Over-the-top (OTT) streaming services have been growing steadily in popularity since the COVID-19 pandemic made so many people stay home in 2020. With another surge on the horizon, we will likely be seeing another spike in people staying home and binge-watching their favorite shows. With 40 percent of adults using ad-supported streaming services, this gives marketers a great opportunity to begin advertising on OTT media services (1).
Approximately 80 million people in the United States increased their time streaming TV, and only 44 million had increased their cable TV viewership in the same time period (2). Research has indicated that the demographics for the streaming viewership increase during the pandemic are in the same demographics as the majority of streaming consumers. Pandemic viewership tends to involve more binge-watching simply because people are largely quarantining at home and social distancing (2). OTT media was already on the rise before the pandemic struck, and the pandemic only accelerated this trend, so it is a good idea for brands to invest in OTT advertising.
Even though streaming is at an all-time high, less than 40 percent of marketers spent on OTT advertising last year, which means that there may be significantly less competition for a brand on OTT advertising than they have on cable TV advertising (3). According to forecasts, about 22 percent of marketers plan to increase their OTT advertising spending this year, but that is still not a large amount when compared to traditional TV advertising.
Benefits of OTT Advertising
When you advertise on traditional cable TV, you are purchasing spots that air on specific days and times, during specific shows. You have to hope that your target audience is watching at that time; otherwise, they might miss your ad altogether. With OTT advertising, the ads run whenever someone is watching specified content, no matter if they are watching in the middle of the night or during prime time. Often, when someone binge watches a series on a platform that has advertising, they see a few of the same ads throughout the show, making sure that your ads will stick out in their minds. Combined with the more precise targeting options that come with OTT advertising, and you will be reaching more of your target audience.
OTT advertising allows you to target your audience based on your specifications, including age, gender, location, income in the home, purchase intents, and more. You are focusing your advertising efforts on a specific group, allowing you to get a better return on your investment. If you have multiple demographics that you want to reach, you can even run multiple ads to target each of them, getting you an even better return on your investment.
Another great thing about OTT advertising is that people can stream their shows from any device. So instead of everyone gathering around a single TV, you now have someone watching something in the living room, another person watching something in their bedroom, and another person streaming a show in the kitchen. This means that you may be able to reach more of your target audience because they might be streaming from something other than the big screen in the living room.
You also have the ability to optimize your advertising campaigns with help from experts, and you can track how well your ads are doing from start to finish. If you see that an ad is not performing well, you can always pull it and make adjustments to it, and you can run an A/B test on your ads to see which ones do better when targeting the same groups.
People are dropping cable in favor of streaming at a rapid rate these days, so the best way for any business to continue reaching their audience is to invest in OTT advertising. Streaming services are more convenient than broadcast television. People love to binge-watch their favorite shows, which gives your ads an opportunity to be seen multiple times in a single binge by the same people, putting your brand into their minds, so when they need a product similar to yours, your name may be the first to come up.