8 Best Practices for OTT and CTV Advertising

Owning your own business and deciding what to buy, where to buy it, and how much to spend on it can be among the most rewarding things you’ll ever do as an entrepreneur. 

But, unfortunately, it can also be one of the most complicated and challenging tasks that you ever undertake, especially if you’re not exactly sure what works and what doesn’t when it comes to buying things like TV advertising or over-the-top (OTT) video ad spots on popular channels like Hulu.

The entire process can be challenging and intimidating, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the ad platforms.

However, once you have your online video strategy in place, it’s important to remember the cardinal rules of OTT and CTV advertising to ensure you’re reaching the right audience and maximizing your investment in this new medium. Here are seven best practices to help your OTT and CTV campaigns reach their full potential.

1) Keep It Simple

Business owners should keep it simple when running ads. Stick to one or two objectives, target a specific audience, use strong visuals, and ensure your clear call to action. You should also test different creative elements to see what works best for your brand.  

Test audiences should be the same age and gender as the main campaign demographic. You can use this data to see which creatives work better with certain people.

2) Add a Call to Action

A call to action is a great way to keep viewers engaged with your content. Make sure you have an offer or value proposition to back up the CTA. 

An attention-grabbing headline can help increase viewership and motivate them to watch the whole video. Choose topics of interest, research what topics are trending, and then base your videos around those topics.

3) Have a Consistent Brand Message

Your OTT ads must deliver a consistent brand message. This means using the same colors, fonts, and overall aesthetic in your ad as in your other marketing materials. Consistency will help viewers recognize your brand and remember your ad when they see it. Conversely, a lack of consistency confuses viewers and distracts them from your product or service. 

4) Always Be True to Yourself 

Don’t worry about what others are doing. Instead, you should create an advertising campaign based on who you are as a company instead of following what competitors are doing or listening to industry rumors. 

Your customers want to know why you’re different than everyone else and your unique selling point. Showcase your brand personality. Let viewers know what makes you different from other brands, especially if they don’t have any prior knowledge of your company.

5) Know Your Audience

The success of any advertisement relies heavily on understanding your target market. If you know their interests, habits, and where they spend their time online, you can focus your strategy on meeting their needs while also increasing the likelihood that they’ll see (and hopefully click) your ad.

6) Think About How Your Audience Feels

The average person is bombarded with over 4,000 ads per day. That’s a lot of messaging to filter through, so your OTT and CTV advertising strategy must cut through the noise. Here are practices to consider when planning your next campaign. 

  • Be selective about the channels you run on: It’s not just about TV or digital anymore; networks like Amazon, Facebook, and YouTube offer unique opportunities to reach audiences.
  • Consider cross-device marketing: According to Nielsen, nearly 50% of people who view content on TV also use another device simultaneously. And vice versa! Consider how you can use this information in your next marketing campaign to ensure you’re reaching all your customers.
  • Use high-quality visuals and storytelling techniques: Customers need to see themselves in the story you tell if they want to connect emotionally with what you have to offer. Connecting with viewers on an emotional level will encourage them to take action towards making a purchase decision.

7) Understand Direct Response TV

To make the most of your OTT and CTV advertising, it’s important to understand how it works. Direct response TV (DRTV) is a type of advertising that elicits an immediate response from viewers, usually in the form of a phone call or website visit. Most DRTV ads are 30 seconds long, often called mini-commercials. 

Ads can be either call now ads that elicit a click-to-call response or direct mail-in responses. These two types of DRTV ads require different methods for tracking and reporting on ad performance. 

Call now ads must measure conversion rates based on the number of viewers who responded by clicking on their device screen to initiate a call. For these advertisers, click-through rates are not as important as conversion rates because their goal is getting customers to interact with their brand after seeing the ad.

8) Targeting Is Everything

When it comes to OTT and CTV advertising, targeting is key. You need to ensure you’re reaching your target audience with your ads. Here are some best practices to keep in mind:

  • Use geotargeting to show your ads only when someone is in the area you want them to see. 
  • Find the most relevant video on YouTube or TV networks that fits your desired demographic and reach out to the company about showing an ad during those videos. 
  • Use smart custom filters on Facebook Ads Manager or Google AdWords for television programs with specific demographics as a target audience so you can reach people who will be watching these shows at a certain time on a certain day. 
  • Try A/B testing your ads to find which ones perform better. 
  • Reach out to influencers for help promoting your product or service. You’ll likely get better results because they know their followers’ interests well and trust their product opinion more than if you were another random brand they’ve never heard of. In addition, influencers have larger followings than average brands, and their reach extends beyond social media. 

Final Thought

If you’re looking to get started with OTT and CTV advertising, the above practices will help you get a head start. Of course, some days and times may be better, so you’ll want to experiment before settling on one particular date or time slot. Keep these tips in mind as you plan your OTT and CTV campaigns, and rest assured you will make the most from every campaign! 

Christopher Stern

Christopher Stern is a Washington-based reporter. Chris spent many years covering tech policy as a business reporter for renowned publications. He has extensive experience covering Congress, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Federal Trade Commissions. He is a graduate of Middlebury College. Email:[email protected]

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