Consumer, Media

Connected TV is the New Wild West for Restaurant Marketers

BY: Nick Riegal | VP, Client Service

PUBLISHED: 3/3/2023

It’s been a while since a breakout advertising channel emerged, and Connected TV could be the game changer, representing a new frontier of television advertising that provides the same level of audience segmentation capabilities as you might find on widely used digital advertising platforms like Google Ads, LinkedIn Ads, and more. 

The BETA version of Hulu Ad Manager launched in July 2020, literally opening the door for any sized QSR, casual dining, or pizza business to jump into the television advertising game.

Combine this new frontier with today’s restaurant marketing challenges to drive traffic and profitability in a bullish economy, and opportunity has struck. As modern restaurant marketers explore new ways to attract and win over customers in a growing race for loyalty, Connected TV is becoming a modern solution to help consumers eat with their eyes through TV.

First, what is Connected TV (CTV)? CTV is a device that’s connected to or embedded in a TV with built-in internet capability, most commonly to stream video content (Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV).

With time spent viewing CTV hitting record highs, CTV advertising is a prime opportunity for restaurant marketers to get more targeted locally with new and existing customers and ensure their ad dollars are stretched as far as possible. However, as you will see below, there are many considerations to navigate as you explore this Wild West.

Here’s a closer look at the CTV landscape and restaurant opportunity. 

The CTV Boom

Time spent watching streamed content was up by nearly 50% in December 2022 versus the prior year, according to Nielsen. That means the average consumer watches an hour and a half of CTV content daily, and streaming now represents 38% of total TV usage—a larger daily share than broadcast or cable. 

This monumental shift provides new ways for restaurant brands and beyond to get in front of highly engaged audiences to promote their brand. Yet, the competition for restaurant ad dollars will continue to be fierce in 2023. 

According to eMarketer, U.S. advertisers will spend $26.9 billion on CTV in 2023, a 27% increase from 2022. The top ten QSR brands alone spent $325 million in 2022 and have already spent $29.8 million in CTV in January 2023, according to Pathmatics. This is on par with the $29.5 million spent in January 2022.

As more streaming inventory becomes available and as Netflix and Disney+ grow their recently announced ad-supported tiers, this spending will only continue to increase.

CTV Ad Opportunities for Restaurants 

One area in particular that shows significant promise is sports programming. CTV providers are now competing with linear networks for rights to live sports, which is top programming for restaurant brands. 

For example, Amazon Prime is now the exclusive home of Thursday Night Football for the next ten years, and both Peacock and Apple TV now have streaming rights packages for Major League Baseball games. And YouTube won the rights to air the Sunday NFL Ticket in January 2023. Sports streaming packages are very attractive to restaurant advertisers due to inventory and access to channels, and they will effectively pull audiences with them to the world of CTV. 

Benefits of CTV Advertising

The powerful combination of data-rich digital targeting capabilities and the big home screen experience will empower restaurant brands, enabling marketing leaders to get even more focused geographic coverage around local store trade areas, leverage data to target the most relevant audiences, and reach younger restaurant guests with tailored messages.

With the ability to connect CTV viewership to direct business outcomes, CTV advertising represents a prime opportunity for restaurant brands to reach the right customers at a hyperlocal level. By teaming up with an experienced partner to execute hyperlocal campaigns, forward-looking restaurant brands can create memorable connections with customers, build trust, and, ultimately, drive traffic and transactions.


To learn more about how your brand can get the most out of CTV opportunities, contact us today.