Jul 21, 2022
For more than a decade, over the top (OTT) television has transformed the way that audiences consume their favorite content. Ever since Netflix first launched direct streaming, many passionate viewers have abandoned their traditional cable subscriptions in favor of on-demand digital programming.
However, Netflix has always required a subscription fee for access to its content until its rather recent announcement to offer ad-supported tiers. Soon after the company started drawing a sizable audience, other competitors like Hulu began offering free-to-stream programming in exchange for the audience viewing advertisements at various intervals throughout the duration of the movie or show they were watching.
Today, OTT advertising is one of the most sought-after, yet difficult-to-find digital marketing services. For many agencies that live in or serve suburban and rural areas, finding and hiring someone with advanced programmatic knowledge and expertise can prove a trying experience.
At Conduit Digital, we became one of the original adopters of OTT advertising in the white label space in 2017. We identified a clear and massive need for agencies to offer this product to their clients and have invested countless hours in testing every possible platform to create a curated suite of platforms for you to advertise on.
If you are considering launching an OTT advertising campaign for your client, you may be wondering what are some of the best platforms for doing so? We will break them all down in exhaustive detail for you here.
Do you need help with OTT right now? Skip the read and book a call with us instead:
So Why is Everyone Rushing to Advertise on OTT?
At the end of last year, we predicted that OTT advertising will explode in 2022. As it turns out, our crystal ball did not lie to us.
This past May, AdWeek projected OTT ad spend to surpass $21 billion this year, with many media buyers calling it a “must buy” product.
With more consumers examining their monthly expenses under a microscope than ever before, OTT has become a desirable alternative to traditional cable television due to its superior personalization and the wealth of free-to-stream options available. For those looking to cut monthly expenses, watch on-demand at all times, and enjoy more tailored ad experiences, cutting the cord for digital programming is nothing short of a no-brainer.
The OTT explosion resulted in an entirely new digital avenue for collecting audience data that advertisers can leverage to generate new conversions and drive return on ad spend (ROAS) for their clients. However, many agencies have approached this new tactic slowly and cautiously due to the sheer volume of platforms to choose from.
If you’re looking to start advertising via OTT, you’ve found the right list. Here are 7 of our Programmatic Team’s favorite platforms that we consistently run campaigns on for our clients.
Co-owned by Comcast and Disney, Hulu benefits from the support of the largest global media titans. It offers an extensive library of shows, movies, and original content that you can stream at multiple pricing tiers.
With an audience size of 35 million viewers in the United States alone, Hulu ranks among the top 10 streaming services in terms of pure subscribership. Statistically, approximately 1 in every 10 Americans consumes content on the platform. This creates an expansive pool of potential viewers that will view your client’s advertisements on the biggest screen in the house!
Thanks to the platform’s immense support from its parent companies, Hulu offers an extensive menu of ad formats and targeting capabilities. For example, you can target viewers by factors such as:
Depending on your preferences and your client’s desired budget, you can also select from multiple formats. Situational ads can play non-disruptively during programming and integrate your campaign into the overall viewing experience for a more seamless impression.
Conversely, traditional more disruptive formats are also available at specific time slots during the show or movie being streamed.
2. Fire TV
Advertising on Fire TV provides a highly scalable solution for your client. Sold via a cost-per-completed view format, your client can continue increasing or decreasing their budget as their campaign generates key performance actions (KPAs).
Like Hulu, Fire TV benefits from an extensive backbone provided by its parent company, Amazon. Already compiling a massive pool of data from its flagship eCommerce website, Amazon can also equip your client’s campaign with other targeting options based on viewer interest, demographic data, keywords, viewing preferences, and more.
Fire TV also allows your client to integrate their other programmatic tactics into one unified campaign. For example, you can also include banner and text ads to complement your video creatives.
3. Pluto TV
Pluto TV offers viewers free content to stream in exchange for watching ads throughout the programming. Its advertising capabilities have generated immense momentum this year, and the service’s ad revenue is expected to surpass $1 billion in the U.S. alone in 2022.
As a subsidiary of Viacom, Pluto TV also benefits from a considerable content library and technical infrastructure supported by its parent company. This enables advertisers to target viewers on multiple levels with a higher frequency of ads served due to the company operating exclusively on an ad-supported-video-on-demand model (AVOD). At its core, AVOD means that the platform does not offer a commercial-free subscription model.
Roku is another popular streaming service that benefits heavily from its ad-supported model. The platform also offers a wide range of targeting options that primarily leverage its first-party data to reach your client’s desired viewers.
Roku acts as a hub for many different channels that can be streamed free of charge in exchange for ads. This allows the platform to gather data based on multiple touchpoints. Depending on the goal of the campaign, the ads are billed on a cost-per-thousand impression (CPM) or cost-per-install (CPI) basis.
For example, Roku categorizes viewership based on 5 primary signals:
1. General behaviors – Inferences gathered by the audience member’s content consumption habits
2. Linear TV viewership – Inferences based on viewing linear television content
3. Channel usage – How often specific content is engaged with
4. Content affinity – How often an audience member watches certain types of content or genres
5. Geography – Where the viewer is located
Roku advertisers can also choose to exclude any of the signals above to further narrow down on their ideal audience.
Sling markets itself primarily to young adult-aged, cord-cutting viewers. This audience segment is often comprised of individuals in the 18-34 age range and have a notable amount of disposable income.
Advertising campaigns through Sling are facilitated by its parent, Dish Media. Campaigns can be launched through one of three general tiers and further refined through your own targeting. These include:
The “Video” tier operates similar to traditional television commercials and is intended for advertisers seeking to reach a broad, general audience. After determining your target viewers, you can leverage core subscriber data to serve ads to these viewers. You can also daypart your content and send it to desired networks to ensure that you’re reaching the ideal viewers when they are engaged with the platform.
The Data-Driven Video tier takes the Video tier one step further. Instead of reaching a large general audience, advertisers can drill down further and leverage deeper insights from generated by specific viewers for more sophisticated targeting.
Dishs’ Addressable ads offer a uniquely powerful way to target at the household level. After defining and segmenting your audience, you can deliver your creatives directly to ideal households when they are actually watching content on the platform.
Advertisers can use the Addressable 1:1 targeting to gather more advanced insights into a campaign’s performance. These include, but are not limited to:
Traffic to your client’s website
Visits to physical locations
A/B testing insights
Conversions at the time of tuning in
Tubi is another AVOD-driven OTT platform but with a unique focus on integrating advertising with the viewer experience for optimum results. Their ad formats are built on the following core principles:
100% full-screen, non-skippable displays
Quality over quantity: ads only take up 4-6 minutes for every hour of programming for higher engagement and recognition
Engaging formats that range from 0:6 billboards to 90-second full videos
Advertisers can decide whether to run a standard video or interactive video ad on Tubi. The interactive videos allow audiences to click through to specific landing pages that you can use to further drive conversions for your client’s campaign.
Another ad-supported free streaming service, Xumo is owned and operated by telecom titan Comast. Like the other platforms listed above, it benefits from a robust infrastructure similar to that of Comast’s other property mentioned in this article, Hulu.
Xumo emphasizes offering customized programmatic packages to advertisers. This enables your agency to exercise a great deal of control over budget, strategy, and measuring the performance metrics that matter most to your client’s business goals.
Like its half-sibling Hulu, Xumo enjoys access to the wealth of first-party data that Comcast can provide. Coupled with highly customized package options, you can ensure that your message is reaching the right audiences that engage with the platform.
OTT is Only Part of the Programmatic Story, Though!
As a programmatic channel, OTT advertising integrates seamlessly into a holistic programmatic strategy that could also include other tactics like audio, display, and text-based advertising. Some of the platforms above also allow for you to extend your campaign with these formats to maximize your complete reach potential.
When we discuss programmatic opportunities with our partners, we often recommend a strategy that incorporates at least two or more tactics. This enables your client to capitalize on the full potential of their campaign and target audiences at multiple touchpoints throughout their content consumption experience.
Quick-Start an Elite OTT Advertising Campaign with a White Label Partner
Now that you know some of the best OTT advertising platforms, you might be wondering how to get started? Should you focus on just one platform, a combination, or start serving to the full list we mentioned above?
This is where your agency’s white label ad operations partner comes in.
At Conduit Digital, we partner with successful and established agencies throughout North America to deliver elite results for your clients. Our 100% U.S.-based, expert-certified Programmatic Team leverages custom domain and application whitelists developed in-house through countless hours of testing and vetting each one’s capabilities to ensure impressions of the utmost quality.
To learn more about how we can help you integrate OTT advertising into your agency’s product offering, schedule a 20-minute call with us today.