Why Advertisers Need to Turn on OTT to Reach Viewers

Amrita Hemdev
By Amrita Hemdev
August 15, 2018

Media agencies and advertisers have been slow to adapt to connected TV despite the enormous adoption by their target audiences.


In a recent survey, Forrester found that only about 15% of marketing professionals regularly include connected TV (CTV) in their media plans. Thirty-five percent of the marketing professionals surveyed said they are experimenting with CTV and need to learn more, but the remaining group of professionals surveyed had yet to go beyond doing the most basic investigation or reported they were unaware about CTV. Why the huge gap?

CTV is gaining mass adoption as more and more consumers are getting their TV fix through devices like Roku, Apple TV, Sling TV, smart TVs, and gaming consoles. Because streaming allows consumers to watch on their own terms and schedules, they’re no longer building their evenings around the predetermined airtime of their favorite primetime shows. Instead, with CTV, anytime is primetime.

CTV combines the flexibility of digital with the premium content of television, allowing viewers to access content on over-the-top (OTT) devices. OTT viewing creates one of the most compelling environments for viewers to engage with both content and your client’s message.

A Nielsen study in October revealed that in the last five years, there had been a 40% drop in traditional TV viewing by 18 to 24-year-olds. The time they previously dedicated to watching TV has moved to other activities and on multiple devices.

With that kind of wake-up call, entertainment giants should start teaming up with digital partners or try to create a new digital universe.


So, what exactly is OTT advertising?

IAB defines OTT as video content transported from a video provider to a connected device over the internet, outside the closed networks of telecom and cable providers. It’s high-quality content, often broadcast or HD in quality, and usually long form (movies and TV shows), rather than the shorter clips you might find on news publisher websites.

Since it is delivered via a digital stream, it comes with granular targeting capabilities. However, despite the vast audience and other advantages, media agencies and advertisers have been slow to adapt to OTT advertising.


Consumers have already found OTT, but advertisers and agencies are missing in action.

To help you create your digital strategy game plan, we've created a list of benefits of OTT you should keep in mind to leverage OTT advertising’s unique power and growing popularity.


#1 - In high demand

If you watch CTV, whether through an internet-enabled device or on your mobile phone or a smart TV set, you are not alone. According to eMarketer, last year 168 million Americans, or about half of all U.S. consumers, accessed traditional television content over the internet.




OTT audiences are not likely to deliver duplication with linear buys. People spend almost the same amount of time in front of a TV but increasingly access their content through different devices. Therefore, if you only advertise through linear TV, you would miss out on these OTT audiences who are watching the same content at the same time but on a different platform.


“The OTT opportunity is a straightforward digital solution to explain to all types of advertisers. The way OTT content reaches viewers is different from traditional TV delivery. However, the environment people watch the content in is a similar lean-back experience that advertisers are already familiar with. Even if the advertiser has not adopted OTT viewing habits personally, the chances are high that they see their friends and family members watching OTT content around them.”

Karen Sowa, Marketing Director, ZypMedia


#2 - Audience targeting opportunity

OTT advertising gives advertisers a tremendous opportunity to hone in on their target audiences.

With available data sets, marketers and advertisers can target a range of variables, like demographics, psychographics, and even past ad exposures to enable sequential messaging.

Brands can use data to target their audiences and alter their digital campaigns accordingly. Then, they can use location and other details to hit a bull's eye with those viewers. For example, ads can be based on viewer location. If you’re a business like a retail store or a salon, that can serve only in a particular area; your ads will be served to your potential consumers around the area of your service.

The value of programmatic stems from the fact that it allows you to target the right audience for you as opposed to relying on the blanket approach of traditional TV advertising. So, instead of making your upfront commitments on a show-by-show basis, focus on targeting your audiences by leveraging the programmatic OTT advertising capabilities.


#3 - Engaged and desirable audiences

Connect with high-value consumers including cord-cutters and cord-nevers who may not be accessible through traditional TV.

OTT allows you or your client to reach viewers who are harder to find, including affluent millennials and cord-cutters. The median OTT viewer is 23 years younger than TV viewers, and their median yearly household income is nearly $10K higher than traditional TV households.

According to the data by Nielsen, in 2011, 18 to 24-year-old Americans were watching 26 hours, 28 minutes per week of TV. Now, in 2017, they're watching just 14 hours, 31 minutes, a 40% drop.




Advertisements are viewable by default with full-screen placements that put the central message front and center and usually can’t be skipped. In fact, OTT returns the highest completed view rate of any video format.

Over one-third of OTT visits are over an hour long and viewers complete 98% of all premium video ads. OTT campaigns produce a more significant lift in brand awareness and favorability than desktop and mobile, according to a recent Hulu study, demonstrating that the engaged OTT viewing environment is more conducive to promoting brands than other digital channels.


For advertisers and agencies, it is now vital to dive in and take a more targeted approach that involves OTT advertising.

Meeting in the middle

The reality is that change will be constant and that the market will ultimately reach a state of equilibrium. In the meantime, adopting data-driven TV strategies, new technologies, and solutions like OTT advertising will help in being proactive and keep businesses booming.

The real value of bringing data and technology to TV is better targeting and measurement. Thus, there will be growth within the TV ecosystem itself. It’s about using the best of digital to the benefit of the TV market and allowing TV to evolve.


OTT is a smooth segue to selling digital

It is easier for advertisers who have never sold digital ads before to sell OTT ads. Broadcast stations are used to selling TV ads, and OTT ads give a similar end experience to viewers.

ZypMedia captures spend traditionally reserved for local television and redirects it into OTT to enable more effectively planned and executed video advertising campaigns. The data available in OTT allows us to identify precise groups of consumers within local areas.

When you're ready to grow your OTT sales, we're here to help you accelerate your success!

SpotX has ranked ZypMedia as one of the top 5 DSPs to help it reach 18x year-over-year growth in advertiser dollars spent on OTT in 2017. We help professionals like you sell more over-the-top advertising every day.

You have questions about selling OTT advertising. We have answers. Learn more about how an OTT solution can support your business growth.


Picture of Amrita Hemdev

Amrita Hemdev

Amrita is an inbound marketer. She studied marketing and project management at UC Berkeley and proceeded to work in a fast-paced, digital advertising tech startup, with a goal of increasing brand awareness. She is currently the Content Marketing Specialist at ZypMedia. Passionate about digital marketing and having six years of experience in this field, she also started her digital marketing and creative agency, Sociato, based in India.