New to CTV advertising? Roku isn’t your only option

On television and videois a column exploring the opportunities and challenges of advanced television and video.

Today’s column is from John Hamilton, CEO and co-founder of TVDataNow.

As CTV grows, advertisers seek 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.

Generally, the easiest way to dip your toes into new media is to allocate at least 10% of your budget to advertising with the biggest player. In CTV’s case, it’s Roku, with 56.4 million active users (MAUs) and 18 billion hours of streaming in the third quarter of 2021.

Yet, while the advantages of Roku are massivenot the best choice for an advertiser starting with CTV.

Don’t get me wrong: Roku is awesome. But there are better ways to start testing CTV than putting your entire budget behind the biggest platform.

Here are three reasons:

  1. Same scope with more options

The middle and long tail of CTV publishing collectively has a lot of viewers. By spending with multiple partners, such as Tubi, Pluto, Plex, and Crackle, you’ll achieve the same reach to more diverse audiences.

For example, you can get the same range as Roku with a combination of Tubi, Pluto, Crackle, and Paramount Plus. These are just a few of the many CTV publishers. Most publishers don’t allow Roku (or any other programmatic platform) to access their best ad inventory. They reserve it for direct relations.

  1. Roku’s data won’t tell the whole story

Roku delivers unparalleled scale, quickly. But it may also withhold data that it uses to understand the effectiveness of its advertisements. Publishers are more open with the data in direct deals, resulting in more robust attribution. This is crucial to understanding not only if CTV is working, but also how to optimize and improve performance.

  1. You won’t spend more than the competition

Buying power is always beneficial, regardless of the medium you choose. There are bigger brands than you who have spent millions with Roku. By starting with such a big player, you won’t get enough advantage during your testing period. When validating your CTV spend, start with a wider range of publishers. If successful, advocate for a larger budget. Then allocate it to Roku and other programmatic platforms.

Zig where others zag

As CTV has grown in popularity, there has been an increase in the number of brands spending all of their testing dollars on Roku. Break the mould.

It’s tempting to work with a trusted platform, especially in a new medium. But that’s not the right approach for CTV.

Brands can learn a lot more by experimenting directly with publishers who can provide more data and insights. Long-tail editors are great testing grounds.

Follow TVDataNow (@tvdatanow) and Ad Exchange (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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