In 2016, broadcasters firmly set their sights on OTT (over-the-top) delivery services. To keep up with the dynamic marketplace, all industry players need to consider the unique capabilities an OTT offering can provide to keep viewers engaged and profits healthy.

According to research from Strategy Analytics, OTT market growth will continue to be dominated by both advertising video-on-demand (AVOD) and subscription video-on-demand (SVOD). This suggests that publishers can shift their attention away from the outdated advertising delivery models of traditional TV and focus on OTT. While the uncertainty of the internet can present some challenges, the good news is that there are plenty of opportunities for publishers and advertisers alike to optimise their business models by closely monitoring the rich viewer data that’s available through OTT platforms.

Insights into viewer engagement data across both content and ads can give publishers a detailed picture of advertising efficacy which they can’t get with traditional TV metrics. However, it’s important to remember that OTT will be driven by both content and quality of the viewing experience (QoE) – the measure of a customer's experiences with a service, including streaming content and ads. A high-quality viewing experience needs high bitrates, low video re-buffering and quick video startup; these factors ensure high viewer engagement, so it’s essential that publishers keep a close eye on these metrics.

So how can publishers and advertisers use data to optimise AVOD strategies for the growing, data-driven OTT market?

More accurate decisions on ad duration, frequency, and placement

Too often, companies determine placement of advertisements with little understanding of how ad frequency, duration and location within streaming content impact viewer engagement.

By examining viewer data, advertisers and publishers can measure a variety of critical insights including ad plays, ad breakages, ad abandonment and ad blockages. Then, based on engagement metrics of content and ads, publishers can find out exactly when overall engagement is compromised. This speed and accuracy allows businesses to alter ad strategies instantaneously, resulting in higher viewer engagement and greater advertising revenue.

It is obvious that advertising plays a huge role in consumers’ viewing experience; its impact on overall quality of experience and resulting engagement cannot be overstated. Our research has shown that one in five viewers will abandon poor streaming experiences immediately; to keep consumers engaged, providers must maintain a careful combination of great content and ad experiences.

Listen to consumers – they have the answers

Before such detailed ad insights were possible, publishers only had access to basic audience exposure metrics from a representative panel. While this could tell publishers who was watching a show, it did not shed light on the finer details, e.g. how long viewers watched, what their experiences were like, if they flicked between multiple programmes, etc. With such limited accuracy, providers would sell advertisers a ‘best-case scenario’ value proposition in which simple audience exposure was the metric that determined failure or success. In the end, a lot came down to speculation and hope.

In today’s data-rich OTT industry, publishers can gain an understanding of viewer engagement better than ever before; not only can they find out what advertisements consumers are willing to watch, but also where and how they tolerate them. Furthermore they can do this at scale across their entire viewing audience, a true census of experience, not a panel. By adjusting the placement, frequency and duration of ads according to this data, publishers can find the optimal balance for each type of streaming content– maximising viewer engagement and ad revenue.

As a result, no one is excluded from the advertising eco-system. Informed publishers create an optimised, data-driven ad strategy; consumers are more receptive to ads that match their viewing patterns; advertisers have an increased chance of consumers finding their brand.

Nevertheless, the media industry is only just beginning to understand how advertising and AVOD affect video engagement. AVOD providers and publishers who are not striving to take the guesswork out of ad placement, frequency and duration run the risk of losing viewers and profit. As a result, if the OTT market continues to grow at the current rate, it won’t be long before quality of experience and engagement data separate the winners from the losers in the race for AVOD dominance.


By Ed Haslam, chief marketing officer at Conviva

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