3 Ways to Rethink Your CTV Campaign

April 22, 2021
Jordan Brickman

Connected TV (CTV) has been growing over the past few years but during the pandemic it completely exploded. According to Pixalate’s State of CTV/OTT report ad spend rose from Q1 to Q3 70%, total CTV impressions were up 73%, and pharma CTV spend was up 150% in 2020. CTV is amongst the most engaging channels a user can be advertised to; VCR is as high as 98%, viewability is roughly 99%, and the sound is automatically on. Imagine seeing those metrics for an online video campaign?

Despite the jump in spend, I am still seeing a lot of room for improvement on the creative and tactic side, here are three ways to rethink your CTV campaigns to maximize performance and ROI:

1. Your targeting is too broad. 

Linear TV buyers love to purchase ad inventory via upfronts and through high level data points such as demographics. This makes sense due to the limitations of the environment, however I am seeing a lot of CTV agencies mimicking the same strategy and ignoring the power of programmatic television. 

CTV audiences exist for pharma, leverage them! If you represent a Type 2 Diabetes drug, don’t just target adults ages 45-64, target adults ages 45-64 that have recently engaged with content relating to Type 2 Diabetes. This is a much more informed and targeted approach that will yield better results for your brand. 

If scale is a concern, start targeting relevant comorbidities. For example, 73% of Diabetics also suffer from Hypertension, that’s an easy audience segment to add to your campaign.

2. No call-to-action to engage the user.

I’ve heard countless times how CTV is not great for Direct Response campaigns because CTV is not clickable. Just because there are no clicks doesn’t mean we can’t still engage the user.

You know when your favorite podcast host will have you go to and input code “Podcast Name” at checkout? Try something similar with CTV. Have your creative showcase a unique URL, a unique phone number, or anything for the user to engage with. You can add a QR code to scan for a coupon, to book an appointment, or even geo-locate to the closest relevant NPI to the user. Create an incentive and make it easy for the relevant customer to learn more about your brand.

3. Kill the 90s creative.

I know you’ve heard this before, but creatives longer than 15 seconds are killer for our attention spans. I have a lot of passions, but you’d be hard pressed to find a 90s creative on any topic that would keep my interest for the entire time. If your brand has captured my attention in the first few seconds you may keep it for another few seconds but my phone is already in my hand and apps like Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok are just begging for me to open them to find out what’s the latest on my timeline. Speaking of TikTok, their ads are 6 seconds. 

Pharma ads tend to be longer due to the Important Safety Information (ISI) associated with the specific drugs but there are ways to stop ISI from killing your creative. Scrolling ISI is helpful in cutting ad length, or if you really want an engaged user include an “ad extender” at the end of your ad. 

Not only are the shorter creatives more engaging and likely to be watched in full but it also means you will have more scale. 

CTV apps have “ad pods”, generally an ad pod is not longer than 90s so if you have a 90s ad that means you’ll need to pay a hefty premium (generally 1x CPM for every 30 seconds) to purchase the whole ad pod, not very efficient. There are better solutions that will make your client happier.


These are just some of the ways that I am seeing pharma campaigns failing but enough is enough, the budgets are expanding and the way we think about television should expand along with it. 

To learn more about PulsePoint and how our solutions—including CTV—can help your business, schedule a demo today.

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