The Rise of OTT Advertising for Restaurants

What is OTT Advertising?

Multimedia video concept on TV set in dark room. Man watching TV with remote control in hand.

OTT (“over-the-top”) advertising is a form of targeted, programmatic ad delivery via Internet-connected TV sets. Popular streaming media platforms like Netflix, HBO Max, Disney+ and Apple TV are all considered OTT. But with Hulu, Amazon Prime and all the traditional cable channels that now have streaming apps, advertisers can now also buy OTT advertising.

With an increasing trend of many consumers cutting traditional cable services (approximately 25.3 million households in 2020)[1], advertisers must now find new ways to reach their audiences in lieu of traditional commercials. The rapid increase in streaming popularity (about 70% of US citizens are subscribed to at least one OTT service)[2] has made OTT an ideal replacement for cable television ads.

What Are the Benefits of OTT Advertising?

Aside from the extensive reach of OTT advertising, this method of serving ads has several technological benefits over its predecessor.

  • Detailed targeting allows advertisers to deliver more personalized and relevant OTT ads to consumers based on demographics and interests.
  • The ability of OTT to track IP addresses across various household devices (cell phones, laptops, tablets, etc.) allows the platform to retarget households with ads related to their online browsing habits.
  • Advanced tracking capabilities allow OTT campaigns to optimize themselves based on changes in consumer behavior.

OTT Advertising and the Restaurant Industry

Of the many industries now dabbling in the rise of OTT advertising, the restaurant industry is one that is faring particularly well on the medium. Although this positive trajectory had already been on a steady rise, the culmination of more and more people streaming along with various in-person restrictions resulting from the pandemic has expedited the effectiveness of OTT advertising in the restaurant industry. More people are streaming than ever before and more people likely ordering food online and using apps at home.

For this reason, restaurants have begun to reallocate more and more of their marketing budgets from traditional commercials and print to largely digital mediums (ie. OTT) to more effectively reach their target audiences. What’s more, the OTT features described above allow for strategic retargeting of their ads over streaming platforms at times and to customers who are most likely to make a purchase.

For example, if a person is sitting in their home browsing for restaurant menus from their phone, OTT advertising is able to track this information via an IP address and deliver nearby restaurant ads to streaming televisions in that household, possibly even ads for the exact restaurants they are browsing. These ads may also be retargeted to the same individual’s OTT platforms depending on future consumer behaviors.

Franchised and quick-serve restaurants have one restaurant subset that has greatly benefited from over-the-top advertising. In fact, Zaxby’s achieved a 36% increase in sales during lockdowns by increasing their OTT spend. Local restaurants spots are even participating, targeting households in nearby areas with specials and new pickup/delivery options.

Although trends in television habits and in-person dining experiences may be in flux, OTT advertising has significantly helped advertisers to reach their target audiences and provide content that is most relevant to their lifestyles. The convenience and popularity of such trends predict that OTT advertising will be an effective medium for years to come. 

Visit our Deep Ads Thoughts blog to learn more about current advertising, marketing, and public relations tips and trends. Plus, check out our Push n’ Pull blog for all things in the world of digital and social media.



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