How to Navigate Advertising Opportunities in the OTT Landscape

Television viewing habits have been shifting toward streaming for some time now. However, this year, we finally saw the scale officially tip toward OTT (over-the-top) and CTV (connected TV) platforms. Today, more households in the U.S. use streaming platforms than traditional forms of television like cable or satellite.


Traditionally, viewers relied on the early streaming giants like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. However, with time, major telecom, entertainment, and technology companies (like AT&T, Disney, and Apple) have thrown their hats in the ring, too, along with other major networks including NBC’s Peacock and Discovery’s Discovery+.


As these new players have entered the market, they’ve started taking their programming with them and away from the more traditional streaming platforms. As a result, consumers are stuck with the choice between losing access to their favorite shows — think “Friends” and “The Office” being removed from Netflix — or subscribing to yet another streaming service to ensure they can still consume all of the content they want.


The Dawn of a Crowded OTT Advertising Landscape


This has created myriad ripple effects, especially for advertisers. One of the biggest? The advent of the crowded streaming media landscape and the even more complex OTT advertising market. Many of the newer streaming platforms require no subscription fee to access their content. Much like traditional broadcast TV, consumers can watch shows and movies in exchange for viewing pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll ads.


What’s distinct about OTT advertising on ad-supported platforms is the relevance it offers. Consumers want ads that are less disruptive and more relevant to their individual interests and behaviors. In fact, 60% of consumers who viewed relevant ads reported enjoying the viewing experience.


CTV devices allow ad-supported streaming platforms to deliver OTT content that is exclusive to streaming or isn’t widely available on linear TV, which garners high viewership (if the quality and demand for the content are appealing). With more eyeballs on OTT content, marketers can leverage data to target incredibly specific audiences — household to household, device to device.


Brands can go beyond increasing awareness or creating brand lift from CTV investments. As they get their footing on a platform, they can begin to test out mid- to lower-funnel tactics with connected TV advertising, too — whether that’s in-ad QR codes or retargeting customers who are exposed to display or social ads — and move consumers through the funnel.


How to Reach Target Audiences Across Platforms


The idea of diversifying OTT buys across platforms rather than automatically going with the legacy players in the space is still relatively new to many advertisers — and opportunities continue to grow. If you’re considering taking this approach, do the following:


1. Enlist the help of a partner to guide you through the OTT landscape.


The streaming industry is crowded, showing no signs of thinning out any time soon. This makes finding a partner that knows the space essential to execute successful OTT campaigns. But not all companies in the industry have direct relationships with publishers and streaming platforms. Partners like Digilant have pre-negotiated rates with many of the players in the OTT landscape and can help you build strategies that allow you to tap into streaming audiences across a multitude of devices in an efficient, cost-effective way.


2. Test and learn.


Ad-supported streaming platforms come with a host of unique ad formats. From interstitial and sequential ads to the short and long spots often seen on linear TV, OTT advertising is ripe for experimentation. Get creative with your creative. Test different formats and learn what holds the attention of viewers to drive post-view engagement.


3. Understand the costs associated with connected TV advertising.


While connected TV advertising can be more expensive than other digital ad formats, it’s still more cost-effective than traditional TV buys. Dip your toes in the ad-supported streaming waters by making “blended” buys. Run ads on OTT, display, desktop, social, and other channels simultaneously to capture audience attention throughout the omnichannel consumer journey.


4. Remain objective-driven and silo-averse.


As marketing continues to evolve and OTT platforms keep popping up, advertisers are increasingly at risk of becoming siloed. Ideally, an omnichannel strategy is executed under one roof, but that often isn’t the reality for advertisers. This can dilute messaging and waste valuable resources in the process. To combat this, stay focused on tearing down silos and working in collaboration toward your goals and objectives. When you work together, you’re more likely to create campaigns that do the same.


5. Find one North Star.


Finally, have a single source of truth that all parties can rely on. Use this for measurement and attribution for your OTT, search, social, programmatic, and other ad buys. You need all performance data in one place in order to understand how each ad investment works together to engage and convert your target consumer.


It takes time to master new marketing channels and tactics. Testing, learning, and recalibrating as the territory changes are all just… part of the territory. Get in touch today to learn more about the OTT landscape and how Digilant can help you navigate it.

How to Overcome Podcast Advertising Challenges and Maximize its Power

Podcasts advertising has taken the world by storm.

Why? A few important reasons. The first is the ability to connect to a growing, diverse, and highly engaged listener base. Listeners consume, on average, eight podcasts each week. The medium gives people a break from visual screens and can go with them wherever they are, whatever they’re doing.

Podcasts also offer a format primed for authentic, effective connection. Podcast listeners can’t employ ad blockers, and 78% of listeners approve of podcast sponsorships because they make the connection that advertising funds the content they value so much. Beyond that, podcasts are brand-safe environments because they allow advertisers to choose the precise context in which their ad is placed.

One other strategic advantage of podcast advertising is its precise targeting capabilities. The pool of podcast options is seemingly endless and spans basically every topic and interest. This presents brands with an incredible opportunity to align their ads with a hyper-relevant podcast or host, knowing that the stronger that alignment, the more interested the audience will be in the product or service. Even further, they can target podcast ads by device type, language, location, consumption type, age, and genre.

Challenges of Podcast Advertising

But as with anything, podcast advertising isn’t perfect. As this is still a newer medium in the digital advertising world, advertisers are ironing out a few challenges when using the format to promote their messages:


People listen to podcasts on their phones, smart speakers, tablets, computers, and cars. They may even listen on different streaming platforms, ranging from Spotify to Stitcher to Apple Podcasts. For advertisers, it can be tricky to do cross-device targeting and holistically measure the success of their campaigns across these different devices and channels.

Host-read vs. Pre-Recorded

Podcast listeners feel a direct connection to an ad and a brand when the podcast host reads the message. It creates an intimate, authentic environment. The problem with this, though, is that there are only so many opportunities for this kind of ad buy. Advertisers can supplement host-read podcast ad buys by also doing programmatic prerecorded ad spots. But finding the right balance between the two and creating the same kind of authentic connection can be difficult.

Unique Format Production

When advertisers choose to make prerecorded ad spots, they often do so with some creative hesitancy. Unlike video or other digital ad types, prerecorded podcast ads have a unique sound quality that makes them largely exclusive to podcast advertising formats and almost impossible to use across different channels. This can make advertisers hesitant to jump in because they don’t know how to go about creating the ad itself.

Over-Reliance on Audience Targeting

When it comes to podcast advertising, advertisers have primarily been relying on audience targeting, which mostly focuses on the audience’s demographic makeup, even though this presents them with a limited reach. It drives them to create ads based on what consumers are listening to, not who they are. While audience targeting is certainly valuable, it shouldn’t be a standalone solution. Rather, advertisers should use contextual targeting to understand consumers’ interests and behaviors and then create ads based on those things. This is what will ultimately allow them to embrace and expand their audience.

Overcoming Podcast Advertising Challenges

Although challenges do exist for advertisers, they’re by no means insurmountable. And it’s important to note that none of the challenges is outside the norm: With the explosive growth of podcasts and the advertising format they offer, growing pains are to be expected.

As advertisers forge ahead and continue to harness the power of podcast advertising, here are three best practices to keep in mind:

1. Embrace new and improved measurement solutions.

The podcast advertising industry continues to grow and change, and new attribution and measurement solutions continue to enter the market. AdsWizz, for example, offers a powerful attribution pixel that works with Tapad’s cross-device solution to track conversions from listeners who switch devices before taking action on a landing page or website. Together, these tools enable advertisers to track conversions across multiple devices, glean accurate insights into campaign performance, make data-informed decisions to optimize their campaigns, and gain a holistic view of each consumer journey.

2. Work with a trusted strategic partner.

To most effectively use measurement tools, walk through the creative process, and reap all the benefits that podcast advertising has to offer, work with a trusted, strategic partner. It can be overwhelming to choose from a variety of podcast advertising formats and then craft creative messages for each. A partner can outline which formats are best for your brand and your goals and even provide access to voice actors who can help you record and produce those ads, too. At Digilant, we provide our clients the ability to send up to three script reads to be recorded as 15- to 60-second ad spots with optional royalty-free music.

3. Consider podcast networks vs. direct-buy ads.

If you’re struggling to measure your podcast ad performance across platforms, consider the benefits of going direct to platforms like Apple Podcasts and Spotify versus the benefits of tapping into designated podcast networks like PodcastOne or AudioBoom, which provide inventory to reach your target audience as they listen to podcasts across different platforms including Apple, Pandora, Spotify, and more. At Digilant, we have partnerships with digital audio vendors that allow our clients to scale their podcast ads across different platforms. This allows our clients to reach listeners no matter where they tune-in, while also avoiding unified measurement to avoid platform silos.

Ready to harness the power of podcast advertising?

At Digilant, we provide strategic, creative partnerships to advertisers across industries as they navigate digital advertising, including podcast and digital audio advertising solutions. To learn more about how we can help you execute effective, relevant podcast advertising for your brand, get in touch today.

Universal ID Solutions and the Cookieless Future

As Google overhauls Chrome to tighten privacy practices, third-party cookies are going away — and advertisers are left to figure out the best way to move forward.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Respecting privacy is critical, but relevant, quality advertising requires consumer information. How do advertisers find the balance? One of the emerging third-party cookie alternatives is Universal ID.

What is Universal ID?

Universal ID is a single identifier that is created by an independent ad-tech company to provide approved partners across the supply chain with a shared identity. The major difference between third-party cookies and this is matching methods; where the former uses probabilistic, the latter uses deterministic.

Here’s how this works in practice. Email addresses, as just one example, are considered Personally Identifiable Information (PII), which means they can’t be freely traded between ad technology companies without user consent. Universal ID technology, however, can pass email addresses through an algorithm that converts them into a readable 32-digital long string of numbers, ultimately creating a hashed email address that users have opted into and providing a unique identifier. Anytime the consumer goes to a website or uses an app that requires that email for login, their identification is shared across a network of publishers that use Universal ID who can then use the information to target the individual with relevant ads.

Although Universal ID solutions are relatively new, there are three main types on the market:

  • First-Party Data-Based solutions utilize user information across a variety of sources, including third-party cookies, first-party CRMs, and offline.
  • Proprietary ID solutions will aggregate cookie information, meaning that browsers blocking cookies will render this option obsolete. However, it simplifies cookie-syncing so that less user identity information is lost in translation.
  • Industry ID solutions are independently owned or operated by investment companies. They rely on simplified cookie-syncing programs that incorporate useful lifespan expiration dates.

Pros and Cons of Universal ID

There are, like with anything, pros and cons that come with Universal ID.

The pros are many. Universal ID offers advertisers a cross-device tracking solution, whereas cookies operate only within one at a time. They also don’t rely on third-party software syncing cookie information from one platform to another, creating a more seamless user experience while eliminating the issue of data loss from third-party cookies.

Universal ID also eliminates duplicated information, as it matches users at a nearly 100% rate. This means more accurate sample sizes and precise match rates between user interests, too. And beyond that, Universal ID solutions can be created using first-party cookies from offline sources and CRMs, meaning advertisers no longer need to rely on any third-party sources or data at all.

As for the drawbacks, they’re mostly conceptual since the solution is so new. Some worry about scalability. Cross-publisher divides create another potential issue, as publishers, technology partners (DSPs, SSPs) and data providers will all have to work together in order for Universal ID to work. Likewise, many wonder how Universal ID will interact with other solutions like first-party data, location data, and contextual targeting.

Universal ID Case Studies

Let’s look at a few helpful case studies to see how these solutions work in practice.

The Trade Desk (TTD), one of the industry’s largest DSPs, has released its proprietary “Unified ID” solution with the goal of growing to a 100% match and boosting advertisers’ ROI alongside publishers’ programmatic revenue. It creates a simplified version of cookie-syncing but doesn’t entirely replace third-party cookies — yet. TTD is working on an updated version — Unified ID 2.0 — to address that concern. With this version, a user will log into a Unified ID 2.0-integrated website using their email, which enables the solution to hash that email address and create an encrypted ID token that acts as an ad request. A subsequent bid request is then created and can be used by ad tech vendors for targeting, frequency capping, and attribution.

Another organization, LiveRamp, uses Universal ID solutions, too. The company’s Authenticated Traffic Solutions (ATS) allows publishers to match consented user data with a RampID — a single anonymous profile — in real-time and then use it for targeting. The technology takes in and consolidates data from a number of sources, including mobile devices, CTV devices, and cookies to ultimately create an identity graph.

What to Know As Universal ID Becomes More Universal

As you move away from third-party cookies and consider adopting a Universal ID solution, here are a few things to remember:

  1. Stay curious. First and foremost, keep an open mind. Stay informed and research-focused but open to possibilities to ensure that you intentionally consider each solution and select the one that’s right for your organization.
  2. Allocate a testing budget. Ideally, 5% – 10% of your budget should go toward identifying the right Universal ID solution. Devoting the proper time and resources to this important technology gives you a strong foundation for the (rapidly approaching) cookieless future.
  3. Have a strong digital advertising partner. As the industry continues to change and alternatives to third-party cookies continuously present themselves, rely on strategic partners to help you stay informed and thrive amidst all the changes.

Third-party cookies may be on their way out, but Universal ID gives advertisers a way to stay confident even in all the changes. To learn more about the cookieless future and Universal ID, get in touch today.

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