21 Vital Questions To Ask Over The Top (OTT) TV & Connected TV Advertising Companies

ott advertising

Navigating through the world of OTT and Connected TV Advertising providers can be daunting.  More cable stations, programmatic tv providers, and OTT Advertising companies are coming on the market, leveraging a captive audience that is typically more engaged than TV watchers.  CPM’s are all over the place.  Not everyone utilizes the same streaming app inventory.   Some platforms are OTT Advertising specific and don’t do anything else.

ott advertising

But with the space still being relatively new, it’s important for companies who seek to utilize OTT Marketing to know what questions to ask in order to ascertain the right information and flush out those OTT providers who may not be the right fit for your enterprise.

So the 21 questions we devised below should provide you with proper context on what to ask OTT Advertising platforms and also give you even more background on the OTT Advertising space.

How would you define OTT (Connected TV) Advertising?

Asking this question of OTT Advertising Platforms at least gives you a sense of how experienced they are in this space because it’s still relatively new and some people will have differing definitions of it.

We would define OTT Advertising as an emerging creative channel within digital advertising, allowing for the placement of video Ads on mobile Connected TV and big screen devices to reach TV viewers through emerging devices such as Roku, Amazon Prime, Sling TV, Direct TV Now, Twitch, and more.

The beauty with OTT and Connected TV advertising is it is Programmatic TV targeting and focused on reaching your core audience where they go to watch their streaming channels.  So for example, if you want to reach mothers between the ages of 35 and 40 who like avocado and could be driving a new vehicle, you can in fact reach that audience with OTT advertising, whereas with traditional TV, it may be a little more difficult to achieve that precise level of targeting.

Why is Connected TV Advertising a great method for digital advertising?

This is important to ask because some OTT Advertising companies do not know the big picture economic factors of why CTV is vital for those TV Advertisers.  Aside from the reasons we discussed below including the chance to truly reach your core audience with hyper local and segmented audience targeting, here are a few big picture trends worth considering:

  • 3 In 4 U.S. Broadband Households utilize Connected (CTV) Devices that To The Internet
  • With traditional TV Advertising, your targeting is limited to DMA, schedule and dayparts
  • With OTT Advertising, you have 1:1 targeting of valuable customers & their households in real time
  • Cable subscriptions are declining incredibly fast
  • OTT Advertising provides a 32 % higher lift in brand perception through CTV compared to traditional TV
  • 41% of individuals reached through on connected TV (CTV) were unique and not reached by ads on traditional TV
  • Finally with OTT, you have unmatched audience targeting utilizing three different methodologies including addressable, behavioral, and demographic targeting.

We can provide all types of reasons, but these are clear identifiers that should provide you with some perspective.  And asking this question of your OTT Advertising platform will give you some clarity as to their overall perspective on OTT Advertising.

What is the cost of OTT Advertising?

OTT and Connected TV advertising is still relatively inexpensive compared to traditional TV and cable TV buys.  When you can see as high as $5.00 per spot or impressions on TV buys, OTT Advertisers can go as low as 6 cents per spot or impression.  We are seeing costs range from $35 per 1,000 impressions all the way up to $100 per 1,000 impressions.

The cost will largely depend on the platform and the types of networks you want to advertise on.  If you want to access the HULU network, it’s likely to cost more.  If you want prime time stations, it too will cost more.  If you want to layer 4 – 6 specific audience segments, it too can cost a little more.  But note that spending a little more may get you closer to your core demographic compared to TV advertising where you may have more of a shotgun advertising approach and not as much control on the audience you want to reach.

What devices with OTT Advertising can I publish on?

There are plenty of devices one can publish on, but not all OTT platforms have access to all of them.  Many devices include PlayStation, ROKU, Amazon Fire Stick, Chrome, Apple TV, and others.  Some platforms will say they have access to all of them, but there are several who will have at least 90% of their inventory on only ROKU devices.  So understanding the breadth and reach of devices they have and the wide distribution of streaming inventory across those devices will give you a better sense of the reach that those OTT platform have.

ott marketing devices

What do you consider to be the major benefits of OTT and Connected TV advertising?

Getting everyone’s perspective on what they consider to be the benefits of OTT advertising is good to hear.  For Propellant Media, and with our OTT/CTV Advertising solution, advertisers have access to the most advanced smart tv advertising solution in the market. Powered by three distinct methods of audience targeting, getting the right message in front of the right person at the right time has never been more effective. Here are some of those benefits:

  • Target physical addresses using GPS data to serve OTT/CTV ads with unmatched precision and scale.
  • Bring the precision of digital targeting to OTT/CTV with the ability to target users based on keywords, context, and other online behaviors.
  • Take advantage of numerous combinations of demographic variables to target your ideal audience.
  • Reach Up To 96% View Rates Of Commercials On Connected TV Advertising Devices
  • Connected TV Watchers Tend To Be More Engaged W/ Content compared to other traditional TV Channels
  • Can Still Measure Foot Traffic To Your Retail/Brick & Mortar Location when you leverage cross device matching capabilities

What streaming channels & streaming apps can I publish on?

This is a critical question to ask.  We’ve heard of platforms that can only target 100 or 200 channels across the devices they publish on.  But if you want a good platform with an expansive list, something closer to 750 to 1,000 streaming channels is good because now you can reach your core audience across more channels and follow them across more channels.

Similar to geofencing advertising, you want a programmatic platform that has access to 100,000’s of mobile apps.  OTT and Connected TV is no different.

Also, several cable and TV stations are starting to get into the OTT Advertising space.  And when they advertise their OTT capabilities, they traditionally try to focus on only their core streaming apps and channels, versus the remaining programmatic inventory that’s available on the market.  You want a platform that has a large inventory of streaming apps, not just a select few.  This will typically help lower your OTT advertising costs and expand your reach of your target audience.

If my budget was only $2,500 per month for 6 months, how would you recommend I utilize that budget for OTT marketing?

This question will force vendors to get creative in answering your question.   Some may say it’s not enough while others will provide you a recommendation without having any additional questions so they have added context.  Typically, you should hope vendors will ask other pressing questions such as what geographic region are you looking to target, what’s the overall objective of your campaign, why have you sought out OTT versus other digital channels, and who’s your ideal target audience you hope to reach. Those types of questions from OTT advertising vendors should help them lead to more pointed answers to developing an OTT advertising strategy that will fit your budget.

What budgets do you usually recommend for OTT?

Some OTT platforms provide you with recommendations on what they think your budget should be based on their monthly minimums and getting as much out of your budget they can.  It is true that smart tv marketing campaigns require higher monthly spends because of the higher costs and CPM’s which are based on a limited budget that can in turn limit delivery to the full audience you intend to reach.

But good OTT platforms and advertising specialists will have planning tools at their disposal and frankly will provide other complimentary targeting methods to CTV campaigns such as pre roll video which can in turn cost less in CPM charges and help compliment your OTT campaigns and finally get you more reach within your budget.

Can I target specific over the top television stations?

I know many people will want to ask this question.  We know that this capability is largely not available on most platforms in large part because the OTT advertising is still relatively new, but also because OTT platforms do not want to limit their ad revenue by giving advertisers the option to choose their channels to target on.  But again, that’s why it’s important to understand that OTT platform’s audience segmenting capabilities, which is another question we get into.

What audience data targeting can I use for my OTT Advertising?

We can’t speak for most, but our agency here at Propellant Media has access to over 1,300 data targeting variables including utilizing 1st party data, 3rd party data, and also keyword/intent buying audiences through our keyword contextual platforms.

Our addressable geofencing capabilities allows us to utilize people’s home addresses to reach them on those OTT and connected TV devices versus targeting everyone in a city or zip code.

Asking this question and providing the OTT advertising platform with your particular use case will give you insights into how close they can get to your core demographic.

Why is OTT better than traditional TV Advertising?

I know there are many advertisers who are used to traditional TV buying, and we’ll never say you should completely forego it.  But asking your platform’s perspective on this will be enlightening.

We believe it’s not necessarily better in all aspects.  Of course with OTT and Connected TV Advertising, you can choose the audiences you want to reach with more granularity, but we believe it makes for a great compliment to your TV Buying.  Consider all of the advertising you do to reach your audience on multiple devices.  And if your target audience is seeing you on traditional TV, OTT, digital, mobile devices, Google Adwords, Facebook, Billboard, Direct Mail, etc, you are implanting your brand so you’re that much more top of mind for your core audience.

Do you have a way to measure the performance of OTT marketing campaigns?

Some platforms have better data variables and metrics to report on than others.  But beyond that, understanding from the platform how they define success with OTT campaigns will be helpful.  Some will define it simply as measuring impressions and views from streaming consumers who view your ads.  “The more impressions you deliver, the better” is what some will say.  But in our judgement, that’s a shortsighted view because what if the platform doesn’t have as strong a capability to reach your target audience.  That means you’re delivering wasted impressions.

The way we define measuring performance is total watch rates, brand lift, conversions (more on this later), total impressions delivered to your core audience, and how this has impacted your other digital channels.  Looking at performance in a more holistic way is critical to picking and locating a premier OTT Advertising platform.

What information can you report on in your analytics dashboards?

Being able to see the metrics a company can report on ties directly back into our previous question. It will help you gain a sense into the optimization and reporting capabilities of the company you seek to work with.

For our agency and our own OTT advertising capabilities, you can view your performances alongside all your other digital campaigns with the same metrics including:

  • Impressions
  • Geolocation Data
  • Cost Per 1,000 Impressions (CPM)’s
  • Win Rates
  • Audiences Reached
  • Devices
  • Channels
  • CTV Cross-Device Attribution
  • Video Completion Rates
  • Nielsen Metrics.

How often do you suggest making optimizations to an OTT Advertising campaign?

Some people will suggest just leaving campaigns alone and not touching them for weeks on end.  We believe a proactive approach that includes optimizations and close eyes on campaigns every week to two weeks is better to ensure campaigns are performing as expected, and ultimately you are holding your OTT Advertising platforms accountable to performance and results.

Are the connected tv reporting analytics delivered in real time?

Some platforms do not provide analytics for you until the end of the month.  They’ll simply send you a report at the end of each month and discuss it with you over a call or in person.  We believe it’s best to have analytics provided to clients in real time so you can log in at anytime to see the performance of your campaigns and the impact it’s having on your business or overall objectives.

What are your cross device matching capabilities?

This question is essentially about determining if your ads on OTT can match up with the IP address of the consumer and match back utilizing that IP address to their other connected devices.  So for example, if I watched an Ad on a streaming app on my big screen TV, cross device matching should then determine my tablet and mobile that connects to the same IP address the big screen utilized.

Cross device matching can range from 5% to 20% matching.  This can be useful because if you’re running an OTT campaign, and want to reach users beyond OTT streaming channels, you’d then be able to reach those same users on those other mobile apps and websites.  And then even more importantly, measure conversions even more effectively and see the overall lift your OTT Advertising campaign is having on your digital marketing and programmatic tv campaigns.

What’s your overall philosophy of OTT marketing and combining it with other Programmatic display advertising?

Some platforms will say that OTT advertising is the perfect standalone product.  And we agree, it can be a great standalone if used properly.  Normally it’s those who only focus on OTT marketing who find it difficult to think beyond simply OTT marketing.  Getting a sense of their philosophy will give you insights into whether they’ll sell you a bill of goods or even have the foresight to tell you if OTT advertising is or is not right for your business.

What’s the difference between OTT and CTV?

Again, this is more of a “how much do you really know about smart tv advertising question.  OTT advertising is geared more toward those big screen devices like Smart TV’s whereas connected tv devices are those mobile devices that have the ability to connect to streaming apps.

Do you still recommend OTT be combined with other advertising?

As great as OTT advertising may be, there are other programmatic solutions that perfectly compliment OTT advertising campaigns.  Going with OTT only platforms has it disadvantages including:

  • Not understanding the full cycle of digital advertising and its impact on your business
  • How to measure attribution across multiple devices and multiple channels
  • How to determine the appropriate OTT strategy that fits with what you’re currently doing.
  • And even how to recommend other digital solutions to any new OTT advertising campaigns you’re looking to launch.

Now of course, the benefits of an OTT only provider is that they focus only on OTT and as such they better be good at it because they do specialize in it. But having a broader perspective beyond OTT will provide you with insights into whether they can become the right partner that can think beyond OTT for your enterprise.

What length of video creative do you suggest?

Not sure what other OTT advertising providers recommend, but the shorter the better in most cases unless your offering requires more time to explain and educate the consumer.  So the best answer is it depends.

Most OTT inventory allows for 15 seconds, 30 seconds, 60 seconds, and sometimes more than that.  But a great sweet spot is 30 seconds due to the high watch rates on OTT streaming platforms which is 95% or more and also due to the fact that the streaming audience tends to be more engaged than TV audiences.

How is OTT different from pre roll video?

This is another “how much do you know about Programmatic display and Programmatic TV question.”

Pre roll video is typically less expensive from a CPM perspective than OTT advertising and with pre roll you can reach users on mobile apps (non streaming) as well as websites. Whereas with OTT marketing, it costs more and typically requires ads to be delivered on streaming apps on big screen and Connected TV mobile/tablet devices.  Again, it’s not enough to have a provider who is only focused on OTT advertising but rather a more holistic platform and company that can help you utilize your video assets with more reach.

OTT Advertising Conclusion

Trying to navigate the OTT advertising world can be challenging.  Particularly if you’re looking to find the appropriate advertising partner who understands your marketing needs.

These questions are great for you as FAQ’s as much as they are great questions for OTT providers as they’ll give you a sense of how to evaluate the best partner and fit for your organization.  If you have any additional questions around OTT advertising, connected tv advertising, programmatic tv, or smart tv advertising, do not hesitate to contact us.

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