The Art, Science And Pitfalls Of Storytelling In OTT

"On TV And Video" is a column exploring opportunities and challenges in advanced TV and video.

Today’s column is written by Tal Chalozin, co-founder and chief technology officer at Innovid.

While traditional TV is a huge industry, the future of TV is becoming increasingly digital, with over-the-top (OTT) media platforms leading the way.

With many people choosing to watch premium, long-form video content on a TV screen, a new range of possibilities is available for advertisers. They can combine the precision of digital advertising with the immersive canvas of large television sets to tell compelling stories and gain viewers’ attention. Any video advertising campaign that lacks OTT storytelling risks missing out on a critical opportunity and may even be perceived as irrelevant.

It’s a mistake to only build video marketing strategies from a desktop or mobile point of view. All components of an ad – from picture and sound quality to storyline, call to action, measurement and analysis – need to be designed with the big screen in mind. Since content may be viewed on a crisp 65-inch Ultra HD 4K screen where the call to action won’t have a click-through option, advertisers must adapt and design accordingly.

When developing content, marketers must contend with a new set of viewer expectations. One of the reasons the OTT market is gaining popularity is because viewers value quality and prefer greater choice and control over their viewing habits, including the advertising experience. No longer is TV viewing a one-way communication experience. Instead, it needs to shift to a two-way dialogue that engages the viewer in a captivating way to tell a story.

Another mistake that marketers make is failing to take into account the new attention currency. Telling a captivating story in the age of shortened attention spans requires creativity. Ads no longer have to follow a linear experience, where a series of ads is shown between content. OTT advertising can present a dialogue with viewers and, even more importantly, a way to tailor that experience and sequence to an individual. When marketers own the full experience and get 100% share of voice, it shifts the rate of return and engagement and enables better creative, using targeted data that takes into account not only demographics but also shopping patterns and interests.

Ne formats and technological advancements also offer unique ways to capture attention and creatively connect with audiences, and by not tapping into that innovation, marketers will be left behind in the OTT era. For example, the six-second ad presents new opportunities and a different creative canvas for marketers: How do you tell a story in six seconds and appeal to the viewer to engage further?

There has been no shortage of ad experience innovation, coming from many players. Traditional TV networks, such as TNT and TBS, are expanding the omnichannel experience with functionality like mobile casting to smoothly transfer the viewing experience to the big screen. Fox Network Group is offering viewers a choice in the ad experience they are most interested in, to better value their attention. And digital native networks like Crackle and Hulu are delivering interactive and addressable experiences across many living room devices.

OTT is a vital component of any premium inventory, but the rules change when it comes to successful storytelling on OTT channels. Marketers need to create storylines that work on the big screen of television, while taking viewer expectations and new ad experiences into account. OTT audiences do not experience content in the same way, and interactivity will be key in capturing the shortened attention span. The challenges may be new with OTT, but the opportunities – from nonlinear ad experiences to more creative formats and technologies – are as big as the OTT market itself.

Follow Innovid (@innovid) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

 

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