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Deep Dive Into OTT Advertising Platforms for 2021

Deep Dive Into OTT Advertising Platforms for 2021

Technology and the ways in which we consume content have been surging forward in leaps and bounds. Is your marketing strategy keeping up? Read on to learn about OTT advertising, available platforms, and how to use this medium to drive traffic to your business.

What Is OTT Advertising?

OTT advertising is an acronym for “Over the Top” advertising. OTT advertising is a higher level of marketing, allowing advertisers to directly reach their audiences through different media platforms. OTT platforms consist mainly of streaming services and video game consoles like Netflix and Xbox; OTT advertising platforms are those services that are ad-supported. 

But how does OTT advertising work? With the help of Agility, you can determine which OTT audience to target, followed by choosing platforms for your advertisements to appear on. After receiving your campaign results, you can decide how often you would like your advertisements to be shown to the audience. The process then circles back around, where you can retain or retarget your audience to produce even better results. 

OTT vs. Connected TV

A key factor in OTT advertising is Connected TV advertising. So, what is the difference between Connected TV and OTT? OTT advertising involves any device with streaming services. Connected TV advertising, then, is a subsection of OTT that includes only television and television accessories that are connected to the internet, such as smart TVs, gaming consoles that connect to a TV, and streaming devices (such as Roku Sticks or Apple TV). Still not sure of the difference? Get into the nitty-gritty details of Connected TV

Why Use OTT/Connected TV Advertising?

The main reason people use OTT/Connected TV advertising is to target their audience in a manner that’s not possible through traditional television commercials, billboards, and many other advertising methods. Other benefits include the following:

  • Cheaper than cable advertising
  • Reach your audience anywhere—on their TVs or mobile devices
  • Your advertisement will play more than at one specific time
  • Your audience can’t change channels when your ad comes on
  • No strict standards to follow
  • Addressable TV (which is explained below)

To learn more about the pros of Connected TV and why so many are switching to this new way of advertising, keep reading.

Addressable TV

Addressable TV is the main differentiating factor between cable and OTT. On cable, the same commercials are shown to every viewer. With addressable TV, different viewers can see different ads, even when watching the same program at the same time.

For example, Shannon and Carly are best friends and they both enjoy watching The Bachelor each week on Hulu, an ad-supported OTT platform. However, while watching The Bachelor, Shannon might be seeing ads for baby apparel—which she’s been searching for lately—whereas Carly is seeing advertisements for workout apps she’s been considering. Although they are both watching the same episode at the same time on the same streaming service, they are seeing different advertisements.  

All Aboard the OTT Train

If Connected TV and OTT advertising sound like a promising new venue to expand your advertising efforts, you’re not alone. But there are a lot of different platforms out there, and they’re not equally beneficial for every organization (and not always even feasible).

OTT Advertising Platforms 

There are many different OTT advertising platforms and sometimes it can get confusing. Fortunately, OTT can be broken down into three main parts: Connected TV (which we covered above), ad-supported, and non-ad-supported. 


Ad-supported platforms are streaming platforms that include advertisements throughout the videos or sometimes only at the beginning. 

  • vMVPD: vMVPD stands for virtual multichannel video programming distributors. These distributors offer a mix of live and on-demand programs. Examples of vMVPD platforms include AT&T Now and Sling TV.
  • aVOD: This acronym stands for advertising-based video on demand. These platforms are free and have many advertisements to offset costs. YouTube and Pluto TV are examples of aVOD. 

Non-ad-supported platforms are generally paid subscriptions in which the streaming services do not show advertisements. 

  • sVOD: The acronym sVOD stands for “Subscription Video on Demand.” These streaming services require memberships or subscriptions. Nettflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+ all fall under the sVOD category. 
  • tVOD: tVOD is short for transactional video-on-demand. This is where customers can buy or rent one episode or video at a time. Popular tVOD platforms include iTunes and Google Play. 

There are some streaming services like Hulu and Peacock that fall under both ad-supported and non-ad-supported. When using these services, different membership levels determine the advertisement frequency (or sometimes whether they’re present at all). 

Most companies would agree that the best OTT advertising platforms are ad-supported, for obvious reasons.

What Is Not an OTT Platform? 

Now that we’ve firmly established what an OTT platform is, let’s cover some popular alternatives that do not qualify as OTT platforms, and explain why. 

  • Over the Air (OTA): Over the Air TV are the channels that have practically been around since TV was invented. Channels that are included in OTA include NBC, ABC, and CBS, plus FOX and the CW. 
  • Cable/Satellite: Still wanting to scroll through over 500 channels? Cable/satellite customers pay a monthly fee to receive channels with scheduled programs. Cox, Xfinity, Dish, Fios, and Spectrum are all cable or satellite companies. 
  • Premium: Premium platforms offer shows without commercials at a higher price. Examples of premium platforms include HBO and Showtime. 
  • TV Everywhere: TV Everywhere lets you access cable channels from your mobile devices. Although you can access certain channels and on-demand content through the internet, you still have to have a cable membership. Examples of TV everywhere are FOX Now, Animal Planet Go, and Watch Food Network. 

Viewer Experience with OTT Advertising 

You’ve almost certainly been exposed to OTT advertising as a viewer, whether you knew to call it that or not. It’s become a normal part of our lives.

Who Sees OTT Advertising?

Statistics show that by 2021, 81% of U.S. households will be reachable through Connected TV. With OTT, you (the advertiser) are able to target who is seeing your commercials. In fact, Agility has found that 41% of individuals reached through Connected TV would not have been reached through live or recorded TV, a main reason why OTT is important.

What Does the OTT Ad Experience Look and Feel Like to a Consumer? 

OTT ad experiences can be created to have a personal look and feel for each consumer. Unlike traditional advertisements, OTT advertisements have fewer restrictions and more customizable options, such as:

  • Skippable and non-skippable settings
  • Interactive menus
  • The ability to target households based on preferences and demographics
  • The ability to appear in both on-demand content and live content
  • Ad breaks that tend to be shorter than those in traditional TV 

Does OTT Advertising Work?

With the world becoming more and more technologically advanced, OTT advertisement is here to help your ad campaigns advance as well. Reach your audience in a new way and create campaigns that show results. Whether you represent a startup or an established business, Agility is here to help you reach your consumers on a new level. Consider OTT advertising with Agility today!

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