Streaming services have led millions of viewers to cancel cable subscriptions in the past two years. These cord cutters are instead opting to watch their favorite shows on Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, and the like. The number of cord cutters is predicted to continue growing steadily, making over-the-top (OTT) advertising an increasingly attractive marketing strategy.
First off, what exactly is OTT?
OTT delivers ads to customers watching streaming services on their smart devices. These advertisements bypass traditional, or linear, cable providers, placing ads directly into the hands of viewers. Hence, the name “over the top.”
OTT is not to be confused with Connected TV (CTV), which is the device that is attached to or embedded within a TV to provide streaming services; think of Roku, Apple TV, or an Amazon Fire Stick. In simple terms, CTV can let you watch OTT, but OTT is what actually streams on-demand video.
What makes OTT so attractive is a unique combination of the high-impact impressions cable ads are known for with the precise tracking features of digital advertising. With OTT, advertisers can target specific viewers by their preferred TV shows.
Still, advertisers should be wary of the non-skippable features many of these services may boast.
Oftentimes, streaming services do not allow users to skip or block ads without paying a premium. While prolonged exposure is typically positive, minimizing excess ad frequency is especially important for OTT. With Hulu, for example, a typical episode may have three to four ad breaks, each of which having a few advertisements within them. If your ad is showing up multiple times within one episode, viewers are more likely to experience ad fatigue, leading to frustration with your company and your product.
Frequency capping is the best way to prevent negative interactions caused by ad fatigue and can be offset by retargeting, which tracks user demographics to show your ads through another medium. When users see your ad for a second time on another website, they’re even more likely to make a purchase than before.