In a World of Online Video Ad Uncertainty, Roku Offers Guarantees

Did Roku choose the perfect moment to unveil its guarantees for video advertisers or did it just get lucky?

At a time when top-shelf advertisers are pulling their spots from YouTube, having decided that reach and niche targeting mean nothing when their ads are paired with hate group videos, TV streaming platform Roku announced it’s offering guarantees for TV advertisers. Marketers can now use Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings (DAR) to get detailed demographic metrics similar to those used for linear TV. Demo targeting is a new addition for Roku, and advertisers are guaranteed to only pay for in-demo views.

For marketers, comparing broadcast and online views has been a headache for years, one that Roku and Nielsen hope to solve.

“Consumers are migrating their TV viewing to OTT platforms like Roku, making them increasingly difficult to reach through traditional TV advertising,” says Scott Rosenberg, senior vice president of advertising at Roku. “As TV buyers follow this migration, they need a common currency to plan their investment mix across linear and OTT. With our industry-leading advertising platform, we are uniquely positioned to enable demographic guarantees.”

By working with Roku, marketers can reach viewers who no longer watch traditional broadcast or pay TV, while still appearing on brand-safe, premium content. Roku notes that 40 percent of its customers have either trimmed or cut their pay TV bills, making them hard to reach with TV spots. Those cord-cutters/trimmers/nevers are disproportionately young adults, the ones most desired by advertisers: Nielsen’s Total Audience Report says adults between the ages of 18 and 34 watched 46 percent less linear TV in Q3 2016 than in Q3 2015.

Just in case anyone still thinks of Roku as a Netflix box, where commercials aren’t on the menu, the company notes that ad-supported channels are the fastest growing segment of its platform: Half of Roku’s top 250 most-watched channels are ad-supported.

Don’t think that YouTube is ignoring this fight for premium advertisers: Just today Google announced it’s using ComScore to ensure brand safety for YouTube advertisers. It’s a smart move, but will it be enough?


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