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OTT: the exciting future of digital advertising

10 February, 2021

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Have you ever watched on Hulu or your Samsung TV and a commercial pops on for a local business that sells a product or service that it right up your alley? Well, that, my friends, is OTT. OTT stands for "Over the Top." The acronym has something to do with being over the top of cable and satellite. It's not the best name, but it is a tremendous opportunity for reaching the right audience. OTT can be a bit confusing, and we imagine it will evolve dramatically in the future, but here is what it is and how it works today.

Everyone’s consuming streamed content
People are watching video content on devices ranging from their computers to their smart TVs and phones. In 2020, 70% of people aged 18 to 34 who were surveyed said they subscribe to a streaming service, and the number is only growing.

Also, look at the 2021 Emmy awards — every major winner (except for Saturday Night Live) was from a streaming service program. And, in the case of Saturday Night Live, many people are streaming it the next morning on Hulu or NBC's Peacock streaming service. NBC says SNL racked up 1.6 billion YouTube views for its last season, the most ever for a late-night show.

Digital services like Hulu, Roku, Samsung, and various others need to run advertising to support their programming. And ad spend on streaming is a huge business, with nearly $1 billion in ad spend in 2020, projected to grow to nearly $2.5 billion by 2025.

Because these are digital services with subscribers, the ads can be micro-targeted to individuals based on age, location, income, and interest, just like other digital advertising like Google, Facebook, and YouTube. Old school cable, radio, and satellite cannot micro-target like OTT. Cable and satellite will still be popular, especially with older demographics, but cord-cutters and the next generations of eyeballs will be on OTT.

OTT's most crucial feature is that it targets connected TVs, i.e., TVs connected to the internet. A growing number of users are watching TV through Connected TVs rather than cable or satellite. In 2021 74% of households in the US own a connected TV. PlayStation, Xbox, Chromecast, Apple TV, and Samsung TV are all examples of connected TVs. Through Connected TVs, ads show up on networks like NBC, AMC, USA, Comedy Central, and ESPN, to name just a few.

OTT ads are flexible, targeted, and powerful
The best news about budgeting for OTT is that when you work with the right people, there are no contracts and no minimums on spend. You can test the waters and really create a dynamic budget.

OTT is exciting because it looks to be the final straw for older unfocused media. Attention is fractured into many different devices, services, and media. We can now use OTT and digital advertising to broadcast across all of them and be more effective than ever. The reporting available with OTT is pretty incredible, too. You can see screenshots of the ads, viewership, age information, location, and a whole lot more. When you combine OTT with call tracking from services like CallRail, the sky is the limit on being effective with your marketing and showing return on investment.

The world of OTT is the Wild West at the moment, with many companies popping up to sell it and claim expertise; however, at the end of the day, your best bet is to find a consultant who can help you navigate and select the best OTT media and options to be effective.

Looking to get started with OTT and want some professional consulting? Contact us for some ideas on how to get started.

 

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