With the shift from Live TV to Video-on-Demand and Connected TV already disrupting both the TV and digital industries, the COVID-19 virus and social distancing will only accelerate this transition.

With almost half of all TV viewership taking place among A55+, and Sports, Live Events, and News accounting for most ratings among younger audiences, what will happen in a world temporarily without sports or live events?

Here’s what advertisers can expect for OTT viewership in the age of social isolation and some practical tips for your OTT marketing campaigns.

 

OTT Viewership Will Climb During Social Isolation

 

The long term effect on the acceleration of cord-cutting, filming production halts, and makegoods on quarterly upfront guarantees will be interesting to follow over the coming months —but we can all count on new all-time highs in viewership on Connected TVs in the immediate term. 

Certainly, some of that viewership will happen in ad-free environments like Disney+, Amazon Prime, and Netflix, but audiences will also keep track of the election and pandemic news in ad-supported environments like CBS, NBC, & ABC News, Newsy, Cheddar, and Vice on TV. 

Consumers will binge their favorite shows, and dig into new ones on Hulu, The Roku Channel, and Freedive. Kids staying at home will be put in front of educational and entertainment content on YouTube, Discovery – and probably sneak in Dude Perfect, Vevo, and MTV when their parents are working and not watching.

 I am now finally two seasons into The Handmaid’s Tale and have seen both great and poor examples of advertisers leveraging the space during this crisis.

 

3 Ways Marketers Should Approach OTT During Coronavirus

 

Advanced marketers who are in control of their inventory, audiences, and frequency have an opportunity. 

Others, however, should proceed with caution. Now more than ever, OTT represents scale. There a ton of eyeballs to get in front of. 

While TV advertisers may be struggling with locked-in upfront commitments and creative production costs, OTT advertisers have the flexibility to adjust, ramp up, or launch quickly and programmatically.  

Advertisers with a product suited for social distancing (delivery services, online education, insurance, tune in, tax services, pharmacies, and more) have a real opportunity to ramp up investment.  Brand-centric storytellers have an opportunity to get their stories in front of a mass audience of new proportions. Performance-oriented advertisers face a mixed bag, though there is a huge opportunity to reach targeted audiences and build retargeting pools for the future through OTT. 

On the one hand, America is at home, in front of their TV, phone in hand, and many are making e-commerce purchases. Advertisers using purchase intent and shopping modeled data via Amazon, for example, will have an advantage in driving sales in the short term. 

However, we are not only socially distanced right now, but our consumer confidence is also shaken by the economic outlook, and many of us think twice before making purchases (or signing up for new subscription streaming services).

For advertisers who are able to activate in OTT / Connected TV now that more of us than ever are watching, this is what you have to keep in mind:

 

1. Be Sensitive With Creative

 

Now is not the time to encourage people to come into your stores to try on new spring fashion.

Instead, focus on motivational brand messaging that speaks to what about your brand unites us all, or performance messaging focused on eComm and delivery options.

 

2. Help Those In Need

 

Now is the time to support partnership with a food bank, hospital, and support the medical professionals on the front. Brand and perform in part by donating a portion of each purchase made to a relevant cause.

Bandcamp, for example, is waiving all their fees this Friday so that Musicians facing the loss of income receive 100% of proceeds.

 

3. Ensure You’re In Control of Your Inventory and Audience Targeting

 

Keep in mind that children will be at home and watching streaming video more than ever.

For some marketers that is an opportunity, but now is not the time to accidentally run political attack ads, medical services, or pharmaceutical ads in family programming.

 

Want to learn more?

Tinuiti’s COVID-19 Resource Hub

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