“On TV & Video” is a column exploring opportunities and challenges in advanced TV and video.
Today’s column is by John Hamilton, CEO and co-founder of TVDataNow.
As CTV grows, advertisers are looking to allocate more marketing dollars to the channel. This is especially true as the value of social advertising deteriorates in the face of new privacy legislation.
Typically, the easiest way to dip your toes into a new medium is by allocating at least 10% of your budget to advertising with the biggest player. In CTV’s case, that is Roku, with 56.4 million active users (MAUs) and 18 billion hours streaming in Q3 2021.
Yet, while the benefits of Roku are massive, this is not the best choice for an advertiser starting with CTV.
Don’t get me wrong: Roku is great. But there are better ways to begin testing CTV than putting all of your budget behind the biggest platform.
Here are three reasons why:
- Same reach with more options
The mid- and long-tail in CTV publishing collectively has many viewers. By spending with multiple partners, such as Tubi, Pluto, Plex and Crackle, you will accomplish the same reach across more diverse audiences.
For example, you can get the same reach as Roku with a combination of Tubi, Pluto, Crackle and Paramount Plus. These are just a few of many CTV publishers. Most publishers don’t provide Roku (or any other programmatic platform) access to their best ad inventory. They reserve it for direct relationships.
- Roku data won’t tell the whole story
Roku offers unparalleled scale, quickly. But it can also withhold data it uses to understand the efficacy of its ads. Publishers are more forthcoming with data in direct deals, resulting in more robust attribution. This is crucial to understanding not only whether CTV performs, but also how to optimize and improve performance.
- You won’t outspend the competition
Purchasing power is always beneficial, no matter the medium you choose. There are larger brands than you that have spent millions with Roku. By starting with such a big player, you won’t experience enough benefits during your testing period. As you validate your CTV spend, start with a broader array of publishers. If you’re successful, then advocate for more budget. Then allocate to Roku and other programmatic platforms.
Zig where others zag
As CTV has risen in popularity, there’s been an increase in brands spending all of their testing dollars on Roku. Break the mold.
It’s tempting to work with a trusted platform, especially in a new medium. But it’s not the right approach for CTV.
Brands can learn so much more by experimenting directly with publishers that can provide more data and insights. Long-tail publishers are excellent testing grounds.