you. The programmatic advertising process involves bidding for available ad inventory in real-time. 

This bidding is done based on your targeting as well as the budget you have set. The bidding process occurs in fractions of a second and may happen thousands of times each day. 

Analyze And Adjust

One of the benefits of working with a demand-side platform for CTV advertising is that you have access to reporting and analytics. You will be able to use this information to determine what works for you and what doesn’t. Then, you can adjust your targeting, budget, and other factors to continue to perfect your CTV ad strategy.

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