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Traffic Building and eCommerce Strategy For OTT & CTV

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

To develop a traffic-building and eCommerce strategy that leverages OTT or CTV, you must first understand what they are. You technically aren’t choosing one over the other because they are so closely intertwined, with one actually a subset of the other. OTT, or over-the-top, encompasses any type of streaming video content that can be accessed over the internet instead of the methods of yesteryear like broadcast, cable and dish direct to the TV set. Connected TV (CTV) is included under the OTT umbrella but specifically refers to a television capable of streaming video via the internet; it’s the specific device. CTV is another way to say “smart-TV” but the term as a whole also includes internet-connected devices like Roku, Chromecast, Playstation, XBox, Apple TV, and Fire TV. 

Let’s use a simple analogy. If OTT and CTV were dogs, OTT would be the umbrella term of “dog.” And CTV could be a Dalmation or a Shiba Inu . CTV is the specific type of thing under the umbrella of OTT, and OTT also encompasses other devices like mobile apps and video via web browsers on personal computers/laptops. 

It’s not really OTT versus CTV, it’s more of a choose your flavor type of scenario. What do you want to focus on? And then go with it. 

To learn more about the differences between OTT and CTV, check out this article.

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We, as in American society as a whole, have pretty solidly made the transition from the days of broadcast television into the connected TV space. 

A report released by Nielsen says that, “Collectively, CTV viewing has grown from 2.7 billion hours during the pre-pandemic week of March 2 to 3.9 billion hours during the weeks of March 23, March 30 and April 6. This also represents a year-over-year increase of 81%.”

That number, and CTV ad spends, have only continued to grow, even as traditional ad spending has decreased this year due to the pandemic. Continue reading to learn how to build traffic to your eCommerce site using OTT and CTV advertising. 

CTV Is Not Clickable, So How Do You Build Traffic With It?

While CTV isn’t inherently actionable — people can’t click to a product on your site directly from the CTV ad — it is possible to make CTV actionable with the collaboration of a capable partner like Strategus. We have developed products that allow you to track the behaviors of the people you are after (not in a creepy way), to retarget those people on their other digital devices, as well as attribute those post-CTV-ad choices/actions. We make CTV actionable and/or attributable through two products:

  • Encore OmnichannelA solution that allows us to instantly retarget a viewer, who has watched a CTV ad to completion, with a call-to-action on another device — typically the one that seems to have an umbilical cord attached to its person — the smartphone. The Encore Omnichannel campaign enhancer allows you to make CTV actionable by creating trackable engagement post-ad-view.
  • The Attribution SuiteThe Attribution is a nifty and robust product that allows us to show you who saw your ad and the action that followed (or proceeded) that view. If you can’t measure results, there’s no way to know if your efforts are successful or not.

With The Attribution Suite, we can attribute:

  • Website visits after seeing the ad
  • Whether a consumer made a purchase or not, and where
  • If they went shopping in the physical store after watching the ad (that’s wild, we know!)
  • Offline conversion tracking
  • After-Ad Influence (AAI) – what kind of online research did the viewer do after being exposed to your ad

We know that it might sound like a magic trick to be able make something actionable that doesn’t appear actionable at first glance. And perhaps it is. Every good magic trick has a skilled magician behind the curtain influencing the perspective of the viewer. But unlike the Man Behind The Curtain in The Wizard Of Oz, the team here at Strategus is no sham. We are a highly skilled team paving our own Yellow Brick Road on the frontlines of this new way of advertising. 

CTV Is The Premium Option For The Entire OTT Ecosystem

When you’re developing an eCommerce strategy focused on building traffic, it’s vital to understand that CTV is the premium option for the entire OTT ecosystem. That’s a huge claim, but it’s true. The television has been a mainstay in many a household since TVs were a thing. While CTV has its limitations, it also has some pretty powerful advantages, one of those being its premium built-in audience base of open-minded adopters. 

The audience watching CTV is a lot further along the adoption curve than the remaining group who refuse to hop off the broadcast television bandwagon (we’ve got our eye on you). As with the Great and Powerful Oz, omnipresence is achievable with CTV through a blended retargeting strategy. Let’s take a look at a couple of unique reasons why CTV is the crème de la crème of OTT media. 

  • You can’t skip CTV ads. Yep, that’s pretty pushy of CTV. “You must watch this ad.” But, this can be a huge advantage for marketers. Sure, the person could get up and walk away from the television or close the streaming app if they don’t want to watch the video ad, but these campaigns typically have much higher view rates because the person is already engaged with the show of their choosing, and they’re often happy to stick around and watch the ad — if it’s good… no pressure. Plus we all know how hard it can be to get off that comfy couch.
  • You can’t click on CTV ads. Oh my gosh, what? Why even have ads then? Because, with the right partner, you have a leg up by making your ads actionable, even if they aren’t clickable on the CTV. See Encore Omnichannel above. Encore Omnichannel makes your CTV ads clickable on another OTT device. To engage with the viewer, though, you really have to focus on cross-channel messaging that targets exactly where the buyer is in their journey, and how you can meet them where they’re at every step of the way. 

CTV is the premium option in the OTT ecosystem because of the viewer engagement that results from the quality of the content on CTV and the size of the device. 

The Quality Of Views On Mobile Devices Is A Fraction Of CTV

When developing your eCommerce Strategy, you might be asking yourself whether it’s worth your time to invest in mobile OTT ad placements. The long answer is that we can’t define what is worth your time. The short answer is no, don’t do it, unless you want to. 

Mobile is the least premium placement of all for any and all CTV/OTT ads due to the screen size being infinitesimal compared to the size of a CTV and mobile usage almost always indicates a lower level of engagement. Think about it – if you’re going to invest a half-hour or more into a show, movie or game, don’t you prefer your TV over your phone?

The other determinant for why CTV is lightyears beyond mobile device ad placement is ROI. At the end of the day, attribution and return-on-investment are at the top of the list of things to care about. With CTV, you are guaranteed a premium viewer base and a higher baseline quality of content, and with mobile, not so much; the ROI baseline is just much higher if you factor the potential of a meaningful impact into the calculation. 

Traffic Building And Optimization Are Where It’s At

No matter what kind of OTT advertising you are utilizing, if traffic building is your goal, then you need to be tracking and optimizing a few key things. Optimization and innovation is what we live for here at Strategus (it’s ok, we know we’re a bit nerdy).

When it comes to optimization, Video Completion Rate and attribution are major players. You should also be tracking and optimizing:

  • Time of Day, Day of week
  • Pacing
  • Audience Optimization
  • Devices
  • Ad Creativity A/B testing

You can read more about our optimization practices here

The Bottom Line

OTT and CTV advertising are both powerful ways to reach an audience in this new wave of Smart-Everythings. With robust products like Encore Omnichannel and The Attribution Suite, you never have to lose sleep again over the fear of ineffective campaigns and a lack of attribution. You also don’t have to pour all of your energy into a Brand Awareness campaign that many believe is all CTV is good for. With a partner like Strategus, you can increase traffic, and develop an eCommerce strategy for CTV/OTT that is both actionable and attributable. If you’d like to talk to shop and see what the next steps are, give us a call today!

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