Magna Study Finds New Roku Ad Formats Draw Better Results

Roku Watch Along Ad
Watch Along ads increased ad recall (Image credit: Roku)

Media buyer Magna and Roku said their research shows that new, more entertaining and engaging commercial formats create better results for advertisers.

As advertisers move to streaming, they are looking to take advantage of digital technology to create ads that are more innovative than traditional 30-second commercials.

Magna’s research unit, Magna Media Trials, working with brands including T-Mobile, Subaru and Tonal, looked at three formats developed by Roku and found that they lift ad recall, brand favorability and intent to search.

The three formats tested were:

  • Thematic Tagged Vignette: A 30-second animated ad where a brand celebrates streaming.
  • Roku Original Vignette: A 30-second ad where a brand references the Roku Original show being streamed.
  • Watch Alongs: Ad breaks where a brand sponsors discussion about the show or movie being streamed. 

As a group, the new formats increase top-of-mind ad recall by 57% compared to traditional ads, lifted brand favorability by 8% and intent to search by 16%. 

The Thematic Brand Vignettes were good at generating attention with 65% of respondents saying the spots “taught me something new.” The Roku Original Vignette tripled the purchase intent of traditional ads, with a 10% lift. Watch Alongs improved recall by 66% versus 39% for traditional ads.

“In the current advertising environment, it is important to recognize that viewers can easily skip over advertising, but our study found they are less likely to do so if the ads are as entertaining as the programming and present a more enjoyable experience,” said Kara Manatt, executive VP and managing director, intelligence solutions at Magna. “One of the most memorable formats for viewers is Watch Alongs, likely because the advertiser is offering the viewer added value to the show they are watching.”

Magna Media Trials and Roku found that viewers are craving new ad experiences on streaming TV, with 94% saying that enhancement can improve the ad experience for them and increase potential returns for brands. The new format all worked better than traditional ads, creating more brand awareness and moving the viewer closer to purchase.

“Better TV storytelling for brands starts with Roku,” said Asaf Davidov, director, head of ad measurement and research at Roku. “The takeaway for marketers is clear — the key to winning the entire streamers’ journey is surprising and delighting beyond the traditional TV spot.”

The research utilized an at-home panel of 1,316 viewers that was divided into randomized exposed and control groups. ■

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.