How to Buy OTT Advertising: 4 Streaming Media Considerations

How to Buy OTT Advertising: 4 Streaming Media Considerations

Marketers need to leverage creative solutions to create a scalable advertising strategy

Over-the-top (OTT) advertising has become a crucial channel for reaching engaged audiences. Strategizing how to buy OTT advertising requires careful planning, but those efforts can be exceptionally rewarding. To maximize their potential, marketers need to understand what OTT advertising is, how it’s expected to change, and what to consider before they invest their advertising budget in a campaign. Let’s start by answering the most fundamental question of them all.

Since its mainstream adoption in the 1950s, television has remained a dominant force in consumer advertising. As TV tech has evolved to add color, cable networks, and internet connectivity, advertising has kept pace right alongside it. Even with the advent of computers, smartphones, and other sources of entertainment, TV still commands the highest and most consistent levels of ad attention across marketing channels.

What is OTT advertising?

OTT advertising describes the ads that are played during on-demand content. For example, an ad played while watching a show on a streaming service, like Peacock or Hulu, would fall into the OTT category. By partnering with ad exchanges, marketers can use granular data to power their OTT advertising, displaying their ad creative to hyper-targeted demographics. 

The OTT video segment is projected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 11.6% from 2022 to 2027, with estimates projecting OTT advertising will reach $38.83 billion by the end of 2026. Because of the rapid growth, OTT has become a key channel for marketers, especially as traditional linear TV subscriptions are declining. With linear TV providers losing customers and connected TV (CTV) penetration growing, the time for marketers to explore OTT advertising is now.

How to buy OTT advertising?

A growing user base and hyper-targeted demographics are great, but it’s important to understand how to buy OTT advertising most effectively. There are two main ways to get started: direct buys or programmatic advertising.

Marketers work directly with platforms or publishers like Netflix or Paramount Plus to run ads if they choose direct buys. Throughout the process, marketers will need to negotiate the price and placement of their advertisements. There’s no guarantee that the negotiations will be a speedy process, so it can be time-consuming.

Programmatic advertising automates the sales process, working with an ad exchange to put ads in front of a targeted audience for as low of a cost as possible. The auctions that an ad exchange runs for ad inventory take place in microseconds which helps marketers save both time and money.

What to consider when creating an OTT advertising campaign?

While OTT advertising can reach a target audience more easily — and often effectively — than other channels, marketers need to approach their campaigns as strategically as possible. For maximum effect, an OTT campaign must balance original, eye-catching ad creative with actionable goals.

Leverage programmatic advertising

Let’s take a closer look at programmatic advertising and its role in OTT. At its core, programmatic advertising allows marketers to reach a specific audience at a lower cost than other channels. While an ad might get fewer impressions overall, those impressions will reach consumers more likely to want to engage with your brand. 

Ad exchanges facilitate the buying and selling of ad inventory between demand-side platforms (DSP) and supply-side platforms (SSP). The most common way for advertisers to purchase programmatic advertising is real-time bidding (RTB), an auction that takes place nearly instantly any time ad inventory is available. Advertisers bid on ad inventory using a DSP, and the highest bid wins.

These auctions aren’t just selling the first available ad slot, though. They’re being sold to the precise user demographic that an advertiser is trying to reach. If a marketer wants to reach men under 30 years old that are interested in fishing, they’ll be able to do so using programmatic ads. Additionally, the automated nature of programmatic advertising means advertisers pay a lower CPM for the ads that they run.

Download M&C Saatchi Performance’s ebook “The Definitive Guide to Programmatic Streaming TV for Performance Marketing” for an in-depth breakdown of how programmatic advertising can propel a campaign to success.

Treat your audience as dynamic

Programmatic advertising allows marketers to tap into virtually any market segment, using other variables like time of day and location to narrow in even further. In other words, it allows advertisers to show the right ads at the right time. That makes it a highly effective tool for reaching consumers, but marketers need to know which consumers they’re trying to reach.

Performing market research before a campaign launches is the best way to start, but don’t treat any findings as dogma if they don’t pan out. One of the most lucrative aspects of OTT advertising is that it leaves room for fine-tuning audience targeting thanks to real-time analytics. Advertisers will know what’s working and what isn’t at any time, and can optimize their strategy accordingly, whether that entails targeting a new audience or running new ad creative.

Accurately Measure Results

As with any campaign, you should develop a core set of KPIs before you launch. However, to ensure that their OTT ads are given credit whenever they motivate a user to complete a desired action, advertisers should partner with an attribution platform that tracks the consumer journey and delivers accurate data. If OTT advertisements aren’t given proper credit, it’s difficult to get accurate diagnostics about campaign results. Attribution platforms will accurately show how successful a campaign has been, so marketers should search for partners that fit their budgetary needs.

Find an Experienced Creative Partner

Attribution isn’t the only facet of OTT advertising where marketers can benefit from choosing the right partner. Having a second pair of eyes can help improve a campaign’s direction, especially with partners that know the ropes of OTT. M&C Saatchi Performance has the experience you need to create eye-catching ads, as well as the tools to measure campaign performance. We’ll help you reach your audience, express your brand’s core message, and expand your reach from start to finish. Contact us today to learn more.