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The Comparative Buyer's Advantage

OTT advertising is now penetrating local markets to a substantial degree. So, what is OTT and how do you evaluate its virtues in comparison to other forms of media?

Over the Top (OTT) Television is long form video content distributed through the internet and bypassing cable, satellite or broadcast transmission. It is distinct from both linear television and short form digital video like that available via YouTube.

OTT video may be accessed on any device with an internet connection. However, because of the longer form nature of the content, it is more likely to be streamed to a larger monitor than other digital content through a tool like a Smart TV, HDMI stick (ex: Roku/Amazon), gaming console or a connected computer. It is then accessed through an app.

Commercials are inserted into the content in a format not dissimilar to how commercial breaks are positioned within terrestrial TV. However, there are some key differences;

  • The commercial breaks tend to be shorter.
  • While OTT can be paused, you cannot fast-forward like you can with a DVR recording or skip an ad like you can on YouTube. This gives the ads a substantially higher likelihood of being watched in their entirety by the end user.

OTT ads use targeting options similar to most other digital advertising. Advertisers define common characteristics of the people they are trying to reach and use those characteristics (age, income, geographic location, interests, affinities, in-market audiences, etc.) and place ads accordingly. Media planners do this with ratings (Nielsen or now Comcast) by limiting their schedules to focus on specific demographics which help in evaluation, but broadcast, by definition, is broad.  Overall, younger and more tech savvy audiences tend to be more prominent with this medium.  

We are now starting to see some OTT vendors provide measurements with the possibility to track whether or not someone who views an ad within a defined period of time actually went to the company’s website and performed a desirable action (conversion) on either the same device or a different device connected to the same network as the device on which the ad was served. This offers significant potential for tracking and remarketing engaged users.

So how do you evaluate whether an OTT campaign is a good fit for your marketing mix? First, you want to look at the number of impressions your campaign will generate and compare it to other options. Media Link Software® effortlessly converts between GRP’s and GI’s and permits users to generate a report directly comparing schedules across different media types. OTT advertising can be structured as either a TV campaign or an online campaign. In many cases, OTT will have a higher CPM than terrestrial TV, cable, and radio. However, we cannot forget it opens up doors to audience’s traditional media is having a harder time reaching. It also serves as an effective replacement under certain circumstances brought about by budget constraints, political seasons or an increased value on precise targeting and tracking.

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