Combining OTT and OLV Advertising Improves Ad Receptivity and Effectiveness

Over-the-top (OTT) and online video (OLV) advertising are both great ways for brands to reach their desired audiences with compelling creatives. OTT or connected TV (CTV) campaigns that incorporate an OLV component will see increased success. SendtoNews is North America’s largest independent OLV platform with over 1.5 billion impressions per month, and we partner with SpotX to create a comprehensive package for advertisers that combines the familiar broadcast-like environment of OTT/CTV with the highly engaged audience and premium content (including all major sports) of SendtoNews’s OLV inventory.

Coupling OTT/CTV with OLV results in stronger scale, ad reception, brand favorability, and contextual relevance. Brands can overcome challenges that may arise from time to time with OTT/CTV, and also benefit from a broader campaign strategy that effectively engages their audiences across channels.

Challenge 1: Fragmentation


With over 200 different OTT/CTV platforms in the US alone, advertisers can feel overwhelmed by this fragmentation. In an IAB report, several executives cited fragmentation as the biggest gap for advertisers.  “CTV surely delivers,” stated Sasha Wolfe, VP, Head of Media and Integrated Comms Planning for Taco Bell. “But the marketplace is incredibly fragmented. As we think about CTV, we are thirsting for more measurement and data that allows us to understand CTV in context with all the other media that people are engaging with so we can find the appropriate and relevant way to show up for people in CTV.”

Fragmentation also gives rise to questions of sufficient available inventory with 56% of agencies citing audience scale as a challenge when using only OTT/CTV inventory.

OLV can present some of the same questions.  With a seemingly endless ocean of sites, platforms, content, and audience options, the task of picking the right opportunity can be daunting.


To combat these concerns, advertisers need to look for opportunities with platforms that have aggregated quality viewership, publishers, and content in one place. The unified supply SpotX offers combines OTT/CTV and OLV inventory from multiple sources – including 97% of premium ad-supported OTT providers. This allows brands the scale and ease of access to inventory needed to be effective with the added benefit of surrounding the viewer where they consume video content.

For example, SpotX can combine SendtoNews’s 1.5 billion monthly OLV impressions across 1,800 digital properties, with their inventory that reaches over 50 million CTV households in the US and 4 out of 5 CTV ad-supported viewers.

Fragmentation and scale issues are resolved and the complex buying process is simplified as both campaigns are delivered seamlessly on the SpotX platform while having the advantage of appearing across multiple content types, sites, times, and expanded audience demographics which, as we discuss below, have great benefits in terms of receptiveness and consideration metrics.

Challenge 2: Ad reception and Brand Favorability


OTT does a great job of recreating the lean-back experience of broadcast. OTT/CTV services began as purely subscription-based alternatives to television, however there is some evidence that users are growing more accustomed to seeing ads in the environment.

A SpotX and IAB study showed that 50% of ad-supported OTT video viewers say that the ads can be useful or even enjoyable.  Another recent SpotX report shows that 4 out of 5 CTV viewers watch ad-supported programming and 60% prefer free content with an ad-supported model.  So how do campaigns reach the other 40 to 50% in a manner that they consider favorable?


Users view pre-roll OLV creatives with a high rate of tolerance. In fact, only 17% of users feel that pre-roll ads are interruptive. In the OLV setting, pre-roll offers a locked-in experience for the users where there is a universally accepted transaction of watching an impression per piece of video, allowing brands to get more closely associated with the content. In the case of SendtoNews, this could result in brands being associated with their favorite MLB, NBA, or NFL team as the online video platform library contains official content from the top leagues in sports.

A diversified media buying strategy combining high-quality content on both OTT/CTV and OLV platforms allows an advertiser to maximize reception and has proven effective on brand favorability metrics. An IAB study shows cross-channel advertising increased unaided brand awareness by 211%, while simply adding a desktop or mobile component to a campaign increased brand familiarity by 61% and 63% respectively.

Along with this, OLV offers an opportunity to reach audiences at different times. In the sports context, fans may watch the game live in the evening while others either watch highlights, game analysis, or participant interviews during the day, with a good volume doing a mix both. The below graph of TV and OTT viewership combined with SendtoNews’ viewership by daypart illustrates an opportunity of a second primetime for advertisers:

SendtoNews Percentage of total views per hour, online video

Advertisers using a cross-channel, diversified spending strategy can take advantage of a massive amount of daytime viewership to reach additional engaged and receptive audiences with their campaigns.

Challenge 3: Contextual Relevance


A new study has shown that 73% of consumers think contextual relevance complemented the overall video experience. The same study showed that contextual targeting increases purchase intent by 63% and intent to recommend by 83%. Another study showed that contextually relevant ads can increase ROI by 30%.

OTT has come a long way in its ability to deliver contextual relevance to campaigns. For instance, with SpotX’s key value pairs, brands can target specific categories of publisher content, including shows, series, genre segments, audience clusters, and on-demand or live environment.

However, contextual targeting with OTT/CTV still becomes challenging when considering that multiple people may be watching simultaneously with different priorities and sensibilities. With the impending death of the cookie, a multi-faceted contextual advertising campaign will need to be a massive part of any brand’s strategy going forward. OLV provides a great complement to OTT as it tends to provide a more one-on-one style of delivery.

SendtoNews example contextual video ad placement


Brands that target campaigns by content and subject can guarantee a heightened level of contextual relevance. The SendtoNews online video platform, for example, contains a library of over 1 million videos from premium providers spanning across categories like sports, news, business, politics, entertainment, food, technology, lifestyle, and more.  This allows marketers to address audiences that have actively sought out editorial content featuring relevant video.

Bring OLV and OTT Together to Maximize Campaigns


As a brand, you not only want to be where your audience is, but be presented in environments with a large, diverse, and receptive audience that elevates favorability. Adding an OLV component to your OTT/CTV spend from an online video platform that has a robust library, engaged audience, and enhanced video player technology is a sure-fire way to fully maximize campaigns with increased scale, receptiveness, and contextual relevance.

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