Roku CMO on how the platform is attracting users and advertisers - Business Insider
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Roku's chief marketer shares how it's trying to capitalize on the video-streaming boom with viewers and advertisers

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Roku; Samantha Lee/Business Insider

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  • Business Insider has launched a regular series where we talk to chief marketing officers about how they are confronting challenges from data-driven marketing to in-housing.
  • Roku is one of the companies poised to benefit as the coronavirus pandemic accelerates the shift from cable to streaming.
  • In the latest installment of the series, Roku CMO Matt Anderson said Roku was pitching advertisers on flexibility and incrementality.
  • Visit Business Insider's 真人百家家乐网站homepage for more stories.

With the coronavirus pandemic accelerating the shift from cable to streaming, Roku's chief marketing officer Matthew Anderson is tasked with ensuring that the platform maintains a lead among consumers and advertisers. 

In the latest installment of Business Insider's new CMO interview series, which has featured companies like Pepsi, 1-800-Flowers and AT&T, Anderson shares how Roku has made it easier for viewers to find content as they spend more time at 真人百家家乐网站home, increased live programming, and helped brands overcome their production and budget constraints to advertise on the platform.

The following interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Tanya Dua: How has your business been impacted by the pandemic?

Matthew Anderson: Since COVID-19, we've just seen a massive surge to streaming, accelerating the underlying trend dramatically. Users have watched more than 3 million hours of this content and streamed 80% more hours year over year in April. For marketers, TV's changed more in the past 10 weeks than it has in the past 10 years. Nearly half of all TV viewing, if you're 18 to 34, is now streamed. It's become a CMO-level priority.

Dua: Why do you think that is?

Anderson: For marketers, in particular, getting more ROI [return on investment] is absolutely critical through a downturn. Prior to COVID, about 97% of all TV ad dollars were spent on linear TV, according to Magna. And now almost 50% of all viewing is on streaming. When you couple that with the ability to target more, measure your effectiveness, and be more flexible in moving your spend, streaming platforms like Roku are attractive.

Dua: How have you gotten more people using the platform?

Anderson: We launched a program called "真人百家家乐网站home Together," where we had collections of free programming from genres that people wanted the most. In the early days of sheltering at 真人百家家乐网站home, for example, there was a massive spike in TV news, so we did a number of things like create a new zone and unlock news that you had to have a subscription with before. We had the largest extended free-viewing period, with more than 20 partners to offer 30 days of free viewing through extended trials within The Roku Channel, which led to the fastest growth in subscription trials that we've ever seen. The rates of conversion have been very positive as well.

Dua: Are you seeing any interesting trends among users?

Anderson: We're also seeing a remaking of consumer behavior, and people are becoming much more engaged streamers. They are realizing that in a recessionary environment, Roku makes things easy and less expensive. The average cord cutter saves about a thousand dollars a year overall on their expenses.  Streaming among the core sports fan — an NBA or NHL fan — was up by over 60% when sports came off air. We're also seeing that light streamers — people who watch TV and supplement it by watching Netflix or Hulu or the Roku channel — are among the highest increases. About 16% of our audience was light streamers earlier, and now they are among our top third.

Dua: How are you getting more marketers to advertise on Roku?

Anderson: In the initial stages, we did a lot of work in helping them adapt their social and other forms of creative to video streaming. We also did interactive overlays, where if you run an ad, you can overlay an additional message. A restaurant could say, "Hey, we're now open for curbside pickup." Baskin Robbins used this to create a local geo-targeted coupon to drive store visits, which drove a 46% lift in purchase intent for those who saw the coupon. Now, with reopening, the challenge is that it's a patchwork. Being able to target your TV ads toward the ZIP codes that are open makes a lot of sense. Some brands that we worked with in "真人百家家乐网站home Together" include T-Mobile and Intuit TurboTax.

Dua: What's your message for the NewFronts?

Anderson: The linear TV ad business model was built on making very large upfront commitments and that would trade position or pricing for flexibility. But now being agile has risen to the top rung of priorities for CMOs, because no one knows exactly how things are going. We're offering 14-day, 100% cancellable terms on upfronts to meet marketers' need for agility. Also, because so many people are no longer reachable on linear TV, to reach your whole audience, you need to get the incremental number of people who are only available in OTT. So we've also launched an incrementality guarantee.

Anderson was also featured on Business Insider's fifth annual list of the world's most innovative CMOs.

SEE ALSO: AT&T's chief brand officer shares why it brought back an old brand mascot, where it's advertising now that live sports are canceled, and why it's not blacklisting coronavirus news

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