The Marketer’s Guide to OTT & CTV

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In today’s media landscape, the shift from traditional linear television schedules to unlimited on-demand streaming has fundamentally changed the way we consume entertainment. Viewers now have far greater freedom to watch programs wherever and whenever they want through the  explosion of new content that can be consumed across mobile, web, and connected TV (CTV) devices. This transition from scheduled broadcast programming to ubiquitous online video-on-demand has dramatically reshaped global viewing habits and behaviours, while simultaneously offering brands new and exciting opportunities to reach and engage their target audiences.

Kochava’s new, free Marketer’s Guide to OTT and CTV provides a foundational introduction to OTT and CTV that gives you a competitive edge in your approach to this powerful marketing channel. In this guide, we’ll unpack the evolution of OTT and CTV since the December 2005 launch of YouTube, the differences between OTT and CTV, a breakdown of streaming services and content providers, advertising strategies and best practices on these platforms, and performance marketing based on outcomes-based measurement.

Key takeaways from industry experts

At the end of 2023, Kochava hosted a webinar with industry experts from Samsung Ads and Sling TV/DISH. You can watch the on-demand recording here: Supercharge Your CTV Advertising with Outcomes-based Measurement. Below we’ve outlined four key insights derived from the discussion. Dive in as we explore these takeaways, and leverage them to enhance your CTV advertising strategy.

 #1 Understanding the inventory and device ecosystem

The key to mastering CTV advertising lies in navigating its fragmented nature. As inventories expand and category lines blur, it becomes crucial to understand where and how ads can be served. This knowledge allows for strategic placements and enhanced visibility, ensuring that campaigns reach their intended audiences effectively. Here’s a brief overview:

Streaming services: Ads can now be served on various streaming services (OTT platforms) such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+, where viewers consume on-demand content. While certain services offer an ad-free experience at a premium subscription rate, most have introduced discounted tiers in exchange for limited ads.

FAST channels: Free ad-supported streaming TV channels offer linear and on-demand viewing experiences 100% free with commercial breaks where ads can be inserted.

Network apps: Many traditional TV networks have their own streaming apps or digital platforms where viewers can stream live or on-demand content, providing ad slots within these streams.

Connected devices: Ads can be served through a variety of devices used to stream content. These devices can include smart TVs, CTV set top boxes and sticks (Roku, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Chromecast, etc.), mobile phones and tablets, and even gaming consoles.

Programmatic exchanges: Automated buying and selling of CTV ad inventory through programmatic exchanges enables advertisers to target specific audiences across multiple CTV apps and services.

Direct deals/purchases: Advertisers can directly purchase ad slots from CTV publishers or platforms, often guaranteeing premium placement and specific audience targeting.

Cross-device targeting: Serving ads on CTV, then retargeting those viewers on other devices like smartphones or tablets can create a cohesive multi-device advertising strategy.

 #2 The emergence of FAST channels

FAST channel revenue is projected to reach $12bn in 2027. This forecast highlights a major shift in viewing habits to audiences increasingly favoring free, ad-supported content. This trend affords marketers a prime opportunity to connect with diverse demographics, particularly cord-cutters and millennials. To effectively engage these viewers, advertisers might target their campaigns within popular content genres on FAST channels, such as classic TV shows and movies.

Ad format selection is key, with pre-roll ads showing strong completion rates and mid-roll ads keeping viewers engaged. Interactive ads, though rarer, can significantly enhance engagement. Marketers must also consider user behaviour, including viewing times and multi-screen interactions, to optimize ad impact.

 #3 Advancing measurement for tangible outcomes

The paradigm of CTV advertising measurement is shifting from traditional metrics such as impressions and reach to outcomes-based approaches. Advertisers now seek to connect ad views with consumer actions, aiming to quantify the impact of their campaigns in terms of tangible results such as website visits, purchases, or app installations. As a result, CTV is no longer just a brand marketing play, but also a performance marketing medium where marketers can connect spend to direct response performance. Learn more about outcomes-based measurement in this related post.

 #4 Revitalize your strategy

When it comes to CTV campaigns, a clear objective-oriented strategy is paramount. Advertisers should consider the full spectrum of inventory options, including un-guaranteed spaces, to reach their target audiences effectively without overspending on data fees. The focus should be on delivering high-quality, engaging content, while also being mindful of frequency capping and the importance of testing different approaches.

The role of creative in streaming ads

The transformation in viewer behaviour has given rise to interactive ad formats like shoppable ads. Utilizing QR codes and cross-device targeting strategies, these ads offer a bridge between CTV and mobile, enhancing the potential for audience engagement. Creatives should be high-resolution and crafted to align with the campaign’s KPIs, ensuring they captivate viewers and drive the desired action. 

The intersection of brands and custom content

As brands explore the FAST space, the opportunity to create custom content tailored to campaign objectives and target audiences presents a novel way to engage with viewers. Sponsorships and partnerships in this space enable brands to craft unique experiences that resonate with their audience.

Navigate your CTV campaigns with Kochava

 Accurate outcomes measurement is the linchpin of campaign success. With tools that facilitate attribution and optimization, Kochava’s analytics and attribution solutions are at the forefront of enabling this precision. Brands seeking to explore custom content or channel bundling will benefit from partnerships that offer access to proprietary data, enhancing their ability to measure and understand their impact across CTV platforms.

The future of CTV advertising demands a blend of informed decision-making, adaptability, and strategic flexibility. By embracing a variety of strategies, including outcomes-based measurement and innovative creative approaches, brands can shape their success in the dynamic world of CTV advertising.  

Ready to learn more? Download Kochava’s new, free Marketer’s Guide to OTT and CTV