Safeguard Your Brand Against Ad-wary Online Streaming Viewers
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To effectively capture consumer attention, marketers must understand the ever-changing media landscape. Leverage these insights to optimize your ads for the modern TV consumer.

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As internet speed and viewing options continue to increase, more consumers are opting for online over-the-top (OTT) streaming services. One result of this is that viewers are consuming media in more contexts: on the-go, at home, alone, with company, and at all hours of the day. These different contexts directly affect how, where, and whether viewers see ads. Smart brands see this shift in how viewers consume media as an opportunity to tailor their marketing campaigns to optimize viewer impact.

The first step in this process is to recognize and activate on the crucial role cultural background plays when it comes to online streaming. We’ve identified six places where culture shows up that brands can leverage: content, consumer behavior, devices, advertising, language, and price.

One of the key ways that consumers are looking to customize their experienceespecially Hispanic and Black viewers—is by opting out of ads, even if this requires payment! Given consumer interest and the increasingly available option for consumers to opt out of ads, brands need to understand what sort of advertising consumers find engaging and are willing to watch.

So, what type of ads do people prefer?

  • – Across groups, people most appreciate ads that are “fresh.” This is crucial to stay relevant and capture attention in an over-stimulating, information-heavy world

  • – In terms of ad content, Hispanic consumers like when advertisements mirror the tone of what they’re currently watching so that it feels more like a seamless experience
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  • – Multicultural viewers across the board are especially likely to enjoy ads that feature their favorite actors from the shows they’re watching

In addition to the content of the ads themselves, we see from the data below that almost half of all consumers, especially Black and Hispanic viewers, simply want the option to choose which ads they watch. Consumers have control over so many other aspects of their media-streaming experience that now active ad choice is becoming a desire and even an expectation.

Not only do consumers want to choose the ads they watch, they also have strong preferences around how they experience ads. When choosing their optimal ad breaks, most consumers prefer fewer but longer breaks so that their viewing is interrupted less often.

Within those longer breaks, Black and White consumers lean towards fewer and longer ad spots which indicates a desire for deeper narratives. On the other hand, Asian and Bicultural Hispanic viewers more heavily favor a host of shorter ads that take place consecutively during longer breaks. This may reflect a preference for fresh, eye-catching visuals over ad plot development.

The outlier here is Unacculturated Hispanic viewers, who prefer many short ads that happen during shorter, more frequent breaks. This group’s strikingly different preference merits a targeted advertising approach to keep them engaged.

Executional Strategies

In order to excel in this competitive advertising space, brands need to take notice of consumer demands and rise to the occasion! The following executional strategies illustrate emerging ad trends in digital media that align with consumer interests.

The first is a direction towards non-disruptive advertising formats that don’t distract the viewer from the content they’re enjoying. The underlying motivation here is to improve the advertising experience for viewers. Recent developments in this area include “pause ads” and “binge ads.”

  • Pause ads are advertisements that appear on the viewer’s screen when they pause what they’re watching. This non-intrusive approach takes advantage of the time when viewers aren’t actively watching their show and are least likely to mind seeing an ad
  • Binge ads are those that are targeted specifically to viewers who binge, or marathon, their content. When a viewer exhibits binge-watching behavior, streaming platforms can reward their high engagement with ad-free episodes “sponsored” by a brand

Binge ads work well across the market by playing into consumer behavior trends that already exist. As you might expect, binge watching is popular for pretty much everyone. More than two-thirds of each segment—except for Asian consumers—tune in for long spans at a time and will likely appreciate these relevant binge ads.

Secondly, a push towards interactive user experiences is bringing innovations like choice-based ads and shoppable ads.

  • – Choice-based ads permit viewers to choose which ads they want to see from a brand. This option gives viewers the flexibility to tailor their advertising experience to what’s most relevant for them

  • – Shoppable ads
     allow viewers to learn more about brands and streamline the process of buying products featured in advertisements. This includes scannable QR codes or information sent directly to a mobile number or email associated with the viewer’s account

As you can see, there are many distinct nuances in media preferences and behaviors across cultural segments. Knowing your audience will help you meet them where they’re at. When you’re strategizing for your next media advertising campaign, keep these key takeaways in mind:

      1. Consumers most prefer ads that are “fresh.” Incorporate of-the-moment trends into your advertising to capture the attention of viewers across the board
      2. Most viewers want fewer but longer ad breaks. Aim for a “sweet spot” of medium-length ads to appeal to the general audience, or take a targeted approach for specific segments by altering ad length to fit their preferences
      3. Take advantage of innovative advertising formats emerging in OTT media. Consumers are eager to experience things in a new way, and many of these new formats will improve their overall viewing experience, like binge ads

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