Roku is leveraging its first-party data to better help advertisers target cord cutters

The new service lets media owners like Fox, Turner, and Viacom, sell ad slots on Roku with enhanced targeting / Roku

Roku is leveraging its first-party data to launch Audience Marketplace, a new service that lets third parties target the OTT service’s viewers using a technique called audience extension with Fox, Turner, and Viacom all on board at launch.

Audience Marketplace was unveiled today (June 27) and lets media buyers and sellers more effectively target viewers on the streaming service by matching their own audience data with Roku’s household-level insights such as age, how long users spend with content, as well as premium segments like “luxury auto-intenders”, etc.

The new service lets media owners such as Fox, Turner, and Viacom, sell ad slots made available on the streaming service with the enhanced audience insights enabling Roku and its partners to better monetize the inventory which is now available to US advertisers through programmatic, or traditional direct selling methods.

In a press release announcing the launch, Seth Walters, Roku, vice president, demand partnerships, added: “As the industry’s leading TV streaming platform, we’re well-positioned to empower our publishers to unlock the full potential of OTT advertising and help them to meet the needs of brands and consumers.”

The same release also contains a quote attributed to Larry Allen, Turner, vice president, ad innovation and programmatic solutions, which speaks of the growing importance of OTT distribution to its overall strategy. “Participating in Roku’s Audience Marketplace gives us access to rich insights and enhanced audience targeting capabilities, extending the ability for ad buyers to reach and engage with streaming viewing audiences that are critical to grow their business,” he added.

Also quoted was Garrett Winkler from Modi Media, director of connected TV, who said: “It helps significantly reduce waste and delivers a more relevant viewing experience. We see this as a huge step towards unifying targeting for connected TV campaigns.”

Roku is ramping up its monetization efforts after less than a year on the public markets having posted revenues of $136.6m for the open quarter of 2018, according to its latest financial filing where it also revealed that its average revenue per user (ARPU) was $15.07.

Among its earlier monetization efforts was the January launch of a suite of advertising tools that let advertisers better quantify how their ads performed with certain demographic segments on various channels such as TV, desktop, mobile, and OTT.

In particular, the suite of tools lets advertisers gauge how they are engaging with “cord cutters”, or "cord nevers" – a media industry term used to describe video content viewers that are increasingly abandoning traditional bundled TV subscription packages in favor streaming services such as Hulu, Netflix, Roku and YouTube.

This trend is fueling anxiety among those in the traditional TV advertising business, with an earlier GroupM report demonstrating how digital ad spend has already surpassed that of TV in many of the world’s leading media markets, with many citing cord cutting as a chief catalyst.

This shift in content consumption patterns is something that streaming service providers hope to capitalize on, with Roku citing Nielsen figures to claim that serving ads to its 20 million-plus registered monthly users can help TV buyers achieve incremental reach of 10.2% among the highly-prized 18-34 year-old demographic. The extent of Roku's influence among this grouping was demonstrated earlier this week with first-party research from Cord Cutter News indicating that more than 70% of cord cutters own a Roku TV or use its Roku Player service.

Last week, Roku’s head of international advertising, Jim Lombard spoke on a panel about the future of tv with The Drum, where he discussed how to find new audiences.

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