Andrew Eamer
By Andrew Eamer on April 11, 2024

CTV vs OTT: What's the Difference?

Understanding the distinction between Connected TV (CTV) and Over-The-Top (OTT) platforms is crucial for automotive dealerships as they navigate the digital advertising landscape. While both are integral parts of modern streaming culture, they serve different functions and offer unique advantages, especially for targeted advertising efforts.

CTV: A Closer Look. Connected TV refers to televisions that connect to the internet and access content beyond traditional broadcast and cable channels. This includes smart TVs and devices like Roku, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Apple TV, and Google Chromecast, which transform standard TVs into smart streaming hubs. The defining feature of CTV is its ability to provide viewers with a large-screen, engaging viewing experience coupled with the precision targeting of digital advertising.

Video Content Distribution

Why Focus on CTV for Automotive Dealerships? CTV stands out in the advertising realm for several reasons:

  • Precision Targeting: Unlike OTT, which spans multiple devices and lacks the immersive, focused environment of a television screen, CTV allows dealerships to target potential car buyers with unparalleled specificity. By leveraging data like viewing habits and interests, dealerships can pinpoint their ideal audience with ads tailored to viewer preferences.

  • High Engagement: The immersive experience of CTV results in higher engagement rates. Viewers are more likely to watch ads in their entirety and engage with interactive content when it's presented on a larger screen, making CTV an invaluable tool for capturing consumer attention.

  • Quality Insight and Measurability: With CTV, automotive dealerships gain access to detailed analytics, allowing them to measure ad performance and viewer engagement effectively. This data-driven approach helps refine advertising strategies for maximum impact.

Streaming Studio: Bridging the Gap. While the AET Marketing Suite currently focuses on CTV, an upcoming update will expand its capabilities to include OTT services, providing automotive dealerships with a comprehensive tool for their digital advertising needs. The Streaming Studio feature within the AET Marketing Suite will enable dealerships to launch targeted ad campaigns easily on CTV, reaching potential customers on their preferred devices and channels.

Dealerships can take advantage of advertising on top 40+ networks available through CTV, ensuring their ads are seen on popular platforms and devices. This wide reach, combined with the targeted precision of CTV, allows dealerships to effectively showcase their vehicles, special offers, and dealership highlights to a receptive audience, enhancing brand visibility and driving sales.

Example Use Case:

  1. Spring Road Trip Promotion: With warmer weather enticing people outdoors, a dealership targets families planning spring road trips. Utilizing Streaming Studio, they place CTV ads on travel and adventure channels available through devices like Roku, emphasizing the comfort, fuel efficiency, and safety features of their SUV lineup. These ads, appearing during programs about national parks and scenic drives, inspire viewers to envision memorable journeys in a new vehicle.

  2. Earth Day Electric Vehicle Event: In mid-April, leading up to Earth Day, a dealership promotes its electric vehicle (EV) range to environmentally conscious viewers. Through Streaming Studio, they target CTV audiences watching documentaries on climate change and sustainability on platforms like Hulu, using channels accessible via Apple TV. The campaign highlights the EVs’ green credentials, special Earth Day discounts, and how each purchase contributes to a healthier planet.

  3. Tax Return Special Offers: Capitalizing on the tax season, a dealership creates a campaign targeting individuals likely to receive tax refunds. They use Streaming Studio to run CTV ads on financial advice and planning channels through Amazon Fire TV Stick, offering special deals that make it easy for viewers to invest their tax returns into a new car. The ads underscore smart financial decisions, appealing to viewers in the midst of managing their tax returns.

  4. Spring Cleaning Trade-In Event: To encourage customers to upgrade their vehicles, a dealership launches a trade-in campaign. Targeting homeowners engaged in spring cleaning, the dealership advertises on CTV lifestyle and DIY channels like HGTV, accessible through Google Chromecast, promoting the idea of refreshing their garage with a new car. The ads offer competitive trade-in values and highlight the latest models’ features.

  5. Outdoor Enthusiast Adventure Vehicles: As outdoor activities increase in spring, a dealership targets enthusiasts looking for adventure-ready vehicles. Streaming Studio places their CTV ads on sports and outdoor channels through Roku devices, showcasing vehicles with off-road capabilities, ample cargo space for gear, and roof racks for bikes or kayaks. The campaign aligns with content about hiking, mountain biking, and kayaking, appealing to viewers planning their next adventure.

  6. Luxury Vehicle Launch: A high-end automotive dealership is preparing to launch the latest luxury sedan. By utilizing Streaming Studio, they target affluent audiences on CTV platforms like Hulu or ESPN available through Apple TV, showcasing the sedan’s cutting-edge features, superior comfort, and exclusive launch offers. The ads are specifically designed to run during premium sports events and critically acclaimed shows, reaching potential buyers who value luxury and performance.

In summary, the distinction between CTV and OTT underscores the importance of choosing the right platform for automotive advertising. With its focus on CTV and the upcoming expansion to include OTT services, the AET Marketing Suite's Streaming Studio offers automotive dealerships a powerful, intuitive tool for reaching their target audiences with quality insights and precision targeting on the most effective channels and devices.

Published by Andrew Eamer April 11, 2024
Andrew Eamer