Paid Social 101: How Social, CTV, & OTT Ads Work Together

September 5, 2023

Class is officially in session – welcome to Paid Social 101, where we look at full-picture digital media buying strategies for wellness brands! The health and wellness space has skyrocketed over the last few years. Emerging technologies, new products, and exciting innovations have led to more health-conscious consumers willing to spend more on their well-being.  

Paid media advertising is central to an explosive go-to-market strategy and will help take your wellness brand to new heights! Now is the time to use the trusty trio of social media, CTV ads, and OTT ads to create the ultimate paid advertising strategy. We’ve got a lot of valuable information headed your way (make sure you take notes!) Without further ado, let’s get into it!  

What’s Paid Media Advertising? 

The first lesson in Paid Social 101 covers paid media advertising in general. This essentially refers to external marketing efforts where businesses pay to display their promotional content on various platforms using a specified budget. Paid advertising campaigns may include a combination of social media ads, CTV ads, and OTT ads. Incorporating all three of these ad formats give your wellness brand more extensive reach and a powerful strategy that delivers results! 

Here are some of the key highlights of each paid media type: 

Social Media Ads 

You can run paid ads across the various social media platforms where your ideal consumers spend the most time! Whether you’re considering Facebook, Instagram, X (formerly known as Twitter), TikTok, Pinterest, LinkedIn, or YouTube, the success of social media ads depends on a combination of your audience, the platform, and the creative visuals/messaging you use.  

Social media ads can come in various formats, such as: 

  • Video ads: these are short-form ads that people can view while scrolling their feeds 
  • Stories ads: these full-screen ads use photos or videos and show up on users’ stories in between watching the people they follow 
  • Static image ads: these focus on visuals rather than text and show up on the feed 

Pro Tip: Social media ads (specifically video-based ads) can be repurposed for your CTV and OTT ad campaigns (more on that later)!  

CTV Ads and OTT Ads  

If you’re new to the streaming advertising world, we’ll break it down for you! CTV stands for connected TV, and OTT is over-the-top. CTV refers to devices people use for streaming their TV shows and movies, like on a Smart TV or using a Roku, Apple TV, or Amazon Firestick. OTT encompasses the actual streaming service used, such as subscriptions to Hulu, Netflix, Peacock, Max, or Amazon Prime Video. When you use OTT ads, these can be viewed on a smartphone, computer, or CTV. If it’s a CTV ad, it will only be seen when streaming on television screens.    

Benefits of a Comprehensive Digital Media Buying Strategy  

Utilizing both social and streaming paid ads gives your digital media buying strategy the upper hand. Think of using all of these as fundamental components of your paid media toolkit!  

Combining social media ads with OTT and CTV ads in a paid media strategy offers greater audience reach, cohesive multi-channel storytelling, enhanced targeting capabilities, improved data insights, and a diversified presence that can drive more consistent engagement and conversions throughout the consumer journey.

Let’s learn more about the benefits of combining all three ad types in your digital media buying strategy:  

Strategic Reach 

A massive advantage of paid media is the ability to target specific audiences based on demographics, interests, and behaviors. Wellness brands can also target audiences that use social media apps accessible through CTV devices. By leveraging all three, you can touch consumers at multiple points along their journey from social media on their mobile devices to streaming on their connected TV devices.  

Multi-channel Storytelling 

Cohesive multi-channel storytelling ensures that a brand’s message remains consistent and complementary across different platforms, creating a unified narrative for the audience. When you combine the triple threat of social media ads, OTT ads, and CTV ads, the consumer experiences a continuous and reinforcing brand story, whether they are scrolling through their social feeds or watching their favorite streaming content. This integrated approach not only strengthens brand awareness but also deepens emotional connections by offering a seamless and more engaging brand experience across multiple touchpoints in their digital journey.  

Cost-effective targeting 

Social, OTT, and CTV ads tend to be more cost-effective than traditional advertising channels. Instead of paying for broad exposure, advertisers can choose CPM (cost-per-thousand impressions) or CPCV (cost per completed view), where they only pay when a viewer completes an ad. With precise targeting capabilities, brands will no longer be spending on reach for non-relevant consumers. The combination of these ads also offers wellness brands the flexibility to adjust, restart, or pause campaigns in response to real-time results, ensuring that budgets are used more effectively. As a result, advertisers often achieve a higher return on investment and more value for their advertising dollars.  

Increased Data Collection  

Through strategic digital media buying, wellness brands can gain a deepened understanding of their audience’s behaviors, preferences, and engagement patterns. Real-time analytics allow advertisers to rapidly optimize campaigns through A/B testing, tracking impressions, clicks, and conversions, refining strategies for improved performance, and the creation of content that resonates most with their ideal consumers.   

Enhanced Consumer Interaction  

Using interactive ads in social, OTT, and CTV mediums promotes active engagement over passive consumption. These ads capture attention and encourage viewers to engage with compelling content by clicking a link, filling out a survey, taking a poll, or scanning a QR code. Such direct and tangible touchpoints amplify brand loyalty and offer immediate opportunities for conversion, fostering a more connected and valued relationship with the audience. 

All of these paid media benefits help wellness brands stand out from the crowd in a competitive market. Combining social media ads, CTV ads, and OTT ads makes all the difference, especially when every dollar of ad spend counts!  

The Lesson May Be Over, But The Work’s Just Beginning!  

And that concludes our Paid Social 101! Get ready to harness the combined power of emerging paid media strategies! Digital media buying has drastically changed over the last decade (and especially the last few years). Social media ads, CTV ads, and OTT ads should be at the top of your list as you look for innovative ways to connect with your audience.  Though today’s lesson may be over, that doesn’t mean the learning ends here. Social media, CTV, and OTT ads are powerful tools — let’s use them strategically to boost your brand further! At Cultivating Media, we’ll help you create the ideal advertising game plan to reach your consumers and your goals. Contact us to learn more about taking the LEAP into the world of emerging paid media for better connection and conversions for your wellness brand!

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