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.