Amazon OTT – Democratizing Video Advertising

The way we consume content has changed. A communal living room television used to be the solitary video delivery device for the majority of households. Nowadays, individuals stream personalized content on smart TVs, laptops, mobile phones and tablet devices. 

Despite this drastic change in consumer behavior, video advertising has traditionally remained a luxury reserved for big brands with deep pockets. 

However, the fragmentation and personalization of digital media is causing a shift. There is increasing buzz about Amazon over-the-top (OTT) video ads which allow advertisers to target relevant audiences and reach them via their video streaming devices (such as Fire TV).




What Are Amazon Over-The-Top (OTT) Ads?

OTT ads are video ads delivered over an internet connection with a streaming device. The non-skippable ads on OTT are created and managed through Amazon’s Demand Side Platform (DSP).

There’s no other way to say it: streaming content has become mainstream. Approximately 70 million US households watch OTT content for an average of 102 hours per month.

Therefore, due to the abundance of data points at their fingertips, OTT advertisers can reach unique and relevant audiences at scale.


Amazon is strongly pushing OTT

OTT ads were the only campaign type directly mentioned in the recent ADCon recap published on Amazon Advertising’s blog:

“OTT is affordable, measurable, and gives advertisers scale. Historically, linear TV was king, and those ads required significant budgets, which wasn’t an option for many brands. The consistent rise in OTT viewing has changed the advertising landscape. Brands can now communicate their narrative the same way they would on a traditional broadcast network, but without the significant spend required of linear television.”

“Plus, OTT delivers better relevancy because we’re able to reach audiences based on shopping/viewing signals versus buying on demos, or dayparts. OTT, and services delivering premium content like IMDb TV, captures the attention of viewers in a TV-quality ad-viewing experience, without the TV budgets and with measurable results.”

– Mark Eamer, VP, IMDb TV


Amazon OTT ads appear alongside high-quality context

Your video ads could appear:

  • On top TV networks, such as Fox, Discovery, AMC, CNNGo, Bloomberg, CBS and many more
  • During live sporting events, such as Thursday Night Football
  • On Amazon’s curated news app
  • During IMDb TV programming, such as Star Trek Beyond, Shrek, Life of Pi, Mad Men, Lost, Malcolm in the Middle and Schitt’s Creek.


watching TV


How can limited budget advertisers make the most out of OTT?

Brands with limited video advertising experience need to first understand the fundamentals of programmatic advertising in order to achieve success with OTT. We’ve outlined the basic setup steps below.


Create an Amazon DSP Account

All OTT ads are run through Amazon DSP, which is a programmatic advertising platform. 

DSP is available to advertisers who sell products on Amazon as well as those who don’t. There are two options; self-service (you are in total control of your DSP campaigns) and managed-service (comes with consultative account management service from Amazon, typically requires a minimum monthly DSP ad spend of $35,000 USD).

Alternatively, you could partner with a leading DSP agency such as Bobsled to manage your account. Learn more about Bobsled’s DSP service by reading the case study below:


Amazon DSP Retargeting – The First 30 Days


Setting up an OTT Campaign

If you have a self-service DSP account, OTT campaigns are set up in the same way as a regular DSP campaign.

Note: Goal KPI is not necessary for OTT on connected devices because the ads are not skippable.




Do Your Homework Before Proceeding With OTT

  • The most important factor – only use high quality video content. Subpar content will not have the desired impact on your audience. OTT requires either 15 or 30 second videos.
  • Set budget caps to protect yourself at the order level! 
  • Verify audience profiles with trusted with parties before campaigns launch
  • Submit creative way ahead of time in case changes need to be made

Do Not ‘Set and Forget’

Emerging brands should start small with OTT spend and scale up slowly. OTT provides great insights about how the video is being consumed so you can adjust your strategy accordingly.


example 2


Need help managing Amazon OTT?

Book a free consultation with the Bobsled team below.




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Tom Crosthwaite