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Complete OTT and CTV Marketing Guide for Businesses

As online video consumption increases in popularity worldwide, so too does video advertising become more beneficial to businesses. Video advertising is the use of video content that plays before, during, or after streaming content. A few examples of this are the ads on Apple TV or Chromecast. They allow businesses to reach a large, targeted audience and attract potential customers, resulting in a large ROI. This guide will discuss two forms of video advertising, OTT and CTV marketing, and how they benefit businesses.

What are OTT and CTV Marketing?

OTT Marketing

Over-the-top (OTT) refers to media services brought to users through the internet. OTT marketing uses online video streaming as an advertising platform to bring ads to viewers. This involves sponsored content, video ad interruptions, banner ads that “float” on the screen as the video plays, and more.

These ads can potentially reach any device that can stream videos: PCs, phones, smart TVs, gaming consoles, etc.

CTV Marketing

A Connected TV (CTV) is any TV that connects to the internet and supports video content streaming. CTV marketing delivers advertisements through these TVs. This, of course, includes smart TVs, which have a built-in capability to connect to the internet. However, TVs with a set-top box are also included, which allows a non-smart TV to do the same thing.

There is some overlap between OTT and CTV, and you might have heard them used interchangeably, but they refer to two different things. OTT refers to content delivered through the internet while CTV refers to the device, a TV, used to access content on the internet. As such, you can think of CTV marketing as a subset of OTT marketing.

The Rise of Video Advertising

Online Videos’ Popularity

According to Statista, online video consumption is one of the most popular online activities in the world, with over 2.6 billion viewers in 2019 and a projected number of 3.1 billion viewers by 2023. While entertainment is the most popular reason for online video consumption, it is also used for educational purposes.

This popularity is primarily due to the millennial age group, the Gen Z age group, and advancements in technology.

Millennial and Gen Z consumers are more connected to the internet and social media than the older age groups. Meanwhile, improvements in broadband and mobile connectivity enhance user experience and attract more consumers. As a result, online videos have become a part of daily life while the popularity of traditional television shrinks.

Capitalizing on Online Videos

The increasing popularity of online videos presents an opportunity that companies have not missed out on. Quality visual content can effectively connect your brand to your audiences and curate the buying journey. As such, companies are investing more and more resources into digital video advertising.

One popular trend emerging from this is micro video ads. These are ads with a length of 10 seconds or shorter. With micro video ads, companies don’t aim to say everything about their product or service. Instead, they quickly grab their audience’s attention with an interesting message.

These are especially effective when marketing to Millennial and Gen Z consumers who have learned to ignore uninteresting ads due to environments highly saturated with advertisements, both online and out of the home.

Benefits of OTT and CTV Marketing

OTT and CTV Marketing provide several advantages for brands.

Reach More of Your Target Audience

It is projected that the number of people subscribed to OTT platforms will increase to over 197 million by 2022, meaning you will reach more people through OTT marketing. Additionally, it allows brands to target specific niches by playing your ad for viewers with certain interests, are of a chosen demographic, or are within a targeted geographic location.

A benefit specific to CTV marketing is that you will reach a growing audience. An increasing number of consumers, particularly among the Millennial and Gen Z age groups, are canceling their cable or satellite TV subscriptions and are switching to CTV platforms. According to the Leichtman Research Group, of the U.S. households that own a TV, 80% of them have at least one CTV device.

Form Stronger Connections

OTT marketing’s targeting capabilities also allow your ad to be more engaging. By showing your ads to audiences that are more likely to be interested in your product or service, you improve its chances of being memorable.

More Easily Assess Your Marketing Strategy

OTT and CTV marketing allows companies to collect data to assess their marketing strategy with helpful data. They allow you to track consumer demographic and behavior, measure your ad’s total views, see what percentage of your audience watched the entire ad, and track actions consumers take after watching the ad.

Ads Cannot Be Skipped

Ads on OTT and CTV platforms cannot be skipped for the first few seconds or so, guaranteeing you an audience. Users watching an OTT or CTV advertisement are also less likely to avoid it. These ads are generally short enough that users stay to watch the ad and, unlike traditional TV advertisements, are spaced out to prevent users from leaving or changing channels until the commercials are over.

Which Is Best for You?

As stated before, CTV marketing is a subset of OTT marketing so their benefits are quite similar, and both are effective. However, there is a slight difference due to the devices and platforms they utilize.

Greater Reach or Enhanced Audience Engagement?

OTT content is streamed on various devices. Viewers aren’t confined to specific devices for streaming and neither is your ad, giving you greater reach. Your ad will reach your audience as long as they’re using the OTT platform you’re advertising through.

CTV marketing has less reach since it only utilizes CTV devices. However, users are more likely to be engaged with your ad. The flexibility in devices used to view OTT content also allows users to view it where they can be more distracted, like on the train or in a taxi on the way home. Meanwhile, CTV content is usually viewed from the living room couch, where viewers are more likely to pay attention.

CTV content is also typically of higher quality, and your ad will be displayed on a large screen with stereo. CTV marketing allows you to better associate your brand with premium content.

OTT and CTV Best Practices

In order for your OTT or CTV marketing campaign to be effective, you need to abide by the best practices for ad creation. A poor-quality ad not only wastes your resources, but it’s also detrimental to your brand.

Understand Your Audience.

Advertisers need to start by understanding their target audience. Gather data on what devices they use, when they’re most likely to come across your ad, and what topics are trending with them. Use that data to create an ad that will grab their attention and build trust.

Set a Reasonable Budget

Audiences will associate your brand with the same quality your ad is made with. Don’t let production costs deter you. The increased revenue brought by a successful OTT or CTV marketing campaign more than makes up for the costs. That said, you don’t want to allocate too big a budget as it would cut into your ROI.

Short but Impactful

Most people will stop paying attention to an ad if it’s too long. Some advertisers manage to keep their audience’s attention for a minute or longer, but these are rare exceptions and require an exceptionally entertaining, high-quality ad.

Try to keep your ad no longer than 30 seconds. The shorter your ad, the better. It should get the message across within the first few seconds, preferably before users have the option of skipping the ad.

Format Your Ad to Work on Various Devices

Formatting isn’t as much of a problem with CTV marketing since CTV devices’ screens are similarly large. However, an OTT ad has to look good on a large TV as well as on a much smaller smartphone or tablet.

A Compelling CTA

Your ad should include a CTA at the end. It should visually or verbally urge viewers to go to your site, check out your product or service, or accomplish a goal. A quality CTA is especially important for a CTV advertisement since viewers won’t be able to click on your ad to go to your site.

Consider Ad Frequency

The more your brand is in contact with your audience, the higher the chance that it will stay in their minds. However, if your ad appears too often, it can annoy your audience and have a negative impact on your campaign. Find a good middle ground for your ad frequency.

Assessing Campaign Success

With the data collected through your OTT or CTV ads, you can assess your marketing campaign and refine your strategy. Here are 4 essential KPIs:

  • Impression: the number of people your ad reaches
  • Click-through rate: the percentage of viewers that clicked your ad to go to your site
  • View through rate: the percentage of viewers that watched your whole ad
  • Conversion rate: the number of leads gained through your ad

Connect with Ideal Publishers

Aniview’s Video Ad Marketplace allows advertisers to find the right ad spaces, so they maximize reach and revenue. Send us an email at for more information or fill out our form to request a demo of our software.