CTV vs OTT: Unraveling the Nuances of Streaming Platforms

With the rise of digital media, streaming platforms have become a popular choice for advertisers to reach their target audience.

But digital advertising isn’t as simple as traditional television advertising, and it’s certainly not all “plug and play.”


To make things a bit simpler for you, there are two types of streaming platforms that marketers should be aware of to start out: Connected TV (CTV) and over-the-top (OTT) platforms. Understanding the differences between these two platforms is crucial in creating effective digital ad strategies.


In this article, we’ll delve into the nuances between CTV and OTT and provide insights on which platform is best suited for your brand. Whether you’re new to the world of digital marketing or a seasoned pro looking for a more detailed explanation of OTT vs CTV, this post is for you.

Definition of OTT

OTT is a term used to describe streaming services that bypass traditional distribution channels, such as cable or broadcast TV.


They are delivered over the internet, either through a dedicated app or website, and can be accessed on a variety of devices like smartphones, smart TVs, tablets and gaming consoles. Popular OTT services include Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Disney+.


These services are popular due to their convenience, flexibility, and affordability. With no set schedules, users can watch shows and movies at their own pace and on their preferred devices.


Plus, many of these services offer a low monthly subscription fee, making them more cost-effective than traditional cable TV subscriptions.

Definition of CTV

Connected TV (CTV) describes a TV that is connected to the internet, allowing access to streaming services from Amazon Prime, Netflix, Disney+, and YouTube. Advertisers can use CTV to reach a broader audience by delivering targeted messages on their screens.


Simply put, it’s a platform that merges the traditional TV experience with digital technology.


In general, though, CTV screens are larger, high resolution and enable viewers to access a variety of online and streaming content. CTV ads are highly relevant and can reach highly targeted audiences, based on user behaviors and preferences.


Unlike traditional TV advertising, CTV offers an improved user experience because ads can be highly interactive and non-intrusive.


With CTV, brands can show personal and relevant ads to a targeted audience. The result? CTV leads to more engaged customers, increased ROI and higher brand strength, all in the short and long-term.


CTV provides a lot of targeting options, such as ad targeting by device, location, demographics and consumer behavior. This means brands can target customers by age, income, location, interests, purchasing history and much more.


Marketers need more than just brand exposure, and CTV provides many benefits that can increase customer engagement and revenue, including:


  • Highly targeted audience, such as according to age, income, interests, and behavior
  • Cost-effective compared to traditional TV advertising
  • Provides actionable insights by tracking user responses to ads
  • Ability to create interactive, immersive ads.
  • Takes advantage of the flexibility of streaming services with CTV devices like Roku, Amazon Fire and Apple TV, which have millions of users.

Types of Advertisements on OTT and CTV

With so many different types of OTT and Connected TV (CTV) advertising formats available, it can be challenging to know which one to use.


Pre-roll and mid-roll ads are the most common types of OTT and CTV advertising. Pre-roll ads appear before a video starts, while mid-roll ads appear in the middle of a video. The effectiveness of pre-roll and mid-roll ads lies in their ability to grab attention quickly, but they can be skippable, so you need to be creative to keep the viewers engaged.


There are also interactive ads. These ads include things like surveys, quizzes, and interactive videos that encourage audience participation. By offering interactive experiences, marketers can improve brand awareness, engagement, and conversion rates.


Display ads are similar to the banner ads of yesteryear. These ads appear on the screen without interrupting the video content. Display ads can be useful for building brand awareness, but due to their unobtrusive nature, they require more creative thinking to make an impact.


There’s also branded content, which is often referred to as native advertising because it blends seamlessly into the video content. Unlike other forms of advertising, branded content focuses on telling a story rather than a sales pitch. The goal of this advertising format is to create strong connections with the audience and to entertain and inform them.

Metrics Available for Measuring Success on CTV and OTT

Although it is still an evolving space, multiple metrics are present on CTV to measure the success of your advertising efforts.


The first metric is the completion rate (CTR), which is the percentage of viewers who watched an entire ad.


For instance, if four million viewers saw an ad, and two million watched it to completion, the completion rate would be 50%. The next metric is reach, which is the number of unique viewers reached with an ad.


Reach focuses on the number of people who see an ad, regardless of the number of times they watch it. If a unique target audience is reached, advertisers can see an increase in the number of customers buying their product.


The third metric we have is engagement. Engagement measures viewers’ interaction with the advertisement. It can be anything from a viewer clicking on an ad to sharing content on social media platforms.


The metrics for measuring success for OTT, on the other hand, can be vague on this platform  — that’s because the bid requests are treated like a web browser interaction.


One such metric on OTT is viewability, the percentage of impressions that were “in view” based on industry standards.


OTT also includes conversion rate, which measures click-throughs and app installs after someone has viewed an ad.


An additional metric is the cost per completed view (CPCV) which measures the cost per completed video view. CPCV can give marketers more insight into whether or not they are getting value for their advertising budget.

Which Platform is Best for Marketers — OTT or CTV?

Both CTV and OTT platforms have unique advantages and disadvantages. Knowing your audience and what will work best for your brand is key to creating an effective advertising strategy.


CTV advertising can be expensive, but it offers the benefit of reaching a large and engaged audience on a bigger screen.


On the other hand, OTT advertising provides more targeting options at a lower cost.


Ultimately, it comes down to your brand’s goals and objectives.


With the continued growth of streaming platforms as a whole, it’s important to stay up to date on the latest trends and insights to continue to create effective digital advertising strategies. Keep yourself informed — and don’t be afraid to experiment.

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