During a time when adtech is experiencing tectonic shifts in how it handles consumer data privacy and obtains information about its audiences, the over-the-top (OTT) and connected TV (CTV) channels bring welcomed new opportunities to marketers. They are some of the biggest marketing channels at the moment, and they have a phenomenal reach with significant measurability in understanding the customer journey.
OTT and CTV often go hand-in-hand but also get confused and interchanged. To be clear, OTT is content that streams over the internet and bypasses cable, broadcast and satellite television platforms — running “over the top” of those gatekeepers via the internet. CTV are devices enabled by the internet or that can plug into a TV for streaming services like Amazon Fire or Roku.
I’ve heard some in adtech describe that OTT and CTV are at the beginning of something big — much like mobile was a decade ago — and it’s exciting to see what’s possible when you can reach more people at any time in a precise way, using a traditional medium (TV) with digital advertising techniques.
OTT and CTV have been increasing in popularity since before the pandemic hit, and having more people at home this past year has fueled their audiences even more. A recent survey by The Trade Desk showed that 27% of consumers in their sample are planning to cut their cable cords and look for free, low-cost streaming TV. That same survey revealed that 68% of TV viewing comes from streaming services — just more proof that OTT and CTV are a significant opportunity for marketers.
Further, the accessibility of content on connected devices allows marketers to measure users across devices and platforms. Consumer identity graphs can be constructed for targeting, and attribution and incremental lift are more attainable than with traditional mobile marketing alone where device identifiers are necessary and new privacy restrictions limit their use.
Identifying Audiences And Connecting The Dots With Cross-Platform Measurement
The ability to measure in advertising is crucial for success and the best use of budgets. In advertising, measurement, especially in television, hasn’t always been precise. Traditional approaches are based on ratings that are largely panel-based and generally thought of as antiquated in comparison to what the industry has seen with digital advertising measurement.
With OTT and CTV riding on the internet, cross-platform targeting and measurement are finally accessible. The catch is that the exposure happens on the TV, but the action is happening on mobile devices. With cross-device graphs and the power of digital signal via OTT and CTV, it’s possible to determine and attribute actions from a mobile device back to an ad on CTV/OTT.
OTT and CTV have been a massive area of growth in the past year. We can now deduplicate audiences down to the household level, validate activity off the spend happening on CTV and have new ways to target households based on attributes from the mobile device. Instead of targeting a household that has a CTV device, for example, marketers can target the devices in that household based on the other attributes about them — the points of interest, other apps on the devices and other indices of identity can be layered in. This has been a boost for many of our brand customers moving into OTT and CTV.
With respect to increasing data privacy policies, however, OTT and CTV are not immune from them altogether. Apple has made it clear that you can’t merge or transfer data between companies without an optic on that. What’s compelling with these two channels is that you don’t need a static identifier, and there are net new mechanisms being introduced associated with identity. While there is no single identity graph to rule them all, so to speak, we can map a brand’s identity graph as a data set in a privacy-safe way with traceable consent.
Incrementality Testing And CTV
To see the big picture of ad campaigns, marketers can measure their impact through incrementality testing to determine lift. Using an identity graph, a forensic control (holdout) group can be created so the advertiser can serve ads to their entire audience and not just a segment of it. Using the same identity graph, campaign data can be matched so marketers can learn more about their audiences and what messages resonated with them.
OTT campaigns can also include QR codes with an embedded deep link. When consumers scan the code, they are redirected to content on their mobile device, and marketers can measure that journey through the funnel. It’s a great way to take advantage of the second screen trend and measure the user journey from the living room screen to the handheld one.
Advanced Television And A New Era Of Streaming Content
There’s a bright and exciting future for television advertising with the ability to reach more audiences on streaming services and connected devices. OTT and CTV offer consumers enormous amounts of creative content. For marketers, they have reinvigorated TV by giving them the ability to measure these campaigns and tie their audiences to downstream events.