Ad Evolution Places Premium on OTT Quality
With demand surging, ad quality is firmly under the microscope for OTT providers.
As over-the-top (OTT) video continues its rapid ascent among streaming mediums, providers are beginning to cash in on the advertising opportunity. On top of their growing viewer bases, providers have a wealth of viewer data that allows them to deliver to more targeted audience segments. Marketers are seeing the value – they’re increasing OTT spend to 26% of their total video ad budgets in 2018 (up from 8% in 2017), per SpotX.
With demand skyrocketing, it was only a matter of time before OTT providers adopted a more programmatic approach to their ad sales. Roku kicked things off by launching their Audience Marketplace in June 2018. By leveraging its own viewer data, Roku was able to create a marketplace of highly targeted ad inventory that is easily accessible to publishers and marketers alike. This has created an open market of sorts that will help to drive ad revenue for years to come.
Similarly, Hulu recently announced its own OTT advertising marketplace. However, rather than act as a conduit between publishers and marketers, they will privately sell their own ad inventory directly to marketers. This easily matches prospective buyers to their active inventory in a more programmatic fashion, ultimately creating a more streamlined experience.
What does this all mean? With sky-high demand and the expectation to deliver highly personalized advertising experiences, OTT providers must deliver when it comes to quality. However, doing so through traditional testing methods just won’t cut it. That’s why crowdtesting has become a valued asset for OTT providers everywhere.
Quality Video Where it Counts
When defining a seamless over-the-top viewing experience, the first thing that comes to mind is the quality of the stream. Does the video load quickly? Are the images of high quality? The answers to these questions are essential to a viewer’s experience, but quality delves far deeper than this for marketers.
Dynamic Ad Insertion
This technology allows the providers to seamlessly swap advertisements into the stream to deliver a more targeted message to the viewer. If executed correctly, this significantly enhances the value to both the viewer and the advertiser by delivering both personalization and variation in the served advertisements. Providers must extensively test this functionality to ensure maximum value, but doing so requires continuous testing during all potential viewing hours, often requiring far more than internal resources.
Personalization of Advertisements
Marketers see the value in OTT because of their ability to deliver more targeted messaging. If a provider isn’t able to deliver the messaging to the right audiences, they will quickly find themselves with a lot of available ad inventory. Providers can test in simulated environments to test ad accuracy, but until they test with actual viewers at home or on mobile devices out in the real world, they don’t truly know how effective their delivery is.
Variation of Advertisements
Marketers choose OTT with the comfort of knowing there will be no competitors during their selected ad block. So if a viewer were to be served a Coca-Cola commercial followed by a Pepsi commercial, it significantly diminishes the value they receive. Issues like these often go undiscovered in a lab setting, increasing the need for an in-the-wild testing solution.
Testing in the Wild with Applause
There are a multitude of potential issues to consider for every OTT ad experience. Everything from the all-important viewing quality to the accurate delivery of targeted advertisements all weigh heavily on the streaming experience and will ultimately determine the success of an OTT platform.
Ensuring the level of quality necessary to thrive in the competitive OTT market is impossible to do with strictly in-house resources. Applause serves as a critical complement to these companies by enabling instant scalability of testers and devices, an in-market presence of vetted testers, and the ability to test around the clock.
These attributes, among others, give companies the confidence they need to deliver superior ad quality that meets the growing demand for ad inventory. With more than $2 billion at stake in the OTT ad market, there is no room for compromise. Quality must win out.