YouTube has been instrumental in the way online video has evolved. The online sharing behemoth is always innovating to perfect the viewing experience, and they always follow up, or deign trends, that enable advertisers to create video campaigns that work around the ways in which people are engaging with online content.

The company’s latest drive has been to move towards “over-the -top” (OTT) video. This concept essentially mergers digital video and traditional TV. OTT is the bridge between the two worlds.

2018 was the year in which media companies started to sit up and really take notice of OTT. Subsequently, the concept is gradually becoming the mainstream channel for advertisers and will rival social media in 2019.

YouTube has also moved towards OTT this year and has played a significant role in the way people watch online content. As engagement evolves, new ad experiences emerge.

Case-in-point: full length video views are increasing on mobile devices.

Figures published by the Native Advertising Institute reveal that In-Feed-Click-to-Play Video has the largest jump in engagement with a whopping 143% increase. The proactive approach seeks to engage viewers with ads that are in-line with their interests and goals.

A study conducted by the IAB also shows that audiences receptivity to OTT is healthy. The survey reveals that 73% of viewers aged 18 and over typically watch streaming OTT video that are supported by ads.

Furthermore, OTT is forecast to increase by 40% next year as viewers move away from subscription-based bundles towards content that is most relevant to them.

It’s almost guaranteed that YouTube will be a dominant force in spearheading the drive towards OTT content.

What’s in the OTT Store for YouTube Viewers?

In October, YouTube quietly started showing classic Hollywood blockbusters free of charge. Instead, the films are supported by ads - which gives advertisers an opportunity to reach relevant audiences.

YouTube viewers now have the option to pay for ad-free movies or watch a selection of ad-supported content. This latest move is likely to evolve in 2019.

Live video streaming is also gaining traction. The capacity to connect with audiences in a deeper, personal level has always been imperative for brands, and digital video is a tangible way of interacting with the audience.

Viewers have been tuning into live streams on YouTube for a couple of years now, and some brands are finding that viewers are watching their broadcasts on YouTube five times longer than Facebook.

One of the reasons for this is because, YouTube has one of the best search engines and is adept at finding relevant content from organic searches. Brands are, therefore, more likely to reach a relevant audience more often.

The outlook for OTT services looks bright for advertisers and if this is what audiences demand, there is not a lot traditional broadcasters can do about it. Will OTT see the end of subscription bundles? Probably not, but it will get more viewers.