Brands have more choice than ever before when it comes to getting their products in front of the right eyes, at the right time. The traditional methods, such as print and linear television are still available alongside a huge selection of newer digital options including email marketing, content marketing, and programmatic advertising through demand side platforms (DSPs).
However, one technique that many brands are overlooking is the rapidly emerging area of advertising known as OTT, and when it comes to OTT, Amazon is leading the way. But is Amazon OTT advertising really the right choice for your brand?
To answer that question, we first need to look at what OTT advertising really is. OTT stands for ‘Over the Top’; media streaming over the internet independent of the traditional pay TV providers. Quite simply, OTT advertising deals with ads displayed through OTT.
OTT advertising is fast becoming a strategic necessity in a world where consumer behaviours are changing rapidly. The UK especially is said to be leading Europe into the ‘cord-cutting’ revolution, with more than 400,000 households cancelling their pay TV service in 2018, largely in favour of streaming alternatives. A study by market research firm Park Associates found that 52% of UK households subscribe to at least one streaming service, and that figure is anticipated to rise notably as more and more people spend their free time at home as a result of the global COVID-19 outbreak.
Streaming is ‘now’, and OTT advertising provides brands with a way to get there. Ultimately, it’s a way of applying the targeting precision of the much loved programmatic advertising method to the rising trend for consuming streamed media.
Amazon OTT advertising uses Amazon’s own demand side platform to deliver video ads throughout the Amazon ecosystem; Kindle devices, Fire TV, Prime Video and IMDb, along with compatible apps across the network. Relatively new – the solution was launched in 2019 – Amazon OTT enables brands to take the programmatic advantages of OTT advertising and integrate these benefits with Amazon’s extensive data pools.
The primary difference between non-Amazon OTT advertising and OTT advertising through the Amazon DSP is that brands can take a data-driven approach by tapping into Amazon’s first party specific consumer data. Amazon’s long history as an online retail platform gives it the edge, with access to historic purchasing data that can help brands to target those niche audiences active in the company’s sector.
Amazon OTT advertising clearly has numerous benefits, but is it the right choice for your brand? The truth is that any sort of advertising, when done right, can have an impact on your bottom line, but for many, Amazon OTT can be the most effective and efficient method of both product and brand promotion. Here are just a few examples of businesses that may find that Amazon OTT advertising to be the most suitable choice:
The Amazon ecosystem is one of the most heavily utilised in the world. Amazon Fire TV alone is understood to have more than 40 million active users per month. Add to that those checking out movie news on IMDb, or catching up with the latest episodes through Prime Video, and it’s clear how far reaching Amazon OTT can be. For brands trying to tell their story and build brand awareness, Amazon OTT advertising doesn’t just impact the viewer; it can impact everyone in the room.
While we’ve previously seen a trend for ‘shopping around’, it appears as though brand loyalty is once again on the rise. And while loyalty to Amazon certainly isn’t as ‘obsessive’ as it for the likes of Apple, it’s there. With more than 40 million users, it’s worth considering that a significant portion of Fire TV customers will feel some degree of loyalty toward Amazon, using the ecommerce platform as their ‘go to’ purchasing start point. This makes Amazon OTT beneficial for those looking to boost search volume.
Linear TV has often been favoured for its ability to reach a broad, large audience. However, as many brands now know, it’s not quantity that counts when it comes to acquiring new customers; it’s quality. Thanks to Amazon OTT advertising’s integration with the platform’s first party data, brands will find it easier than ever before to build and develop their customer base by creating targeted campaigns that attract and engage with new customers who are statistically most likely to convert and take action.
TV exposure – particularly when an increasing number of people are spending their leisure time at home – can be key to success. However, fees don’t always enable smaller brands to adopt these promotional methods. As Amazon OTT advertising takes a programmatic approach, it offers brands the same level of exposure without the spend commitment. By purchasing ads through auction, brands can manage their campaigns with a more strategic budget and really maximise the value of each buy.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, nearly 70% of brands say that they will reduce their ad spend during 2020. And yet, brands that are keen to emerge strongly on the other side must continue to engage with their audiences during this time. Amazon OTT advertising helps brands to make better use of smaller budgets, and essentially get ‘more bang for their buck’. Amazon’s extensive pool of consumer data highlights what people buy, and when they buy it, helping brands to really optimise their campaigns.
Research by insights firm Gartner shows that younger people (those between the ages of 18 and 24) are the second most difficult demographic for today’s brands to reach. That’s because they’re the least likely to use a combination of linear TV and OTT after the over 65s. Typically, 25 – 64 year olds can be targeted through both channels, making them relatively easy to attract, while the younger generation is much more of a ‘one or the other’ demographic. Today’s young can be difficult to target without a focus on OTT.
In September 2019, Amazon solidified itself as the best OTT advertising solution for small businesses with limited internal resources. Last year, a new feature for advertisers called ‘Creative Builder’ was introduced, giving brands a simple and straightforward way to create meaningful video ads and impactful content without the need for in-house creative assets. Brands can access a variety of templates, overlays and images instantly. Currently, this new feature is operating in Beta for advertisers in the USA.
The benefits of using Amazon OTT are clear; advertisers have access to unique consumer data collected through the ecommerce platform; something that isn’t offered through any other OTT solution. However, many brands naturally do want to rely exclusively on the Amazon ecosystem to reach potential customers. The good news is that Amazon is said to be looking to expand outside of its own network to connected TV and gaming platforms, including Apple TV, Xbox, PlayStation and Android TV.
While it is clear that there are many brands that could benefit from Amazon OTT advertising, it’s important to remember that there’s no ‘one size fits all’ solution for every business, all the time. There are some businesses that may not be able to fully utilise the advantages of Amazon OTT advertising or see significant results from doing so.
These businesses include:
One of the most important things to remember with Amazon OTT advertising is that while ads are non-skippable, and display in full screen, they also cannot be clicked, which means that Amazon OTT ads cannot directly transport consumers from one stage of the purchasing journey to the next. For click-focused brands, Amazon OTT advertising won’t work. Brands need to be able to identify alternative success metrics relating to building brand awareness and visibility to see value from Amazon OTT.
Linear TV advertising has been structured to prioritise ‘prime time’ slots between popular programmes. With Amazon OTT advertising, however, although brands are able to use the ‘genre blocking’ feature to exclude up to five themes, it is not possible to target specific channels or programme content. Of course, Amazon OTT advertising’s focus on consumer behaviour renders the need for content targeting obsolete, but for those brands not ready to let go of prime time advertising, this may not be the right solution.
If brands are keen to go down the managed-service route for Amazon OTT advertising, they will typically have a need to commit to a minimum ad budget of $35,000 per campaign. Other options can be more affordable, but it’s vital that brands understand that, due to the multiple benefits that Amazon OTT advertising can bring over other OTT advertising solutions, it’s not always going to be the cheapest of options. Amazon OTT advertising isn’t for dabblers; it’s for brands committed to the very best in self-promotion.
The truth is that no one else can make your advertising decisions for you. Only you can decide if not is your time to shine. As we can see, Amazon OTT advertising isn’t for everyone, but for those businesses committed to taking the next step towards consumer engagement and improved targeting, it really is emerging as the leading solution.