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As OTT streaming viewership continues to grow in the US, it’s clear that OTT video advertising can help marketers drive awareness and build their brands. That’s why we see upper funnel brand reach and awareness as key KPIs in media plans and campaign measurement studies.

However, marketers are increasingly looking for ways to drive impact across the full marketing funnel, from upper-funnel reach to mid-funnel consideration, and all the way to lower-funnel conversion. In fact, the 2021 Nielsen Annual Marketing Report revealed that marketers identified full-funnel media ROI, in addition to top-of-funnel awareness, as a key metric to understand for their organizations.  Amazon Advertising’s head of OTT measurement and research Maggie Zhang offers a three-pronged approach for success.

Over-the-top (OTT) video advertising has unique advantages to deliver on full-funnel media ROI, largely due to its insights-driven audience activation, digital measurability and advanced advertising technology enablement. For that reason, marketers can leverage OTT advertising to reach the most relevant audiences, deepen engagement, and optimize on full-funnel performance measurement.

There are three tangible and forward-looking solutions from the creative, audience and measurement perspectives that will help empower marketers to drive impact across the full marketing funnel while providing great customer experiences.

1. Use innovative video ad creatives to enable actions.

OTT video advertising solutions allow for digital interactivity and actionability that may shorten or even collapse the traditional shopper journey from initial video ad exposure to conversion. Beyond just making a brand impression, actionable and interactive video ads?sometimes coined as shoppable video ads?can inspire a range of consumer actions that marketers desire. For example, viewers can take an action, such as visiting a brand’s site or product page, adding a product to the shopping cart, requesting additional information, or making a purchase, in response to an OTT video ad, all with one click of their remote control. Though still in its early stage, this emerging advertising creative solution can bridge video and commerce to create an ultimate convergence of brand building and performance for marketers to achieve the full-funnel ROI.

2. Use OTT audiences to deepen customer engagement and conversion.

It is important for marketers to continuously engage with their audience along the full customer journey, beyond the initial connection. The latest OTT video advertising solutions can effectively reach a new streaming audience and then continue to engage that same audience throughout the funnel by leveraging solutions including OTT, display and OLV. This enables marketers to share their brand’s message along the customer journey, deepening engagement and consideration as a result.

3. Advance omnichannel outcome measurement to fully measure and optimize on OTT’s full-funnel impact.

As Peter Drucker’s widely quoted saying goes, “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.” We constantly hear from marketers about their needs to better understand the impact of their OTT investments across the full funnel. To truly unlock OTT advertising’s full-funnel impact, we need to move beyond the current measurement mindset of reach, frequency and brand health, traditionally reserved for upper-funnel brand performance measurement only.

OTT video advertising measurement needs to incorporate omnichannel outcomes of mid-funnel consideration and lower-funnel conversion, like site visits, purchases and sales. It also requires more real-time reporting and integration with digital media buying mechanisms, like DSPs, to allow for automated mid-flight optimization. Marketers will be able to shift budget to OTT creatives, placements, and audiences that are realizing higher omnichannel outcomes across the funnel stages while the campaign is still running to optimize the full-funnel impact.

Making OTT video advertising a full-funnel marketing solution is within reach

The ever-evolving OTT streaming landscape is full of possibility and opportunity for marketers. Looking ahead, we are optimistic about the ability OTT advertising has to deliver on brand reach, as well as meaningful and impactful outcomes along the purchase funnel.

The creative, audience, and measurement solutions discussed above are tangible developments happening as we speak to fulfill OTT video advertising’s full-funnel promise. These offerings will ultimately provide a holistic and transparent view of how OTT advertising complements and amplifies other media channels and tactics to create lasting connections for customers and drive omnichannel ROI for marketers.   

Maggie Zhang is head of OTT measurement and research at Amazon Advertising.

From late April until early May, The Drum is taking a deep dive into what’s in store for the small screen as we launch our Future of TV hub.