Video marketing

Creative Tips for Connected TV (CTV) and OTT Video Ads

Over-the-top (OTT) and connected TV (CTV) have given television a new meaning. Long gone are the days when the only option was to sit and watch the good ole’ linear programming.

Nowadays, viewers engage with diverse cross-platform content from a myriad of different channels. CTV and OTT streaming is increasingly replacing and supplementing traditional entertainment—advertisers need to get creative to keep up with the transition. 



CTV/OTT as Performance Marketing Channels: Overview

As consumers cut the cable cord, CTV and OTT are becoming the fastest-growing channels for digital advertising. But are the new entertainment giants worth the shot as performance marketing channels? Let’s allow the numbers to do all the talking:

  • It’s estimated that the YoY CTV investments grew by 40.6% in 2020.
  • Those YoY CTV investments represent more than $9 billion. It’s expected to reach $13.41 billion by 2025.
  • About 60% of U.S. marketers are currently shifting their media budgets and investing more ad dollars in CTV and OTT.
  • Linear TV ad spending had a 12.5% drop in 2020.
  • The user base for CTV and OTT will reach 213.7 million people in 2021.‌

What Is CTV/OTT? What Are the Traffic Trends?

Connected TV is nothing new. It refers to any television that can connect to the internet—a trend that started growing in the mid to late 2000s. Turns out the introduction of Smart TVs to the market caused quite a stir.

Audiences love using television sets with integrated Web 2.0 features to consume OTT content. Lucky for them, there’s an ever-growing number of platforms to add variety and excitement to their streaming habits. Viewers can choose among apps like Netflix, Disney+, or Hulu—and devices like PlayStations, AppleTVs, Chromecasts, or Amazon Fire Sticks—to watch their favorite films and shows.

Over-the-top TV, however, is a broader concept that involves streaming films, series, documentaries, and more from the internet—whenever and wherever. Audiences no longer have to settle for the limitations of a TV set. They can now consume their favorite OTT content from pretty much anywhere using their tablets, personal computers, and even their smartphones. 

LEARN THE LANGUAGE: CTV & OTT: Glossary of Terms

According to Nielsen, there was a 61% growth in OTT streaming using conventional TVs during 2020. With the increasing demand for digital entertainment options caused by the strict stay-at-home restrictions, marketers could reach more U.S. viewers through streaming services than through traditional TV for the first time. That’s huge, considering the average adult in the U.S. spends over an hour streaming content every day.

By the end of the year, up to 27% of cable subscribers will finally ditch the good ole’ linear programming and switch to streaming services. This opens the door for marketers to reach four out of five households across the country by 2022 through different platforms. It’s no wonder why 66% of advertisers are already betting hard on CTV and OTT.

Here’s an example of a CTV/OTT video ad QuickFrame enabled Modern Fertility to create using existing photography, motion stills, and a customized voiceover.


What Is a Performance Channel? How Are CTV and OTT Performance Channels?

A performance channel in marketing is any medium or platform where you can achieve and use valuable information—specific key performance indicators (KPIs)—to understand how well your content does and to build your strategy. Some excellent examples of performance channels are:

  • Banner ads
  • Native advertising
  • Social media ads
  • Organic search
  • Mobile ads

CTV and OTT can also be considered performance channels, as they have the same targeting and measurement capabilities as the ones we mentioned above. They might even have a more significant impact on consumers. In 2021, more adults are exposed to an ad-supported OTT than to Instagram. 

There’s a common misconception that CTV and OTT have no granular targeting and retaining capabilities. However, these performance channels allow for lower-funnel, direct-response advertising. CTV and OTT can be used for much more than creating brand awareness. They give marketers a massive opportunity to retarget, make in-flight adjustments, and implement testing plans. 

To take full advantage of this performance channel, QuickFrame co-hosted a webinar with Steelhouse where we shared creative and strategic best practices for producing CTV/OTT video ads.


How Can Marketers Apply Performance Marketing Strategies to CTV and OTT?

To take full advantage of positioning on CTV and OTT, advertisers need to experiment with creative approaches. Below are some of CTV and OTT best practices for growth marketing to implement in 2021:


Adopt an Audience-First Strategy

Most campaigns are not a one-size-fits-all solution simply because people tend to respond better to content that looks and feels tailor-made. That’s why all marketing efforts should be planned to revolve around a particular target. CTV and OTT are performance marketing platforms that allow you to reach your core audience. Make this advantage work for you by:

  • Emphasizing scripts for each customer persona.
  • Casting talent that’s relatable to your audience.
  • Iterating your unique value proposition.

Feature Core Values and Products

Co-watching CTV and OTT content within the same household is a common practice. That’s great news, regardless of your marketing goals. It means ads that would normally be targeted to a specific type of person can effortlessly reach a broader audience—as opposed to other platforms that offer more of a one-on-one experience.

Whether you’re looking to create brand awareness or conversion, you must always keep the door open to captivating new customers by introducing them to your core values and offerings. Use a different creative approach than the one you’re already implementing on social media and other higher-funnel performance marketing platforms. 

‌Ready to expand your reach with OTT/CTV? Learn how you can find the perfect creators for your project through the QuickFrame Production Marketplace.

Craft a Narrative

Your storytelling efforts can make or break a CTV/OTT campaign. That’s why you must keep a cohesive narrative, whether you have 15 seconds or one full minute to tell your story. Your audience needs to understand your message to be able to remember it and act on your call to action (CTA). You can complement your ad’s visual narrative with:

  • Sound effects
  • Dialogue
  • Voiceover

Implement Creative Testing

Your production costs for a CTV/OTT campaign don’t necessarily have to blow your budget. You can still create multiple unique deliverables in one shoot. Streamlining your pre-production process is an excellent approach to reduce costs while still producing valuable and conversion-worthy content. 

Look at OTT/CTV as a performance channel that holds the same targeting and testing capabilities as other digital marketing channels. Creative testing will help you save money since the concept creation stage. Get granular whenever possible, and multiply the resulting material in post-production.

When planning a campaign, thread in these channel advantages to design video creative for your specific audiences. Plan multiple versions of your creative so you can run A/B tests and generate learnings about what resonates with your targets.

Take these examples from QuickFrame client, Native. We worked with Native to leverage learnings from social creative to create net new live action video ads to target specific audiences on OTT/CTV. You can see in the two examples below how Native was able to alter creative variables such as messaging and talent to craft hyper-relevant creatives for the audiences they were targeting.

Many brands feel like they don’t have the resources to test OTT/CTV creative. However, if you design your video production plans with A/B testing in mind, you can get a number of deliverables. At QuickFrame, we design campaigns and production in a cost-effective way by identifying target audiences and KPIs at the start, and then designing a production plan that captures a wide variety of footage in a single shoot

When we worked with Fintech company Self, we ideated two unique concepts to target two different core audiences. For each concept, we shot 2 different scripts, ultimately delivering 8 videos to Self to test on OTT/CTV in just 3 weeks. Not only was Self able to lower their CPI by 28%, but they also had a clear creative winner and were able to walk away with a set of brand-specific creative best practices that they could implement in their next campaign.

RELATED: Learn more about QuickFrame’s partnership with Self


CTV/OTT as Performance Marketing Channels: The Takeaway

More people than ever are cutting the cable cord. As content-consuming habits evolve, so should your brand’s advertising and marketing strategies. CTV/OTT campaigns will give you the upper hand when trying to reach a wider audience. These powerful performance marketing platforms will allow you to generate creative and cost-effective campaigns you can measure and readjust to hit the right spot.

DEEPEN YOUR KNOWLEDGE: Hear from QuickFrame CRO Spencer Weinman on why incorporating CTV & OTT into your advertising strategy is a must.


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