Ashwini Gangal

Without enough data, how do advertisers navigate the OTT world?

While advertisers are increasing their spends on streaming platforms, without a universally accepted viewership metric, they’re still shooting in the dark.

Targeted advertising funds free content. But in the absence of a universally accepted viewership metric on video streaming platforms, how do advertisers make sound decisions around their OTT spends? How do media buyers tell their clients how much incremental reach OTT is giving them over TV?

While firms like Nielsen, Ormax, Comscore, etc. are trying to hold up a flashlight, advertisers are, for the most part, grappling in the dark.

Another grouse is – individual platforms are not transparent enough with advertisers. Is media planning then perception based? Perhaps, genre based? How do advertisers profile today’s OTT audience? How deep do they go – surely it’s more granular than age, gender and geography? And what tools do they use to dig?

Also, how much do modern day device dynamics matter? As more and more and more families huddle around the smart TV to watch OTT content, does audience profiling and media planning change markedly? I saw down with three marketers and a senior media buying authority at vdonxtasia Week, to discuss the subject.

Watch the full discussion below or read on for highlights.

“OTT has become mainstream,” said Smita Murarka, CMO, Duroflex, “It’s (up to) all of us to put our problems and questions out there, and create systems and measures… Definitely, the problem of OTT today is that it doesn’t have clearly defined rules, regulation metrics, or a body of regulation. TV has BARC, YouTube is an open platform and data about consumer behaviour is easily available across the funnel. So yes, OTT (the AVOD streaming universe outside of YouTube) really needs to come together and answer that question for advertisers. While we continue to invest (on OTT), it’s complicated; the more our OTT spends go up, the more helpless we’ll get…” About 20 per cent of her brand’s digital video spends are on OTT.

Cryptocurrency exchange CoinDCX advertised on OTT before spending on TV. The brand’s brand, marketing and communications head Ramalingam Subramanian said, counter intuitively, “The premise we started with is – from a pure metrics point of view, TV is much more difficult to crack than OTT,” before going on to concede, “There’s a long way to go. We expect better standardisation.” For now, his strategy is about choosing the right “content – say, a specific format or language or attitude domain”, over choosing a particular “platform”. For him, advertising on OTT is like “experimenting”, before scaling up the media plan for TV.

"I need numbers when I have to differentiate between OTTs – I need a metric to compare (platforms)"
Jai Lala, CEO, Zenith

Kiran Giradkar, CMO, Nilon's, said, “For FMCG brands like ours (as opposed to, say, e-commerce brands), it’s still about the upper funnel of marketing – reach, frequency, awareness – and not so much about digital performance marketing. For us, OTT spending is about connected televisions – 20 per cent of my budget is spent there.”

Jai Lala, CEO, Zenith – The ROI Agency, said, “I don’t see a solution for this (lack of a universally accepted viewership metric on OTT) in the next two to three years,” adding, to spell out the problem, “I need numbers when I have to differentiate between OTTs – I need a metric to compare (platforms).” Many media buying agencies, like Zenith, use their own tools and data to bridge the gap, but that’s not enough.

This panel discussion was recorded on February 7, 2022 at the 6th edition of vdonxtasia. Conference sponsors: Presenting partner - Voot. Insights partner - Nepa.

Nepa India is a consumer science firm that helps some of the world's most reputable brands in over 50 countries to unlock growth and profitability across all main areas impacting their customer relationship: marketing optimisation, innovation and customer experience.

Headquartered in Stockholm, Nepa in India is creating unconventional solutions in digital research for their clients in emerging categories. With focus on the fast-evolving content ecosystem, Nepa has supported major OTT players, production houses and media majors to tell incredible stories, develop impactful content, and optimise viewer experience. Nepa works with qualitative, quantitative and new-age tech domains to understand consumers. And it is creating research literature for emerging categories like OTT, consumer tech and emerging cohorts across established industries.

Backed by its strong culture of consulting expertise, Nepa's core purpose is to make research marketing friendly and redefine the way consumer science is perceived.

Nepa is known for its straightforward, 'no-nonsense consumer insights' approach to nurture and grow its client's brands. Nepa also creates thought-provoking and powerful thought leadership content through its marquee properties, Originals & Espresso.

Have news to share? Write to us