Roku’s new ad formats: how compulsive will they be for marketers?

Published: May 03, 2023

min read

As part of its presentation at IAB’s NewsFront 2023, the streaming media company Roku introduced its latest ad products for marketers to meet the uncertain ad market and declining average revenue per user.

At NewsFront, the company has put its popular screensaver Roku City at the centre of its pitch. The Roku city screen saver, which floats a cityscape on the screen while the device is idle, will now be available for brands to purchase ad inventory.

Earlier, brands received ad space on billboards within the screensaver, which Roku claims reaches 40 million homes, but this summer, McDonald's will be the first one to be featured within the Roku City skyline.

The fast food behemoth will have an animated restaurant with its Golden Arches incorporated directly into the screensaver.

Besides, the company also debuted new discovery experiences that enable brands to present content in categories such as home & garden and sports, as well as experiences that manage content from across TV on the Roku Home Screen.

Roku also highlighted its artificial intelligence capability to search the Roku library for "iconic plot moments" that match a brand's message and place their ads in real time. To get started, marketers will first tell Roku about their campaign's theme. The AI searches the library for key moments that correspond to the campaign.

McDonald's is not Roku's only major brand collaboration. Best Buy, Cox Automotive, DoorDash, Kroger, and Walmart all have commerce integrations, and Instacart has recently joined the fray.

These collaborations comprise Roku's new Commerce+ offering, which the company claims offers all of the best data and measurement from the largest retailers and marketplaces right onto its platform. Roku now works with more than 30 measurement partners.

Roku's introduction of a Primetime Reach Guarantee, which it insisted was a "first" in streaming, was also noteworthy for marketers. The move fundamentally commits brands to reaching more TV households in primetime than the average programme airing on a top-five cable channel on traditional TV.

How do Roku’s new offerings help marketers?

With Roku accounting for 50% of all Super Bowl streaming this year, the company is aggressively expanding in the streaming space.

The streaming industry has long been a competitive market, with powerful players such as Netflix, Amazon, Disney, and Hulu on the scene. To take it a step further, each player is forming new alliances, introducing ad-supported tiers, and attempting to offer something unique and irresistible in order to attract customers to their platform.

It increases competition in the streaming market and puts brands and marketers in a difficult position when deciding how to effectively reach their target audiences at every stage of their streaming journey.

At this point in time, Roku’s new ad products—be it its new Roku city offerings or Primetime Reach Guarantee—look to be unique and intriguing for marketers to reap the maximum benefits and increase ROI.

New ad offering in Roku City can enhance brands’ reach:

By the day, the cult of "Roku City" has become very appealing to social media users. Brands are already competing to place their ads on the billboards of this virtual city.

In the midst of this, as Roku introduces new intuitive ways for brands to appear in front of their audiences, we believe, brands will get the new door opened and will be more likely to reach their high-value audiences effectively, thereby improving their marketing results.

Prime-time reach will be highly advantageous:

As viewership will be at its highest during prime time, marketers will be able to reach a larger audience through this move. This can lead to increased ad engagement, as viewers are more likely to pay attention to what they are watching at this time. As a result, marketers can increase the visibility of their brand, products, or services and ensure a better ROI.

Roku’s data insights help marketers sharpen their targeting:

With Roku working with various measurement partners, marketers are able to reach the right people at the right time so as to increase the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns.

In addition, it will help them understand their target audience's behaviour and interests better, allowing them to deliver relevant messaging, do better audience segmentation, and target more precisely.

Overall, Roku’s new products are about bringing new opportunities for brands to reach their audiences, sharpen their targeting, and achieve their marketing objectives successfully.


Bill Walker

Bill is a marketing strategist who believes in the power of storytelling. He's known for his creativity, wit, and ability to connect with audiences across all channels. When he's not crafting marketing campaigns, you can find him hiking in the mountains or reading a good book.


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