The Top 5 OTT Targeting Options You Need to Know

The Top 5 OTT Targeting Options You Need to Know
By Jenny Thompson, Product Marketing
November 03, 2022

Data is instrumental for TV advertisers, especially when it comes to improving your targeting capabilities on OTT. There’s a variety of targeting strategies you can choose from to make sure your video advertising campaigns are as effective, cost efficient and contextually relevant as possible. 

Let’s take a quick spin through some of the most popular OTT targeting options — plus what OTT data you need to inform each.

Download the full ebook here: Your Guide to CTV Data—How to Target and Optimize Campaigns

What is OTT audience targeting?

OTT audience targeting refers to the process of finding the kinds of people you’d like to reach with your message so you can serve them OTT ads. 

Effective OTT targeting gets your message in front of your specific target audience — at the times they’re most likely to respond — to not just optimize your ad spending but ensure your ads are making the biggest impact.

Your best OTT targeting options

There are a variety of strategies for reaching your audience with OTT media, but at a minimum, here are the most important to become familiar with:

  • Retargeting

  • Lookalike targeting

  • Contextual targeting

  • Geolocation targeting

  • Time-of-day targeting

Each of these OTT targeting strategies can deliver results on its own — but once you’re familiar with them, consider combining them for even better performance. 

For example, you may choose to combine lookalike targeting with time-of-day targeting to serve your messaging to a prime audience at the specific times they’re most likely to take action. 

1. Retargeting

Retargeting is a form of advertising that helps brands re-engage users who’ve come to their websites — but left before converting. Retargeting is often done with tracking pixels or cookies that follow your visitor around after they leave your site. 

This can be a great way to reach people that you know already have an interest in what you offer with highly targeted advertising. For example, if someone looks at a particular car model or hotel property on your website, you can retarget this person with ads for that specific car or hotel.

This re-engagement can occur on the same website, on similar websites, or across media types via cross-screen activations. Sending an ad to a consumer’s CTV device and later sending another ad to their mobile device is an example of cross-screen retargeting.

2. Lookalike targeting

Lookalike targeting uses custom-built audiences that are meant to replicate a segment of your existing customer base — so you can deliver ads to an audience that ‘looks like’ your existing customers. You can create a lookalike audience using any data you have about what makes an ideal customer for your brand. 

For example, your own data may indicate that your best customers are:

  • Females between 18-34

  • Fashion forward

  • Purchase sustainable products

  • Watches comedy programs

Or maybe your best customer is:

  • Male between 45-54

  • Outdoor enthusiasts

  • Buys hiking gear often

  • Loves action movies

  • Watches live sports

Lookalike targeting finds more people like these ideal customers, then serves them your advertising messages. These lookalike customers are more prone to becoming actual customers than non-lookalikes, so this is a great way to expand your reach while still remaining ROI-focused.

Related content: OTT Advertising—Everything You Need to Know About Over the Top

3. Contextual targeting

Contextual OTT targeting helps to identify audiences that are already consuming media related to your campaign — and trafficking contextually relevant ads to them. 

For example, an advertiser could: 

  • Send an ad for a new oven to a CTV viewer who just finished watching a cooking show

  • Send an ad for a vacation destination to a viewer who just watched video content about travel.

The context of the ad to the surrounding media increases the likelihood that the targeted individual will engage with the ad and take action. 

Contextual targeting is largely based on TV viewership data (a type of event-based demographic data).

4. Geolocation targeting

Geolocation targeting allows you to pinpoint where an ideal customer is — and only market to this person when they are within a predefined location. 

Typically, this strategy has been used more by local brands. For instance, a local pizza shop may show ads to people who are within five miles of the restaurant. However, big brands are starting to integrate this tactic into their campaigns. Dunkin’, for example, has partnered with Waze to show ads to people in close proximity to Dunkin’ restaurant locations and offer these people driving directions for their coffee pitstop. 

Geolocation targeting helps you to reduce the number of wasted ad impressions, while maximizing local brand awareness. 

Unsurprisingly, this type of OTT targeting option is primarily based on location data.

5. Time-of-day targeting

Time-of-day targeting is similar to dayparting and refers to delivering ads to audiences based on specific time windows. Marketers select these windows to align with when they can reach the most people in their target audiences and/or when their audiences will be more receptive to their message.

For example, a restaurant looking to promote its new dinner offerings may heavy-up their campaign in the late afternoon and early evening hours when consumers start to get hungry. Or, a company pushing its solution for sleep disorders may run ads in the overnight hours only. 

To understand your best opportunities for time-of-day targeting, you want to use first-party data to understand the time that may generate maximum effect in addition to viewership data to understand that audience’s viewing behaviors. 

Want to start connecting with your audience via OTT advertising? Contact us today — we'll show you exactly how easy it is to get up and running.