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12 Days ‘til New Years: 3 Types of OTT Ads

This year, we’re bringing in the end of the year with a series: 12 Days ‘til New Years. We’ll continue our tradition of highlighting the most notable brands and spending across ad tech platforms, consumer media, and B2B industries.

In a year where streaming boomed, OTT was a relevant channel for brands to deliver their message and branding.

OTT advertising is still new territory for advertisers. Some brands experiment with the channel slowly by sticking with familiar video ads, while others fully embrace innovative QR codes, geo-targeting, and more.

This year was our first year tracking OTT, and we were excited to compile many of our findings in our OTT & TV Everywhere Trend Report. Next year, we will be expanding our technology to track even more OTT channels.

And as part of our countdown to New Years, we’re happy to celebrate three types of OTT ad types.

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3 OTT Ad Types

What can set an ad apart from the crowd? Is there a way to make ads enjoyable, or will watching them always be a chore to viewers who just want to get on with their programming?

Advertisers tackled these questions and more in deciding how to get the most bang for their buck with OTT advertising this year.

Standard Video breakdown of advertising spend across channels

Some brands stuck with the tried-and-true method of simple video ads. After all, if it isn’t broke, you shouldn’t fix it, right? spent 19% of their annual spend in the OTT space, focusing on creating memorable ad content that viewers could enjoy (or mention to their friends). They did this by infusing standard video ads with humor, celebrities, and memes.

The dating website invested in OTT ads on Adult Swim, CNN, the CW Network, and TNT, clearly catering to a demographic old enough to use their product.

Binge Ads

Some brands chose to target a big frustration point for their viewers and remove interruptive ads from streamed content. But there was one caveat: instead of removing advertisements altogether, they clumped them together and placed them in one longer ad before a piece of content. 

Ideally, this allowed for the same amount of total ad time, but didn’t interrupt the viewing experience.

In 2020, Kellogg Cereal Company was one of three brands to partner with Hulu to test this format. The launch occurred even before COVID-19 forced audiences home, but took on greater importance as viewership rose.

kellog ad delicious real strawberries

Over the course of this year, Kellogg has invested over $55 million in linear television and $5.06 into digital campaigns—including OTT content.

QR Codes

Other brands worked to make intrusive ads less irritating by making them interactive and rewarding.

Burger King, for example, ran an OTT ad with a QR code that moved around the screen. Those that scanned the code were rewarded with a free Whopper. The idea was that viewers would be more inclined to pay attention to ads—and pay a visit to the nearest Burger King—if they saw and interacted with something new.

In 2020, Burger King spent 95% of their total ad spend on linear television across 15 networks. 

Their OTT investment spanned 12 networks, only three of which have a linear counterpart. 

For more updates like this, stay tuned. Subscribe to our blog for more updates on coronavirus and its mark on the economy.