Over-the-top (OTT) television streaming has brought a new era of choice to consumers. Its multiplatform distribution and flexibility means viewers are watching what they want, when they want it — and on whatever device they choose. Gone are the days of I Love Lucy and 67.3 Nielsen ratings as families gathered around their TVs. Instead, here are the days of one-to-one streaming of The Walking Dead or watching March Madness on OTT services.
As OTT changes the way consumers watch TV, it’s up to advertisers to change the way they push their messages out. Direct response advertisers can no longer rely solely on traditional TV to drive action across their consumer base. Due to the increasing numbers of cord cutters, cord nevers, and cord shavers, linear TV buys are reaching fewer viewers and ads are not seeing the responses they once did.
OTT services that offer live and on-demand programming give marketers the ability to serve ads to these hard-to-reach viewers and close the cord-cutting gap. While marketers have turned to digital channels like Facebook or Google to find these elusive, tech-savvy audiences, they have been met with viewability issues, low completion rates, and brand safety concerns that have caused many to rethink their digital strategies. Premium OTT services, on the other hand, combat these complications by delivering a true television experience to the consumer — just without the cord.
Reaching tech-savvy audiences that traditional TV has struggled to hold on to has not only increased scale and reach for marketers, but also has introduced a new benefit: dual-screen viewing. While the thought of viewers using their mobile devices during a commercial break might seem like an unwanted distraction, it actually often simplifies the call-to-action (CTA). With the large majority of OTT viewers watching content on the big screen, using their mobile devices at the same time enables them to browse the website from a brand’s CTA and move forward with a purchase.
OTT advertising brings more than just tech-savvy cord-cutting audiences to the table — its value also lies in the optimization of media buys for marketers looking for efficiency. Perhaps the most crucial benefit to making a DR buy efficient is its ability to minimize unwanted impressions. On OTT, ads are served via dynamic ad insertion (DAI) and only air when the viewer’s device is on. With traditional non-targeted linear advertising, brands can only hope that their target demo is watching a specific channel at a certain time. With OTT, DAI can find viewers and deliver the ad only when they’re watching content — therefore increasing the value of the impressions served.
OTT allows brands to narrow in on an audience, utilizing targeting techniques that many marketers associate with the digital space. Through OTT, brands can create custom audiences by demo, daypart, network, device, geography, and genre — or take it a step further with highly targeted addressable segments that find specific households based on targeting criteria. Using a rich set of demographic descriptors, combined with third-party data analytics, addressable ads target viewers beyond traditional demographics so brands are buying audiences, not programs.
In some cases, brands can execute addressable campaigns across both traditional TV providers and OTT providers that reach the same expansive national footprint traditional TV buys alone were reaching years ago.
Finally, OTT provides complementary value to a traditional media mix. Combining the power of OTT with a standard TV buy allows marketers to extend reach to their desired target and ensure their ads are hitting non-duplicative TV and digital audiences — regardless of program, network, or device. OTT’s robust targeting and post-campaign measurement allow brands to experiment and test campaign effectiveness, such as multiple creative executions, frequency management, and target segmentation that ultimately allows them to optimize future buys across both TV and digital.
The TV space is changing rapidly. Consumers are demanding full control of their content with less commitments and more choice. For advertisers, this means OTT streaming services are more crucial than ever. Whether it’s finding hard-to-reach viewers, targeting custom segments, or making sure their ads are seen, OTT ads are hitting hard-to-reach consumers no matter where, what, or how they are viewing content — and driving action.