The next frontier: Why we’re doubling down on CTV and you should too

By Larissa Klitzke
Why we’re doubling down on CTV - square

Connected TV (CTV) is experiencing a period of massive growth, as cord cutters increasingly turn to over-the-top (OTT) streaming services in lieu of their traditional TV subscriptions. 

While this is not a new trend, it’s been accelerated by COVID-19 and shows no signs of stopping. In the U.S. alone, 70% of Americans use an OTT service, while CTV ad spend increased by 60% to $14.4 billion in the past year. This complements a global shift towards CTV at the center of OTT streaming: OTT viewing time increased by 13% YoY, while CTV comprised 73% of total time spent with OTT. 

While the growth of CTV represents an enormous opportunity for marketers, it also poses us with the challenge of embracing this opportunity with better CTV measurement. AppsFlyer currently provides attribution for major CTV platforms like Roku, Fire TV and Apple TV. We’re continuing our commitment with an accelerated roadmap of CTV innovation in 2022, including market-leading developments around CTV attribution and measurement. 

Why should you invest in CTV marketing?

Before we dive into the details of our CTV measurement solutions, it’s worth highlighting why you should consider investing in CTV in the first place. 

Beyond the growth trends mentioned previously, there are three key reasons to consider adding CTV advertising to your app growth strategy:

1. CTV offers lower barriers to entry than linear TV.

While TV has traditionally been considered an expensive brand play, CTV marries the reach and impact of TV with the performance and transparency of digital marketing. 

Historically, linear TV required specialized media teams to negotiate complex buys across national and local TV networks, many of which came with hefty minimum spend requirements. Programmatic and addressable buying methods mean that CTV inventory can now be accessed from the same DSPs and ad networks that sell digital display ads. This makes CTV an easy line item to add to your existing investments in mobile and desktop media, with lower commitments upfront. 

2. CTV viewers are highly engaged. 

While CTV inventory is often sold at a higher CPM than linear TV, the high engagement and targetability of CTV tends to produce better cost performance outcomes. 

According to Innovid, completion rates (88%) and engagement rates (3.4%) are 1.1x and 10.3x higher on CTV interactive formats compared to standard pre-roll, respectively. This leads to lower cost-per-completed-views (CPCV). 

For CTV app owners buying inventory directly from CTV platforms like Roku and FireTV, clickable display ads offer further potential to acquire new CTV app users at relatively low cost. 

3. CTV offers advanced targeting and measurement options. 

Programmatic targeting allows for highly specific applications of 1st and 3rd party data to reach the most relevant audience across psychographic, demographic and contextual settings. 

Many of the partners who sell CTV inventory also offer outcome-based reporting out of the box, diverging from the index-based results of the past by connecting CTV exposure to specific actions like web visits and app installs. 

That said, there is still significant potential to improve measurement transparency and standardization across the industry.


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How do we solve CTV measurement?

Our mission is to deliver best-in-class measurement for CTV, providing marketers with more granular, timely and flexible insights. Centralized CTV attribution across partners and platforms not only streamlines the reporting process, but it also enables brands to create better user experiences that lead to better ROI and LTV.

At a high level, AppsFlyer offers two forms of CTV measurement:

CTV-to-CTV attribution

CTV-to-CTV attribution: Same-device, same-OS attribution of CTV ads that result in CTV app installs. (Note: Roku refers to apps as “channels”)

TV-to-mobile attribution

TV-to-mobile attribution: Cross-device attribution of ads seen on (C)TV that result in mobile app installs

With these definitions in mind, let’s explore who these solutions are relevant for and how they complement other measurement capabilities provided by our partners.  

CTV-to-CTV attribution

CTV-to-CTV attribution is mission-critical for any CTV app owner to analyze, optimize and grow their user base across apps and channels. AppsFlyer integrates directly with CTV platforms like Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, Android TV, Chromecast and Xbox to provide standardized attribution with up-to-the-hour insights. 

While each CTV platform also provides their own reporting to clients, they have various limitations such as infrequent reporting, limited APIs, low granularity, and inconsistent data nomenclature. 

AppsFlyer’s CTV measurement suite gives marketers:

  • Centralized, unbiased attribution across media partners with intuitive dashboards 
  • Flexible APIs to splice and dice raw data with standardized BI flows
  • Full transparency into deeper in-app metrics (e.g. revenue, LTV) and metadata (e.g. IP, customer ID, geo, etc.) to enable better optimization
AppsFlyer CTV measurement suite dashboard

TV-to-mobile attribution

TV-to-mobile attribution is relevant for any mobile app owner who runs linear or CTV advertising. Marketers can upload their TV plan via CSV or an integrated partner, and we’ll attribute mobile installs to TV as “assists” if they occur within the defined lookback window. 

We also support QR codes, where users install a mobile app directly from the TV ad. QR codes leverage AppsFlyer’s OneLink technology to ensure a seamless, contextualized launch of the app on any mobile device.

Lastly, we enable partners like Roku (OneView), Amazon, LG Ads and The Trade Desk to provide cross-device graphs by sending them mobile install data, so they can match household devices on their end using IP and other metadata.

What’s next?

At AppsFlyer, we like to say we’re always 1% done. We’ll never stop innovating for our customers. To build upon our current CTV measurement solutions, we’re taking a three-pronged approach to our product roadmap:

  • Platform foundations: Expanding our current list of CTV platform integrations
  • Robustness: Providing more specific functionality for CTV-to-CTV attribution
  • Cross-platform expansion: Developing more advanced methodologies and partnerships for CTV- and TV-to-mobile attribution

By doubling down on our CTV measurement efforts, we hope to expand upon the foundation we’ve already built as the global leader in mobile attribution and marketing analytics. Together, these solutions will help our clients make good choices, build great products, and create exceptional experiences across platforms and devices.

To learn more, we encourage you to dive deeper into our current CTV solutions and reach out to discuss your needs and how we can help.

Larissa Klitzke

As a Product Marketing Team Lead at AppsFlyer, Larissa leads strategic initiatives for sales enablement and content development in North America. Larissa brings a unique perspective to the team with seven years of agency experience in cross-platform media planning and marketing strategy. Through previous roles at M&C Saatchi and Carat, Larissa has worked closely with leading brands including Microsoft, Amazon, Sony and Red Bull.

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