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How content providers can generate success with OTT

TVSquared's Marlene Grimm explains how media owners can help advertisers find the optimal combination of linear and OTT.

We’re in a crucial and dynamic phase for the TV industry. The concept of TV viewing is expanding to include a wider range of platforms and delivery mechanisms that allow audiences to watch video content wherever, whenever and however they want.

TV advertising is evolving in parallel, and advertisers are keen to explore opportunities with over-the-top (OTT) streaming services and connected TV (CTV), with the spending optimism score for these platforms jumping from 37 to 59 last year. And this was before the pandemic lockdown saw the use of streaming platforms escalate, making them an even more attractive prospect for advertisers to reach consumers seeking new sources of entertainment and distraction.

OTT advertising has a variety of benefits. It enables media owners to provide the same premium, full-screen, brand safe, storytelling experience as linear TV but it is addressable, meaning advertisers can target specific audience segments in the same way they can with digital advertising. It also allows content providers to offer advertisers a way to engage with incremental audiences they wouldn’t be able to reach through linear TV, such as cord-cutters or cord-nevers. But getting started with OTT advertising can be daunting for brands that are used to the linear way of life, so how can media owners help them find success with OTT?

Work with advertisers to find the right mix of linear and OTT

For the majority of brands OTT advertising won’t replace linear TV advertising, it will complement it. Media owners can be confident in the fact linear TV remains an effective medium both for brand building and driving performance, reaching a lot of people in a short amount of time, but there is a huge opportunity to show advertisers how, when combined with the incremental reach of OTT, it is even more powerful.

When used in tandem, content providers can work with advertisers to generate significant lifts in brand metrics such as awareness and favourability. Brand awareness is boosted by reaching incremental audiences only available via OTT platforms, while favourability is increased when target audiences are reached across both linear and OTT, ultimately reinforcing brand messaging.

But OTT isn’t just about upper funnel branding activity, content providers can also support a brand’s advertiser goals of measuring and optimising against lower funnel performance goals. As OTT becomes an integral part of the wider TV mix, media owners can help advertisers find the optimal combination of linear and OTT to deliver on their KPIs at all levels of the funnel.

Don’t shy away from advertisers exploring multiple publishers 

To make the most of OTT, advertisers need to explore multiple content providers as response rates and performance can vary widely between streaming services. What works for one brand won’t necessarily work for another, even within the same vertical, so it’s worth focusing on the benefits your channels and content can bring, so equally beneficial relationships can be developed.

It’s worth noting that advertisers can be put off by the apparent complexity of working with multiple providers due to the fragmented nature of the OTT ecosystem and potential variations in tracking and reporting between different publishers. So, there is an opportunity to utilise technology to remove the friction from this process, making OTT far more scalable. When working with multiple content providers, however, advertisers will be paying attention to ad frequency which can build quickly when targeting viewers across multiple streaming services. Advertisers won’t want to bombard viewers with ads, as this will ultimately impact performance, so media owners can push to ensure frequency capping is implemented across OTT platforms.

Suggest the test and learn strategy to sell the benefits of OTT to advertisers 

Content providers need to ensure advertisers aren’t afraid of jumping in and trying OTT advertising to discover what works best for their brand. Advising brands they should start slow, taking a small portion of their budget to test a number of variables such as genre, time of day and creative length is a great way to start. Media owners can suggest consistent measurement so advertisers can discover where they can yield the highest level of response and then optimise their campaigns to ensure spots are reaching engaged and responsive audiences.

Once the advertiser is comfortable with a test and learn strategy, content providers can push the agility and flexibility of OTT platforms, which allow advertisers to scale up their investment and maximise ROI. 

The global OTT market is set to grow over 8 per cent each year until 2023, when it will be worth more than $34 billion, and advertiser interest in OTT advertising will continue to increase as the market expands. By advising advertisers to start small by leveraging OTT alongside linear to find the optimal media mix, allowing advertisers to explore multiple media owners to find the right fit for specific brand needs, and suggesting the implementation of a test and learn strategy, content providers can work with advertisers to ultimately find success with OTT.