The Year Of OTT: 2020 Reasons For Linear TV Concern?


Viewership across “over the top” (OTT) and connected TV (CTV) is showing no signs of slowing down.

We know that. But, a new ZypMedia report could sound alarms at broadcast TV and radio companies looking to siphon as much money from local digital as possible.

Local advertisers are utilizing OTT more, and ZypMedia is declaring that “2020 is the year OTT advertising breaks records.”

In Q4 2019, ZypMedia served 100% more OTT impressions, compared to Q4 2018.

When looking at quarter-over-quarter, the number of OTT impressions served has grown 23%, when looking at Q4 2019 compared to Q3 ’19.

Some of ZypMedia’s Q4 2019 findings are definitely worth a look — and perhaps a conversation with your top sales leaders.

  • Top categories remained consistent from Q3 2019 to Q4 2019, with Automotive, Home & Garden and Health & Fitness dominating at the local level when it comes to CTV ads.
  • Streaming devices (76%), smart TVs (20%) and game consoles (2%) are the top 3 OTT device types ads were delivered on.
    • ZypMedia defines streaming devices as boxes or sticks that augment an existing TV set up with internet connectivity and an app interface
  • Local advertisers often find value in running multiple, shorter campaigns to rotate campaign creatives and messaging.
    • 62% of all campaigns ran for a duration of 1 month or less
    • Six days was the most common OTT campaign length in Q4 2019, compared to seven days in Q4 2018
  • Roku continues its reign as the most common device viewers are using to access streaming content, surpassing Amazon Fire TV Stick and Google Chromecast.

The findings regarding “multiple, shorter campaigns” could spark many a conversation at broadcast TV and radio, as this flies in the face of long-standing marketer understanding that time will yield stronger ROI for a brand. That said, taking the GEICO approach to advertising — with multiple campaigns running simultaneously while becoming a top brand by spot plays — may be a sensible solution for radio and TV.

2019 Q4 OTT Report Impressions

Despite the OTT/CTV growth, Zypmedia’s Karen Sowa — the report’s author — remains high on linear TV.

“The OTT space is definitely maturing, but compared to established ad types like traditional TV, display, or pre-roll video, it still is relatively new and exploratory,” she says. “It makes sense that the top spenders in digital advertising are more bullish at investing heavily in the latest digital opportunities like OTT. Their successes are inspiring confidence in other categories to continue to experiment and invest more in OTT, leading to the 100% year-over-year growth in overall delivered OTT impressions on ZypMedia’s platform.”

Yet, the “flexibility local advertisers need” is a clear OTT/CTV advantage, Sowa adds.

“We tend to see advertisers with brick-and-mortar locations run shorter campaigns intended to bring people in the door on an impulse-based call to action, while advertisers that cater to industries with a longer decision-making process, like banking, finance, and government issues, run longer awareness and influence-based campaigns,” she says. “Local advertisers often find value in running multiple shorter campaigns to rotate campaign creatives and messaging.”

In addition to the viewer migration opportunity, Sowa continues, as the digital advertising industry continues to evolve targeting and measurement capabilities, local advertisers will “finally have the information they need to understand the impact of each campaign and make the most of tight budgets.”

She concludes, “It’s clear that OTT is more than just a viewing fad. Local advertisers are gaining confidence in it as a medium that can drive major awareness to their brand and business while also maximizing budgets by engaging the right people in a location that can convert. While 2019 was the year of the cord-cutter, momentum in the industry, advancements in backend technology, and the ever-increasing confidence of advertisers are set to make 2020 the year OTT advertising breaks records.”

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