AdvertisingDigital Video

Digital Video: The Big 3

By April 24, 2018 May 29th, 2018 No Comments

It’s no surprise that digital video content has exploded in the advertising marketplace over the past few years. Sight, sound, motion, emotion; all of the wonderful qualities that helped television remain an advertising titan since the 1950’s have now transferred to the mobile devices carried in our pockets and purses every day.

There are a lot of video platforms available to advertise your business on. A LOT. And it can be confusing to decipher the best one for you, which is why we always seek to educate our clients on what makes each platform unique and if/when they should be included in an advertising strategy. The Big 3 tiers of digital video are Video On Demand (VOD), Connected & Streaming Television (OTT), and Programmatic Video.



Video On Demand (VOD)


VOD refers to the video that plays before and in between on-demand TV content using household-level targeting. These commercials are placed through local cable affiliates and run during programs the cable subscriber selects from their set-top box. The 30 second video is 100% force viewed and cannot be skipped in the same way you could with DVR. VOD is the most expensive digital video type in terms of cost-per-thousand impressions, but is also considered the most premium because of its big impact and limited inventory.


Example: Your potential customer is at home browsing through the On Demand menu from their cable box and decides to watch Scandal. During that show there is a commercial break and your video airs.



Connected & Streaming Television (OTT)


OTT is the video that plays before and in-between TV content on over-the-top devices and web-based streaming platforms. Connected devices include Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku Box, PlayStation, Xbox, and various Smart TV’s. Streaming placements for the 15 & 30 second videos include broadcast networks, cable networks, Hulu, Crackle, Pluto TV, Sling TV, Tubi TV, Vudu, etc. OTT provides a perfect solution to reach cord-cutters and cord-nevers, subsequently expanding your campaign’s reach. In terms of pricing, it is in the middle of the pack between VOD and Programmatic Video.


Example: Your potential customer is at home streaming the show Atlanta from their Roku Box. Your video airs right before the episode begins.



Programmatic Video


Let’s first start with the definition of programmatic, which is the automated process of purchasing digital ad inventory in a real-time bidding environment. Programmatic Video is what’s served before and in between premium content on leading publisher websites (i.e.,, as well as social media platforms (i.e. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat). Because of the massive amount of programmatic inventory available, you have the ability to layer in behavioral targeting, contextual targeting, device targeting, and re-targeting to reach your ideal audience pool. Programmatic Video is served in the standard 15 & 30 second lengths, but can also be customized for 6 second bumper ads (popular on YouTube) and 60+ second extended ads (popular on Facebook). This type of digital video is the most affordable, though it requires a knowledgeable digital media buyer to ensure brand safety and viewability standards are put in place.


Example: Your potential customer is on their laptop watching news clips on and your video airs before the next story appears. This person is also in the market for your product/service.



Buying The Right Digital Video Ads


Which platform gets the most viewership? As recent as 2013, most viewers watched digital video on their computers, smartphones, and tablets. By 2018, we’ve seen a major shift, with 20% of viewers streaming video via VOD and 29% via OTT, leaving computers, smartphones, and tablets to account for about half of all viewership. In order to reach the right audience at the right time, a diverse media mix is recommended for the healthiest digital campaign results.


This was a 30,000-foot view into the world of digital video advertising. To learn more, contact us today!


Source: FreeWheel, Video Monetization Report, Q3 2017.