Smart OTT Advertisers Are Homing in on Audiences

Amrita Hemdev
By Amrita Hemdev
June 17, 2019

TV viewing and TV advertising have changed dramatically since the first TV commercial aired in 1941. Traditionally, viewers planned when to tune in to their favorite shows according to a predefined appointment TV schedule. Today, viewers are increasingly turning to over-the-top (OTT) television to access long-form content. These changes in the way content is distributed and accessed have led to new approaches in advertising strategy and best practices.

Due to the OTT streaming environment, viewers are determining their own viewing schedules, watching what they want, when they want, where they want, and on any device compatible with the content they want to watch.

Before viewers had the option of streaming content like sports, TV shows, movies, and news from OTT sources, network TV schedules determined the viewing behavior. This structured and timely environment supports a dayparting approach to media planning and buying as a strategy to target ad campaigns to different types of audiences.

What is dayparting?

Dayparting is a method used by broadcasters to divide television and radio schedules into time segments over the course of a 24-hour day. The parts are usually categorized as early morning, daytime, access, primetime, late fringe, and overnight. Programming is purposely scheduled according to the daypart and what would be appropriate for the perceived audience for that period of time. Audience tune-in and/or viewership of the programming within the specified period (aka daypart) is one of many factors used to determine the value of the ad unit.


“Although the flexibility of digital technology gives advertisers the capability to daypart OTT ad delivery, the comparatively unstructured nature of the OTT streaming environment calls for a new approach to creating media plans that focuses on taking advantage of the available data-driven opportunities to get in front of targeted TV audiences.

Karen Sowa, Sr. Marketing Director, ZypMedia


Here are three ways OTT advertising offers audience-based buying:

#1) OTT ad targets are based on audiences, not dayparts or program schedules.

OTT blends the best attributes of the TV viewing experience with the power of digital media’s targeting abilities.

Advertisers are ultimately trying to reach a specific audience to produce an outcome with their campaigns. OTT ads are digital and can be optimized for many different audience factors. Instead of buying ads tied to programs scheduled for a specific time of day to assume insights about the viewer, brands can now buy OTT ads based on attributes tied directly to the end viewer by data points.

OTT ads use audience-targeting features that combine demographic, psychographic, and viewer consumption data to build a targetable audience pool. Unlike dayparting, audience optimizations are not about finding the right time of day, but rather the right people at the right time, in the right location, who are well-matched to align with the advertiser’s desired outcome.


#2) Viewers have full control of their viewing schedules.

No longer a one-size-fits-all experience, watching premium video content is a personal experience in the hands of the viewer.

Viewers actively initiate and engage with content whenever and wherever it is convenient for them. Instead of waiting for a specific time to tune in to a program, they browse, select, start, pause, and turn off programs on demand. It is unlikely that OTT content is playing to an empty room or to a TV that is turned off while an ad is showing. Since the viewer controls when the content is playing, it does not matter what time he or she is accessing the content.

That said, streaming viewer behavior is starting to follow historical viewing patterns that fall in line with consumers’ natural schedules. OTT advertisers target audiences, but it doesn’t mean that their ads will not be shown to the viewers during these opportune times.

FreeWheel, a Comcast company used by most premium OTT publishers, reports that 23% of Connected TV and set-top-box video on demand ad views occur during the 8 PM to 11 PM daypart.


#3) OTT campaign reporting provides valuable insights for advertisers.

Not only is data used to fine-tune audience targeting during media planning, but it’s also used to track delivery metrics after the campaign goes live. Insights like when your campaign ran and how many times your ad was served offer transparency into the campaign, and metrics like which devices the ads were delivered to, how much of your ad was watched, and which publishers connected you to your targeted audience provide takeaway learnings you can bring to your next campaign. You may even learn that your desired audience is tuning in when you didn’t think they would!

The results of OTT ad campaigns can be reported back to advertisers on a near real-time dashboard that breaks down the results in easy-to-comprehend overviews, taking the guesswork out of understanding the ad campaign performance.

The future of television is digital.

For advertisers looking to access cutting-edge marketing technology, ZypMedia promises the full package. We help professionals like you sell over-the-top advertising every day.

ZypMedia brings the best OTT options to advertisers by working closely with best-of-class publishers and through partnerships like SpotX and Telaria, connecting businesses with the audiences who are consuming more and more OTT content.

You have questions about OTT advertising. We have answers. Learn more about how an OTT solution can support your business growth by subscribing to our newsletter.


Screen Shot 2019-06-17 at 11.23.25 AM  Contributing Editor: Charel MacIntosh, SVP, OTT Channel Strategy & Sales at ZypMedia

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.