Home On TV & Video 3 Things Performance and DTC Brands Should Know Before Investing In TV Streaming

3 Things Performance and DTC Brands Should Know Before Investing In TV Streaming


On TV And Video” is a column exploring opportunities and challenges in advanced TV and video. 

Today’s column is written by Tim Natividad, head of performance advertising at Roku. 

Scarcity in linear TV ad spots has meant that historically putting a brand logo on television required buying power typically available to only the biggest brands. The increase in TV streaming over the last year has permanently changed this dynamic.

While putting your brand on TV has been important to be considered a market leader, the barriers in legacy television have traditionally been too high for many to overcome. Creative production and media costs as well as the lack of precision targeting were prohibitive to many brands, enabling well-heeled incumbents to dominate TV ad buying, leaving little room for smaller brands.

This dynamic mirrors the early stages of ecommerce, where start-up brands such as KIND bar and Bai drinks found digital shelf space easier to access than retail shelf space. As a result, disruptor brands pushed into direct, digital selling. Their experience offers insight into the shift to TV streaming for many brands today. At the same time the market is beginning to shift allocation to streaming to mirror the consumer migration well underway, marketers are also recognizing the inherent benefits of streaming advertising. Where traditional TV was leveraged as an awareness mechanism and digital and social competed for performance dollars, streaming has collapsed the funnel entirely, providing advertisers the entire marketing spectrum from the top of the funnel through to the bottom.

With the shifts in consumer behavior towards streaming and the surge in advertiser investment in TV streaming accelerating, here are three things DTC brands and first-time TV streaming advertisers should know as they plan their 2021 campaign strategies.

Go beyond the traditional search/social package

In recent years, search engine optimization (SEO) and test campaigns on social media have been the first two steps in the growth advertising playbook. TV wasn’t even a consideration. But now, even those brands are looking beyond social media and including TV streaming to engage audiences in more unique and effective ways.

As brands test TV streaming for the first time, they can bring the same tactics and principles from social and search marketing campaigns. This includes measuring first touch and view-through conversions, which gives brands the opportunity to identify retargeting audiences from lookalikes, site visitors, or audiences exposed to previous campaigns. And cost-per-acquisition measurement is available for each of those audiences discretely.

Daily sports betting apps, for example, can optimize TV streaming campaigns towards first-time deposits from users who have installed the app post-ad exposure. The same testing parameters available in search and social are available in TV streaming today, including geotargeting, dayparting, and CPA and ROAS measurement. Advertisers can easily port their growth marketing playbook today.

Make the most of the biggest screen in the house (and shifts in consumer behavior)

Consumers have choice around what to watch, where, and when. And finding those consumers on TV has become harder than ever. In 2020, the problem became more acute as households in lockdown found themselves spending significantly more time in front of the biggest screen in the house while at the same time many made the decision to cut the cord. Nearly one in three US households are now totally unreachable by traditional television advertising due to cord cutting.


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Increasingly, TV streaming advertising is not just about who brands reach, but about what happens once they reach a desired audience. For years, TV advertising has been acknowledged as the most trusted, memorable and effective medium for driving sales results. Expect that dominance to continue as viewership shifts to streaming, due in large part because the largest piece of glass in the home has the opportunity to bring brands the largest canvas for creative messaging.

New creative formats that are native to TV streaming enable brands to maximize this viewing opportunity. If you’re a brand, consider sponsorships that allow you to both align creative messaging contextually and drive performant efficiency – for instance, you can do this by ensuring your messaging surrounds brand-aligned movie content. Throughout the most recent ecommerce heavy holiday season they saw conversion rates double when combining such sponsorships with standard audience targeted CTV video campaigns.

As brands test CTV for the first time, they can do so while bringing the same tactics and principles from their social and search marketing campaigns. This includes the ability to measure first touch and view-through-conversions, so brands can identify retargeting audiences from lookalikes, site visitors, or audiences exposed to previous campaigns. And cost-per-acquisition measurement is available for each of those audiences discretely. We’ve also seen some brands refine their CTV campaigns beyond install based conversions by optimizing to specific in-app actions.

Measure across devices

DTC and performance brands pride themselves on being nimble, adaptable, cost effective and entrepreneurial by nature. TV streaming advertising embodies the same principles. The ad, instead of having to run within a specific TV show the way it does in traditional linear TV, can be directed to the right audience at the right time with measurable results no matter the device used. Audience-based targeting available in TV streaming has become the preferable substitute to the contextual targeting in linear TV advertising. For years, the advertising industry has always said “right time, right audience.” And now, this couldn’t be truer with automation, data and streaming on TV.

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