What is Amazon OTT?

What is Amazon OTT?

“OTT Video users have grown by 100 million in the past year.”

Over-the-Top (OTT) advertising is gaining massive traction and Amazon is exponentially accelerating the trend, giving the Big Tech stamp of approval to what was once a counter-cultural movement. As viewers increasingly cut the cord and leave traditional TV in droves, OTT offers a turbocharged cloud-connected solution for brands and product sellers alike. With OTT comes more data and greater insights into bridging the gap between marketing and sales.

In this post, we’ll cover:

  • What is OTT?
  • How OTT Advertising on Amazon Works
  • The Benefits of Amazon OTT Advertising
  • OTT Advertising By The Numbers

OTT Meaning

The phrase is often used, but many secretly ask, “What is OTT?”

OTT is an acronym that means “Over-The-Top” and refers to any streaming platform that bypasses a traditional cable box or TV service.

An OTT platform can be any service that allows users to watch content on the internet via a connected device (smartTV, smartphone, computer, tablet, or gaming console). It can include VOD (Video-On-Demand) content like what you find on Amazon Prime Video and Netflix or it can include live streaming OTT services such as a Twitch channel or live sports, like Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime.

With such a powerful solution seemingly popping up overnight, you may be wondering how we arrived.

How OTT Advertising on Amazon Works

While OTT advertising may be relatively new to Amazon, the charge has been led by Hulu and Roku, who still sit firmly in first and second place, respectively, in terms of ad spend. The past several years, however, Amazon has started connecting some of the major pieces it owns — IMDb TV, FireStick, and Twitch — to swiftly jump into the game.

IMDb TV — OTT Video Blockbuster

IMDb TV, an Amazon-owned channel, is a free but ad-supported streaming platform ripe for OTT advertising. Originally acquired in 1998 as a lead-generation tool for sales of hard copy movies (VHS and DVDs), it has evolved into a robust OTT platform with a wide selection of rights-acquired and original content.

But “Free” always comes with a catch.

Offering itself as an alternative to subscription-based OTT services that are completely free of advertising options, like Prime Video, Netflix, and Disney+, IMDb TV invites viewers to interact and buy with actionable video ads and makes it easier for viewers to engage by leveraging voice control or their Fire Device remote.

Amazon FireStick

According to Amazon, 1 in 3 OTT video users are viewing content on Fire devices, which are the 2nd most widely used TV-streaming devices on the market. By connecting hardware and software, Amazon is giving consumers a comprehensive experience that follows and tracks data from device to device to deliver the right ad at the right time, thereby leveraging convenience and streamlined solutions in a single OTT advertising ecosystem.

It’s also worth mentioning that the only way to advertise on a Fire device is through Amazon, giving them even more leverage for users with connected devices.

The customer journey could look something like this:

  • Carmen just moved into a new house and is looking for new products to improve her home.
  • She does a lot of window shopping on Amazon in the home goods and kitchen categories.
  • One evening, Carmen sits down to watch a show on IMDb TV.
  • 20 minutes into her show, Carmen is served with an advertisement for a standing mixer.
  • 2 days later, Carmen is window shopping again on Amazon and is served a display campaign ad for a standing mixer.
  • Intrigued, Carmen decides to do some research and eventually buys a standing mixer the following day.

The right ad, at the right time.


Not just for gamers anymore, Twitch has exploded with growth in the last year seeing a 188% increase in non-gaming channels and 150% growth in total watch hours. The success of OTT Advertising on Twitch is based on a 5-point approach:

  • Discovery — As a free streaming platform, Twitch has become a great place to discover and introduce new products.
  • Reach — The explosion of new viewers means that advertisers can now engage even more potential customers.
  • Advocacy — As with any social platform, Twitch influencers bring credibility to the products they promote.
  • Frequency — With more watch hours comes more familiarity. The more often you see something, the more trust is instilled.
  • Education — The final thread in the Amazon ecosystem: content is bridged with customer reviews by driving viewers to the Product Display Page.

You can read more insights and impressive numbers by checking out our other post:
Boost Your Brand With Twitch and Amazon Advertising.

The Benefits of Amazon OTT Advertising

  • Cross-Device Attribution
    As tech moves into a cookieless future with more restrictions on ad traffic, there are going to be big gaps in data that many companies once took for granted. Amazon, however, has made sure the data they track won’t be left in the dust since the platform tracks users through logins, not pixels. This ensures that the customer journey is always tracked for Amazon OTT services and can be continuously improved.
  • Multiple Senses Activated
    OTT lives in brand awareness and what better way to leverage your brand than by driving an emotional connection? This is achieved with OTT advertising by creating new ways for users to experience your brand.

    In the case of IMDb TV, potential customers see and hear the ad, and then are encouraged to interact with the ad or product using their remote or voice. For Twitch users, the interaction is completely re-imagined by featuring ads that don’t look or feel like traditional advertisements. Instead of feeling as if they’re being sold to, the user is discovering a product that fits their wants and needs.

    This seamless experience is not only easier to engage with, but it can deepen the impact of ads and accelerate conversions if done correctly.
  • Display Remarketing
    This is something that’s currently in beta right now on Amazon, but display remarketing off your OTT audience will no doubt be a part of the future of Amazon OTT advertising.

    With display remarketing, brands will be able to track if and when a potential customer is served an OTT video ad and then follow up at the appropriate time to increase brand awareness and keep it at the forefront of their mind.
  • Thursday Night Football
    With Prime Video’s exclusive rights to stream Thursday Night Football beginning in 2022, Amazon has started to corner yet another huge audience ripe for OTT advertising. In 2020, 11.2 million viewers tuned in to watch the San Francisco 49ers play the Arizona Cardinals on Prime Video, with an average viewing window of 87 minutes (vs. 62 minutes for those viewing off Amazon).

    Not only that, 67% of the NFL audience is in the 24 – 54 age range and provides considerable overlap with the 50% of Twitch viewers who are in the 18 – 34 range. Twitch features several post-game shows that allows viewers to chime in with their input (similar to FM radio sports talk shows), providing new and creative opportunities for influencers to push OTT advertising in a comprehensive way.

OTT Advertising By The Numbers

  • At the start of 2020, there were 20 million OTT video users. That number has grown by 100 million in the past year, bringing the total number to 120 million strong.
  • There are more than 40 million monthly active Fire TV users worldwide and over 300 million active Amazon Prime subscribers — and these audiences are only growing by the day.
  • Starting with the 2022 season, 15 NFL Thursday Night Football games will be Prime Video exclusives — this deal is expected to last through 2032 and pending its success, there’s good reason to believe that the NFL may double down and add more games outside of the Thursday Night window.

Need more reasons to join the OTT advertising revolution? We’ll give you just one more:

  • You don’t have to do it alone — Macarta is here to help with expert Amazon advertising specialists. Get in touch with us and we’ll show you how to unlock your advertising potential with OTT and other managed services.


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