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Tools for OTT Success

Apr 16, 2020

By 2022 there will be nearly 220M OTT video users in the U.S., representing 64% of the population. Though Netflix and Hulu have been online for over a decade, only recently have the rest of the major media players entered the OTT space (think Disney+, Apple TV+, NBC’s Peacock and the soon to be released HBO Max) in what is currently known as the “streaming wars.” Though the business models vary, with a mix of free ad-supported and paid subscription approaches, media companies are actively driving viewers to this format. They are consolidating resources, reclaiming popular content, and creating new shows to offer exclusive content in a bid for consumer attention. In order to effectively leverage OTT advertising, marketers need to keep four key areas of focus in mind. 

Plan alongside linear TV

In 2019, 68% of U.S. households were cable subscribers, overlapping with the 90% who watched streaming video. On average, pay-TV subscribers also subscribed to five additional streaming services in 2019.  If marketers don’t plan linear and OTT buys holistically, they will see duplication across these channels. To extend reach, marketers must take linear TV viewing into account, focusing on audiences for OTT that are composed of viewers who are underexposed (or not exposed) to ads on linear.

Aggregate providers for better optimization

While its targeting and measurement capabilities more closely mirror those of digital channels, OTT advertising brings with it the big screen impact of linear TV — focused attention, premium content, and viewer intent — without the high barrier to entry of the traditional TV-buying process. But OTT planning and budget allocation are not yet standardized. Some advertisers buy OTT as a linear add-on, without capitalizing on the audience and measurement benefits of the channel. Other brands may buy through multiple DSPs or directly with streaming partners, and can’t take into account the resulting audience duplication and over-frequency. Without audience-driven, holistic planning that aggregates OTT platforms and allows marketers to coordinate planning, buying, and measurement across the range of providers, brands waste money and create poor consumer experiences. 

View reach and frequency holistically

With audience overlap between OTT and linear TV, it’s important for marketers to understand how the inventory they’re buying from OTT providers is actually reaching new and different consumers, and at the optimal frequency. To measure true incrementality to linear, an advertiser needs to understand how their OTT campaigns deliver in terms of incremental reach and supplemental frequency of audiences exposed in linear and in OTT. When planning linear TV and OTT holistically, marketers gain a better understanding of both audiences that are reachable by linear TV and those that aren’t, informing a more sophisticated OTT strategy.

Connect to business outcomes

The addressable nature of OTT means that, as in other digital channels, it is possible to measure the return on media investment by connecting impressions to online and offline conversions (or other events) tied to business outcomes. Using source-of-truth data to measure the effectiveness of campaigns across all channels, including OTT, advertisers can better understand the true impact their advertising has on business results both holistically and at the individual platform level.

To create seamless video experiences, brands need to converge planning of TV and OTT to drive incremental reach and manage frequency across all consumer touchpoints. Along with holistic planning should come holistic measurement, including a combined view of reach, frequency, and impact on desired business outcomes. With strategic planning, brands can leverage OTT as an important piece of their cross-channel campaigns and create meaningful experiences for consumers.