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A Strategic Approach To AVOD Advertising/Marketing

This post is part of our larger “AVOD vs. SVOD vs MVPD vs OTT – The Ultimate VOD Guide for Advertisers,” click here to learn more.

When it comes to advertising, visibility is important but results are key. The difference between a successful campaign and one that isn’t has a lot to do with the preparation behind the scenes. It isn’t purely a numbers game. After all, given enough time and budget, most media buyers can run a “successful” AVOD (ad-supported video on demand) advertising campaign. 

As marketers, it is crucial to be subject matter experts with strategic prowess. Clients lean on agencies as opposed to running campaigns in house with the hopes that they are able to achieve the results they want, both effectively and efficiently. To achieve confidence in delivering results consistently, it is absolutely necessary to take a strong tactical approach to every campaign. 

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What does ‘strategy’ look like when it comes to AVOD advertising/marketing?

Having a strong grip on the best practices in modern day digital marketing is much easier said than done. The landscape is changing rapidly with new trends surfacing daily. Beyond the concerns of launching a successful campaign, there are the typical concerns to keep in mind as well i.e. brand security, ad fraud, vetting vendor credibility, and so forth. 

Here are the key concepts every media buyer should consider when strategizing their streaming video advertising campaigns:

1. Forecasting Impressions Versus Desired Reach

Let’s talk about impressions. There are generally two schools of thought when it comes to audience targeting. The traditional, “old school” philosophy is to cast a wide net, aiming for a higher number of overall impressions… to maximize the desired reach…to individuals who fit the bill of the ideal audience demographic. This is because targeting was limited when advertising on linear platforms and traditional cable or satellite TV. 

On the other hand, the modern school of thought for impressions is based on the amount of data points made available through technological advances. When it comes to OTT advertising, marketers have the ability to dramatically narrow down the specificity of the audience they hope to target. This means that the quality of overall impressions is better, but the reach is more narrow. Let’s break this down and simplify: 

  • OTT/CTV advertising via an AVOD service does not have limitless impressions – In essence, hyper targeting capabilities is a blessing for reaching the ideal audience, but is also a double edged sword. It is a curse for maximizing reach. This is important to clarify for clients who are accustomed to higher numbers. Quality over quantity is the message to emphasize here. 
  • Forecasting spend based on available inventory – We have heard multiple stories of smaller agencies believing they have the inventory to fulfill a certain level of spend for their clients. However, when it came to working directly with an AVOD service like Hulu, Sling, etc., these agencies found themselves coming up catastrophically short. The point to take away here is that higher spend does not necessarily mean better results and forecasting should be adjusted accordingly.
  • Focus on 100% fulfillment for very specific audiences – It can be counterintuitive to prioritize precision and scale, but when it comes to AVOD advertising, this is the frame to keep in mind. The key is to work with a partner with a strong history of delivering to 100% fulfillment for very specific audiences. Firms like Strategus that are inventory agnostic will be able to strategize and determine the right blend of channels to achieve a balanced venn diagram for the desired audience precision and scale. 

2. Awareness and Impressions are Easy, Conversions Are Hard

Awareness and impressions are not equivalent to sales and conversions. Creating exposure for a brand is meaningless if the results don’t include conversions that feed the bottom line. There are very few brands that are in a position to run a campaign simply to generate awareness and resonance. Clients want results. Results mean conversions. 


What is noteworthy with streaming video advertising is the inability to interact with ads on OTT/CTV devices. This is also a simple litmus test to weed out the rookies from the experienced firms you consider partnering with. While you technically can’t make AVOD ads actionable, a talented OTT/CTV firm knows you can get very, very close. 

At Strategus, we’ve developed our flagship campaign enhancer, the Encore Omnichannel to address this issue. Once the targeted audience member views the AVOD ad to completion, they are immediately re-targeted using this tool. The viewer receives clickable calls to actions that are relevant on nearby devices e.g. their phones, tablets, or laptops. This is a seamless action that feels “instant” and mimics clicking on the ad directly while the impression is still fresh.

3. Conversions Don’t have to be “Clicks” — Attribution is King

Conversions are arguably the most important part of a successful AVOD advertising campaign. Traditionally, marketers have associated conversions with direct clicks. In the world of OTT/CTV advertising, this isn’t an accurate representation of what is actually happening. As we just discussed, ads displayed through an AVOD service technically aren’t clickable to begin with. This means that attribution is a far more critical metric than the “click” itself. 

As advertisers, it is important to be able to say with certainty whether an action or engagement is the result of a specific campaign. Otherwise, it is a guessing game and near impossible to maintain a tactical approach. This is why it is extremely important to have accurate attribution. We want to be able to answer the question: Who saw your ad, and what did they do after? 

This is how the Attribution Suite came to life from Strategus’ Labs–the industry’s first full function suite for both offline and online attribution with 6 customizable components:

  • Post View Attribution – who visited the website after viewing the AVOD ad
  • Purchase Attribution – who made a purchase from the brand (including on Amazon) after the AVOD ad and where was that purchase made
  • Foot Traffic Attribution – who visited the physical store location of the brand after the ad
  • UPC Attribution – how many of a specific product (via universal purchase code) were purchased by those exposed to 1 or more streaming video ads
  • After-Ad Influence (AAI) – Evaluate a user’s online browsing behavior before and after OTT/CTV ad exposure
  • Offline Conversion Tracking – Match-back offline purchase/CRM data to see those users who were exposed to the OTT/CTV advertising campaign

The Key Takeaways

To retain a spot as a trustworthy agency, marketers need to be at the top of their game with AVOD advertising/marketing. Without a strong tactical approach or campaign strategy, agencies can lose their standing as a reliable partner for their clients. Because of the rapid pace of innovation in the OTT/CTV space, staying on top of the trends and best practices can be difficult. 

Marketers and media buyers have the difficult role of needing to be subject matter experts that can guide and execute on a campaign to deliver consistent results to their clients. If you are finding yourself uncertain about the best approach to take with your upcoming OTT/CTV advertising campaign, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Strategus team. As leading pioneers in the OTT/CTV space, we are happy to offer our experience and clarity to any questions you may have.

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