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MarketingFEB 2023|Chris Marcus

OTT Advertising: How to Advertise on Streaming Service

Streaming services are becoming increasingly important as more and more Americans are accessing content via OTT advertising platforms like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and others. OTT advertising is an effective way to reach target audiences in a tuned-in environment. Unlike broadcast ads which can be costly and hard to measure, OTT ads offer the ability to deliver targeted messages tailored for specific audiences with more accurate results.

OTT advertising can also be cost-effective, as it typically involves buying media at a fixed rate instead of using the traditional CPM (cost per thousand impressions) model. This means that advertisers pay a flat fee for each spot regardless of viewership or impressions, which can save money in the long run. Additionally, OTT advertising offers detailed analytics and tracking capabilities to help further refine campaigns. If you're looking to launch a new OTT advertising campaign, there are plenty of options available.

Many services offer ad packages tailored specifically for streaming tv platforms, with features ranging from sophisticated targeting and optimization algorithms to customizable creative templates. With the right OTT Advertising strategy, you can make sure your message is heard by the right audience at the right time.

Over 97 million households in the United States have a CTV, and it's estimated that 85% of them use their CTV for OTT viewing. Of the OTT viewing options, you have a mix of VOD, AVOD, SVOD, TVOD, and vMVPD services. Oh, and each service has its own rules and processes when it comes to advertising. Got it?

If you're feeling confused, you're not alone. It's easy to get lost in the sea of advertising acronyms and terms – there are many! – but it gets especially challenging in the world of OTT advertising.

Advertising on Streaming Services

OTT stands for "Over-The-Top," which is a category in entertainment viewing that encompasses online streaming services and platforms. Essentially, you're viewing movies, shows, and other programs "over the top" and outside of traditional cable subscriptions. As of 2019, Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime are the most recognizable and most widely used OTT advertising services in the United States.

As more OTT advertising services become available and as more consumers continue to spend their time streaming platforms for their entertainment, OTT advertising has become an essential part of any brand's media mix. While the power and mass reach of traditional television advertising isn't going away, it's good to be where the people are – especially since research shows that OTT marketing, when combined with traditional television advertising, increases ad recall by 34%.

The Streaming Video Service Marketplace

In addition to streaming services themselves, there are a variety of online marketplaces available for advertisers looking to target the OTT advertising space. These marketplaces provide access to inventory from a wide array of streaming video services and allow brands to launch campaigns quickly and efficiently. Some examples are Peacock, Roku, NBC Universal, Paramount+, Sling TV, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Disney+, and Netflix.

Reaching Cord Cutters With Streaming TV

Cord-cutters are those who have ditched their cable subscriptions in favor of using streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video. This changing landscape has created a whole new audience for advertisers to target, with OTT ads being the ideal solution. With OTT advertising, you can reach audiences watching streaming content on any device, anytime and anywhere.

Additionally, you can use demographic data to target cord-cutters by age, gender, interests, location, and more. Plus, with access to real-time analytics, you are able to measure the success of your campaigns on an ongoing basis.

OTT vs. Connected TV (CTV) vs. Linear TV

It's important to understand the differences between these types of media as you develop your advertising strategy. 


OTT is a way to access TV/video content online, usually through streaming or video-on-demand (VOD) services. It delivers content outside of traditional broadcast infrastructure and gives users the ability to watch what they want when they want it. Advertisers can also take advantage of OTT's addressability, pre-rolls, mid-rolls, and interactive ads to reach targeted audiences with the right message at the right time.


Unlike OTT advertising, CTV is an internet-connected device that provides access to streaming content. It could be a smart TV, Roku, Chromecast, gaming console, or other device equipped with the necessary hardware and software to access online streaming services. While these devices can be used to watch OTT ads, they are not interchangeable terms. CTV offers advertisers more targeted options, while OTT advertising gives a broader reach.

Linear TV

Linear TV is traditional broadcast television content delivered via cable or satellite. 

OTT advertising and CTV offer more targeted options, while Linear TV has a broader reach. With this knowledge under your belt, you can create an effective campaign that meets your goals.

Performance TV Is Your Best Bet for Streaming TV Advertising

Performance TV is a leading OTT advertising and CTV advertising platform that allows brands to reach their target audiences through streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Sling TV, YouTube, and more. Performance TV offers an easy-to-use dashboard with detailed analytics on campaign performance, as well as advanced targeting capabilities which allow advertisers to reach the right people with the right message.

This can be done through demographic data, device targeting, and more. Additionally, Performance TV offers a variety of cost-effective packages to accommodate any budget or objective.

How Much Does Streaming TV Advertising Cost?

Streaming platforms TV ads provide a huge opportunity for businesses, giving them access to an expansive roster of viewers at more reasonable costs than linear. Plus, the flexibility in how you buy online streaming ad space allows marketers to get specific with their target audience and GRP (Gross Rating Point) percentages - providing greater reach without committing larger budgets upfront.

Accessibility for Small Businesses

With the need to target specific audiences without breaking the bank, OTT platforms may not always be a cost-effective solution for small regional enterprises. While media organizations can invest up to $50K in streaming platforms, CPMs still boast prices ranging from $50 - $75 and often don't offer sufficient ROI on smaller budgets -- leaving local businesses unable to maximize their advertising reach.

Buying ads on YouTube TV

Looking to get your message in front of a YouTubeTV audience? Thanks to the relationship between Google and YouTube, you can purchase targeted ads through familiar ad auctions – but only if they're visible on Youtube TV. To ensure visibility, be sure to enlist the help of one of Google's knowledgeable sales reps for exclusive media placement.

Buying advertising on Hulu

Buying advertising on Hulu is a great way to reach viewers who are streaming content online. With both OTT ads and CTV options, advertisers can target specific audiences with the right message at the right time. For example, marketers can create pre-rolls, mid-rolls and interactive ads that will capture their customer's attention. In addition, with Hulu's proprietary target audience and platform capabilities, marketers can also reach their desired demographics more effectively. This way, advertisers are able to maximize their ad spend and get the most out of their campaigns. And with Hulu's advanced analytics tools, they can track their campaign's performance in real-time. In short, buying advertising on Hulu is an effective and cost-efficient way to reach consumers on streaming platforms.

Hulu Ad Manager is a self-service platform designed for businesses to create, manage, and optimize their advertising campaigns on Hulu. It provides tools for targeting specific audiences, measuring the effectiveness of ads, and controlling ad spend. Using Hulu Ad Manager can help businesses reach a highly engaged audience on Hulu and effectively advertise their products or services to a relevant audience.

Advertising on Disney+

Advertising on Disney+ can be an effective way to reach a wide range of consumers. Through both OTT ads and CTV, marketers have access to the powerful platform capabilities and targeting options that this streaming service provides. For example, with pre-rolls, mid-rolls, interactive ads, and other formats, advertisers are able to capture the attention of their desired audiences. Additionally, Disney+ offers advanced analytics tools and reporting features to track the performance of campaigns in real time. With this information, marketers can make data-driven decisions on how best to optimize their ad spend and get the most out of their investment. By taking advantage of all Disney+ has to offer, advertisers are sure to reach their desired consumers in an effective and cost-efficient way.

3 Best Practices for Advertising on Streaming Services

1. Personalization and Relevance: Advertising on streaming services should be tailored to the interests of the target audience. It is important for advertisers to tailor their messaging, visuals, and even the timing of ad placements so that they are more relevant to viewers watching content. Ads should also be timely in order to capture a user's attention - such as running ads when a viewer is watching a related show or movie.

2. Use of Platform-Specific Ad Formats: Different streaming services support different ad formats, so it is important to research the best ones for each platform in order to ensure maximum ROI. For example, Netflix and Hulu both offer full-screen ads, which are effective, while Amazon Fire TV takes advantage of interactive ads to keep viewers engaged.

3. Leverage Data & Targeting Strategies: Advertisers should make use of advanced targeting strategies such as segmentation and look-alike audience modeling in order to ensure the right people are seeing the right ads at the right time. It is also important to track and measure the performance of ad campaigns in order to make sure they are achieving their desired results. This can be done through metrics such as view-through rate (VTR), click-through rate (CTR), and cost per acquisition (CPA). By combining data with appropriate targeting strategies, advertisers will be able to maximize their ROI from streaming tv campaigns.

Types of Streaming Tv Advertising

AVOD (Ad-based Video OnDemand): AVOD is a streaming service that provides consumers with access to free content that contains advertisements. Good examples of AVOD services are YouTube, Tubi, and Crackle.

SVOD (Subscription-based Video OnDemand): This is a streaming service that consumers subscribe to and pay a fee in order to access ad-free content. Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, HBO Max, and AppleTV+ are all examples of traditional SVOD services. Hulu, Peacock, ESPN+, and Quibi are examples of modified SVOD services because, in addition to selling ad-free subscriptions, they also provide consumers the opportunity to pay a smaller monthly fee to view ad-supported content. 

TVOD (Transaction-Based Video OnDemand): iTunes and Vudu are good examples of TVOD services, whereby consumers pay for each piece of video-on-demand content.

MVPD (Multichannel Video Programming Distributor): MVPD is just a fancy way to describe a traditional cable provider such as Comcast or DISH. Use it at dinner parties – you'll dazzle!

vMVPD (Virtual Multichannel Video Programming Distributor): Think traditional cable, BUT instead of the content being fed to your Television through cable boxes, fiber, and coaxial cables, it's streamed through the internet. AT&T TV Now, Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, Fubo, Philo, YouTubeTV, and Hulu Live are all examples of vMVPD.

VOD (Video OnDemand): Some OTT ads streaming services provide live streaming, but most offer a catalog of video-on-demand content that can be selected and viewed at any time. Traditional cable providers also feature on-demand content.

OTT Advertising Terms

Ad Pod: An ad pod is basically a regular commercial break where a group of ads plays back-to-back. Ad pods vary in length and take place at various times during the streaming content.

Autoplay Video Ad: This is an ad that will play automatically before the beginning of the streaming content.

FEP (Full-Episode Player): Long-form, episodic programming (30-60 minutes), available online or through an app. It's a great way for viewers to catch up on their favorite TV shows outside of traditional cable AND enables advertisers an opportunity to place commercials in this premium inventory. 

In-Stream Video Ad: This is an advertisement that plays before, during, or after the video. Typically, these ads cannot be stopped from being played but can sometimes be skipped.

Interactive Video: A type of advertisement that is meant to be interactive with the consumer, featuring various calls-to-action, forms, polls/surveys, links, etc. The goal is to give the user various options to engage with the message beyond viewing the ad.

Mid-roll: Advertising that runs in the middle of a movie or tv show.

 Pre-Roll: These are advertisements that run at the beginning of a movie or tv show.

Other Terms

Addressability: Addressability is the ability to target your message to specific devices, browsers, consumer segments, and individuals. Consumer segments include behavioral information, demographics, and geographic information. 

Addressable Television: Technology that gives advertisers the flexibility to show different ads to different audiences even if they are watching the same TV program. Most cable television services offer addressable solutions, but this is primarily an OTT attribute­­.

CTV (Connected Television): A television that is connected to the internet via an OTT ads device such as Roku, AppleTV, or Chromecast.

Smart TV: A television with streaming hardware and software built into the TV, versus through an external device such as a Roku or AppleTV.

Measurement Systems for Amazon and Hulu

Amazon and Hulu have both developed their own measurement systems to track and analyze user engagement with their respective platforms. Amazon's OTT measurement system is known as Amazon Fire TV, while Hulu uses its own proprietary measurement system.

Amazon Fire TV provides detailed analytics on user engagement, including information on the number of views, unique viewers, and time spent watching content. It also offers data on the types of devices used to access content, as well as information on popular content genres.

Similarly, Hulu's measurement system tracks metrics such as the number of views, watch time, and engagement rates. It also provides insights into user demographics and the devices used to access the platform.

These measurement systems provide valuable insights for advertisers and content creators, helping them to better understand their audience and improve the relevance of their offerings. By tracking user behavior, Amazon and Hulu can identify trends and preferences, allowing them to make informed decisions on content acquisition and development.

Ready to Start Advertising on a Streaming Services?

OTT advertising is a great way to reach targeted customers in the streaming media space. OTT ads provide advertisers with access to premium content and offers a variety of options to engage with consumers, such as addressability, pre-rolls, mid-rolls, and interactive ads. Advertisers can also take advantage of CTV or Smart TV solutions to reach audiences on the biggest screen in the house. With OTT ads, there are plenty of opportunities for advertisers to create effective and engaging campaigns that will reach the right people at the right time.