Advertisers Can’t Afford to Have FOMO When it Comes to OTT

Assessing an exciting and evolving opportunity
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"CTV, OTT streamed content on a television set with an internet connection, is the large-screen lean-back premium experience that mimics the linear TV experience, and it’s what advertisers value." -Mark Zagorski, CEO, Telaria

Mark Zagorski

Mark Zagorski

Digital advertising doesn’t need another acronym, but since this is a mash up of two that already exist, it doesn’t really count, right? FOMOTT is the Fear of Missing OTT, and frankly, it’s top of mind for many brands and agencies as they view the evolving advertising landscape and have to figure out how to allocate their marketing budgets. Given OTT’s status as a relative newcomer to the media scene, it’s not irrational that there might be some hesitation to pursue a cross-screen video advertising strategy. Whether due to a lack of experience with digital video (for traditional linear buyers), or not knowing how to measure results in a “cookie free world” (for digital buyers), the urge to buy into OTT is usually tempered with a level of trepidation. The nagging worry that comes from seeing other brands capitalize on the medium early as consumers shift to watching OTT, as well as understanding instinctively that OTT advertising is incredibly promising, just adds to the FOMO. If advertisers can’t conquer their fear of OTT, they’ll miss out on benefiting now from an exciting and evolving opportunity.

OTT Is the New TV

It’s no secret that consumers are cutting the cord in droves -- nearly 33 million Americans by the end of 2018 according to a report by eMarketer. Fed up with their expensive cable packages, and increasingly able to access premium content without a cable, the need to be tethered to a schedule and a set top box is gone. So, while advertisers continue to make a distinction between connected TV (CTV) and linear TV, for the most part consumers have moved on. The majority of American consumers today simply don’t distinguish between watching content via OTT or traditional linear TV. In fact, eighty-four percent of Gen Z, Millennials and Gen X TV watchers consider streaming content through their internet-connected TV to be “watching TV.”

CTV, OTT streamed content on a television set with an internet connection, is the large-screen lean-back premium experience that mimics the linear TV experience, and it’s what advertisers value. Today, not even live programming like sports and awards shows are a hurdle for cord cutters as virtual MVPDs like Sling, Hulu and YouTubeTV deliver live, fully addressable TV over IP.

Linear TV is no longer the default advertising medium when it comes to premium video. If they are not already, brands should be developing a cross-device strategy that includes CTV, in the process future-proofing their advertising to ensure they’re reaching their audiences.

OTT Conquers Advertiser Problems with Digital Video

As seen in the recent YouTube “predator” debacle, advertisers have every reason to be wary of unmoderated, long tail, user generated video. Yet, until recently, to get both relevancy and scale for a marketer’s brand building, Google’s video Wild West was the only game in town. Not anymore.

As first and third party data usage proliferates, OTT now offers the same level of targeting that digital display always enjoyed. Scale is no longer an issue as more consumers tune into OTT veterans like Hulu and Sling as well as challengers like PlutoTV, Cheddar and Tubi. OTT content is brand safe and high quality, and most of the content is delivered on a large screen in a living room, rather than a laptop screen during a lunch break. It’s a no brainer for marketers seeking to build brands using video.

Publishers are Learning to Embrace OTT

Advertisers aren’t the only ones having to adjust to change and learn the ropes. OTT-native streaming giants Hulu and Amazon are disrupting the model of how content is developed and bought, leading to legacy media companies moving aggressively to acquire successful streaming apps or build their own OTT capabilities to create direct-to-consumer pathways that can offset losses from their pay-TV revenue streams.

All this disruption is leading to further innovation with publishers thinking, quite literally, outside the box to make ad experiences more compelling and impactful for brands, and less disruptive to viewers.

Now is the perfect time for advertisers to experiment with publishers to make the ad experience better, and in the process heighten audience receptivity to advertising by rethinking ad breaks, ad pods and new creative formats that could shape the way we all view digital video. With subscription fatigue setting in, the flood of ad-supported premium video content is reaching record highs - by our estimate $33 billion was invested in new streaming TV content in the past two years - the potential for creative advertising has never been greater, and forward-thinking brands should take advantage of this evolution.

The Elephant In to the Room: Measurement

Of the questions we consistently get about OTT, measurement surfaces as the biggest grey area. The industry has yet to coalesce around a universal set of metrics. However, that doesn’t mean the impact of OTT ads can’t be measured. Companies like Oracle, Cubeiq, Nielsen and others can measure campaign effectiveness with accuracy unheard of in linear TV. Additionally, advertisers have a range of factors by which to measure OTT results ranging from video completion rates to registration-based demo reach. As more dollars move to OTT, it’s only a matter of time before standards from Comscore and Nielsen start to become a more important part of the measurement equation.

The combination of sight, sound and motion in a large-screen, premium, brand safe environment at scale used to be a unique proposition offered by three, 3-letter networks. Today, OTT offers the same and more, for advertisers willing to take the leap. The lines are blurring between OTT, CTV and traditional TV viewing, and the same is happening for how advertising on these platforms is planned, bought and measured. For all of these reasons, FOMOTT has emerged as a real issue for advertisers, but one that can be tackled with education, a bit of experimentation and the swift kick of consumer demand.

Telaria is a complete Video Management Platform built to power the growth of CTV. Telaria maximizes the value of premium video in all its forms, whether it's live streaming events, sports or the latest long-form programming,

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