Best Practices for an OTT Sports Advertising Strategy

As attention spans shrink and viewing options grow, brands are looking for new and creative solutions to stay in front of customers and potential customers alike. Savvy brands are moving budget dollars away from traditional advertising solutions in favor of new opportunities in the digital space.

OTT is an acronym for "over the top." OTT content is video or audio programming that is delivered over the internet, bypassing traditional cable or satellite providers. This can include live sports broadcasts, as well as on-demand content.

OTT advertising opportunities are plentiful, as providers are always looking for new ways to monetize their content. Advertisers can buy traditional commercial spots, but they can also take advantage of more innovative options. For example, they can create branded content that is integrated into the OTT platform or run banner ads adjacent to traditional advertisements to enhance the viewing experience.

One place where OTT viewership is thriving is in the sports sector. With OTT platforms, fans can watch their favorite teams from any connected device regardless of location. Advertisers can tap into this passion and reach fans wherever they are.

However, to get the most out of any OTT advertising campaign, it is important to follow a few key best practices. Doing so will ensure that your OTT advertising campaigns are successful.

Dispel all assumptions

When it comes to advertising, there are a lot of preconceived notions about what works and what doesn't. One of the most common assumptions is that traditional broadcast advertising is more effective than OTT advertising. However, this is not always the case.

OTT advertising has a number of advantages over broadcast advertising. For one, it allows for more targeted advertising. OTT ads can be directly targeted to a specific demographics, locations, or interests, so that every impression bought is speaking to your desired audience, making ads more effective than traditional broadcasting advertising.

Another advantage of OTT advertising is that it is less expensive than traditional broadcast advertising. OTT providers typically charge less for ad space than traditional broadcasters. This is because they do not have the same overhead costs, such as the cost of running a physical cable network.

As such, it is important to dispel any assumptions that you may have about OTT advertising. Keep an open mind and consider all of the potential benefits that OTT advertising can offer your brand.

Get the lay of the land

There are a number of different OTT platforms available, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. It is important to understand the different options before deciding which one is right for your brand.

Many sports leagues including Major League Baseball (MLB.TV) and the NBA (NBA league pass) offer subscription-based services as well. With these services, fans can sign up and watch their favorite teams from any connected device.

Cast Iron Media also provides SportsStream Live as a direct source for live games across connected TV, a one-stop-shop for all sports on OTT. SportsStream Live integrates with league apps and premium publishers to provide more access to live games than anywhere else. This platform allows advertisers to reach different audiences through one holistic platform.

Choose the right ad format

There are a variety of different ad formats that can be used on OTT platforms. The best ad format for your brand will depend on your advertising goals.

If you are looking to generate brand awareness, then you will want to choose an ad format that is highly visible. This will ensure that your brand is front and center when people are watching the event.

If you are looking to generate leads or sales, then you will want to choose an ad format that is interactive. One option is to run a dynamic banner ad that includes an exclusive promo code or QR code that leads viewers to your website or landing page.

No matter what your advertising goals are, there is an OTT ad format that will help you achieve them. It is important to choose the right ad format for your brand in order to get the most out of your OTT advertising campaigns.

Plan with purpose

When planning an OTT advertising campaign, it is important to have a clear goal in mind. Your goal may be to generate brand awareness, leads, or sales. Whatever your goal is, make sure it is specific and measurable.

Once you have a goal in mind, you can start planning the details of your campaign. This includes choosing the right platform, ad format, and targeting options.

If you are not sure which platform, ad format, or targeting option is right for you, then it is a good idea to consult with an OTT expert. They will be able to help you create a campaign that is tailored to your specific needs.

Define your target audience

As with any advertising campaign, it is important to start by defining your target audience. Who are you trying to reach with your OTT campaign? Sports fans can be divided into a number of different segments. For example, are you trying to reach fans of a specific league? Are you trying to reach fans that are located in a specific market? Are you trying to reach the fans you aren’t reaching with traditional broadcasting that root for teams outside their home town?

OTT platforms provide an opportunity to reach these desired audiences through a variety of different offerings. Through league apps or other rights holders, now brands can reach sports fans that are more passionate and dedicated to their teams, and not just watching the game on traditional broadcast because that’s what is available. It's about quality, not always quantity.

Develop targeted creative

Once you have defined your target audience, you can start developing targeted creative. This could include traditional commercials, as well as branded content that is specific to the OTT platform. It is important to make sure that your creative is engaging and relevant to your target audience. Otherwise, you run the risk of your ad being ignored or even skipped over.

Test, measure, and optimize your campaigns

As with any advertising campaign, it is important to test and optimize your OTT campaign. This will help you to identify what is working and what is not so that you can make necessary adjustments. Make sure to track a variety of metrics, including brand awareness, recall, and purchase intent.

There are a number of different KPIs that can be used to measure the success of an OTT advertising campaign. Some of the most important ones include:

Viewership: This is probably the most important KPI for any OTT advertising campaign. It measures how many people are watching your ads.

Engagement: This KPI measures how engaged viewers are with your ad. Are they skipping over it? Or are they watching it all the way through?

Brand awareness: This KPI measures how well your ad is performing in terms of raising brand awareness.

Recall: This KPI measures how well viewers remember your ad after they have seen it.

Purchase intent: This KPI measures how likely viewers are to make a purchase after seeing your ad.

The right KPIs for campaigns vary based on brand, sector, and desired outcome. Choose the KPIs that, if achieved, will maximize campaign success. These KPIs can provide the data and insights necessary to adjust campaigns for optimal success.

Be prepared to adjust your strategy

OTT is a rapidly evolving space, so it is important to be prepared to adjust your strategy as needed. This might mean changing your target audience or updating your creative. It is also important to keep an eye on the competition and see what they are doing in the OTT space.

One advantage of OTT advertising is that campaigns and creative can be adjusted at a moment’s notice. Unlike broadcast advertising, print, billboards, or radio spots, OTT advertising platforms allow modifications and changes to better optimize a campaign.

Making OTT Sports Advertising Pay Off for Your Business

OTT advertising is a great way to reach sports fans. By targeting your audience correctly and using engaging creative, you can maximize the success of your campaign. It is important to test and optimize your campaigns so that you can identify what works and what does not. Be prepared to adjust your strategy as needed, in order to stay ahead of the competition.

When it comes to sports, many believe that OTT advertising is still in its early stages. With a partner like Cast Iron Media, your OTT advertising strategy can be both efficient and effective, delivering an excellent return on investment to your marketing team. To learn more about how Cast Iron Media can help your brand thrive with OTT sports advertising, contact us here.

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