OTT, CTV, and Streaming Video: A Primer for Advertisers

OTT, CTV, and Streaming Video: A Primer for Advertisers

Today’s marketers are presented with a myriad of video/tv platforms and terminologies, including OTT (Over-The-Top), CTV (Connected TV), and streaming video. While some people use these terms interchangeably – and they do have some overlap – they are very different.  As a new marketer stepping into the realm of television advertising, it’s important to understand these differences in order to design an effective paid media plan.  

1. OTT (Over-The-Top)

Definition: OTT refers to content providers that distribute streaming media directly to viewers over the internet, bypassing traditional broadcast television platforms that control or distribute content.

Key Features:

– Direct-to-Consumer: Unlike traditional TV, OTT allows content providers to reach their audience directly, bypassing the OTA (Over The Air) or Cable networks.

– Diverse Content: From movies, TV shows, to live broadcasts, OTT platforms offer a wider variety of content.

– Accessible Anywhere: OTT content can be accessed on multiple devices like smartphones, tablets, and computers.

Considerations for Advertisers:

– Targeting Capabilities: With the data OTT platforms collect, advertisers can target specific demographics more accurately than traditional TV.

– Flexible Budgets: Advertisers can often start with smaller budgets, making it suitable for businesses of all sizes.

– Performance Analytics: Real-time metrics allow for better performance tracking and optimization.

2. CTV (Connected TV)

Definition: CTV refers to any TV that can be connected to the internet and access content beyond what is available via the normal broadcasting option.

Key Features:

– Hybrid Platform: CTV offers both traditional broadcast and internet-based content.

– Smart TVs: Most modern televisions with internet connectivity qualify as CTVs.

– Integrated Apps: CTVs often come with pre-installed apps, like Netflix or Hulu, making content access seamless.

Considerations for Advertisers:

– Engaged Audience: Viewers on CTV are generally more engaged because they choose their content, which means ads are likely to be more effective.

– Less Ad Avoidance: Unlike traditional TV, where viewers might switch channels during commercials, CTV viewers tend to stick around, ensuring higher ad visibility.

– Premium Placement: With top-tier content providers on CTV platforms, advertisers can place their ads alongside high-quality content.

3. Streaming Video

Definition: Streaming video is a broad term that encompasses any video content streamed over the internet, regardless of the device.

Key Features:

– Broad Range: This includes OTT content, videos on social media platforms, YouTube, and more.

– On-Demand: Users can choose what to watch and when, offering unmatched flexibility.

– Varied Formats: From short clips, live streams, to full-length movies, streaming video is diverse.

Considerations for Advertisers:

– Variety of Ad Formats: Streaming platforms provide options for numerous ad formats, from pre-roll, mid-roll, to interactive ads.

– Cost-Effective: With platforms like YouTube, even small businesses can advertise to a wide audience at a relatively low cost.

– Interactive Opportunities: Some platforms allow interactive ads, where viewers can click on products or offers directly.

Evaluating the Platforms for Your Paid Media Plan

1. Audience Targeting: Consider who you want to reach. OTT allows for precise demographic targeting, CTV targets a more engaged audience, while streaming video offers a broad reach.

2. Budget Flexibility: If you’re working with a tight budget, streaming video platforms might be more accommodating. However, for premium placements, consider investing in OTT or CTV.

3. Content Environment: Ensure your ad complements the content. For instance, a high-quality product ad might be better suited for CTV, while a fun, interactive ad might shine on streaming platforms.

4. Ad Length & Format: Some platforms may have restrictions or preferences. It’s essential to tailor your ads accordingly.

5. Analytics & Reporting: Ensure the platform provides detailed insights. Real-time metrics can help in tweaking campaigns for better performance.

A final word

The worlds of OTT, CTV, and streaming video offer exciting opportunities for advertisers. By understanding the nuances of each, marketers can craft strategies that resonate with their target audience, ensuring maximum ROI. As you embark on your television advertising journey, remember that it’s not just about reaching the masses but connecting with the right audience in the right way. 

Contact Urge Media for today for a free consultation on your media needs and a no-string audit of your recent or current campaigns.