What Is OTT Advertising? A Guide for Amazon Sellers

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You’ve probably heard about it, but what is OTT, exactly? OTT is short for “over-the-top” video content. It is streaming content offered to users on the Internet. OTT is usually featured on platforms like Netflix.

However, the term also refers to video ads featured in online streaming. Thus, OTT is a new video advertising technology, designed to increase your brand’s reach.

But what is the difference between OTT and TV? And what makes OTT advertising better than traditional TV ads? 

Below, we’ll cover:

  • What is an OTT platform?
  • What is OTT and how it works
  • OTT Performance metrics
  • Benefits of OTT advertising

Let’s learn everything in detail.

What is an OTT Platform?


As we said before, OTT stands for “over-the-top” video content. Though some also call it streaming content. Now, is OTT the same as streaming? Well, yes. But you could also argue that OTT goes one step above streaming. It’s a new way to grow your audience.

Back in 2017, around 60% of young adults preferred online streaming to watch TV. Imagine where those numbers are now! EMarketer states that over 46 million US homes will cancel their traditional TV subscription, in favor of OTT video content. 

That’s why advertising is shifting the game toward streaming platforms. Netflix is a clear example, thanks to its new basic plan with ads.

Amazon is also taking advantage of this market shift. Jeff Bezos’s company is always pushing for paid ads throughout their services, including Twitch and Prime Video. That’s why they launched Amazon OTT in 2019.

So what is Amazon OTT? Simple, it’s the retail giant’s answer to traditional TV commercials. OTT advertising appears before, during, and after video content. The technology relies on Amazon Demand-Side Platform (DSP) to reach users throughout Fire TV and Prime Video.


One key difference between OTT and TV is that the latter uses sophisticated targeting, attribution, and scaling features. Thus, Amazon OTT can showcase ads catered to a user’s unique tastes and interests.

Such ads are not always skippable, users typically view them until the end. This is the magic of Amazon OTT, since they allow brands to share their message to relevant audiences at scale.

But this does not mean that you’ll advertise during a specific show, based on the aggregated attributes of the people watching it.

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What is OTT and How it Works


Here’s how you can use OTT advertising:

  • Reach in-market audiences that are already looking for your products on Amazon. 
  • Use lifestyle targeting to reach users whose interests align with your product catalog. 
  • Retarget ads to audiences that already viewed your offers.

Note that OTT ads are not clickable, however. Amazon rates their impact based on impressions. You can also measure the impact of your campaigns by rating awareness, consideration, and sales.

The ads reports state how many people you reach, and if they’re making purchases after watching your ads. So, there’s no guessing whether your ad equals revenue. You can easily see what’s working and make key changes to improve your ad performance.

See how Hershey significantly expanded their audience with Amazon OTT advertising


To get started, access the Amazon OTT inventory through Amazon DSP. Then, follow these steps while setting up your DSP campaigns:

  1. Identify your audience with Amazon’s Audience Solutions. This tool can help you make data-driven selections to target specific users. For instance, you can segregate the audience based on the types of shows they watch.
  2. Set KPIs that can help you track growth while performing an OTT campaign. Try to establish realistic goals that will help you drive tangible growth at the beginning. You want to set up a success benchmark, which you can surpass later on.
  3. Execute your campaign. If you need resources, use Amazon’s Video Creative Builder to create and test new ads. Then, track the results and make changes based on the current performance and expected goals.


Amazon OTT Performance Tracking


  • Reach metrics. Measures your unique reach and its impact on sales. Here’s where you can find new leads to transport into the marketing funnel.
  • Brand search metrics. Showcases the impact that your ads have on driving customer research. It can also help you rate your visibility on Amazon search.
  • Brand lift. Tracks changes in your brand’s perception. It’s a good metric to keep track of changes in audience demographics. 
  • New-to-brand: Highlights the new customers that your ads are attracting.

If you want deeper customer insights, use DataHawk’s Amazon analytics tools. This will help you better understand your customers. You’ll also learn how users engage with your products. 

Related content: Amazon OTT Best Practices


Who Can Use Amazon OTT ads?


Self-service users on the DSP platform can manage their video streaming campaigns on their own. However, brands can also work with ad consultants approved by Amazon.

In short, both Amazon 1P and 3P sellers, and also marketing agencies are eligible to use OTT ads. The real question is about costs.

A self-service brand can allocate its own budget for OTT ads. As for the managed services, Amazon requires a $15,000 minimum spend.


Such a budget may be too much for some sellers. Luckily, Amazon has many advertising options to work with. For example, Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brands. You can also enhance your game with Sponsored Display ads.

Related content: How to Improve Your Content Marketing Strategy


Benefits of OTT Advertising


Since most adults use streaming nowadays, OTT is gaining ground as a conduit between sellers and customers.

There are many ways to take advantage of OTT. You’ll be able to get the most out of it if you’ve taken the time to know your audience.

Although it is similar to other providers, Amazon OTT features several key benefits over its competitors:

    1. Improved Targeting. Amazon knows a lot about its customers, and offers many targeting options to merchants looking to reach new audiences. So, you can reach audiences that’ll be more interested in your brand.
    2. Accurate Insights. Amazon reports the ROI that sellers get from your ads. Thus, you’ll know how many users you’re reaching.
    3. Growing Your Brand On and Off Amazon. OTT enables you to tap into Amazon’s market base. However, you can also share your ads through 3P publishers under Amazon’s network.
    4. Access to “unreachable” audiences. Viewers are migrating to online streaming in increasing numbers. This means you can now advertise to previously unreachable audiences.  And since Amazon ads are unskippable, ultimately, a lot more people will know your brand.
    5. Efficient Ad Spending. Amazon Publisher Services (APS) integrate directly with OTT. This allows advertisers to monitor what they are paying for without any extraneous fees.
    6. Performance-based Pricing. Amazon OTT lets you choose where and when to advertise. Plus, you’ll only spend based on your ad’s performance. This way, you’ll reap the most out of your OTT ads.

Related content: How to Create Profitable Amazon Marketing Strategies


Latest Amazon OTT Advertising Features


  1. Conquesting. Hit up the screens of users who saw products from your competitors. This allows you to reach new customers, and give them a reason to rethink their purchasing decisions.
  2. Genre Blocking. Choose from up to 5 genres to exclude your ads from. This way, your ads will get in front of the right audience. Note, however, that this feature is only available for US customers.
  3. Audience guarantees. Buy ads against the audience you want to reach. With this feature you only pay for the impressions reaching a relevant audience as per your set criteria.
  4. OTT creative remarketing. Stay relevant by reminding people about you. Think of it as retargeting to users that already saw your ads. At the moment, this feature is exclusive to Amazon US.


Final Thoughts


Online streaming is rising and video advertising is back in the living room. Now, Amazon Ads is leading the way ahead.

Use Amazon OTT ads to boost brand awareness and grow your audience. And once you bring them in, keep the momentum going!

Encourage customer reviews to convince new leads about your worth. you only have to pay for the impressions that you get. You can then allocate the rest of your budget in new strategies to drive consumer trust.

With the proper use of Amazon advertising, you can attract customers with unprecedented power and reach.




Pooja Kothari is a content & community specialist at DataHawk, a powerful eCommerce Business Management Software providing Brands, Retailers & Agencies, with the analytics, optimization tools & professional services they need to fuel their eCommerce growth. Pooja manages and produces content to help sellers sell better on Amazon. Her unique perspective stems from her experience, both as an engineer and as a content specialist. 

Esteban-MuñozEsteban Muñoz is a content writer at AMZ Advisers, with several years’ experience in digital marketing and e-commerce. Esteban and the AMZ Advisers team have been able to achieve incredible growth on Amazon for their clients by optimizing and managing their accounts, and creating in-depth content marketing strategies.


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