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Future of TV Adtech Roku

94% of TV viewers are fed up of traditional 30-second ads. So what’s the alternative?


By Hannah Bowler | Senior Reporter

January 23, 2023 | 4 min read

Roku has tested three new ad formats and found them to have 57% higher brand recall than typical spots.

Roku tested new ad format 'Watch Along'

Roku tested new ad format 'Watch Along' / Roku

An incredible 94% of TV viewers would be less inclined to avoid commercials if there were changes to the types of ads they were shown.

A Roku report – Beyond the :30 on Streaming TV – surveyed 1,316 viewers and uncovered how 66% of 18-34-year-olds would avoid ads less if they were more entertaining, while 53% said they would stay tuned through an ad break if the commercial was less like a typical 30-second spot.

The ad-funded streamer, in collaboration with media insights firm Magna, then tested three new ad formats and found them to have 57% higher brand recall than traditional 30-second TV spots.

Roku and Magna exposed audiences to different ads from the likes of T-Mobile, Subaru and Tonal. The research looked at how the ads performed against key brand metrics and KPIs.

First, the companies tested short-form branded content with the advertiser’s logo attached, which is then played out next to relevant content. One example was, in summer, a video featuring hydration tips brought to you by Evian Water. Roku terms these ‘Thematic Tagged Vignettes’.

When exposed to Thematic Tagged Vignettes, 65% of viewers said they learned something new, compared with 43% for traditional TV ads, while 77% reported this new ad format to be helpful – higher than the 50% who found traditional ads helpful. Roku’s research also recorded a 9% higher search intent for this style of ad, again when compared with a traditional TV ad.

Roku ad formats report

Roku and Magna then tested trailers for Roku Originals sponsored by a brand – for example, to promote shows like The Andy Cohen Diaries or Anna Kendrick Dummy, the brand logo is attached to the trailer. Audiences were measured on their intent to purchase after seeing the trailer and 10% claimed they would buy from the advertiser compared with 3% for an ordinary ad.

The final ad format, termed ‘Watch Along’, is a hosted short-form content series that runs in the ad break of a movie presented by a brand. This style of ad has a recall rate of 66% compared with 39% for traditional ads. One audience member said: “[The ad] kept me tuned in, unlike other commercials.” Another noted: “The videos were really engaging and interesting.”

The report concluded that ads are necessary to support free TV and movies, but adapting the standard format would improve the viewer experience. “Marketers should lean into new ad formats that create a more valuable and enjoyable experience for maximum impact,” the report claims.

Future of TV Adtech Roku

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