Starting in CTV? Don’t Make This Common Mistake

By John Hamilton, CEO and Co-Founder, TVDataNow

Current stock price notwithstanding, Roku is a shining example of a CTV platform. It has thousands of apps, years of investment in its ad platform and is a default OS in many TVs. With 56.4 million active users (MAUs) and 18.0 billion hours streaming in Q3 2021, it provides a huge audience.

Consequently, new CTV advertisers curious about the emerging advertising opportunity often put all their money into Roku, as it’s an easy way to spend while reaching a wide, diverse audience.

Don’t get me wrong; we love Roku. Pretty much every established CTV advertiser we work is very happy allocating a percentage of their spend there. However, we do not recommend new advertisers set and forget their budget with Roku. To get the most out of CTV advertising, they need to test with several platforms.

Roku’s scale is unmatched, but the data they offer can pale in comparison to buying directly with publishers, who will share more of their data if you buy with them directly.

Which publishers? Tubi, Pluto, Plex and Crackle are great examples of a long tail of publishers that offer great targeting and significant reach, especially when combined. Buying directly with publishers like these gives a bird’s eye view of performance and how to better optimize in the future. And while these publishers are “on Roku,” the reality is most save for their best inventory for those who buy directly.

Roku, like other leaders in an industry, attract the larger advertisers as well. Companies have accumulated millions in spend, creating favorable relationships and terms. Those starting today will not get the same treatment.

Ultimately, how you start your CTV advertising campaign will have a huge impact on whether it’s a successful channel for you. Here are three takeaways to consider.

  • Start small with your budget and grow with the publishers
  • Use insights from those smaller publishers to optimize and demonstrate value for an additional budget
  • Work with the right partner to identify the right partners and maximize your spend
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