By Amitt Sharma
Entertainment – particularly how we watch television – has evolved rapidly over the last decade with the advent of new-age technologies like OTT (over-the-top) and CTV (connected TV) platforms. A recent KPMG and EROS report revealed that 80% of TV viewers, especially millennials, now meet their entertainment needs from OTT platforms, even as 38% of them are preparing to ditch linear TVs. Another study by PWC has forecasted that India’s OTT video market will grow at a CAGR of 21.8% and reach Rs 11,976 crore in 2023.
Similarly, CTV consumption has increased by 31% in India, and 81% globally, indicating significant traction among content consumers. Propelled by emerging digital mediums, this unprecedented change has opened up a brave new world for advertisers and publishers.
Moreover, as the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak and the subsequent lockdowns brought TV and film production and personalised events to a grinding halt, it naturally became imperative for marketers to digitalise their advertising strategies and connect with their audiences with a targeted reach. The American Marketing Association highlighted that 62.3% of brand custodians believe marketing and communicating became far more critical during the pandemic. Leveraging digital mediums was the only way to connect with customers.
Building a robust digital presence, backed by supportive and round-the-clock account management teams, is more important than ever for brands to stay relevant and thrive in the new normal. This is where OTT and CTV advertising come into the picture.
Precise audience targeting
OTT platforms – streaming companies like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video – have a vast repository of entertainment content without any broadcast schedule and geographic limitations. These mediums allow people with an internet connection to watch TV shows, movies, and much more, anytime, anywhere. These platforms can be accessed on multiple devices, and advertisers must create responsive ads that run seamlessly across large-screen TVs, smart TVs, laptops, tabs, and smartphones. Using this approach, advertisers can tap into a smaller but more targeted audience, unlike traditional advertising mediums that cater to a comprehensive viewer base.
Meaningful customer engagement
OTT advertising enables advertisers to re-target their audiences through multiple other mediums, including websites, apps, streaming platforms, etc. They can create and shape their own ecosystem and bring their audience to it, ensuring more engagement across various channels. This can be achieved by turning ads into AI-powered, personalised conversations at scale using CRM tools.
For instance, a leading FnB brand – FoodPanda, – successfully launched a campaign in the OTT space, which successfully ran on multiple top performing OTT platforms in Thailand and recorded deeper impressions and CTRs, clocking a view rate of 93%. OTT and CTV technology allows advertisers to precisely target customers, analyse their behaviour, and retain their attention – all under an affordable budget. Marketing teams can also make ads highly personalised by considering parameters like location, interests, demographics, etc., thus driving deeper and meaningful customer engagement.
To unlock the full potential of OTT, advertisers must keep a couple of relevant strategies in mind.
For instance, they should leverage shorter bumper ads to spark customers’ curiosity while keeping them engaged till the end. Hence, they must craft short and interesting ads – not more than 15 seconds long to grab customer attention.
Similarly, advertisers should create ads relevant to their audience. They must do thorough research to understand their needs and interests to devise personalised ads. This approach will help them build and strengthen customer trust and increase the chances of converting viewers into customers.
By following these practices, advertisers can create relatable, informative, and entertaining ad content that customers want to explore. As digital platforms expand their reach, brands will have to be more agile and innovative in their approach.
In 2021 alone, India recorded a 45% increase in internet penetration, resulting in a 75% spike in OTT viewership during the lockdown. As the world moves towards immersive watching experiences, CTV is another digital space gaining high traction. In a recent survey, nearly 70% of respondents said they spend 1-4 hours on CTV. Of them, 91% watch movies, 64% stream music, 47% play games, and 64% soak in the news. So, we can imagine how OTT and CTV platforms have proved to be game-changing mediums for advertisers, opening up uncharted avenues to innovate and capitalise on their efforts.
Native advertising is also a significant part of digital marketing, allowing advertisers to subtly blend ad content into the larger environment without affecting a viewer’s experience. For instance, Netflix and Spotify collaborated for a native advertising campaign around ‘Stranger Things’, an American sci-fi horror drama series. Spotify members were assigned a personalised playlist based on their listening habits and a particular character from the show in the backdrop. This is a great example of an elite level of adaptation of design and aesthetics through native advertising.
Similarly, 3D impact creatives are also a great tool that advertisers should lean on to up their game. Samsung used this method to showcase their new Galaxy Tab A tablet, displaying it in multiple environments and augmenting the overall viewer experience. Several brands are leveraging this technique to ramp up user engagement, increase purchase intent, and radically drive conversion rates. The annual revenue from 3D ads and images is likely to boost three times, as highlighted by Statista.
With driving factors like low-cost internet, affordable smartphones and smart TVs, and ever-increasing internet penetration, advertisers can revolutionise the way brands interact with consumers on multiple devices and retain them with personalised solutions like never before. From 20% in 2019 to 29.4% in 2021, the slice of digital ads in the Indian advertising pie will jump to 32.7% by the end of 2022. Without a shred of doubt, the future of advertising is digital, and brands must adapt to these transformations to survive and thrive in this evolving landscape.
The author is founder and CEO of VDO.AI. Views expressed are personal.