Insights from Roku Canada’s Country Manager, Christina Summers

Similarly, we’re expecting to see strong Canadian broadcasters and news organizations invest in other channels to bring in viewers and increase awareness of their platforms outside of Meta. For example, we’ve seen major news organizations as well as various governments divest from Meta advertising since the company announced it would be pulling news access from its platforms in June. With that in mind, we could start to see larger investments from Canadian news organizations and government agencies in TV streaming or other platforms not impacted by Bill C-18. 

Q) With Meta’s recent announcement to remove news for Canadian users from its platforms, how do you think this will impact the visibility and reach of Canadian news content? How can advertisers effectively adapt to this change?

Summers: According to a Reuters Institute Digital News Report, 45 per cent of Canadians get their news from social media. With that, we can assume those viewers may be looking to other platforms to stay informed. With Bill C-18, TV streaming emerges as a great option for Canadians who formerly received news from social to easily access their Canadian news elsewhere. TV streaming platforms, like Roku, support local news as a distribution partner, and allow these organizations to both reach new audiences and extend reach beyond traditional linear channels and social. For advertisers and marketers, this means an additional medium to reach audiences through news networks, along with new audiences and insights, to capture viewers who’ve had to migrate from social to streaming because of Bill C-18. 

Q) In light of the potential risks and uncertainties surrounding online platforms, why do you believe a diversified ad spend approach across multiple platforms is important for advertisers? What benefits can an omnichannel approach offer? 

Summers: Due to the rapidly changing nature of digital advertising and marketing, an omnichannel approach has emerged as a fail-safe strategy and the best way to maximize reach for advertisers.

This type of approach ensures advertisers and marketers aren’t putting all their eggs in one basket, and having a diversified, holistic strategy to reach all potential audience members without heavily relying on one channel or the next. TV streaming is a great addition to the mix: 76 per cent of Canadians are now fully streaming and more than half of advertisers surveyed by Mediocean are planning to increase their spend with TV streaming ads. 

Q) Measurement, attribution, and ROI have always been critical aspects of advertising. With the changing landscape due to Bill C-18 and other industry developments, how do you think the approach to measuring ad performance and attributing results will evolve?

Summers: This is where working with platforms with first-party data will be crucial. Without this, marketers only have a broad sense of who their ads are reaching. For instance, advertisers and marketers using third-party data can target a “millennial mom” demographic but first-party data capabilities provide insights into what that demographic is doing, like watching the news, using their favourite workout app and more. 

Streaming platforms typically have a logged in user, and as a platform, provide advertisers with valuable audience insights and targeting capabilities, so they know exactly who they are reaching, and a toolbox of interactive ad formats to connect with preferred target audiences. Automatic Content Recognition (ACR) is a great example of the strength of first-party data. ACR can capture TV time spent with linear, streaming and even gaming. Twice per second, an ACR enabled Roku TV will capture video “fingerprints” in 4K resolution of what households are viewing on their TV screen. These fingerprints are matched with a database of TV shows, movies, ads, and live TV channels, which allows the exposure to be matched to what is airing. The data is then paired with Roku profile data linking the account with the content they’re watching.

With first-party data, and ACR, advertisers and marketers can see what specific content audiences are gravitating towards. This informs how they can build future strategic campaigns tailored to each advertiser’s particular needs. This is great news for advertisers, especially those who are contemplating shifting spends from social to TV streaming, or those who want to ensure they are maximizing their dollars by targeting audiences as granularly as possible. 

Q) Beyond the next six months, what long-term trends do you foresee in the advertising industry in Canada? How can advertisers future-proof their strategies to adapt to potential regulatory changes and emerging technologies?

Summers: Long-term, advertisers will have to test-and-learn through a variety of channels to ensure they’re using each available network to its full potential. That goes beyond traditional social and digital advertising to TV streaming ads as well. TV streaming is only going to become more commonplace in Canada, and advertisers need to be prepared to tackle this channel as more and more Canadians shift to streaming. 

Likewise, advertisers and marketers should have secondary plans in place for creative campaigns to be able to deploy over a variety of channels: digital, social, and streaming included. With the advertising and marketing industry seemingly in flux this year, the best way I can recommend future-proofing your ad strategy is to be open to shifting and pivoting your strategy as the world evolves. Furthermore, when it comes to measurement and attribution, focusing on the quality of the inventory your advertising is running will also become increasingly important.

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