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  • Writer's pictureLuckyBird

OTT - Okay, what is this exactly?

Over the last couple years we've seen an increasing number of dollars move away from "traditional" avenues such as broadcast and migrate into some form of digital. Social media marketing and advertising has taken much of that. Increasingly, however, the wild west of digital marketing has migrated towards 'Over-The-Top', or OTT. It's a frequent question and conversation piece in our client base. "Oh, I've heard of OTT....wait what is it again?" So, what is OTT? Simply put, it's how us marketers advertise to you through modern iOT devices. FireTV (Amazon), Youtube, SmartTV's like Vizio (AKA "connected TV", or CTV's), Tablets, iPhones, your favorite streaming services like Spotify, even the TV at the gas pump - you name it, advertising in these arenas mostly fall under category of OTT. This is a large industry.


So how does it work? Why should you care? While generations have been complaining about data providers capturing their data on cell phones (and now more than 50% of the population has a audio-activated devices in their home, lol there), these companies have been busy gathering, organizing and packaging up every data point that could possibly be stored with the intention of selling your information... us. The advertisers of the world. Because our clients want you to know their stuff exists.

In OTT, there's an ecosystem of sorts, of tools and levers. The way most of us handle OTT revolves around something called DSP, or Demand-side platforms. Terms have been invented (well, re-used from broadcast days), cute phrases like "inventory" and "segmentation", which essentially put your humanity into a sellable box. Today's platforms like theTradeDesk, Viant's Adelphic, and Amazon's AAP (and the HUNDREDS of others) all offer varying degrees of data and consumer penetration, but one thing is for sure - they know you.

Seriously. They know you. 20 years of collecting data on human behavior has led to some very forecastable insights on marketplace trends.

I had a client once ask me what data was at my disposal. I responded quickly, that if I wanted to advertise to mid-50's anglo in 99202 (or better yet, in a neighborhood) who loved the Seahawks and bought Kraft food before he watched the game on his SamsungTV, I could put an ad in front of him at 1pm on a Sunday. How could I do this? Because the data is THAT accessible.

It's not a question of whether there is data on you, presently available to advertise to - it's simply a matter of having enough money to buy the data sets to put them together.

Okay, so that's a little creepy. Yep. This is the ultimate goal behind "BIG data", the Google's, Microsoft's and Amazon's of the world -

He/She that controls the data, has the power. Why? Access to you.

Alright, now that we've got the truth of what OTT is, and how it works, let's talk about how we leverage it as a company.

LuckyBird is a full service agency. We have a mixed talent of creators and ad buyers who can (and do) leverage the same aforementioned data sets to create action. We believe on behalf of our clients, having the clearest, most impactful route to a customer is the best way to spend your hard-earned dollars in the world of advertising.

Take, on the antithesis, the world of broadcast, which I often refer to as a shotgun blast approach. Small businesses may spend $1-10K buying media in time slots that are completely customer agnostic... a hammock company advertising its hammocks to elderly folks watching CNN (hey, they're definitely entitled to grab a hammy and hit the trees, just saying). That ad spend was probably not used effectively. OTT would have isolated a younger demographic around university zip codes, and targeted smart devices. See my point?

From a purely economic standpoint - $1-for-$1 we see OTT advertising reaching 6-10x more people than broadcasting. Also, it's the audience you're actually after. Simply put, a $10k OTT budget is likely to glean you 100x the ROI than a traditional $10k broadcasting campaign would...don't believe me? Think about this - According to an agency partner of ours in the space (Spokane Talks Media, great people), a top InlandNW broadcast station charges $150 for every 15 second slot on their 6pm news spot. Not too bad right? Well, the reach is estimated around 8,000 people. The ad plays sometime during that hour, so I'm going to guess atleast 50% are not sitting or paying attention to the commercials while they're cooking dinner between breaks. Then you've got demographics - who is watching broadcast television these days? Let's be frank, it's rarely anyone under 50. So unless you're selling a car or insurance product, the "relevance" of your commercial, like let's say, a new restaurant opening up on downtown, is going to be chopped down by another 50%. Then you're up against the next dilution - a "call to action". Unlike OTT, a typical broadcast commercial's CTA is something like, "come on down", to which the demographic still watching broadcast is unlikely to respond to in that moment. OTT, on the other hand, often has click-related links and is often viewed while on a device that can respond (i.e. phone, tablet, smartTV), where a customer could research more if they wanted right then and there. If you're still with me, I'm going to say your realistic addressable market is down another 75%. The math is this: $150 to market to 500 potentially viable customers. If you're lucky.

NOW, let's run OTT. A typical campaign we run ranges between $15-30 for 1,000 "impressions" (which, for the sake of argument means it COULD be seen on your device). Let's say only 50% actually saw the ad, which in our case is typically a pre-video roll on an app like YouTube that cannot be skipped. I mentioned earlier the lengths we go create clean data-sets to ensure we market to the right demographic. On that basic dollar alone:

500 potential customers

Cost Per Impression

Traditional Broadcast


.30 cents per viewer



.04 cents per viewer

To those who have left traditional advertising like radio and broadcast and ventured into OTT, this is a no-brainer. A fraction of the cost, yet with pinpoint accuracy? Yes, please.

Whether a product, service or something unique like politics, when LuckyBird uses OTT it's because of it's precision-based qualities, and ability to re-target those most interested in the information we are delivering that make it such an effective tool.

Should you invest in OTT over other forms of advertising? Likely, yes. Let's chat about what that means. Because not all OTT providers are made equal. If they cannot provide transparency in their markup-to-market (what they keep vs. direct spend), you may not be getting the best bang-for-the-buck.

Call us. Email us. We know there are questions here, let us help.

O: 509.765.2229

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