OTT streaming services established themselves quickly and have surged in popularity over the last decade. In 2019, OTT viewership for consumers between 18-34 years old hovered around 65% — and that has only increased since the pandemic! Investing in OTT ads can enable your business to reach a broader audience than ever before.
Moreover, OTT ads are much more accessible than many businesses expect. Here, we'll discuss how you can benefit from OTT ads and even use commercials developed for television as crossovers into the world of streaming.
What OTT Ads Are
OTT stands for "over the top," referring to services that bypass traditional distribution to deliver entertainment content, such as movies, TV, music, or podcast. For example, companies like Netflix and Hulu bypass traditional TV by offering online entertainment customers can stream on-demand. Furthermore, services like Roku are CTV, which includes gaming consoles and present the means for accessing OTT.
OTT ads have many similarities to TV commercials, although there are some significant differences between the two mediums. A couple of similarities include:
- Ad creative. There typically isn't a big difference in the creative development of an OTT ad versus a TV commercial.
- Formatting. In many cases, both OTT ads and TV commercials must adhere to time constraints (e.g., a 15-second spot).
Most of the advertising differences between OTT and TV involve reach, specificity, versatility, and analytics. For instance:
- Reach. OTT ads enable your business to reach many consumers who otherwise would not be accessible (such as "cord-cutters").
- Specificity. TV commercials go out to a broad audience made up of diverse (and often unrelated) demographics. In contrast, you can "aim" OTT ads at your target audience, thus reducing costs while ensuring that your messaging reaches the right people.
- Versatility. OTT ads are broad, taking forms that heavily vary from each other by platform. Hulu and YouTube use very different ad formats, despite both classifying as OTT. It also includes audio ads on podcasts and music apps like Spotify and Pandora.
- Analytics. OTT service providers can typically empower you to receive in-depth analytics to track your ad campaign's performance — even in real-time!
The Benefits of OTT Ads
Even without highly involved campaigns, there are other key benefits of OTT ads that your business can obtain. For example:
- OTT is often an unskippable medium. OTT ads usually can't be skipped or fast-forwarded (unlike DVR, for example).
- It has higher engagement rates. Since most OTT ads are targeted toward specific demographics and combined with only a handful of other ads during each "commercial break," it only makes sense that they would yield a higher engagement rate compared to traditional TV ads.
- It can reach local audiences. Even though OTT ads can (and often do) go national, you can also target regional and local audiences with your ad creative via this channel.
- It reaches people at any time. OTT ads enable you to reach your audience at virtually any time of day or night instead of trying to catch your audience as they tune in to a particular TV program during a specific time slot. In effect, you're able to adapt your advertising to your consumer's viewing habits.
- It offers advanced insights. OTT analytics help you determine who's watching your ads and how well they're performing.
OTT's benefits increase as you invest more, such as by investing in more advanced OTT targeting. However, you'll still benefit from using OTT as a linear extension of TV by gaining access to more people at various times.
Using TV Commercials for OTT
In terms of creative and technical development, TV commercials are identical to OTT ads. That's good news for your business since whatever you invest in developing a TV commercial (demographic research, script composition, or A/B testing) can easily cross over into the world of OTT.
The key distinction between OTT ads and TV commercials is how they reach audiences. Granted, there is a learning curve when it comes to distributing ads via OTT channels. However, working with an experienced media partner who can help you navigate any challenges will help your marketing plan stay on track.
Leverage an OTT Campaign to Grow Your Business
In summary, there are many compelling reasons to invest in an OTT campaign — even a small one. OTT ads can:
- Reach a broad audience
- Engage with consumers effectively
- Connect with specific demographics
- Offer advanced analytics and data insights
- Capture viewers' attention at any time
- Be adapted to or from TV commercials
OTT advertising is highly accessible to even small businesses and is a great way to reach a local audience. If you haven't already considered implementing an OTT campaign to bolster your brand presence, then start exploring this option today. If you do, the outcome may be a flourishing business that enjoys sustainable growth.