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Building An eCommerce Sales Funnel With OTT/CTV Advertising

This post is part of our larger “OTT/CTV eCommerce Advertising Guide,” click here to learn more.

It’s essential to begin this article with the caveat that Strategus does not recommend using OTT (over-the-top) advertising as your only sales funnel generation strategy. OTT advertising should be one component of a broader, holistic marketing strategy that includes organic, paid search/display, paid social media, and whatever other strategy fits your target market. 

According to folklore, the silver bullet was the only weapon that could kill a werewolf. As we aren’t in the business of hunting werewolves, we don’t need to worry so much about finding the One Thing that will solve all of our problems – mostly because there isn’t One Thing when it comes to building an eCommerce sales funnel. OTT is not the silver bullet for eCommerce, but a cog within a much larger wheel that can help you achieve the results that you are after. 

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Traditionally, one of the most desirable OTT channels, the connected TV (CTV), comes with its own limitations around attribution and actionability (clicks). But with the right approach and the right partner, CTV can be light years ahead of traditional broadcast TV capabilities. OTT is on the rise, and we want to help you put your best foot forward in this ever-evolving chess match of OTT advertising, and how to work through those limitations. 

Let’s take a look at some stats below that emphasize the importance of tapping into OTT advertising for your eCommerce sales funnel. 

AdExchanger notes the following:

66% of households globally use an OTT service
Daily time spent watching OTT is expected to increase by 20% in two years (2017-2019
OTT ratings are up 500%; primetime TV is down 20%
41% of agency buyers plan to shift ad spend from TV to OTT (2017)

To understand how OTT can benefit your marketing strategy as a whole, you first need to know how OTT functions and maximize its value for your specific needs. 

Why OTT?

Programmatic OTT advertising is the clear winner, especially up against the more traditional methods of video advertising (think broadcast). Why OTT, you ask? 

There are four main benefits to using OTT, and they include:

  • Ease of use
  • Real-time reporting
  • Control over the viewer’s experience
  • A direct line of communication to your target audience

As AdExchanger noted above, OTT is on a dramatic ascent. With more and more consumers cutting ties with their not-so-beloved satellite dishes and cable cords, OTT is front and center, ready to capture an already captivated audience. Unlike traditional advertising, OTT provides precision targeting to connect with the people who matter most. 

With the New Normal, media consumption has increased by 60%, and sometimes more depending on the circumstances, according to a Nielsen report. “What’s more, three-fourths of U.S. consumers are broadening their media options with streaming subscriptions and TV-connected devices.”

And the benefits just keep on rolling! This strategy offers the perfect opportunity for skilled partners like Strategus to unravel the mysteries of the inner workings of a consumer’s brain – in real-time. Talk about accessing the secret sauce to a successful eCommerce sales funnel. 

Hyper-targeting is available to capture your exact audience

Hyper-targeting is the bread-and-butter of OTT advertising. The entire point. Well, conversions are the entire point, and hyper-targeting makes those conversions happen. 

“Even when you are marketing to your entire audience or customer base, you are still simply speaking to a single human at any given time.”
Ann Handley, digital marketing pioneer and author of “Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide To Creating Ridiculously Good Content”

This is a critical point to remember, and can often be overlooked when worrying about ROI and other big data that dilute the consumers down to a number. You are trying to reach a person, a lot of persons, on an individual level. Traditional marketing efforts are created for the masses, a shot in the dark, hoping that there are people there in the dark who are actually watching. With OTT advertising, you can utilize hyper-targeting to guarantee that your ads are landing in front of the people who are most likely to want to engage with your brand. 

Some of the different targeting strategies available to you include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Behavioral Targeting – What is the target audiences’ interests, online activities, hobbies, lifestyle preferences
  • Contextual Targeting – What is their viewing history? 
  • Demographic Targeting – What is their income, hometown, education level?
  • Technographic Targeting – What are the characteristics of the devices they’re using?
  • Time of Day Targeting – When is an individual most active?
  • Purchasing Targeting – What are their historical spending habits? 
  • Automatic Content Recognition (ACR) Targeting – What is the target audiences’ individual CTV viewing habits? 

For eCommerce sales funnel building, make sure your ads are attributable and optimize for more conversions

CTV is one of the most desirable of the OTT inventory, CTV being a subset of the latter. Since CTV ads aren’t clickable, you may assume you lose the opportunity for post-view analytics. This might seem like a major drawback to CTV advertising, but with the right tools and the right partner, it’s only a small hurdle that made space for innovation. 

When you build an eCommerce sales funnel, you want to make sure that your ads are attributable and optimized for greater conversions. So how do you do that if you can’t directly track clicks (because clicks aren’t possible))? Through a first-of-its-kind marketing solution created by the Strategus Labs team – The Attribution Suite

The Attribution Suite serves the purpose of telling you who came to your website, when they took action, and how they took action. The six customizable features included in this full-function, offline, and online attribution suite are:

  • Online purchase attribution
  • Foot-traffic attribution
  • Post-view website view attribution
  • Inferred brand impact
  • Offline conversion tracking
  • UPC attribution

A survey of 1000 marketers and agencies across the globe found that “59% of marketers that have not yet implemented an attribution model say that a lack of knowledge is the main obstacle.”

Don’t let this be you. There’s nothing more nightmarish for a marketer than unclear attribution for a campaign (except maybe hunting werewolves). Your job is to see conversions and ROI that shows your campaign spend wasn’t all for naught. To achieve this, it’s important to find an OTT partner who can attribute lead actions to your campaign spend. Unfortunately, not all partners can do this, so due diligence is a necessary part of the process. 

Make sure your CTV advertising is actionable

CTVs are the most desirable of the OTT inventory. Check out this article to learn why CTV is the premium option. CTVs allow smaller eCommerce businesses access to the largest digital devices in the home with exponentially greater targeting but at a fraction of the cost of tradition or broadcast TV. 

While many might immediately lump CTV into the “brand awareness” category because the ads aren’t clickable, these marketers are losing out on an incredible opportunity for measurable conversions. If you’re ready to step out of those old stereotypes about what CTV is and isn’t, then you’ve come to the right place. 

“There’s always room for a story that can transport people to another place.”
Author of the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling

And that other place is to your website, a mobile app, or, perhaps, into a physical store. CTV is no longer just a means of introducing your brand to a customer. It’s a crucial piece of the narrative that you can create through a storyline that traverses the connected terrain of multiple devices.

Here at Strategus, we’ve solved the riddle that CTV presents, and we’ve packaged the answer up in a box called Encore Omnichannel. Encore Omnichannel brings trackable engagement to the CTV advertising ecosystem, but through the use of hyper-targeted, actionable ads. 

Simplifying The Sales Funnel With OTT Advertising

Let’s succinctly recap everything we’ve touched on so far. There are many reasons why OTT/CTV is desirable in the building of an eCommerce sales funnel for businesses of any size. The key is to make sure that the spend is attributable and that you choose a partner who can make your CTV ads actionable with advanced post-view retargeting. If the thought of ineffective campaigns keeps you up late into the night, you can find comfort in the fact that you’ll be getting a solid night of sleep soon with our help. Contact us today! We would love to pioneer this journey with you towards a new way of supplementing your eCommerce sales funnel. 

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Andy Dixon is a seasoned Content Writing Specialist at Strategus, renowned for his expertise in creating engaging and impactful digital content. With over a decade of experience in content creation, Andy has honed his skills in a variety of niches, ranging from technology and marketing to education.

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