5 Predictions for TV Streaming Advertising in 2021

We recently asked senior leaders at Roku what they thought were going to be the top trends in the TV streaming advertising space this year. 

After the growth in TV streaming in 2020, in which Roku reached more than 50 million active accounts and people streamed 58.7 billion hours on the platform, now the questions are: what’s next, and how should you prepare for a streamer-first world?  

Here’s what Roku believes are the top five trends for TV streaming advertising in 2021:  

1. Performance Will Get Bigger on the Big Screen.  

Performance-focused advertisers will optimize their TV streaming campaigns for an action, rather than reach and scale alone. TV streaming, social, and retargeting campaigns will run together to create a customer journey from screen to screen. 

“TV streaming ads allow marketers to quantify what happens after a customer sees their ad,” says Tim Natividad, Head of Performance Advertising at Roku. “The big screen is no longer just upper funnel real estate.”

2. TV Creative Will Become More Interactive.  

Innovative brands are pushing beyond video ads to embrace interactivity and new ad formats that enable advertisers to reach viewers who seek out ad-free content on Roku devices. Baskin Robbins, pictured here, provides a good example of this. The company offered a memorable experience for viewers of Charlotte's Web that featured fun dessert ideas for family movie night. 

Roku Brand Experiences ad
This microsite shows a Brand Experience from Roku, where advertisers can offer streaming guides, access passes, and movie nights by sponsoring select movie and shows in a branded hub.  

“Eventually, the TV will become a retail destination with in-platform interactivity that makes everything just one click away,” says Patrick Colletto, Director of Sponsorship Sales & Brand Partnerships.  

3. Direct Consumer Relationships Will Drive Superior Outcomes.

In a digital advertising landscape in which the third-party cookie’s prevalence and utility are swiftly declining, first-party data is going to become the foundation for all advertising campaigns going forward. Roku has direct consumer relationships with over 50 million active users in households, which offers advertisers the audience reach and scale they seek. 

"In the future, the availability of identity data will depend on user experience and user loyalty,” says Dr. Bill Simmons, VP of Ad Platform at Roku. “If consumers see the benefit of logging into a service, they’re far more likely to agree to opt into use of their identity data to improve their experience. First-party data was always important, but now it will be the primary method for advertisers to target and optimize ads at the individual level.”

4. Customer Lifetime Value = The Golden Metric.  

In 2021, measurement will focus on customer lifetime value (CLV), the sum of all the actions that a customer takes across their individual journey: from initial impression and purchase to visits across web, mobile, stores, and more. 

“In measurement, it all matters – not just audience, channel, or creative,” says Gaurav Shirole, Director of Ad Measurement at Roku. “The future of attribution is lifetime value, so advertisers will need to see linear, streaming, and digital effects on brand metrics and sales metrics as part of the same consumer journey.” 

5. Ad-Supported Content Will Lead the Way.  

The Roku Channel grew faster than any other top 10 channel on the Roku platform in Q4 2020, reaching 63 million people. Home to thousands of free movies and shows, The Roku Channel is where advertisers can interact with the streamer throughout the streaming journey, building targeted brand experiences, video ads, and more. 

The Roku Channel

With the recent acquisition of the Quibi content library, The Roku Channel soon will be home to more high-quality, original content that can’t be viewed anywhere else. 

“As cord cutting accelerates this year and more original content comes to AVOD services, more and more people will turn to AVOD, leading to continued growth,” says Rob Holmes, VP of Programming at Roku. “Within these AVOD experiences, advertisers will be able to launch unique ad campaigns that offer a great streaming experience for viewers that drive measurable results.” 

2021: The Year TV Becomes Streaming-First 

Streaming ads aren’t the TV ads of yesterday. They’re about more than driving awareness or even driving sales. They’re about building customer relationships that go beyond the screen. With new ad formats and more ways to precisely target and measure results, advertisers can tap into an audience that is highly receptive and prove the outcome of their investments more accurately than ever before.