Connected TV vs. Linear TV – A Marketers Guide to the Basics


One of the most common misconceptions about connected TV is that it is not widely used and ineffective. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Currently, around 242 million people watch traditional linear TV in the US, and approximately 191 million people watch connected TV. Linear TV viewership is still much higher than connected TV viewership, but the gap is narrowing. Connected TV viewership is growing much faster than linear TV viewership, so it’s likely that connected TV will overtake linear TV eventually. Connected TV can be an incredibly powerful tool for marketers. Why? It is more efficient and costs less. Plus, with so many viewers cutting the cord, it’s the only way to reach these viewers.

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There are countless ways for marketers to reach their target audience(s) in today’s digital age. Among the most popular and effective methods is advertising on connected TVs. But what is connected TV, and why should marketers consider using it?

Connected TV is simply television that is connected to the internet. This can be done in a few more common ways: using a Smart TV, a streaming device such as Roku or Apple TV, or a game console like XBOX. The advantage of connected TV for marketers is that it provides a large, engaged audience that can be targeted through demographics and interests. Additionally, ads on connected TVs can be interactive, encouraging users to take action, such as visiting a website or purchasing from their device.

Are Viewers on Connected TV Younger? What are the Demographics? 

Recent reports suggest that viewers who watch TV through connected devices such as Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire Stick are younger than those who watch traditional, linear TV. However, there is little solid data on the demographics of connected TV viewers. 

The average age of a connected TV viewer is 43, which is younger than the average age of a traditional TV viewer (55). In addition, women make up a more significant percentage of connected TV viewers (57%) than conventional TV viewers (51%). This suggests that advertisers should consider targeting connected TV viewers differently than traditional TV viewers.

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Is advertising on Connected TV less expensive than on Linear TV?

In the past, advertising on linear TV was the only way to reach a large audience, and even today, it’s still relatively expensive with little to no real access to the audience you indeed reached. However, with the growth of Connected TV, advertisers now have a less expensive option to reach a similar audience with more options. 

What Types of Reporting Can a Marketer Expect to Receive for a Connected TV Campaign?

There are a few different types of reports available for Connected TV campaigns. The first is impression reporting, which shows how many times your ad was shown. The second is click-through, which shows how many people clicked on your ad. The third is conversion reporting, which shows how many people took action after seeing your ad, such as buying a product or signing up for a service (as long as a tracking pixel is placed for that conversion). And the fourth type of reporting is reach and frequency reporting, which shows how many people saw your ad and how often they saw it, and for how long (quartiles and watched in full).  

What Types of Reporting Can a Marketer Expect to Receive for a Linear TV Campaign?

In the past, linear TV campaigns were limited to traditional Nielsen rating data to measure success. However, with the growth of streaming services and DVRs, various new reporting options are available for linear TV campaigns. This includes services like comScore, which measures viewership across all devices, including streaming services and DVRs. Some networks offer proprietary measurement tools, such as NBCU’s Campaign Insights tool.

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We believe marketers should test both linear TV and Connected TV, mainly if their audience is not limited to reaching a specific age limit. More people than ever are “cutting the cord” and finding new ways to consume their favorite content.  


About Author

Barb has worked within the digital advertising and marketing space for over 20 years. Over the years, she found it difficult to find information on the simplest of subjects tied to the digital marketing space, so she decided to embark on a journey to create a space that others may appreciate.

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