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The Missing Piece to Making CTV Retargeting Work: Linear TV

“Retargeting” is a term used across the digital media landscape referring to an advertiser’s ability to remind customers of their products or services after visiting their website. It allows brands to serve relevant ads to consumers who have previously shown interest in their offerings when they visit other sites—with the ultimate goal of getting those consumers to move from the consideration to purchase mindset.

Retargeting has proven to be one of the most successful performance drivers in digital media (namely display ad units). Campaigns that leverage this tactic typically enjoy higher conversion rates, which makes sense as this audience has already expressed interest in a brand’s product or service. Today, leading marketers are pursuing the same strategy with Connected TV (a.k.a. streaming TV) ads; the concept is equally simple, yet increasingly more powerful.

Say your brand runs a multiplatform campaign that reaches 20 million people. Of those reached, 1.25% take action and visit your website. These 25,000 prospective (and already interested) customers become part of the “TV retargeting pool”. Your brand now has the ability to curate a second touchpoint for this group—but rather than having a banner ad follow them from website to website (digital retargeting), you can reach these potential customers with rich, long-form TV commercials, woven into premium programming, with a lean-in viewing experience.

Why retargeting hasn’t fully blossomed in streaming (yet)

Scale is the most common challenge marketers face when retargeting via streaming TV platforms, as it can be difficult to generate a retargeting pool large enough to justify the effort. To put some numbers behind this, most streaming TV advertisers will cap out at a few hundred dollars of daily CTV retargeting spend; or worse, pay streaming TV CPMs (easily exceeding $15 or $20) to run common-mill digital retargeting. Expanding the retargeting pool with more prospective customers is often cost-prohibitive.

This poses an interesting question: can linear TV buys (i.e. cable, broadcast, satellite, or anything non-streaming) increase the pool of potential retargeting prospects in a more affordable and efficient manner?

The answer for MANSCAPED™ and Joey Kovac, a longtime Tatari client, is a resounding yes - as he saw a substantial lift in sales and a sharp reduction in cost-per-acquisition (CPA) when deploying a campaign consisting of linear and streaming retargeting spend.

Linear TV as a workhorse for streaming retargeting

MANSCAPED decided to test this tactic—identifying a group of consumers who took action (visited their website) after seeing their linear TV ad campaign and then programmatically retargeting them across various streaming publishers over a two-month time frame (February & March).

Between February and March, MANSCAPED increased its linear investment by 29%, while keeping streaming retargeting spend relatively stable. This is important, as it allows us to directionally correlate the impact linear spend has on streaming retargeting.

Looking at this strategy from a blended standpoint (ie. linear + streaming), we saw total sales volume jump 37%, while the blended CAC decreased 6% month-over-month. Lowering acquisition costs is often the primary goal for marketers, but what makes this reduction even more impressive is that it occurred despite higher scale!

Rather than pit the platforms against each other, MANSCAPED had their linear and streaming campaigns work together. The increased investment on the linear side allowed for a more efficient retargeting campaign on the streaming side, which increased overall conversions while decreasing the costs associated with them. A win all around.

Furthermore, if we isolate the retargeting campaign to look strictly at streaming (or: not blended with linear), we found that the additional linear budget impacted performance in the following ways:

  • It effectively increased MANSCAPED’s retargeting pool by 83%

  • It drove a substantial increase in conversions, nearly 3x vs. the previous month

  • It actually reduced retargeting acquisition costs (CPA) by 58%

The short of it? MANSCAPED was able to increase the effectiveness of their retargeting campaign in a dramatic fashion, strictly by increasing their linear spend.

We should also point out that MANSCAPED not only spent more money on linear, but on premium linear inventory; allocating 16% of their budget towards March Madness (NCAA College Basketball) placements. Advertising during a marquee sporting event, where viewership traditionally skews more male, was an efficient way to expand reach into their core target audience of male consumers—thus increasing the retargeting pool size and improving campaign performance.

Linear and streaming retargeting strategies for all

In addition to MANSCAPED, Tatari studied four other client campaigns that followed a similar strategy. In each instance where a brand deployed programmatic retargeting and a linear campaign at the same time, sales and overall reach increased at higher rates than any cost increase.

Taking all of this into account, it’s increasingly clear that streaming retargeting is an effective tactic for many brands. But it’s important to remember that for all clients analyzed, it was the increased investment in linear that made this strategy so effective. Linear has long been a reach machine for brands looking to scale, and it can now help bolster advanced tactics like retargeting in streaming.

With linear and programmatic streaming working together, your brand can practice the future of TV advertising in today’s market. Several Tatari clients are already finding success with this strategy. Reach out to us if you’re interested in learning more!


Tom Discepola

I build programmatic teams.


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