Connected TV 7 Min Read

Over-the-Top (OTT) Advertising vs. Connected TV (CTV) Advertising

Written by Melissa Yap

While you’ve been learning more about the value and benefits of Connected TV advertising, a quick Google search may bring up some terms that you may or may not be familiar with, such as OTT. We recently ran a survey and found that 36% have a basic knowledge of Connected TV advertising, and 31% are in experimentation mode right now but not fully investing in this burgeoning channel – that’s over three-quarters of people who are getting acquainted with the idea that TV can be a direct-response marketing channel.

OTT/CTV survey results - How much do you know about OTT advertising?

We created a handy terminology cheat sheet of these commonly thrown around terms, but we get this question asked so much that we wanted to dedicate a blog post to dissipate any debate  – not that there was one to begin with, which you’ll learn about below.

OTT ads and CTV ads: Are They the Same Thing?

Yes, they are. The terms are interchangeable,  the only difference is that OTT means Over-the-Top, which refers to content that goes “over” your cable box to give you access to TV content using an internet connection instead of a cable cord or satellite by traditional broadcast providers (hence the term ‘cord cutters’, which we talk about in a lot of our content, like this blog post). This can be done in two ways:

  • Regular TVs connected to multimedia devices like Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire Stick  and Chromecast, which allows you to view OTT/CTV  content through the Internet. 
  • Regular TVs with in-built internet connectivity, like Smart TVs.

Both OTT/CTV content can be accessed on TV, but really on any other device that has internet connection, like mobiles, desktops, tablet and laptop. We prefer viewing this content on TV because it supports a higher-quality viewing (and advertising) experience.  

If you’re still a little confused by the OTT/CTV definition, you can also think of providers like Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Roku, where all you need is WiFi to connect to your favorite TV shows and you’re good to go.

What About OTT and CTV Advertising?

Yes, they’re also the same thing. OTT advertising transforms TV into a performance marketing channel, which means advertisers can target audiences (using either first or third-party data) on their OTT/CTV device across ad-supported shows on premium networks. These networks vary, depending on the type of CTV advertising platform that you’re using. SteelHouse, for example, partners only with brand-safe and top-tier networks like CNN, CNBC and ESPN. After your OTT ad is screened, you can then track who has visited your brand’s website and converted, from watching your ad. You can find out  more about this powerful feature here.

Who Should Advertise on OTT?

Everyone! “I can’t advertise on TV, because it’s unattainable” is something that we hear regularly from our customers who have since moved to OTT advertising, and we’re more than happy to help brands to make once was not thought possible, possible. We’ve worked with Fortune 500 companies and start ups, on both the B2B and B2C side looking for reasons to invest in OTT. Browse our Case Studies section, where you’ll learn how customers  from all industries have had great success with advertising on OTT. 

OTT Advertising Statistics: New Categories

In case you’d like a refresher on why all brands should take up this direct-response channel, here are a couple of quick hitters:

OTT Advertising: Why All Brands Should Be Advertising on this Channel

Wait, Can We Rewind Back to the Measurement Piece Again? 

Glad you asked! There has been some concern surrounding the measurement of OTT advertising, particularly around whether or not it is possible to view performance across the platform and on other devices (as we mentioned, SteelHouse Performance TV allows advertisers to reach viewers on OTT and then retarget them with display ads on their secondary devices). Attribution is a big piece of the puzzle that we solve at SteelHouse, with our proprietary Verified Visits technology, which works with your brand’s sales cycle and determines when someone sees your ad, and what device they use to convert within their household. 

Our platform also complements Google Analytics (a performance marketers other best friend, besides us), where your OTT ad performance can be viewed alongside all of your other digital marketing channels like social media, display, video etc. 

We hope you’ve found this useful, and don’t hesitate to reach out anytime if you would like to learn more about OTT/CTV advertising.