3 Pros and 3 Cons of OTT Advertising

Over-the-top (OTT) marketing utilizes numerous video streaming platforms to deliver ads to highly-engaged audiences. Its growth in popularity has been fueled by the introduction of several new streaming platforms that increase accessibility for audiences, and ad platforms that have given advertisers a path to share their message.

If current trends continue, OTT will likely become a necessary investment for brands of all sizes. In this article, we’ll cover the current advantages and disadvantages that exist in this space.

Pros of OTT Advertising

It’s important to remember that OTT is still new compared to other digital marketing products like social media or Google’s suite of products. However, it has been around long enough to identify its strengths and weaknesses. Here are current the ‘pros’ of OTT:

Targeting Options

There was a time when print advertising was the premier option for businesses. Then radio cemented itself as a valuable alternative. Television changed the game once again, and has reigned supreme in terms of reach and effectiveness for decades. Today, many brands are opting to reallocate TV dollars to OTT marketing campaigns due to its diverse targeting options. 

The ability to reach users based on criteria such as specific demographic information and web browsing history means less wasted money serving impressions to those who are unlikely to be interested in a particular product. 

Non-Skippable Offerings

Video marketers can appreciate the benefits of creating an ad that won’t be ‘skipped’ after the first ten seconds. It takes time to craft a thoughtful, engaging message, and platforms such as YouTube make it challenging to tell your story to an audience. Like traditional TV commercials, many OTT platforms can show your ads in a format that doesn’t allow skipping to cut your video short. This allows you to create more in-depth content that reaches through to those who may benefit from your product or service. 

Rapidly Growing Audience

You’ve probably heard the term “cord-cutting” at some point over the past few years. While cable subscriptions have fallen, streaming platforms have grown their user-bases exponentially. This new environment has created an opportunity to capture the attention of audiences without needing the massive budget required to advertise on traditional cable networks.

But wait, there’s more! Because an OTT platform – let’s use YouTube TV for example – can show different ads to two different people watching the same show (on different devices), costs aren’t expected to reach the levels of traditional television. That means instead of a single company filling a commercial spot that comes with a hefty price tag, costs to the advertisers are much smaller while the overall revenue for the network remains the same.

Cons of OTT Advertising

The burgeoning world of OTT presents an appealing set of possibilities for marketers, but it’s not without its drawbacks. Platforms are always changing, so the ‘cons’ on this list might not exist in a year (or less). But if you can’t wait, you should be aware of the current landscape. Here are a few things to consider before you go all-in: 

Limits on Ad Formats

One of the benefits of social media, display, and YouTube advertising is that users can click straight through to a specified landing page. This feature significantly reduces friction in the conversion process. While some OTT platforms offer click-through capabilities, many (streaming services that are primarily used on a television and not a mobile device or laptop) do not. 

Depending on your goals, this may or may not present an issue for your campaign. For example, if your overall objective is to reach as many people as possible (generally increase brand awareness), you probably won’t be as concerned with your audience taking actionable steps immediately after seeing your ad. 

Multiple Platforms with Different Requirements

Anyone who has experience executing digital marketing campaigns on different platforms has experienced the frustration that comes with platform-specific requirements. Whether it’s the size of a graphic (or video), targeting options, or restrictions on content, it can be frustrating to create content that works across all platforms. 

For advertisers with large teams that can invest their time into learning the nuances of each platform, this might not be a concern. However, if you’re running a lean operation, it’s advisable to pick a platform that works for you and stick to it. 

Reporting Challenges 

Three little words (or letters, if you’re so inclined) determine whether or not an ad campaign was successful or not: return on investment. 

Digital marketing has many advantages over traditional mediums, but the ease with which marketers can measure ROI has to be at the top of the list. When a user converts and purchases a product after viewing a social media or Google ad, it’s easy to track the customer’s journey. OTT proponents think these capabilities will come, but they’re not quite there yet. 

To reiterate, if your campaign’s primary objective is “getting your name out there,” the relative lack of reporting data might not be an obstacle. Some brands, though, will opt to stick with their traditional digital marketing strategies until the technology improves. At the end of the day, that’s what makes digital advertising so useful – there’s something for everyone. 

Wrapping Up

As new digital marketing offerings are released and the existing ones evolve, partnering with an industry expert can help pave the way to success. Regardless of your business’s budget or goals, there’s a solution that fits your needs.

If your brand could use help navigating the sea of marketing options available today, get in touch for a free consultation and see how we can help expand your reach and drive sales.