As people in the U.S. continue to follow social distancing and stay-at-home orders, a significant rise in online video consumption is occurring. The consumption of on-demand video, which includes free and subscription models, has become a consistent part of people’s routines as they comply with current health mandates.

As the numbers below suggest, businesses should consider turning to over-the-top (OTT) and connected TV (CTV) video advertising as a way to connect with consumers during this time.

Data Indicates a Jump in Viewing of OTT and CTV

According to Comscore, March 2020 saw a sharp increase over March 2019 in the amount of online video consumed in the U.S. Box and stick-based video, which includes products like Roku and Amazon Fire that can deliver OTT/CTV, had a significant growth in viewership.

  • Subscription video on boxes and sticks jumped in March 2020 with a 53% increase over March 2019 in the number of transactions per household in the U.S.
  • The viewing of free video on these devices was up 21% in March 2020 compared to March 2019

As also reported by Comscore, when comparing the first half of March 2020, year-over-year, a pronounced bump in CTV consumption occurred.

  • When looking at data from March 1-16, 2020 and that same time in 2019, the number of households consuming CTV rose by 29% coupled with an increase of 24% in total CTV hours

What Does This Mean for Advertisers?

OTT video advertising is an effective way of staying top of mind with consumers as they watch more online video during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Whether an advertiser has adjusted the way that they operate in order to get goods or services to people despite the challenging social conditions, or they want to remind people that they will be back up and running when the business climate returns to normal, OTT is an effective visual ad tactic.
Advertisers can send reassuring messages to people in the form of video, explaining that they are sympathetic to the challenges consumers are facing, and in many cases are pivoting operations to meet everyday needs.

Is the restaurant down the street adding more delivery drivers to meet an increased demand for takeout? What about the health club that is offering a new series of online workout classes while stay-at-home mandates are in effect?

Can the real estate company in town offer virtual walkthroughs of properties on the market? Provide people with an inside look so they know about cases like these with OTT video advertising while they are a captive audience at home.

What if an Advertiser Doesn’t Have a Video That Can Be Used Right Now for an OTT Advertisement?

Many advertisers may be wary about having a videographer come to their place of business during the coronavirus pandemic and creating a new commercial may seem impossible right now, but it’s not.

Here are a few tips:

Remember, the most important thing about an OTT advertisement is the content in it. Being mindful of the current environment, make sure it echoes a tone of empathy and understanding toward customers while taking current social challenges into consideration.
Be sure the advertisement clearly conveys the messaging that customers need to be aware of. Point out how the business can help consumers while including a distinctive call to action for them to follow. Communicate important information, such as changing store hours, how to order items for pickup and delivery and what the business is doing to help limit the spread of the virus.

Finally, ensure that the ad grabs the attention of viewers within the first few seconds so they stay engaged with the message, enabling the advertisement to make a lasting impression in their minds.

A Tactic Worth Considering for Advertisers

The rising numbers associated with online video consumption suggest that now is a good time for businesses to look to OTT advertising as a way to establish their brand in the minds of consumers. OTT offers an effective way to visually reach people outside of traditional cable television while they are at home in the era of COVID-19.

Need a Refresher on What OTT Is?

OTT ads are video commercials that are delivered to computers, mobile devices, tablets and smart TVs. These ads play before, during and after premium video content such as shows and movies.

Advantages of OTT for advertisers:

  • Aimed at valued consumers while they stream their favorite programming
  • Creates dynamic, visual video ad experiences that drive increased brand recall
  • Targeted by geography and fills 100% of available screen space
  • Most ads are not skippable for users

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