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Considering 'interactive' CTV ad units? Take a moment to read this first.

Since the birth of Connected TV and CTV advertising, solutions have existed whose purpose is to turn the living room ad experience into an 'actionable' platform.

However, one vital oversight was made which has caused a butterfly effect within our ranks and warrants consideration as marketers and thought leaders - have we been taking the correct (by which we mean ground-up) approach to engagement and interactivity on CTV, or have we been trying to fit the square peg that is mobile/desktop behavior and best practices in a round CTV shaped hole?

In this article, we dive into the implications of this oversight and present a different approach to how engagement/interaction can (and possibly should) be accomplished.

What have we overlooked?


While the same content can be viewed on any device/screen you can name, that does not mean that the setting or environment that the viewer's in is the same. You've probably heard the expression 'lean-in viewing' and/or 'lean-back' and possibly not given it a lot of thought, but the fact is that when someone is sitting back in their sofa with a cold drink in their hand - they are in a lean-back state. They are not looking to fill a moment in time while waiting for a train; they have chosen their comfy sofa and TV as a way to decompress from a hard day. This creates a tectonic shift in what we, as marketers, should expect them to 'do' if invited - and in the same vein changes how they need to be incentivized.


Even while it represents active customer engagement, the very nature of inviting an interactive experience during an ad creates a necessary interruption to the story/message that your ad is there to transmit.


When CTV first started its journey into being the behemoth it is today, the world looked pretty different. While smart phones did of course exist, the habits we attribute to the rise of social media were very different. This means that the statistics we see today such as 95% of CTV audiences having a 'second screen' glued their hand while watching TV were not the case. But it is the case today - and that fundamentally changes the entire 'engagement' conversation.

Which leads us neatly into the second half of this article...

What a different approach looks like

At Origin, we believe passionately that CTV is the perfect screen for engagement and 'interactivity'. And the reason we feel this way is for precisely the reasons we describe above.

Wait. What??

The best way to start things off is to ask you to consider the difference between something being 'INTERACTIVE' and something being 'ACTIONABLE'. Each of them have one word in common that is vital to highlight - they both invite 'interaction'. Because yes, interaction is not the same as interactivity. As you'll see here...

An INTERACTIVE experience is one that you engage with directly, on the same screen that invited the prompt to do so (imagine flicking through car color options using your TV remote).

An ACTIONABLE experience is an invitation (coupled ideally with a strong incentive and instantaneous portal such as a QR code) to perform an action, namely on a different device to the one that invited you to engage.

For the reasons we shared earlier, it is our position that 'interactive' CTV ads face a number of uphill challenges. Not only that, but the way consumer behavior has evolved when it comes to second screen usage means that we already have an alternative way of inviting some form of 'interaction'.

Better yet, once you've mastered (or come as close as you can to mastering) the art of figuring out what the right value exchange is with the viewer in order to secure their time (something we've spent many years learning) and you've worked out how to send that invitation in a way that doesn't disrupt the ads ability to tell your story, then you are inviting them to do so on a screen that allows for significantly increased dwell time. Not only that, but you have them dwelling on the very same device that they most likely already use to buy things online.

Anyway, while we could write a novel on best practices from here onwards, time is pressing - so if you do want to hear more on our thoughts, drop us a line and we'd be more than happy to chat -

Until then - ciao!


Origin is a creative technology company whose pioneering TV advertising solutions have reshaped the way brands captivate and activate consumers inside and outside the home.

Fusing first to market ad formats with proprietary technology and direct media partnerships that span the streaming ecosystem, Origin's solutions are embraced by brands, agencies and platforms who are seeking to elevate the efficiency and impact of their Connected TV investments.

Founded by media veterans Fred Godfrey and Stephen Strong, Origin is driven by a relentless belief that the time has come to question tradition and enrage the status quo. Learn more at


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