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CTV Glossary: A Comprehensive Guide to Connected TV Advertising Terminology

In recent years, streaming video has surged into the limelight, shaping the media landscape. Streaming now commands a substantial 27% of total TV time in the U.S., fueled by the prevalence of connected devices, present in 77% of U.S. households.

This surge in consumption has triggered a revolution in advertising. CTV advertising spend is sprinting toward an impressive $25 billion milestone, constituting 9.5% of total digital ad revenue, with a remarkable 21% year-over-year growth. Streaming is undeniably the future, but the vast CTV universe can be a maze of industry-specific terms and acronyms. Phrases like programmatic, CTV, OTT, and advanced TV can complicate the journey.

Step into this glossary to illuminate the complexities of the CTV advertising landscape. Navigating this dynamic and vital media realm demands a solid grasp of these terms for smarter, faster, easier decision-making and strategic planning.

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CTV Basics

Advanced TV:

Advanced TV encompasses modern TV technologies that extend beyond traditional television, providing advertisers with innovative and data-enhanced advertising opportunities. This includes platforms such as connected TV, streaming services, and customized advertising options.

Addressable TV:

Addressable TV allows advertisers to target specific households or individuals with tailored ads, optimizing advertising effectiveness and reducing ad waste. This type of advertising leverages set-top boxes, smart TVs, or other devices that gather and analyze data about viewers’ watching habits. Advertisers can target specific households or even individuals based on factors such as age, gender, location, interests, and past viewing behavior. 

Connected TV (CTV):

Connected TV refers to televisions or other smart devices, including streaming sticks, gaming consoles, and even some set-top boxes, that are connected to the internet, offering opportunities for targeted advertising and streaming content. Advertisers can precisely target their audience and measure campaign effectiveness on these platforms.

Over-the-Top (OTT):

The original definition of Over-the-Top (OTT) referred to the method of distributing TV shows beyond or “over the top of” a cable box or satellite dish. TV networks started providing their content online, leading to the acronym. Over time, OTT has become synonymous with the term, “streaming”. Let’s avoid the confusion, and just call it streaming. But if you’re curious we dig a bit deeper into CTV vs OTT advertising here.   

Linear TV:

Linear TV, sometimes referred to as “traditional” TV, is a term used to describe television content that is broadcast and delivered to viewers at specific scheduled times. This type of television programming has been the traditional mode of delivering shows, news, and other content to audiences. 

Programmatic TV:

Programmatic TV uses data-driven technology to automate and optimize the buying and delivery of TV ads, enhancing efficiency and targeting.

Set-Top Box:

A device converting digital television signals to analog for viewing on conventional TVs or enabling cable or satellite TV reception.

Video On Demand (VOD):

Video On Demand enables viewers to watch videos at their convenience, presenting advertisers with a flexible platform to showcase their ads to a wide audience.


CTV Advertising Terms

Ad-Based Video-on-Demand (AVOD):

Ad-Based Video-on-Demand is a monetization strategy for video services offered to end-users without a direct cost. AVOD leverages advertisements integrated into on-demand video content. As a marketer, AVOD presents a valuable opportunity to reach a wide audience without requiring viewers to pay for access. It can also be more cost-effective, often requiring a lower investment compared to other advertising models. 

Ad Podding:

Ad podding involves playing multiple ads consecutively within a single ad break during a streaming session. It’s akin to the traditional TV ad experience, where viewers encounter a series of ads back-to-back. By grouping ads in a pod, publishers can optimize their ad space, ensuring efficient use of the limited time available in an ad break and maximizing revenue potential.

Ad Sequencing:

Ad sequencing entails displaying a set of ads in a predefined order during a user’s interaction with streaming content. It’s a strategic approach that allows marketers to tell a cohesive story or present a series of messages in a specific order. For instance, you might start with an introductory brand message, followed by a product feature, and end with a compelling call to action. Ad sequencing enables better narrative control and can lead to higher engagement and message retention.

FAST (Free, Ad-Supported Streaming TV):

Free, Ad-Supported Streaming TV (FAST) services mimic traditional TV by offering 24/7 channels with set programming schedules, free of charge, and featuring ads that interrupt programming.

Subscription Video-on-Demand (SVOD):

Subscription Video-on-Demand (SVOD) platforms require viewers to subscribe to access content, presenting advertisers with an opportunity to reach a committed and engaged audience.

Transactional Video-on-Demand (TVoD):

Transactional Video-on-Demand (TVoD) platforms operate on a transactional basis, where viewers pay for individual pieces of content. TVoD platforms typically attract a dedicated and engaged audience willing to pay for quality content. Marketers can benefit from reaching this engaged user base, potentially leading to higher ad effectiveness and brand awareness.

CTV Ad Formats & Strategies

360 Video Ads: 

360 Video Ads are immersive advertising experiences that utilize 360-degree video technology. These ads allow viewers to interact with the content by panning and rotating the view in all directions, creating a highly engaging and interactive advertising experience. Advertisers can use 360 Video Ads to showcase their products or tell compelling stories, providing an immersive and captivating way to connect with their audience.

Adaptive Bitrate Streaming (ABS):

Adaptive Bitrate Streaming (ABS) adjusts the quality of the media stream in real-time based on a viewer’s internet bandwidth and device capacity, ensuring a smooth viewing experience for CTV users.

Autoplay Video Ad: 

Autoplay Video Ads are video advertisements that begin playing automatically when a web page or app loads, without the need for user interaction. These ads typically start muted and may play without sound until the user decides to enable audio. Autoplay Video Ads are effective for capturing users’ attention and can be used to convey key messages or brand awareness in a seamless and non-disruptive manner.

Behavioral Data:

Data representing buying patterns and media consumption habits, crucial for refining targeting strategies.

Branded Video Content: 

Branded video content is a type of video marketing that is created or sponsored by a brand to promote its values, products, or services in a way that is engaging and informative for its target audience. It is not direct advertising, but rather a way to build relationships with potential customers and create positive brand associations. For example, the “Can You Make It?” campaign from Red Bull, is a series of short videos that feature athletes and performers pushing themselves to their limits. The videos are not directly advertising Red Bull, but they are designed to show the brand’s values of courage, determination, and overcoming adversity.

Dynamic Ad Insertion (DAI):

Dynamic Ad Insertion (DAI) allows advertisers to insert targeted or personalized video ads seamlessly into live or on-demand TV content, ensuring a seamless transition between content and ads.

Full-Episode Player (FEP):

Full-Episode Players (FEPs) provide a TV-like viewing experience on various devices, offering advertisers a platform to showcase their content alongside professionally produced shows.

Global Frequency Capping:

An ad-serving feature that restricts the number of ads a user sees within a specific time frame, managing ad exposure effectively.

Guaranteed vs. Non-Guaranteed Buys:

The majority of TV buys are guaranteed and thus garner a higher CPM. When a TV buy is non-guaranteed, it is usually because the buy is from a competitor or the campaign flight is too short. Delivery is not guaranteed in this instance because there isn’t time to make up and underdelivery.

In-Stream Video Ad:

In-stream video ads are served within videos that a viewer intends to watch, such as pre-roll, mid-roll, or post-roll ads.

Long-Form Video:

Long-form videos are generally over a minute in length and often associated with platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and streaming services, representing videos longer than short-form content.

Private Marketplace (PMP): 

A Private Marketplace (PMP) is an exclusive online platform accessible by invitation only, where a selected group of advertisers can purchase ad inventory directly from specific publishers. PMPs maintain a floor price, ensuring that publishers receive a set minimum price for their ad inventory. Advertisers willing to pay a premium can access and purchase premium ad inventory. This model provides a controlled and curated environment for advertisers, focusing on quality and targeted advertising opportunities.

Programmatic Guaranteed: 

Programmatic Guaranteed in CTV advertising refers to a negotiated advertising deal that combines the advantages of programmatic automation with a guaranteed number of impressions. In this arrangement, the publisher commits to delivering a specific quantity of impressions, and the advertiser agrees to a fixed price. The inventory is reserved exclusively for the advertiser without going through an auction. It’s essentially an automated version of a direct insertion order, streamlining the transaction process. Advertisers pay an additional fee to demand-side platforms to benefit from automated workflows instead of manual insertion orders.

Open Exchange and Real-Time Bidding (RTB): 

Open Exchange and Real-Time Bidding (RTB) in CTV advertising refer to an open digital marketplace where multiple advertisers can bid in real time to secure ad inventory. Advertisers compete for available impressions, and the highest bidder typically wins the opportunity to display their ad. There’s limited information available about publishers in this environment, which can increase the potential for fraudulent activities. 

Out-Stream Video Ad:

Out-stream video ads are served to viewers who haven’t signaled intent to watch a video. These ads can appear as standalone ads within written content or pre-roll ads in autoplay videos.

Server-Side Ad Insertion (SSAI):

Server-Side Ad Insertion involves integrating ads into high-quality, long-form TV content at the server level, ensuring a seamless ad viewing experience for CTV users.

Short-Form Video:

Short-form videos are typically 10 minutes or shorter in length, designed for platforms like TikTok, Instagram Reels, and YouTube Shorts. The term has evolved and become relative as video formats continue to diversify.

TV Upfront:

A TV upfront is a yearly event where advertisers and their agencies make long-term advertising agreements with TV networks, connected TV platforms, and streaming services. These agreements involve setting a budget to buy ads on traditional TV networks and streaming platforms. In recent years, the TV upfront market has been evolving to reflect the changing viewing habits of consumers. More and more people are watching TV through streaming services, and advertisers are demanding more flexibility in their upfront deals. As a result, networks are offering more cross-platform ad deals that include both traditional TV and streaming inventory.


CTV Measurement

Audible and Viewable on Complete (AVOC):

AVOC is a metric that measures the number of ad impressions where the ad was both audible and viewable upon completion, providing insights into the effectiveness of ad placements.

Cost Per View (CPV):

An advertising metric that signifies the cost an advertiser incurs for each instance their video ad is seen by an audience, typically associated with Connected TV (CTV) advertising. It’s a way for advertisers to measure the expense of each view of their video content, helping them assess the performance and value of their advertising campaigns.


Currency refers to the metric used for transactions between ad buyers and sellers. Historically, Nielsen’s Gross Ratings Point (GRP) has been the standard currency for TV advertising, measuring the potential audience reach.

Gross Rating Point (GRP):

GRP is a standard measure to quantify the impact of an advertising campaign by calculating the percentage of the target market reached multiplied by the exposure frequency.


Ratings are expressed as a percentage, representing the portion of individuals within a specified demographic who view a particular program at a given time.


Scatter refers to a strategy employed by TV networks to sell commercial airtime on a piece-by-piece basis at random times to advertisers and ad agencies.

TRP (Target Ratings Points):

TRP, or Target Audience GRPs, help evaluate the popularity of TV programs and channels by measuring the viewership.

Universe Estimates:

The estimated reach of households or individuals, often broken down by demographics, crucial in calculating ratings.

Video Ad Completion Rate (VCR):

VCR is the percentage of video ads that play through to the end, indicating viewer engagement and the effectiveness of the ad.

Viewability Rate:

Viewability rate measures the percentage of ads that are actually viewed by users, providing insights into the visibility and impact of the ad campaign.

Craving More CTV Insights? 

Now that you’re up to speed on all (well most) of the important terms in the CTV advertising landscape, let’s take things a step further. Learn how you can combine the best of digital’s data-driven precision with the command of TV. 

Seize your CTV spotlight with Lotame’s unrivaled global footprint. Get Data Empowered with our CTV solutions hub. Find your audience on CTV with our CTV Audiences Guide, or connect with us for a free CTV consultation. We’ll help you discover ways to reach your next best customer on CTV in smarter, faster and easier ways. Check it all out here.