Mar 11, 2020

OTT Attribution: What’s The Big Deal?

OTT Is Here To Stay Understanding where customers are coming from, how they heard about a brand, and the way they’re interacting within a purchase funnel has been one of the shining characteristics of digital advertising. With OTT and CTV viewership skyrocketing globally, attribution technology should be an expected component of every OTT platform. Thanks…


OTT Is Here To Stay

Understanding where customers are coming from, how they heard about a brand, and the way they’re interacting within a purchase funnel has been one of the shining characteristics of digital advertising. With OTT and CTV viewership skyrocketing globally, attribution technology should be an expected component of every OTT platform. Thanks to the ingenuity and inventiveness of companies like Digital Remedy, previously unheard of reporting metrics and transparency models are beginning to trickle through the OTT landscape. Advertisers and agencies are finally able to capitalize on one of the fastest growing digital segments.

Industry Growth

Did you know that popular TV shows and movies can now be streamed to devices via the internet?? Obviously I’m being facetious, if you didn’t know that you’re probably in the wrong place. But you might not know that content streaming platforms are expected to account for more than $8.8b of ad spend in 2020. While that might seem like a relatively small piece of the $150b+ digital ad pie, it’s an important piece because it gets ads into the vast majority of households, and it’s growing. In fact, nearly 80% of U.S. households are using CTV (connected TV) consoles in 2020, a number that’s grown nearly 25% since 2015… that’s huge!

Those numbers make a strong case for OTT and CTV advertising in comparison to linear advertising. It’s not just viewership numbers and time spent watching that make OTT a more appealing option. There are a multitude of technologies offered by OTT platforms that simply don’t exist with linear, or if they do exist, are not scalable, yet.

OTT Attribution Is Here

Fortunately for brands moving their ad spend to OTT, there are now unique technologies available to take advantage of, one of those is OTT attribution. Until recently this idea has been a bit of a myth. We all know that digital means more data, and more data means more information, but collecting that data and using it are two very different things. 

According to the IAB, the largest obstacle for advertisers wanting to get into the CTV or OTT space is cost/price. This is an understandable issue, and one the industry will be able to combat as it grows. With over 100+ streaming options now available to cord-cutters and never-corders there’s now more inventory. More inventory = less expensive placements = lower prices. Obviously there will always be a premier segment, but that will be the case regardless of the size of the industry or the amount of money being thrown at it.

The second largest obstacle for advertisers wanting to explore CTV is inadequate metrics/campaign measurement, that’s where we’ll focus our time on today. Transparency and reporting has been one of the achilles heels of digital advertising. Those platforms and companies able to provide proper reporting metrics to their clients, and able to optimize on that data are the companies that have made it in the long haul.

It’s Not Enough

Advertisers are right to want more from their OTT metrics. For the most part (March 2020) OTT platforms are only keeping track of a few key metrics from their clients OTT campaigns. Impressions are tracked usually with a couple of breakout statistics like individual creative performance, and geo location. VCR (video completion rate) is also tracked as a standard metric, and some platforms offer breakout stats for VCR (VCR by geo, publisher, device type). Unfortunately for the advertisers only some of these stats make it back to them via reports, usually just daily views, impressions, and basic VCRs. 

Considering that many of the brands and agencies spending money in the OTT space have some knowledge of digital advertising, this lack of reporting and transparency is pretty unacceptable. Agencies with strong digital arms expect much more transparency from their partners. Larger advertisers and agencies can try to strongarm their way to more accurate metrics and audience reach by running on multiple platforms/channels, but that brings up the issue of trying to cull together custom reports from different partners with different metrics and multiple measurement types. The headaches this causes is very rarely worth the effort as the compiled information is still limited to the lowest common denominators of VCR and impressions.

The Future Is Now

What the industry has been looking for in order to progress is a platform that combines the best of all sides of the OTT equation. Access to the audiences and inventory sourcing on all of the platforms, reporting and visibility for every campaign, and a focus on providing actionable insights to optimize performance, and gain insights into that performance. Thankfully, the digital advertising industry has long been led by innovative problem solvers who are experts at developing technologies to solve for their clients problems. Digital Remedy is no different, which is why we’ve developed Flip, the only OTT attribution platform providing ROAS (return on ad spend) tracking against real world KPIs like cart amount, site visits, store visits, and app installs. 

Up until now OTT hasn’t been able to fully address this basic equation. The premier streaming platforms had (and have) no real need to continue developing their platforms to optimize for their advertising partners. They know they’ll get the spend because they have the audiences. Sure, in some simple ways advertisers and agencies could target their audiences but that’s only half the battle. It’s what happens after a viewer sees an ad that really matters. A high VCR is great…but a high rate of store visits and purchases after viewing is better.

Relationships Matter

This is only possible with a strong relationship between advertisers and their platform partners. By partnering with advertisers and agencies Digital Remedy can combine data sources and report on lower funnel metrics and conversions. OTT attribution technology is able to report on conversions by creative, geo, publisher, date, device, channel, number of exposures, time between exposure and conversion, and custom conversion windows. Not only does the tech enable marketers to actually gain insights into their audience, but it enables them to optimize their campaigns to KPIs like site visits, online sales, foot traffic, and app installs.

With Flip we’ve provided brands with the ability to optimize their OTT campaigns based on actual data, as opposed to market research or intuition. Flip can provide valuable insights into how each creative is performing and driving conversions. For example a popular D2C brand recently leveraged Flip to run a nationwide campaign targeting millennial men. They ran four different creative with a roughly even impression distribution, however one of those creatives drove 40% of conversions. This is an insight that only flip can provide. OTT attribution technology has helped brands achieve ROIs of over 1500% and ROAS of 1660%. It’s not just about the ROI numbers either, there’s a lot of information gained by understanding what platforms are working and what devices and channels are working for each campaign and creative.

OTT Attribution Technology Is The Future

This new idea of OTT attribution solves one of the problems that has been plaguing advertisers and marketers since the beginning of the industry, how do you measure the success of a campaign? Previously within the OTT realm there was no answer to this question other than to try and explain why VCR and views are important for brand recognition. But that’s not enough. OTT attribution technology provides advertisers and agencies the information they need to truly measure their ROAS. There’s no need to wantonly spend budgets on OTT and CTV. Give consumers what they need, where they need it, when they want it, and watch ROIs skyrocket by using OTT attribution.