Over-the-Top (OTT)

What is over-the-top (OTT)?

Over-the-top (OTT) refers to any type of streaming service that delivers content directly to consumers over the internet, without the need for traditional distributors like broadcast or cable providers.

Essentially, the service is delivered “over the top” of another platform. For example, when you watch your favorite Netflix show, you aren’t watching it on Comcast; you’re watching it on Netflix, a service that lies over the top of your cable provider. OTT content isn’t just video; it also includes audio (like Spotify), messaging (like WhatsApp), and voice calls (like Skype).

The accessibility of OTT content is one of the reasons it’s so popular. The only requirements to view content are an internet connection and a connected device that supports apps or browsers, like most mobile phones or smart TVs today. Consumers have the freedom to choose the device, time, and content they want.

For services like Disney+ and Spotify Premium, users can access curated content at any time by paying a subscription. Other OTT platforms, like YouTube and NBC’s Peacock, primarily generate revenue by selling ads. Many services have transitioned to tiered models of pricing with both premium subscription levels and free or lower cost, ad-supported content to further allow users to customize their experience.

OTT devices and platforms are quickly becoming one of the most popular ways to consume media. More users are moving beyond cable and shifting in the direction of online-only media consumption, expanding the OTT space and opening up a rapidly growing marketing channel for advertisers.

Benefits of OTT advertising

OTT advertising differs from traditional broadcast advertising in many ways. For one, streaming ads aren’t often sold for a specific slot on a specific show at a specific time since much of the content is consumed on-demand. With OTT advertising, advertisers can reach a smaller but more targeted, niche audience, and get more granular in audience targeting and audience insights.

Not only can advertisers choose who sees what, when, and on which devices through OTT, but they can also measure audience engagement. Granular data — like who skips an ad, which ad spot a consumer chooses when given a choice, and where a target audience spends their time (or doesn’t) — can be valuable information.

Despite the fact that OTT ads normally have increased targeting options compared to traditional TV ads, advertisers still need the correct marketing analytics tools to maximize the return on their advertising investment.

Increase your cross-platform, cross-device reach

Users are spending more time on OTT devices and platforms than ever before, making it a crucial component of any cross-platform growth strategy. Marketers who run ads on OTT usually struggle to fully understand the impact of their campaigns, which is why having an accurate attribution provider is essential to your OTT strategy.