How marketers can make the most out of their OTT spend

This article was sponsored by iQiyi International.

OTT is fast becoming a platform that consumers flock to for content. A survey by The Trade Desk and Kantar last November revealed that 57% of OTT viewers increased streaming during COVID-19. This momentum is likely to continue as 3 in 4 viewers are expected to maintain or increase how much OTT they watch post-pandemic.

The survey also found that 180 million Southeast Asians use OTT streaming services, and advertisers can reach more than 100 million consumers in Southeast Asia on ad-supported platforms.

This signals a lucrative market for advertisers to tap into, said panellists Mitch Waters, SVP - Southeast Asia, India, Australia and New Zealand, The Trade Desk; and Elaine Tan, head of partnerships, iQiyi International, Southeast Asia, at MARKETING-INTERACTIVE’s Content 360 virtual conference. Given that 1 in 5 Southeast Asian OTT viewers has stopped watching traditional television, it’s becoming more urgent by the day.

When it comes to developing an advertising strategy tailored to OTT, Waters said it primarily boils down to the advertiser’s objectives. And there are several strategies for advertisers to consider. Contextual strategy, a common approach used by marketers, is relevant in the OTT environment as well. For example, a beauty brand - whose younger, female consumers are likely to watch Korean drama - would want to show their ads around similar types of content. 

Another option is to focus on buying audiences programmatically, building a targeting strategy by layering in data, whether brand-owned first party data, or data from a third party, and then reaching these consumers on OTT.  

“OTT is just as flexible as your digital strategy, it is not limiting,” he said. At the same time, brands also have the option of repurposing their linear ads for OTT advertising.

“[The linear ad] can absolutely translate [to OTT]. It is not the optimal way, but it is definitely a great way to tie in to OTT if you have not considered it previously,” he said. 

However, Waters encourages companies that have the budget to replicate or create custom creatives for the OTT environment to do so because this will bring in a far better outcome.

“Your linear TV creative is viewed on a big screen with usually more than one person viewing it. So, it has to be more generic, louder and less personalised. On OTT platforms, however, if the consumer is interested and engaged with whatever niche OTT content they are consuming, they’re also much more likely to be interested and engaged with the advertising content too. This provides advertisers with a valuable opportunity to reach these specific audiences through more personalised ads,” he said. “Instead of having marketers allocate large sums of cash to serve an ad for a product or service that is only relevant to 0.01% of the millions of viewers on mainstream TV, channels such as iQiyi enables brands to reach its target audience in a highly primed and engaged state.”

The type of content that best suits OTT advertising

While content can certainly be repurposed for OTT, the type of content also matters in getting the extra mileage brands seek with consumers, iQiyi’s Tan said. She added that branded content is popular among its clients, especially in-show product placements and brand integrations.

According to her, it is no longer just about having a brand logo integrated into the content, but more on associating the brand’s natively with the content – especially content that co-shares the brand’s values.

“I think this is very important and I see this coming out of brands in Southeast Asia more,” she said.

Another avenue for brands is sponsored content, with programme sponsorships being the most common one among its clients.

“Programme sponsorships create a deeper association between the brand and the content it resonates with. There is also co-branded content that allows brands to leverage on an existing IP or a format that they can co-create content for,” Tan explained.

Brands that seek the opportunity to fully customise their content can also take an ad-funded approach, also known as commissioned content. This content is created by the publisher for a brand and is done based on the understanding of the client’s brand brief.

Speaking on the growth of iQiyi in the region, Tan said the team was definitely seeing more ad-related enquires around OTT from potential brand partners that are interested in high quality content. She attributes this to the shift in consumer behaviour from traditional to online media which has contributed to the rise in viewership on mobile. 

“I think the fact that OTT offers more targeting options is also very favourable and our data-driven capabilities enable us to deliver valuable key insights and ROI back to advertisers,” Tan said.

Last November, the company tied up with Singapore Tourism Board to have the latter as its exclusive destination partner for the third season of its variety competition Youth With You. The multi-year partnership is one of the ways iQiyi is seeking to expand its global footprint. 

More recently, iQiyi tied up with entertainment company G.H.Y Culture & Media to establish a talent management agency to be based in Singapore. The joint venture will identify and promote talent across Southeast Asia, and aims to boost both companies’ presence in the Southeast Asian media and entertainment scene. 

To find out more advertising opportunities with iQiyi International, contact

About iQiyi International Advertising

Headquartered in Singapore, iQiyi International is an on-demand video streaming service providing beloved pan-Asian entertainment to international viewers. Offering both VIP subscription and ad-supported services. iQiyi International also offer brands premium Asian content, high value audience, brand safe environment and effective advertising solutions such as standard advertising, content advertising and Joint Business Partner. iQiyi International can be enjoyed on any device via and the app. iQiyi International is owned by iQIYI, Inc. (Nasdaq: IQ).