By Dana Bojcic

Video ads keeping getting more popular with advertisers and brands are seeing the value. 85% of brands use video marketing in 2020, which is up from 63% in 2017.

According to the IAB, nearly 3 in 4 buyers are planning to increase their digital video ad spend in the next 12 months, and nearly two-thirds of digital budgets are allocated to video. What does this mean? Video is continuing to explode. Marketingcharts.com projects a 40% increase in video this year.

Video ad spending and performance is on the rise, and video ads are more captivating than text!

• 80% of viewers can recall a video they’ve seen in the past 30 days the highest of any type of digital advertising.
• 95% of viewers are more likely to remember a call to action after watching a video, compared to 10% when reading it in text.
• Even if someone only watches your video ad for a few seconds, there is a lift in ad recall, brand awareness and purchase intent.

We are also using video to determine what to purchase. In fact, 85% of millennials say they’ve made a purchase after viewing a marketing video.

The need to have video advertising in your marketing mix is clear. The only question that remains is what type of video advertising should you spend your advertising dollars on?

There are numerous factors to take into consideration when outlining your video digital marketing strategy. What is your budget? Do you have enough funds to produce high quality video or is it going to be something your turn your phone around and film? What is the length of your video? What is the call to action and who specifically are you trying to target? What are your goals and what are you wanting to achieve?

It may seem overwhelming, but once you define your goals, your budget, your target audience and your content, navigating the best platform becomes much easier.

There are obvious options to consider, such as Facebook and Instagram. On this platform you can have a longer length video (up to 240 minutes), and targeting options are plentiful.

YouTube is fairly straight forward as well. You have some flexibility on length, although :15 or :30’s are recommended, and you have targeting options. The draw back I see is you are ONLY on YouTube, you are missing other inventory options.

Where it starts to get a little trickier is when you are deciding between OTT and Video Pre-Roll. The lengths are similar (exactly :15 or :30’s), but that is about where the similarity ends. Let’s unpack these options and start with defining them.

What is Video Pre-Roll Advertising? Well, it is an ad that plays before the content the end user has selected to watch. So for example, I missed a funny clip from late night TV because I’m older now and go to bed early. I go online in the morning, Google the clip I want to see, and I watch a short video targeted to me first. I did this just now, I selected to watch a clip from SNL on Today.com and before it played, I watched a delightful ad from Old Navy which inspired me to freshen up my spring wardrobe.

So now what is OTT? OTT is different, OTT stands for “Over The Top” and it is video programming that is transmitted via the internet, not on traditional cable or broadcast TV shows. Ads appear within programming watched on any type of internet connected device. For example, I’m watching a movie on my TV through my Fire Stick, and I am served an ad targeted to me. The most recent ad I was served inspired me to get on my tax return. Relevant, for sure.

Let’s also take a minute and define Connected TV (CTV), as it is a type of Over The Top (OTT) inventory served ONLY on internet connected TVs not on other types of devices. CTV is extremely desirable for advertisers because it’s the most used device to stream programming. I’m a thousand percent more likely to watch a show on my TV than I am on any other device. It’s not just me, check out this chart, I am not alone! This captures ages 18-66. I do see the youth in my house watching shows on their phones or laptops at times, but they are not the norm. They also have approximately zero dollars to spend, so they are also not the most desirable target audience!

We should also take a beat and define Addressable TV. What is Addressable TV Advertising and how does it differ form OTT Advertising?

The huge differentiator here is that OTT ads do not require a cable connection. Addressable TV content and ads are delivered by Multichannel Video Programming Distributors (MVPDs) like Comcast and AT&T DIRECTV to pay TV, cable TV, satellite TV, and on-demand subscribers. OTT, or Over-The-Top, refers to the delivery of video content and ads via the internet. With OTT, content bypasses a traditional broadcast signal or cable set-top box. OTT content can be accessed without the involvement of a television service provider via any device or app that is used to stream content to a TV or any internet connected device.

Why is that important to consider? Because OTT advertising can reach cord cutters – which Addressable TV does not. eMarketer estimates that by 2021, over 81 million U.S. consumers will have either cut their cords or never signed up for one in the first place, up 64% from 2018.

The targeting abilities of OTT ads differ from Addressable TV ads as well. OTT content and ads are delivered over the internet to connected TVs and devices with persistent IP addresses, so advertisers can target and serve ads to specific people showing specific behaviors, just as is done with other digital video ad products. Addressable TV can only leverage subscriber registration data and set-top box technologies to apply specific audience segments which are not as specific. Addressable TV is heavily marketed as household specific (same set of 4 houses watching identical programming but they get different ads during commercial breaks based on their address) and demographic, whereas OTT is IP address based on their behaviors. So if you have a very broad audience you want to reach, Addressable TV may be fine for your advertising needs, but if you want to get to a very specific type of person who is showing behaviors related to your business, it will have a tougher time reaching those people with your ads.

Now that we have all those definitions out of the way, let’s circle back to OTT vs. Video Pre-Roll and two of the biggest items to consider:

  • Are clicks important to you? Unlike Video Pre-Roll, OTT is not yet a clickable environment. While I did actually click on the Old Navy ad I was served on my laptop when I went to watch the video clip (because OMG this dress and sweater combo screams SPRING!), I did not click on the Tax ad, nor did I have the option to, I was watching on my TV and no clicking capability.

  • Who is your target audience? While both formats offer multiple levels of targeting abilities, Video Pre-Roll targeting technology is far more developed than OTT targeting. It has been around longer and is much more in-depth. OTT ads are often targeted a little broader. Take the tax ad for example, do I need to do my taxes, yes. So I am in the market and the correct target. However, wasn’t the level of “here is a dress sweater combo we know you will love.”

To dig even deeper into OTT Video. If you are considering running OTT, make sure you know where it is running and ask your provider lots of questions. For example, our OTT at Vici runs on Set Top Boxes, Game Consoles, and Smart TVs like Fire TV Sticks, XBOX, PlayStation, 4K FireTV, SmartTV, AppleTV, ChromeCast, Roku, and more. With OTT Video, we have direct inventory on hundreds of Apps and Providers. These cover a variety of content such as News, Sports, Entertainment, Lifestyle, Gaming, Health, Technology, and many more, depending on the targeting categories selected for your campaign. We have almost 3,000 categories to choose from for categories, and we can also use Artificial Intelligence to find the optimal audience.

We have direct deals with large publishers and devices like Samsung TV, DirecTV, NHL, Fox, local news stations, Disney/ABC, AMC Networks, NBC Universal, National Geography, A + E Networks, Bloomberg, Discovery, the CW, and MLB to serve ads through direct connections.

We also have access to Amazon OTT, through the Amazon Demand Side Platform (DSP). And with Amazon OTT we can target by people’s behaviors, Amazon Product Targeting (targeting people who have searched for or purchased certain products) AND through a Custom Audience from a client’s database list.

Do you currently run ads on TV? Adding OTT can help your current marketing Campaign! OTT can extend the reach of a business that is currently doing traditional or broadcast TV since they are reaching that audience that has cut the cord to cable (cord-cutters), or those that have never had cable (cord-nevers) and you are able to reach a more targeted audience with OTT.

Back to Video Pre-roll, remember this is a video ad that plays before the content the person has chosen to watch I click to watch, I’m captivated and I’m all in. Targeting options can be a mixture of very specific behaviors, Retargeting from a website, Artificial Intelligence, or even a Keyword list. All are all options to consider. There is a lot of flexibility for “restricted” categories as well. Cannabis ads, Casinos, Political, Medial, Recruitment – all verticals of business are welcome!

Reporting is robust with Video Pre-Roll. You will see impressions and clicks, and if you have a container tag in place you can also track your view throughs and conversions. You can see a device breakout and you can also see completion rates and a website/app breakout. Video Pre-Roll is also a lower cost option with a much more affordable CPM if budget is a determining factor.

With all that being said, if this now has you feeling like you want to do both, you can! Just consider who is handling them for you. At Vici, we feel both are important and we offer both Video Pre-Roll and OTT exclusive of each other OR as a combo.

With your video commercial you have the option to run it on broadcast TV, cable, or online. Ponder these closing thoughts and decide what is best for you.

• Broadcast or cable TV (called “linear”) commercials are powerful but they are not the same as online video views. Online video views are typically gathered by either placing video in streaming content, driving to a page with video or through social media viewing in the feed.
• Online video ads are harder to get, but I would argue they are more impactful because a user can so easily click out of click to stop. If you get a full video view completion online, that is more targeting qualified and important.
• With Video Pre-Roll ads, a completed video view is actually powerful because a person had a simple way to skip the ad and chose not to. If the ad is not skipped, it is more likely to have resonated.
• How do you know your Broadcast or Cable TV ad was actually viewed?
• Online video ads (both OTT and Video Pre-Roll) offer deep targeting options
• Online video ads can reach as small a geography as you want or as large
• Broadcast & cable ads cannot track conversions or traffic to a clients’ website
• Online video ads can reach people across all the types of devices they use
• Some types of online video Ads can be lengths other than :15 or :30 (like Native Video and Facebook/Instagram)
• Online video ads effectiveness and viewability are more trackable
• Broadcast and cable ads don’t reach cord cutters
• When you add Video Pre-Roll ads along with OTT you gain access to the thousands of additional targeting categories. OTTs categories are specific, but more limited than video pre-roll.
• What percentage of your OTT impressions run on TVs? (Ours is about 90-95% – remember connected TV is important!)
• What percentage of your impressions will run on a TV station’s website?
• Do your reports show completion graphs?
• Can you run OTT impressions and target them to a database list you have of addresses or emails?