Advertising on OTT Platforms: Strategies brands should adopt to succeed at the game

Capitalising on exploding video streaming demand can mark the start of a brand’s digital transformation amidst the pandemic.

The impact of COVID-19 pandemic includes a significant shift from traditional ways of shopping, entertainment, paying bills and loans, and even in sales and marketing. As the number of active cases continues to increase, more people choose to stay at their homes and do transactions on their devices. It’s not a surprise to see a tremendous increase in the use of over-the-top (OTT) media services across Southeast Asia. Hence, this digital transformation is one thing that advertisers want to spend on.

Netflix and Hulu are some examples of OTT media services that ring a bell. OTT enables consumers to stream video content such as movies and TV shows over the internet via website or app, bypassing satellite television, broadcast, and cable. But OTT is beyond entertainment because it is now becoming an advertising platform, worth an investment for businesses.

OTT Advertising

According to research findings by The Trade Desk , more than half of  Southeast Asian viewers are streaming OTT video content because of the pandemic and many are willing to watch ads just to take advantage of free programming in the region. Hence, premium OTT platforms boost brand awareness and most viewers trust these platforms more than non-premium so they are more receptive to ads.

In non-premium platforms, ad networks gather unsold ad inventory from different publishers and offer impressions to advertisers at a relatively lower price as compared to a publisher’s direct sales. However, many ad networks are now offering advertisers premium inventory access. They work across many channels like in-app mobile, video, and OTT.

Here are some examples of top ad networks for display, native, in-app, CTV, video, and OTT advertising:

  • Adsperfection:  This app monetisation platform blends machine learning algorithms and big data analytics for mobile publishers, delivering high impact monetisation solutions. Adsperfection was founded in 2018 and the main headquarters is in Goa, India.
  • Affle: This global technology platform helps enhance marketing investment returns via contextual mobile ads and reduce digital ad fraud. Affle was founded in 2005 in Singapore.
  • App Growing Global: The company offers comprehensive advertising info tracked from 19 media platforms in different countries worldwide. The company was founded in 2016 in  Guangzhou, China, offering downloadable analysis and creatives for advertising trends.

How to plan your OTT spend

When it comes to creating an OTT ad budget, the important things to consider include the OTT advertising platforms the brand is planning to use, the type of OTT ad content to create, and the OTT advertising strategy to implement.

  1. OTT Advertising Platforms
    Choosing the right platform where most of your target audience watch their favourite TV shows and movies can help you allocate and maximise your OTT budget. There are various OTT distribution channels that brands can invest in OTT video, which include TV publishers, OTT devices, streaming linear services, and OTT native services. The popular OTT channels include Hulu, Roju, Tubi, and Vimeo OTT Ads.

    In Asia, the three leading OTT players are Hulu Japan, WarnerMedia, and iQiyi International. In a Filmart session, Kuek Yu-Chuang, the vice president of international operations of iQiyi in Singapore, said that the company targets Southeast Asia with Korean and Chinese reality shows and dramas. The company is forming tight partnerships with major content producers in Asia like Media Prima in Malaysia.
  1. OTT Advertising Content
    The type of content for your OTT ads also plays a crucial role in OTT spend. Of course, the content with the more targeted and comprehensive reach promises greater returns, which equates to higher content curation costs.

    OTT can display ad content across a myriad of devices like OTT apps via streaming devices, mobile devices, gaming consoles, and smart TVs or connected TV. Advertisers and content creators can produce relevant OTT ad content to realise their goals.

    Here’s a quick list of recommended OTT ad content that can drive the highest returns:
  • Branded Content: This OTT ad content involves associating the brand and sharing common values with the content.
  • Sponsored Content: Thistype of great OTT ad content involves programme sponsorships that establish a deeper connection between the content and the brand.
  • Co-branded Content: It enables brands to leverage on an existing format that they can co-create OTT ad content for.
  • Commissioned Content: This ad-funded approach allows brands to fully customise content. Commissioned content is created for a client based on the publisher’s understanding of the brand.
  1. OTT Advertising Strategy
    The type of OTT advertising strategy a brand is planning to implement makes up the bulk of the OTT budget. As OTT media continues to evolve and transform the advertising landscape, digital media’s interactivity, targeting, and analytics blend seamlessly with the linear TV’s brand storytelling power. Hence, it means the need to spend on OTT technology to fully maximise from the benefits of over-the-top media advertising.

    Creating advertising strategies for OTT takes into account the goals and target audience of the advertiser. Advertisers can show ads to their target viewers using OTT content delivered via the internet with greater efficiency than traditional media.

    Some of the most sought OTT advertising strategies are as follows:
  • Contextual Strategy
    Marketers have been using this advertising strategy for many years, which is also applicable for OTT advertising. Contextual targeting allows brands to connect with their intended audience that consume media contextually compatible to the advertiser’s campaign. For instance, a clothing brand that targets young male consumers who watch Korean pop band shows,  prefer to show their OTT ads around similar content types.
  • Programmatic Media Advertising
    Programmatic advertising utilises automated technology to buy advertising space or media buying. Programmatic media buying uses data insights and algorithms, serving OTT ads to the right users at the perfect time and price.

    Programmatic media buying saves advertisers from the inefficiency and sluggishness of the traditional media buying process. It eliminates manual work and human negotiations, giving advertisers more control over the placement and inventory of bulk ads.
  • OTT Monetisation
    OTT monetisation is a win-win strategy for both the brand and the content creator, which is essential in allocating OTT marketing budget. Brands can work with OTT content creators to produce relevant content for their OTT ads to reach their target audience.

    One type of OTT revenue model is Advertising Video on Demand (AVOD), which provides free video access to consumers and drives revenue through adverts. Ads can run at the beginning of the video or pre-roll, in between video plays or mid-roll, or post-rolls. The pricing on ads depends on the platform’s popularity, user engagement, content type, and number of users.

    Two-thirds of over-the-top brands are changing business models, transitioning to a hybrid monetisation approach. About 84 percent of media executives project video streaming to grow in 2021. Also, brands are planning to expand the number of OTT platforms to leverage with the increasing rates in Smart TV and mobile viewing.

Advertising and OTT Spend

OTT video content is ready for TV advertisers finding a way to recapture reach and impressions not available via  traditional channels. Also, OTT advertising caters to challenger brands without direct broadcast budgets but now can take part on TV for the first time via OTT.

Investing in OTT ads early makes a brand fully ready for the next normal advertising with very promising business profits. Capitalising on exploding video streaming demand can mark the start of a brand’s digital transformation amidst the pandemic.