digital advertising, ctv, cord cutters

The 2021 Digital Advertising Landscape and CTV Rise

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By: Justine

January 21, 2021

While the rate of cord-cutters has steadily increased over the past several years, the 2020 global pandemic shifted the industry’s gears, accelerating the arrival of more digital formats such as Connected TV (CTV) to the forefront for consumers and marketers. 

In a year that saw many advertisers getting creative with their ad strategies and budgets, digital video formats including CTV saw a 17% surge, according to business intelligence company SMI. With all signs pointing to U.S audiences looking for cost-effective and efficient viewing experiences, these newer viewing experiences are gaining the confidence of consumers and marketers alike. 

In this article, we’re sharing key insights of how digital video is set to continue its rapid growth in 2021, and how formats like CTV are redefining not only how audiences consume content but also reshaping the digital advertising spending landscape. 

Cord-Cutting is Accelerating, and TV Viewing is Changing

While millennial “cord-nevers” have been identified as the main drivers of digital ad spend growth, the 2020 global pandemic’s disruption on everyday life including entertainment has left a significant impact on cable subscribers as a whole. The result of the volatile year saw 27% of U.S cable subscribers ready to cut the cord in 2021, a 15% jump from last year, according to a January 2021 TradeDesk report. 

Streaming consumption now accounts for 68 percent of TV viewing versus 28 percent for traditional TV viewing, highlighting that even on primary screens for traditional consumption, digital is leading the way.

Marketers have a great opportunity to tap into this shift. The increased proliferation of digital content onto TV screens in addition to smartphones and desktops creates even more targeting potential in a way that’s effectively more measurable than traditional media. And the scale is significant. Even in U.S households that have a cable subscription, advertisers are still reaching more than 84 million households via connected, streaming TV services.

A New Digital Advertising Landscape

Digital advertising spend is expected to grow to $441 billion by 2022 according to eMarketer, with digital video playing an increasing role in the market at $82 billion as the most engaged format for consumers. Even within digital video, formats like CTV are showing incredible growth with the format’s ad spend increasing from $8.11 billion to $18.29 billion from 2020 to 2024. 

Another contributing factor to the uptick in digital video ad spend is its flexibility with the media climate. Given 2020’s disruption to viewing habits, many marketers are less interested in committing a large ad spend upfront, preferring models that allow for flexibility and off the cuff changes. Digital fits that scenario perfectly. With digital video consumption habits varying between platforms and screens, whether on mobile, desktop, CTV or others, marketers have a wide array of possibilities at their fingertips as the space continues to innovate and evolve at a rapid pace.

As interest continues to grow across the array of digital video ad formats available for consumers, marketers are looking to content creators and experts like BBTV to effectively target this audience and deliver campaigns that exceed industry benchmarks.

Get in touch with BBTV’s Ad Sales team for more information on how you can work with us to achieve the best results on your campaigns across platforms like YouTube. 


  • The Future of TV Report, “The CTV Tipping Point”, TheTradeDesk, January 2021
  • US Connected TV Advertising 2020: A Surging Channel in an Uncertain Year, eMarketer, November 2020
  • “fuboTV: Solid Position for Sports Betting”, Seeking Alpha, January 2021

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