Connected TV (CTV) is becoming a more widespread mode of media consumption. Although digital marketers are taking notice, many are hesitant to add CTV advertising to their media mix. We understand why! There are plenty of common misconceptions about CTV that are holding marketers back. One of those misconceptions is that it’s a challenge to onboard CTV with ease.

In our recent survey of over 200 agency and brand advertising decision makers we found that marketers are looking to their agency partners to gain an understanding of CTV and build confidence to execute CTV campaigns. Confusion arises around how CTV works, and how OTT factors into CTV advertising. Because of this, marketers are less likely to have CTV in their media plans.

Skipping CTV means a missed opportunity. According to eMarketer, 204.1 million U.S. viewers, or 60.1% of the population, are predicted to watch CTV by 2022. This, combined with the other benefits of introducing CTV to your media plan means there’s no better time than now to take the CTV plunge.

Onboarding CTV is the first step to adding this channel to your digital digital marketing plan. To help you get started, we’re sharing insights from our recent survey of over 200 agencies about CTV advertising, conducted in partnership with ad industry business intelligence firm Advertiser Perceptions. Read on to learn 4 ways that agencies can onboard CTV with ease.

Create a Team That Owns CTV

Having experience in programmatic isn’t a necessary requirement for running successful CTV campaigns—but it can definitely provide an advantage. Because of this, don’t assume you will need to create a new, dedicated team to run CTV. Instead, look to your already existing teams for people who can own the channel.

According to our Ad Perceptions report, this is what most agencies are currently doing: Only 7% of the agencies we consulted have a dedicated CTV/OTT team. To onboard CTV, rely on your digital video teams, or integrate your digital video and linear TV teams to create one that owns CTV.

Differentiate CTV Advertising From Linear

When you’re getting started with CTV it’s important to make sure you have a clear understanding of the channel. One fundamental thing to understand is that CTV is not the same as linear TV advertising. CTV offers advertisers benefits related to audience, measurement, targeting and the viewing experience that is not readily available with linear TV.

Although there are marked differences, especially when it comes to the unique benefits that CTV offers, the approach to creating a campaign is relatable to other programmatic campaigns. Just like you would with an audio campaign, or native campaign, you’ll approach your CTV campaigns by defining your target audience, deciding on inventory and creatives, and determining metrics.

Educate Your Clients About CTV

If advertisers themselves are feeling confusion and hesitation when it comes to CTV advertising, you can be assured that your clients are, too. This is why educating clients who are late adopters to the channel is so important. Our Ad Perceptions report found that agencies that are trusted CTV resources will be at an advantage compared to the majority of their competitors. This means education is a great tool for making your agency stand out.

The need for education starts at the agency itself. As new planners and buyers begin to adopt CTV, senior members of the marketing team need to be educated on why this new channel is one worth advertising on. And, they should understand that they risk a loss in revenue and campaign performance if CTV is overlooked. With knowledge, they can then better communicate the value of investing ad dollars in CTV. And the benefits are two-fold—this knowledge will drive more dollars to CTV, and it will strengthen the agency’s image that it is a great partner.

Adjust Your Media Budget

When onboarding a new channel, agencies will often assume they must wait for the next fiscal year to earmark a budget for it. Rather than doing this, integrate CTV into your mix faster by pulling dollars from across your media budgets. For example, digital video and linear TV budgets can be shifted to include CTV funding.

According to our Ad Perceptions report, many agencies are using this strategy to onboard CTV sooner rather than later—and doing so brings potential for growth and scalability. Our report found that advertisers with 3 or more years of CTV experience spend more dollars targeting this device. And, this group’s efforts are rewarded with a very healthy +40% year-over-year expected increase. Experience brings success, which in turn drives more dollars.

Reap the Benefits of Onboarding CTV Now

CTV advertising is rich with potential and benefits. Content made specifically for CTV—including interactive formats and native experiences—provide advertisers opportunities to impress and engage with their audience.

Onboarding CTV might seem like an overwhelming hurdle for an agency. But by leveraging your existing teams, using education to build knowledge, and shifting your budget strategically, you can onboard this channel with ease. And the sooner you do so, the better! By diving into CTV now, your agency will be prepared for CTV’s inevitable growth. When your clients start asking for CTV, you’ll be ready.

We’ve released a comprehensive guide covering the connected TV opportunity for independent agencies who are looking to thrive in 2021. Get your copy of the report, Connected TV, The Independent Agency Opportunity, here.