CTV Measurement: 8 CTV Metrics Linear Advertisers Love
Access to near real-time granular data is taking the guesswork out of CTV measurement—and linear TV advertisers are loving it.
TV advertisers finally have something more than GRP and CPM to judge campaign performance. With CTV metrics like website conversions and footfall traffic attribution, it’s never been easier to track key performance indicators (KPIs) at every stage of the funnel.
Top-of-funnel CTV metrics—see the big picture
There are many ways to measure CTV ad campaigns, and the metrics used vary based on the goal of the campaign. For example, a brand campaign may measure its performance based on brand awareness metrics.
On the other hand, a direct response campaign may measure performance based on the number of people who complete a specific action, like visiting a landing page.
While they don’t provide details on outcomes or ROAS, high-level CTV metrics can give advertisers an idea if their ads are reaching and resonating with the target audience.
One of the most familiar CTV metrics to keep an eye on is impressions. It’s as simple as it sounds — how many people saw at least a portion of the CTV ad? But even this simple metric offers a huge improvement on traditional TV measurement. It also serves as the denominator for accurate calculations on many other other CTV metrics. Fun fact: 30-second ads have become the primary choice for advertisers, accounting for 91% of all impressions served in Q1.
2. Video completion rate
Video completion rate is an engagement metric that lets advertisers know if they’re reaching their audience.
You’ll notice video completion rates for CTV ads are high — really high. In 2020, the video completion rate on CTV ads was 95%. One reason for this is the stellar targeting capabilities CTV affords advertisers. Ads are typically served to just the right people.
A lower-than-expected video completion rate signals a problem to be addressed. For example:
The content isn’t interesting or relevant enough
The video length is too long
The user experienced too many technical problems (like an ad that was slow to load or didn’t display properly)
But keep in mind, CTV ads tend to be non-skippable, which could mean an artificially high completion rate. The takeaway here is to compare video completion rates across different channels with caution.
3. Cost per completed view (CPCV)
CTV advertising is disrupting the traditional paid advertising model with a ‘cost per completed view’ structure. This allows advertisers to pay based on ads that are completed rather than an arbitrary number of impressions.
This model of paid advertising is beneficial for advertisers, and many CTV platforms have adopted these models in a bid to attract advertisers to their services. This high-level cost metric can help you keep ad spend in check while maximizing exposure.
A simple ad click is a sign that viewers are transitioning through the funnel to your next step. This key conversion metric essentially lets you know if your ad is working. It’s a straightforward measurement of the number of times that viewers clicked on the call-to-action in your CTV ad.
But there’s a caveat — TV audiences don’t click on ads (at least not on the same screen). A low click count isn’t a problem on its own because it’s not the whole picture. WIth CTV, you can access a variety of granular metrics like website conversions, second screen actions, footfall attribution and much more to get a better understanding of performance.
Let’s take a look at some of those precise granular metrics.
Track the details with lower-funnel CTV metrics
Advertisers can get a detailed look using granular CTV metrics to precisely measure performance and identify opportunities for optimization.
5. Website conversions
Did the viewer come to your website and convert in some way (e.g. make a purchase, sign up for an offer)? Unlike with linear TV advertising, you can precisely measure website conversion with CTV.
Third-party integrations with tools like Google Analytics bridge the gap between digital channels like websites and connected TVs. This enables ‘second-device’ tracking, which provides a more complete picture of what happens when a viewer engages with a CTV ad.
We’ll give you a hint — they usually pick up their smartphone, tablet, or laptop and visit the brand’s website. If you can show advertisers how their CTV ads convert to website traffic and conversions, you’re more likely to win them over.
6. Footfall attribution
Website conversions are great for the native digital shopper. But it’s only one slice of the pie.
Did you know that nearly half of consumers still prefer the tactile experience of shopping in-person?
And for some industries — like quick service restaurants and dental practices — visiting a physical location is integral to the business.
Offering the right CTV metrics means including precision tracking data for both online and offline conversions. Footfall attribution measures how many people that saw the CTV ad then made a purchase in a physical location, which is particularly useful for local CTV campaigns.
Cannaluxe, a high-end cannabis-derived skincare brand, used CTV to find and target cannabis-friendly consumers and encourage them to buy at local Neiman Marcus stores. Real-time footfall data enabled the brand to redirect ad spend to high-performing markets mid-campaign.
See the full Cannaluxe case study: Hyper-local CTV campaign generates serious holiday sales for CBD skincare brand
7. Customer acquisition cost (CAC)
Thanks (again) to precise targeting and a highly engaging, big-screen medium, CTV ads offer an efficient —and measurable — means of acquiring new customers. Brands can lower customer acquisition costs by serving up a highly personalized, data-driven experience.
McAfee, a popular cybersecurity service provider, used CTV metrics to lower acquisition costs by more than 20% as they successfully navigated the transition to cloud-based security software — and they had the performance data to prove it.
Check out the McAfee case: Software company achieves 4.5X ROAS through cross-device CTV advertising
8. Return on ad spend
Tracking how much advertisers are spending compared to the sales attributed to those ads is nothing new in digital — but it is brand new in the world of traditional TV advertising. Thanks to accurate website conversion data, footfall attribution, and other data available from CTV, TV advertisers can now accurately track ROAS.
And there’s nothing like proving return to prove you’re doing something right.
Bonus: Brand impact
To date, it’s been hard to measure and prove that brand advertising works, especially through emerging channels like streaming TV.
But thanks to a new partnership between Madhive and Upwave, advertisers can now take a performance-based approach to brand building. The partnership gives advertisers the ability to measure the impact of streaming TV advertising in real-time — and optimize towards outcomes.
How does CTV measurement work?
Marketers currently use multiple technologies to measure how CTV campaigns perform. Three common techniques include:
Automatic content recognition (ACR)
Measuring CTV with ACR
One of the newer ways to track CTV viewership is automatic content recognition (ACR) from smart TVs. In ACR, a viewer’s Smart TV captures pixels from whatever content is playing, and then matches those pixels against a reference library of nearly everything that’s on TV.
This form of measurement captures both programming and TV spot consumption, providing a true signal of what audiences actually see on their TV sets. Because it measures down to the second, advertisers can understand how long viewers actually watched before they flipped the channel or turned off their device.
CTV measurement with pixels
Tracking pixels are a simple concept. Essentially, they are short snippets of code that marketers place on websites to better understand the consumers who interact with their content.
Pixels can be used to track how consumers browse a website, the types of ads they click on, the devices they use, and more.
Pixels are very commonly used for retargeting, a type of targeting that allows marketers to take audiences who’ve already viewed their website and retarget them elsewhere on the web. This practice is common across many marketing channels. You may get an email encouraging you to check out what’s in your cart, or see an ad for a product you’ve been checking out on your social feeds.
CTV measurement through footfall attribution
We mentioned that footfall attribution measures the offline impact of a CTV campaign by determining whether an ad was able to actually motivate consumers to visit a physical location.
But how does that actually work?
First, the advertiser’s data partner creates a geofence around the latitude/longitude coordinates of the storefront. Then, while the campaign is in flight, the data partner detects and records the mobile devices that come within a given proximity to that storefront.
Finally, the data partner works to map these traffic metrics back to actual households. This is usually accomplished using a device graph, which combines feeds from many data sources to link individuals to all their personal devices.
If the device graph finds that a consumer has seen a campaign ad on one of their linked devices and subsequently visited the local storefront, then the advertiser can assume the ad was successful.
Pretty cool, right?
The bottom line on CTV measurement
Streaming TV has opened the door to new possibilities for TV advertisers.
Instead of launching awareness campaigns that, at best, target a set of DMAs during prime time lineups, CTV gives marketers the opportunity to find and engage their ideal customers — and accurately measure the CTV metrics linear advertisers are clamoring for.
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