OTT Advertising: A Guide Explaining the Benefits & Challenges

OTT Advertising: A Guide Explaining the Benefits & Challenges

OTT advertising is quickly becoming one of the most popular forms of digital marketing.

Trends show that revenue from this industry will be more than $210 billion by 2026.

OTT, or over-the-top media services, are subscription streaming services that deliver content directly to viewers’ devices.

In this article, I’ll explain the benefits and challenges of OTT advertising.

I’ll also offer a few tips on how to maximize your success with this form of marketing.

What is OTT Advertising?

Over-the-top advertising is a form of digital advertising that uses internet-connected devices such as smart TVs, streaming media players, gaming consoles, and mobile devices to deliver video content.

As OTT platforms are increasingly becoming a popular way to access content, OTT advertising allows marketers to reach a larger audience.

In a world where people are increasingly consuming their content on OTT devices, marketers need to be able to access these platforms to reach their target audiences effectively.

With OTT platforms, advertisers can target audiences based on their demographics, interests, and viewing habits.

This functionality allows for more precise targeting of ads and higher ROIs for marketers.

Key Terms Advertisers Should Know For Streaming TV

Here are the leading vital terms advertisers should know for streaming TV.

AVOD (Advertising Video On Demand)

AVOD is an OTT service that allows users to access and watch videos with advertisements.

It is the most common monetization model used in streaming services, and it usually has free tier options supported by ads.

DSP (Demand-Side Platform)

A DSP is a platform that enables advertisers to purchase ad inventory from multiple media sources at once through automated bidding systems.

It allows for more efficient buying of digital video advertising spots and better targeting of specific audiences.

SVOD (Subscription Video On Demand).

SVOD is an OTT service where subscribers pay a monthly fee to access premium video content.

Connected TV (CTV)

Connected TV (or Smart TV) refers to television sets connected to the internet and allows users to stream OTT services.

CTV advertising will enable advertisers to target more specific audiences and measure the effectiveness of campaigns.

Programmatic OTT

Programmatic OTT is an automated ad-buying system that uses bidding algorithms to purchase ad inventory from multiple sources.

It helps make digital advertising more efficient and cost-effective.

Advanced TV (ATV)

Advanced TV is a term used for technologies such as addressable, interactive, and connected TV advertising.

It helps advertisers create more targeted campaigns across multiple platforms.

OTT Audiences

OTT audiences access content through OTT services such as Netflix or Hulu.

Advertisers can use this data to customize ads and retarget customers who have watched their ads on OTT platforms.

With the ability to perform retargeting, advertisers can create campaigns that are more likely to convert viewers into customers.

Data-Driven OTT

Data-driven OTT is an approach where marketers use data gathered from user interactions with their ads and content to understand better and target their audiences.

This approach helps them personalize ads, resulting in higher engagement rates.

The Benefits Of Using OTT Advertising

Let’s consider some of the benefits of using OTT advertising for marketers.

Increased Reach And Scalability

Traditional cable TV could only offer limited viewership opportunities due to geographic constraints.

With OTT media, however, viewers can access content anywhere at any time, allowing marketers to reach more people in more places.

As transactional video reaches maturity, OTT media will become even more accessible and effective for advertisers who want to reach larger audiences on a global scale.

When people watch ads that are relevant to them, they are more likely to act on them.

Improved Targeting Capabilities

One of the main benefits of OTT advertising is its ability to target specific audiences based on interests and behaviors.

With over-the-top advertising, you can identify and reach users who have interacted with your ads or content before and deliver tailored messages to each individual through retargeting campaigns.

As video streaming grows, advertisers will become increasingly mobile-centric, allowing even more personalized targeting opportunities.

Dynamic Creative Optimization

Multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) are often limited to a single creative per ad.

With OTT advertising, marketers can use dynamic creative optimization (DCO) to customize ads in real-time according to viewers’ preferences.

OTT advertising platforms allow for creating and delivering multi-screen campaigns with visuals and messages tailored to different devices and viewers.

Traditional TV cannot offer such flexibility as it only reaches a single audience simultaneously.

Real-Time Analytics And Reporting

With ad campaigns increasing in costs as technology advances, companies that want to ensure their ad spending is on the right track need to keep up with new analytics and reporting tools.

One of the benefits of OTT advertising is that it provides marketers with real-time insights into their campaigns, enabling them to make quick decisions and optimize for better results.

As OTT content streaming continues to grow in popularity, so does its ability to offer detailed metrics about viewership and user engagement.

Streaming content for the sake of streaming content is no longer enough in today’s competitive advertising landscape.

Marketers need to be able to track their campaigns and take advantage of OTT’s more sophisticated analytics capabilities.​

Challenges Of OTT Advertising

Let’s now explore some of the challenges marketers face when planning and executing OTT campaigns.

Fragmented Marketplaces

While having a great marketing strategy is key to success, it’s also crucial to be aware of the fragmented nature of the OTT marketplace.

Regarding streaming platforms, the marketplace is composed of many different services and apps, each with its unique audience.

This reality makes it difficult for marketers to target their ads accurately and effectively across multiple platforms.

Limited Advanced Ad Formats And Metrics

OTT services are excellent for reaching a wide variety of viewers; however, the available advertising formats and metrics still need to be improved.

The way OTT stands now, there are fewer advanced ad formats, such as interactive video ads or native content ads, than other digital media channels.

With viewership wanting more engaging content, this can be a significant obstacle for advertisers.

Ad-Blocking Technology Hinders Results

Blocking online video ads is the norm for many internet users, and it has become increasingly difficult for advertisers to see their content.

Various streaming devices have software that can automatically block ads, making them impossible to display.

Even the top advertising platform in the world (YouTube) suffers from ad-blocking technology, so this is an issue marketers must consider when planning OTT campaigns.

If one cannot show OTT video ads to viewers, then campaigns risk falling flat and failing to attract meaningful ROI.

Lack Of Cross-Platform Measurement Capabilities

When you buy an OTT ad, you want to measure its effectiveness across multiple platforms to maximize results.

With providers often using different ways of measurement, advertisers can find it challenging to compare “apples to apples” and measure performance across various services or devices.

As a result, it takes time for advertisers to get a comprehensive view of their campaigns’ performance.

It also makes it hard for them to track ROI and make any improvements needed.

Various OTT Platforms To Advertise On

Now that we’ve discussed some of the challenges associated with OTT advertising, let’s explore some of the platforms you can use to advertise.

The list below includes popular streaming services and devices for OTT campaigns.

Smart TVs

Intelligent TVs are internet-connected televisions that offer access to a wide range of streaming options, such as Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and many more.

Advertising on these devices allows marketers to reach viewers who watch TV every day and stream content online.


Roku is a media player device used to access streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, as well as other apps such as HBO Now and Amazon Prime Video.

With millions of users, this is an excellent platform for marketers to reach an audience who prefers streaming media over traditional TV viewing.


AppleTV offers access to various free and paid applications that can stream to HD televisions.

Targeting Apple users can benefit marketers, allowing them to reach a specific audience.

Amazon Fire Stick

The Amazon Fire Stick is another device used for streaming content from various sources, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

With its growing user base, this is an ideal platform for reaching an engaged audience that loves to stream content on their TV.

Google Chromecast

Google’s Chromecast device allows users to stream content directly from their computer, tablet, or smartphone to their television.

It is an excellent tool for reaching audiences that use streaming services.

Video Game Consoles

Video game consoles such as the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch offer access to various streaming services.

Mobile Phones And Tablets

Most streaming services are now available on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, allowing advertisers who prefer using these devices for streaming instead of a TV.

By targeting these different devices, marketers can get viewers no matter where they are watching content.

Steps To Start OTT Advertising Campaigns

Now that I’ve looked at the different OTT devices and platforms available, it is time to look at the steps needed to start an OTT advertising campaign.

While the steps will differ for various ad-supported OTT services, there are general guidelines to follow when creating a successful campaign.

Set A Budget And Goals

The pricing for OTT streaming ads will vary depending on your chosen streaming service.

It is essential to set a budget and realistic goals that you want to achieve before starting your campaign.

With current trends showing that OTT advertising is becoming more popular, always take an informed approach when setting up your campaign.

Gather Data And Insights On Your Target Audience

The demand-side platform of choice will provide valuable insights into viewer behavior which can help inform better targeting decisions for your ad campaigns.

You can also use third-party data to ensure the streaming services you are targeting have enough viewers for your campaign to be successful.

Research Potential OTT Partners

As ad-supported streaming video services become increasingly popular, more options are available.

Whether it’s a live tv streaming service or ad-supported video-on-demand platforms, researching potential partners will help you identify the right one for your particular campaign.

Choose The Correct Ad Format And Creative Assets

Different formats are available when you buy OTT ads, depending on the kind of streaming service you aim for.

From video pre-rolls to interactive banners and display ads, you want to ensure that your creative material is engaging enough for viewers to pay attention and interact with your campaign.

Monitor Performance And Optimize Accordingly

After your ads are live, ensuring you track key metrics like impressions, clicks, and conversions will help you optimize them for better results.

With attribution being a significant factor for OTT campaigns, you must measure each ad’s effectiveness religiously.

You can also use automation to trigger targeting and ad format changes based on performance data.

Adjust Budgets And Targeting As Needed

With ad-supported OTT campaigns, monitoring your campaign’s performance is essential to ensure it stays within your budget.

Keep an eye on your conversions to ensure you get the most out of each impression and adjust your budget accordingly.

Doing so will help you maximize ROI while staying within your budget.

OTT Video Content Best Practices

The following best practices can help ensure your OTT campaigns are successful.

Keep Videos Short

As a channel, OTT platforms give viewers more control over their viewing experience.

With subscription videos on demand, the attention span of viewers is declining, and they tend to tune out after a few seconds if the ad isn’t engaging enough.

Some platforms also set specific time limits on video ads, so keeping them short and sweet is essential.

Make Sure The Sound Is On Point

A big focus of traditional TV advertising was ensuring that one optimized the sound mix for the best listening quality.

The same is valid for anything ranging from commercial to OTT ads – the sound should be on point and easy to understand, no matter the device.

Engage With Viewers

While it wasn’t possible to use traditional cable or satellite tv to engage with viewers, OTT platforms now allow for better engagement.

Social media channels also allow brands to keep the conversation going and directly interact with their target audiences via polls, Q&As, contests, etc.

These facilities help make more of an impact and build trust in a brand’s product or service.

Create Content That Stands Out

You don’t need fancy laptops or expensive equipment to create great content.

Instead, standing out in a sea of video content is about having the right message and compellingly telling it.

Focus On Storytelling

If you look at the material on channels like Disney, HBO, and Hulu, you’ll find that the shows that stand out long-term have a strong narrative or story arc behind them.

If you can use the same principles to create engaging OTT campaigns, your ads will be more memorable to viewers and help drive conversions.

Some key elements to focus on when creating stories are character development, plot twists, suspenseful moments, etc.

Measuring The Success Of Your OTT Campaigns

Finally, let’s consider how to measure success within OTT campaigns.

Set Measurable Goals

It’s vital to set clear, measurable goals before launching any campaign.

These goals help to ensure that you have a benchmark against which you can measure results and analyze data from your drives.

Some standard metrics for tracking OTT performance are impressions, viewability, click-through rate (CTR), cost per click (CPC), and average completion rates.

Track Viewability And Brand Lift Metrics

Viewability is an important metric to track in OTT advertising, as it indicates how much attention viewers pay to ads on different platforms.

The more viewable moments you have, the more likely viewers are to engage with your ads.

Monitor Engagement With Advanced Analytics

Advanced analytics provide insight into viewer behavior by tracking user activities such as device switching (to other devices or screens), pausing/skipping adverts, etc.

Analyze Media Consumption Reports

Media consumption reports can help you understand how much time people spend on different platforms, which channels they prefer, and what content they engage with most.

These reports can offer valuable insights that one can use to shape your campaigns and create a better user experience.

Compare Performance Across Different Platforms And Devices

The next step is to compare the performance of your OTT campaigns across multiple platforms and devices.

Like so, you’ll identify which ones are performing best for your needs.

OTT Advertising – FAQ

Does Apple TV Have Apps?

Apple TV has its own App Store for downloading applications for streaming content and playing games.

Users can use the preloaded ones or even browse and download additional apps.

Is Netflix Free On Apple TV?

Netflix is free to download on Apple TV.

However, it requires a monthly subscription to access its streaming library and content.

Does Linear TV Work On Apple TV?

Yes, linear television can work on Apple TV.

This feature will allow users to access their local channels and other content through the Apple TV interface.

What is YouTube TV?

YouTube TV offers an all-inclusive subscription streaming service for watching live television from major broadcast and cable networks.

You can select between English or Spanish language channels.

Wrap Up.

OTT advertising has become a popular and influential way to reach consumers in the digital age.

The key benefits of OTT advertising include improved targeting capabilities, increased engagement with viewers, and efficiency in ad spending.

While cord-cutters have embraced OTT platforms, the trend is still relatively new for marketers looking to reach their target audiences.

Before launching an OTT campaign, it’s essential to understand the different types of advertising available and which platform might be best suited for a specific product or goal.

Further reading on Video-on-demand streaming and OTT advertising can go in hand.

With online video platforms, marketers can reach potential customers in an engaging yet cost-effective way.

Here are a few platform-specific reviews to check out:

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