What is OTT Advertising? 

As we all know, the internet has dramatically changed a lot of aspects of our daily lives. One thing the internet has changed is the way we watch our shows and entertainment. Cable television is on the decline. More and more people are cutting the cord and opting for streaming services rather than a traditional cable package. All you need now is an internet connection to watch many of your favorite shows. And many consumers are turning to alternatives like smart TVs, Amazon Fire TV and streaming devices. So, what’s the alternative to traditional TV ads? OTT advertising is the answer. Streaming content is the new television, and OTT advertising is the new TV commercials. Many TV advertisers are switching to OTT ads over traditional TV advertising. We’ll tell you everything you need to know about OTT advertising and market penetration, including why you should consider OTT ads when doing your ad spending.

OTT ads

Definition of OTT Advertising

What is OTT advertising? The first thing you should know is that OTT stands for over-the-top. You might have heard OTT described as mobile video in the past. However, the majority of viewing occurs on connected TV (CTV). The term comes from the ability to bypass traditional TV providers that control media distribution, which gives advertisers the ability to reach their audience directly.

Over-the-top advertising refers to the service used to stream digital content to a TV or a similar device.

OTT advertising is a targeting advertising strategy delivered on OTT platforms and devices through streaming media by using programmatic technology.

OTT advertising is a lot like advertising on regular TV. It is simply delivered through streaming media on OTT platforms instead. If you want to get your company’s ads on streaming services everywhere, the answer is OTT advertising.

benefits of OTT advertising

Different Kinds of OTT Devices

An OTT device is any device that is not a desktop, laptop, or mobile device. Some examples of OTT devices including gaming consoles. Some other kinds of OTT devices are:

  • SmartTV
  • Apple TV
  • Chromecast
  • PlayStation
  • Xbox
  • Amazon Fire sticks
  • Internet-enabled smart blu-ray and DVD players
  • Roku
  • Android TV

Of course, there are certain video streaming platforms that are best for certain businesses’ ads. An OTT advertising agency like SEO Design Chicago can help you determine which platforms are the best fit for your company’s ads to help you reach your target audience.

How OTT Ads are Delivered

The delivery method for OTT ads depends on streaming platforms and how they interact with various OTT devices. For example, it might be through the Video Ad Serving Template, also referred to as VAST. Ad insertion can be performed via server side (SSA) or client side (CSAI.) Here’s how the process might go.

First, an OTT audience is created. The audience’s composition will be based on the information obtained from the platform. Sometimes, the data even includes additional information about the specific household.

Then, the campaign is launched. The platform will connect the audience to a subscriber list across all OTT platforms.

Next, ads will be channeled to the audience through the OTT platforms. Tags will tell the media player how each ad should appear to the viewer. All of the information is received and processed by the player.

Finally, the platform sends a report back to the advertiser with various statistics and metrics about the ad, which helps the advertiser determine if the campaign was successful or not.

over the top advertising

OTT Ad Insertion Methods 

There are two methods of OTT ad insertion:


CSAI, or client-side ad insertion, is the method in which the advertiser inputs the d into the OTT platform before the viewer sees it. These days, this is the main method of ad insertion. However, there is a chance with this method that your ad could get caught by an ad blocker and won’t be seen by the viewer. Second, it often features a lower quality of service since the player switches back and forth between the content and ads.


SSAI, or server-side ad-insertion content delivery, commonly referred to as “stitching,” displays your ads to your audience without any interruptions. It is a real-time combination of the ads and core content. The best part about this method is that the viewer sees it one frame at a time. It is much more difficult for ad blockers to catch. It also gives your audience the chance to see live content without any interruptions, since the content is stitched together with the ad. (Hence the nickname.) This means there are no random pauses or gaps. You also have the option of making your ad clickable, though it is more work.

Tags Used for Communicating with OTT Devices


VAST Tags determine how the ad will display. They tell the player everything from where the ads should appear on the screen, for what period of time, and everything else about the ad’s appearance.


VPAID tags, or Video Player-Ad Interface Definition tags, have even more capabilities than VAST tags. They can make your ad interactive and add metrics.

what is OTT advertising

Benefits of OTT Advertising 

There are several benefits of OTT advertising over traditional advertising. According to Forbes, the OTT advertising market is strong and gaining momentum. But that’s not the only reason it might be a good idea for you to give OTT ads a try:

Multiple Devices

Many advertisers love using OTT ads because viewers see ads on a variety of devices, like their connected TV, laptop, smart TV, or even their phone.

Less Skipping 

What do you do when you’re watching traditional TV and the commercials come on? More than likely, unless it’s the Super Bowl, you get up to go to the bathroom and grab a snack. Or if you’re watching your favorite show on DVR, you fast-forward through the commercials entirely. However, on OTT content, ads are typically served in shorter stretches and oftentimes can’t be skipped. This means your target audience is much more likely to actually see your ad. It’s a much shorter, more palpable, and likely more engaging experience for the viewer.

Advanced Targeting 

Speaking of your target audience, OTT advertising allows you to target your audience much more directly than traditional TV ads. Traditional television advertising involves a lot of guesswork. That’s not the case with OTT advertising. There is ample data available that tells you what viewers are watching and how they behave. This helps you target your ideal consumer pretty exactly.

Easier to Reach Consumers 

It can be difficult to reach certain demographics because of the cord-cutting trend. OTT advertising allows you to find these demographics and target them directly.

Advanced Attribution Capabilities 

Never wonder again whether a consumer saw and liked your ad. With OTT advertising, you can see whether a person saw your ad, if they visited your website, and how long they stayed there after they arrived. You’re able to see this information yourself!

No Pre-Planned Broadcast Schedules or Geographic Limitations 

Another benefit of OTT advertising is the freedom it allows. In OTT advertising, you don’t have to worry about pre-planned broadcast schedules and geographic limitations.

Negatives of OTT Advertising

Just like with anything else, there are some downsides to OTT advertising, too.

Management and Measurability 

Because OTT ads aren’t measured by clicks, it can still be difficult to measure engagement and user reaction to your ads.


There are no real rules or regulations that govern OTT advertising as of yet. Unfortunately, there have been reports of ad fraud in the OTT advertising world.


Most OTT devices do not have the same functionalities as web browsers. When you run your ad in a web browser, you get data from the tracking pixel or cookie that shares insights with you regarding conversion rates and more. However, this is not yet available on all OTT devices.

OTT advertising

Best Practices for OTT Ads

If you are ready to try OTT ads for your business, there are a few best practices you should follow.

Keep It Short

Human attention spans are short and keep getting shorter. Many people won’t even sit through a minute-long ad, so keep your ad as short as possible.

Pay Attention to Formatting 

Because your ad will play on a variety of devices, you need to make sure your format your ad so that it looks great on TVs, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

Make It Relevant

OTT ads should always be current and relevant for your target audience.

Market Penetration of OTT Advertising 

According to Business Wire, “The high penetration of smart devices, like smart TV and smartphone, growing demand for VOD content, and a high rate of per-user payment are some of the major factors driving the country’s OTT market.”

According to Limelight Networks, viewers spend an average of 6.8 hours per week consuming OTT video. And the U.S. tops the national average with 8.55 hours!

And, 80% of millennials subscribe to at least one OTT service. This is what makes the future of OTT advertising so bright. Switch from advertising on the big screen and instead get your high quality OTT ads in front of your target audience on multiple devices.

Video on Demand (VOD)

VOD is video content that is accessible to consumers when they want it. There are four main types of VOD: subscription video on demand (SVOD), transactional video on demand (TVOD), ad-based video on demand (AVOD), and premium video on demand (PVOD.)

OTT ad campaign

Digital Advertising at SEO Design Chicago

SEO Design Chicago specializes in digital advertising strategies, including programmatic advertising, to help your business grow. If you want to stay ahead of the curve, beat your competition, and be a pioneer in digital advertising, you need to try over-the-top advertising. Contact us today to find out how we can create a digital ad campaign for your company!


  • What does OTT mean in advertising?
  • What are OTT devices?
  • How are OTT ads delivered?
  • What are the benefits of OTT advertising?
  • What does OTT stand for?

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