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How Entertainment Marketers Can Own the Streamer’s Journey

(Image credit: DrGrounds/iStockphoto)

Every week, a new show is premiering, an old show is revitalized, a highly anticipated sporting event is played. This is in addition to thousands of back-catalog titles that are waiting for you to watch. At this moment, streamers are overwhelmed and faced with a “Paradox of Choice” as they scroll through countless channel and content options. Entertainment marketers can offer a solution. By adopting a strategy that intercepts the user at every streaming touchpoint, these marketers can shorten the streamer’s decision-making process to allow streamers to spend less time searching for content and more time watching their content. 

Streaming-first pioneers, streaming-first laggards, and those that come from traditional linear backgrounds continue to shift their focus to streaming. As a result, the competition has forced marketers to capture the attention of streamers from the onset. 

All these players have different approaches to their advertising, some are focusing on prioritizing audience acquisition while others on engagement and retention. From the moment streamers turn on their TVs to show selection, services need to deliver tailored data-driven ad experiences at every touchpoint and move from upper-funnel marketing tactics to driving outcomes across the entire streaming journey.

Now is the time for services to tailor their strategies around key moments of the streaming experience to acquire, engage and retain their streamers. Here are a few of the considerations we find most valuable for services to take full advantage of the streamer’s journey:  

Setup: Introduce Yourself
The first touchpoint services have with streamers is during the setup of their device, a process millions of new streamers go through every year. As a new Roku user, this includes taking a personalized survey and exploring and installing new channels based on your interests. 

For services, this is their opportunity to make a first impression with streamers by driving brand awareness and boosting installs – as there are clear signs that they are looking for your service and eager to discover new content. In the first quarter of this year, Roku saw sign-up demand for subscription services as new services entered the market. Similarly, for AVODs, research found that 4 in 5 consumers prefer free, ad-support content which signals strong interest for both of these free and subscription services and content types. 

Search and Discover: Connect on a Deeper Level
More than half or 54% of viewers don’t have any idea what to stream when they turn on their TVs. Nielsen data states that the average streamer spends seven minutes searching for what to watch next. The home screen is the most frequented content discovery touchpoint. 

After the meet-and-greet, marketers need to help streamers find their next piece of content through different ad experiences or features. This is the moment when streamers have the remote in their hands, are actively searching for content so marketers should consider running banner ads, being featured in promoted channels, or inclusion in areas of the platform that highlight new or free content, and ad experiences. 

Just like a traditional TV channel guide, a home screen banner can recommend your service or content while dominating the big screen—speeding up the decision-making process for streamers. 

Sit Back and Stream: Show Them That You Know Them
Now that they’ve seen you and know you, it’s time to recommend your service while they’re in the right streaming mindset. While a home screen banner increases your SOV and promotes a specific piece of content using key art, video truly brings your content to life and educates prospects about your service with visual storytelling. 

A streamer may see a banner or image but not know what the show is about. This is where a show or movie trailer will help to convince this group of streamers to sign up and watch the show. It’s the combination of these two experiences that increases a user’s likelihood of viewing your content. 

This can be especially true as marketers look to drive engagement for key tentpole moments. For instance, when theaters were closed, Roku was the #1 platform in streaming hours for Disney+ in the week following the release of Hamilton. These results show how valuable marketing efforts can be when they are part of a streamer’s journey—and in this case, as viewers are adapting their streaming behavior to new environments.  

When the streaming landscape includes 14,000+ channels and growing, services need to connect and influence users at every streamer lifecycle stage, from prospect to subscriber to viewer. This strategy will serve as a playbook for entertainment marketers and give their respective service an opportunity to capture viewers and keep them watching for many years.

Jon Goodstadt is Global Director, Ad Sales, Media & Entertainment, Roku

Jon Goodstadt

Jon oversees Roku's national tune-in and home entertainment business. Since joining Roku in 2015, Jon has been instrumental in building the west coast business and cultivating relationships with top-tier agencies and marketers. Jon is an experienced media sales professional across TV, digital and OTT and has worked at early-stage venture-backed startups and well-established media companies like CBS, Fox and Turner. Jon holds a B.A. in International Business from Lehigh University.