OTT Advertising: The Impact of Television & the Value of Programmatic

by | Nov 8, 2023 | Display and Video Glossary, Marketing

Master OTT Advertising to Build Brands & Drive Leads

OTT (Over-The-Top) advertising refers to the delivery of video content via the internet, directly to users, without the need for traditional cable or satellite TV services. This method leverages high-speed internet connections to stream content to various devices such as smartphones, smart TVs, tablets, and desktop computers. The term “over-the-top” originates from the fact that content providers deliver their services over the top of existing internet infrastructure, bypassing traditional distribution methods.

How OTT Advertising Works:

Targeting Capabilities:

  • OTT platforms collect extensive data on user behavior, preferences, and demographics. This data includes viewing history, device usage, and even location information.
  • Advertisers use this data to create detailed user profiles, allowing for precise targeting. For example, an advertiser can target women aged 25-35, living in urban areas, interested in fitness and wellness.

Ad Formats:

  • Pre-Roll Ads: These ads appear before the main content starts, capturing viewers’ attention right from the beginning.
  • Mid-Roll Ads: These ads are strategically placed in the middle of videos, ensuring that viewers are engaged and less likely to skip.
  • Post-Roll Ads: Shown after the main content, these ads are often interactive, encouraging viewers to take specific actions.

Ad Delivery:

  • OTT ads are delivered through high-quality video streams, adapting to the viewer’s internet connection speed to ensure seamless playback.
  • Advertisers can set specific criteria for ad delivery, such as targeting viewers based on geography (country, city, or even specific areas), device types (smartphones, tablets, smart TVs), and user behavior (such as previous interactions with similar ads).

Interactive Elements:

  • Interactive features like clickable links, buttons, or QR codes enhance user engagement. Viewers can directly interact with the ad, leading to higher conversion rates.
  • Some OTT platforms allow for interactive storytelling, where viewers’ choices influence the direction of the ad, creating a personalized experience.


Why OTT Advertising is Valuable:

Targeted Reach:

  • With precise targeting capabilities, including demographic, physical location and behavioral characteristics, advertisers can ensure that their messages are seen by the most relevant audience. This specificity increases the likelihood of conversions and ROI.

Measurable Results:

  • OTT platforms provide detailed analytics, allowing advertisers to track key metrics such as views, clicks, conversions, and even the duration viewers interact with the ad.
  • Real-time data enables advertisers to make instant adjustments to their campaigns, optimizing performance continuously.


  • Compared to traditional TV advertising, where advertisers pay for slots regardless of viewership, OTT platforms often offer more flexible pricing models. Advertisers can pay per impression, ensuring they get value for their investment.
  • The ability to target only the most relevant audience ensures that every advertising dollar is spent efficiently.

Flexibility and Creativity:

  • Advertisers have the freedom to experiment with various ad formats, durations, and creative elements without the constraints of traditional TV time slots.
  • The digital nature of OTT advertising allows for dynamic content updates, enabling advertisers to tailor their messages based on real-time events or consumer trends.


Differences from Traditional TV Advertising:

Audience Precision:

  • While traditional TV advertising offers some demographic targeting, it’s often limited compared to the detailed user profiles available on OTT platforms.
  • Advertisers can target niche audiences effectively, ensuring that their messages resonate with specific consumer segments.

Engagement Levels:

  • OTT ads tend to have higher engagement levels due to interactive features and the ability to deliver personalized content. Interactive elements encourage viewers to participate actively, creating a memorable user experience.

Viewing Habits:

  • Traditional TV viewership has been steadily declining, especially among younger demographics. Many people have transitioned to OTT platforms, making it essential for advertisers to adapt their strategies to align with changing consumer habits.


How to Use OTT Advertising Effectively:

Understand Your Audience

  • Utilize the detailed user data provided by OTT platforms to create comprehensive audience profiles. Understand their preferences, behaviors, and pain points to craft highly relevant content.

Creative Storytelling:

  • Invest in creative storytelling that not only showcases your product or service but also connects with viewers emotionally. OTT platforms allow for longer-form content, enabling deeper narratives that resonate with the audience.

Track and Analyze:

  • Regularly monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) such as click-through rates, conversion rates, and return on ad spend (ROAS). A/B testing different ad formats and messaging can provide valuable insights into what works best for your target audience.


Collaborate with Experts:

  • Consider partnering with experienced OTT advertising agencies or professionals who specialize in digital marketing. These experts can help you navigate the complexities of OTT platforms, ensuring that your campaigns are optimized for maximum impact.


OTT Advertising: Advanced Strategies and Considerations

Cross-Device Targeting:

  • OTT platforms often allow cross-device targeting, meaning advertisers can reach viewers across multiple devices. This ensures a consistent brand experience whether viewers are watching on their smartphones, smart TVs, or tablets.
  • Cross-device targeting is crucial for maintaining brand visibility and message consistency, especially considering the diverse ways in which consumers access content.

Data-Driven Insights:

  • OTT advertising provides detailed insights into viewer behavior. Beyond basic metrics, advertisers can gain deep insights into viewer preferences, such as content genres, viewing times, and even specific shows or movies they engage with.
  • Utilizing this data, advertisers can refine their targeting strategies, create hyper-personalized content, and optimize ad placements for maximum impact.

Ad Fraud Prevention:

  • Ad fraud is a concern in digital advertising. OTT platforms employ advanced fraud detection mechanisms to ensure that advertisers’ budgets are not wasted on fraudulent views or clicks.
  • By partnering with reputable OTT providers, advertisers can mitigate the risks associated with ad fraud, ensuring that their campaigns deliver genuine engagement and results.

Dynamic Ad Insertion:

  • Dynamic ad insertion technology enables the insertion of targeted ads into content streams in real-time. This means that different viewers watching the same show can see personalized ads tailored to their preferences.
  • Dynamic ad insertion maximizes relevance and engagement, as viewers are more likely to respond positively to ads that align with their interests and needs. SaaSQL’s Dynamic Cross Channel Marketing solutions automate this process, helping to identify ideal customers, delivering targeted messages across multiple platforms, including OTT>

Brand Safety:

  • Brand safety measures are crucial in the digital advertising landscape. OTT platforms often provide robust brand safety tools, allowing advertisers to control where their ads appear and ensuring alignment with the brand’s values.
  • Advertisers can avoid association with inappropriate or harmful content, safeguarding their brand reputation and maintaining consumer trust.

Interactive Ad Formats:

  • Interactive ad formats, such as shoppable ads and interactive quizzes, allow viewers to engage directly with the content. Shoppable ads enable viewers to make purchases without leaving the streaming platform, streamlining the customer journey.
  • Interactive elements enhance user experience, encouraging viewers to actively participate and fostering a deeper connection with the brand.

Localized and Contextual Advertising:

  • OTT platforms offer opportunities for localized and contextual advertising. Advertisers can tailor their messages based on the viewer’s location, language, or even the context of the content being watched.
  • Localization ensures that ads are culturally relevant and resonate with specific


OTT Advertising: Wrapping Up

OTT advertising provides a powerful avenue for reaching a highly targeted audience, engaging viewers with creative content, and measuring campaign effectiveness. Its flexibility, precision, and interactive features make it a valuable component of modern marketing strategies. For these reasons it has experienced steadily growing interest by local businesses in recent years. By understanding your audience, creating compelling content, and analyzing the results, you can harness the full potential of OTT advertising to enhance your company’s visibility and drive meaningful business outcomes.

J.W. Martin

About the Author

J.W. Martin is a marketing expert with 25 years experience developing marketing strategy for local businesses. He can be reached at

NOTE: While all articles are written by our team, to provide the most robust and useful reader experience,  SaaSQL uses A.I. / large language models to assist with various aspects of content development. This includes research, sourcing and other content improvements.  

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