Marketers should always be on the lookout for new channels and opportunities to connect with their customers. One approach that’s becoming increasingly attractive to many brands is over-the-top (OTT) advertising as it gives businesses the chance to get their ads in front of viewers without using traditional television service providers.
Research has suggested that the OTT market will be worth more than $1 trillion by 2027, having been valued at $121.6 billion in 2019.
OTT advertising certainly has the potential to help you reach your target audience, if you can find practices that make sense for your brand and your customers.
What is OTT advertising?
OTT advertising utilizes devices that provide direct connections to customers via the internet. This allows you to bypass traditional televised ad platforms such as cable, broadcast and satellite TV.
Among the most popular OTT devices are:
- Mobile phones
- Personal computers
- Streaming boxes such as Apple TV, Android TV and Amazon Fire TV
- Smart TVs offering access to apps like Netflix and HBO Max
- HDMI sticks such as Chromecast and Roku
- Games consoles
The increasing popularity of these technologies, and the various streaming and media services to which they provide access, makes them an attractive prospect for advertisers.
You have a lot of choice about the approach you want to take to OTT advertising and where you want your content to appear. Different platforms provide a variety of features and potential benefits.
Roku, for example, uses an ad platform called OneView that offers the opportunity to activate more than 100 audience segments based on behavioral insights. Hulu provides tools such as Ad Selector, which aims to increase relevance and engagement by giving viewers control over the type of ads they want to see.
The power of OTT advertising
One compelling benefit of this type of advertising is the opportunity to connect with the increasing number of people who regularly use OTT devices to consume content from streaming and subscription video services.
Nielsen examined how the COVID-19 pandemic had fueled growth in streaming services and found that streaming in OTT-capable homes accounted for 25% of consumers' collective time spent watching television. In addition, the average amount of time American adults spent viewing streaming services each week increased from 81.7 billion minutes in the second quarter of 2019 to 142.5 billion minutes in Q2 2020.
In addition to giving you the chance to put your ad content in front of huge numbers of people, OTT advertising lets you escape the limitations of traditional TV ads, such as having to find a good spot in broadcast schedules and accounting for variations in viewing habits and trends across regions.
Consumers who rely on OTT devices to access their favorite streaming platforms and on-demand services can consume content at any time of the day, from any location where they can access the internet.
OTT advertising also enables you to be more discerning and take a more targeted approach to the audience segments you want to focus on. You can be selective about the platforms and streaming services that offer the most potential to connect with your ideal customers, while behavioral indicators and contextual tools can inform your advertising to maximize relevance.
This is in stark contrast to traditional TV advertising, which might offer the opportunity to put your ads in front of a large audience, but without the nuance and specificity that can be achieved with OTT.
Positive practices for a successful OTT campaign
To take full advantage of the potential of OTT advertising, make sure you adhere to practices that provide a positive experience for your target audience and a good representation of your brand.
Keep it short
If there's anything the backlash to traditional advertising and the growth of ad blockers has told us, it's that most people don't take kindly to their viewing experiences being disrupted by brand messages. To stand the best chance of your ads making an impression on customers before the 'skip' button is pressed, keep them as short as possible. Anything longer than 30 seconds is likely to be a waste of time and budget.
Think about formatting
You might expect most of your ad views to come on television screens, but remember lots of people will see your content on laptops, smartphones and tablets too. As a result, it's crucial to format your ads so they appear properly on various screen sizes.
Make the most of personalization and audience understanding
OTT advertising offers lots of additional features and benefits that can help you make your ads relevant and tailored to particular audience segments, characteristics and preferences. Behavioral signals and factors like the day or time your ads are being viewed, for example, can help you learn more about your customers and make informed, data-driven decisions about the future direction your advertising should go in.