TV Streaming isn’t just trending; it is our new reality. Marketers are discovering that connected television offers spacious room to play, create, and connect with consumers – but it’s still a new territory for many brands. Chris Bruss, Head of Roku Brand Studio at Roku, and Kimberly Haynes-Peterson, Director, Broad-Reach Media at Zillow, discuss the important topic of creative immersion and connected television. In this conversation, they touch on how to leverage streaming channels – where to start, what to consider, and what you need to know in order to successfully launch into this space.
Here is what they had to say during the MTM 411, and how it could impact your teams, talent, and future.
Q: Chris, from a studio approach and working with outside brands, where do you recommend marketers start if they have never leveraged a streaming channel?
A: Traditional TV viewing is being overtaken by streaming, which means all TV advertising will also be streamed. When I talk to advertisers, I ask them to think of streaming television as the beauty of traditional television but with the brains of digital and social. It showcases the most premium content and talent but with the added benefit of interacting directly with the viewer.
Q: Kimberly, you are approaching this from an in-house/corporate perspective, how do you approach streaming in the context of your overall Creative plan and strategy?
A: Fundamentally, our job is to find ways to get our Zillow Creative message out to people looking to get their dream home. Video is the core of our media strategy as it’s one of the best ways to tell a complex story and expand reach. And streaming is an integral part of our video strategy. In fact, Nielsen published a study in July 2022 that said streaming surpassed cable in terms of time spent viewing. Americans spend a third of their TV time streaming, and that trend will continue, and we’ll continue to expand our streaming efforts.
Q: Kimberly, what have you learned at Zillow, and what are you doing differently now than several years ago?
A: The most significant learning for me is the necessity of keeping pace with how the media landscape and consumption is evolving. Zillow was an early adopter of streaming in 2018 with partners like Roku, and we’ve grown our streaming investment as the industry and measurement have expanded. It was a leap of faith to move into the streaming space, but when we saw growing customer adoption, we knew we could reach people here we couldn’t otherwise.
Q: Chris, how have you seen brands leverage streaming from a creative standpoint?
A: A good 30-second spot will continue to be the core building block of any successful streaming media plan and strategy. That’s where you must start – but once you have a plan that contemplates the right channels, the right audience, and showing up at the right time, you can expand into the other exciting elements that streaming and connected television offers. That’s when an entity like the Roku Brand Studio can step in and help you think more creatively.
One example of that is creating collections of relevant content and working with an advertiser to promote those collections to their target audience. These collections can include content from The Roku Channel or across the entire streaming ecosystem, including Disney+, Peacock, Paramount+, etc.
The Brand Studio team also has a lot of experience creating premium, TV-quality content with advertisers. For example, we worked with Maker’s Mark to create a talk show hosted by Randall Park, a great comedic actor. We were able to truly collaborate on that content with the advertiser and then have it live alongside other premium TV content within The Roku Channel; that’s not something you can do in a traditional linear TV environment.
That’s one of the exciting things about streaming: there’s plenty of real estate you can play with, create content collections with advertisers, draw a brand close to premium content through sponsorship, and even create original premium content in collaboration with a brand that lives alongside traditional TV content.
Q: Kimberly, what are benefits of including streaming in your overall creative strategy?
A: There’s a great deal of creative potential with streaming. Within Zillow’s marketing strategy, we aim to demonstrate that we are with the customers through their entire journey of finding and getting their home. Streaming and video allow us to do that by showcasing all that Zillow has to offer in an entertaining, informative, and empowering way.
Q: Chris, how are you measuring success and using the data to make decisions?
A: For any of our big content programs, we always include measurement. We want to know who saw it and how they felt about it, including traditional KPIs like “brand lift.”
We also want to make sure that this is content the consumer finds valuable, would like to see more of and would recommend to their friends and family. Ultimately, we want to make sure what we are doing works well for the advertising partner and enhances the consumers’ streaming experience.
Streaming also gives you a lot of data-driven insights that inform our creative concepts and overall program strategy. For example, with our weekly series Roku Recommends, we’re able to highlight content that users are most likely to be interested in, which comes from data and insights only we can access. We have a one-to-one relationship with our consumers and, therefore, can understand what they’re searching for, their pain points, and what they’d like to see more of.
Q: Kimberly, how do you measure success and use the data to build strategy?
A: We partner with iSpot, a measurement company that helps us attribute when someone sees one of our commercials on TV and follows up by taking action on Zillow.com. It allows us to track and validate our performance. We have seen a higher lift with streaming TV than linear TV. iSpot also allows us to dig deeper into specific partners, which eventually helps shape our future plans and buys. We look at qualitative work to ensure our creative resonates with the customer and we use a Marketing Mix Model that looks at the whole picture.
Q: Chris, how do you work with your internal team on creative streaming strategy?
A: When I think about creativity in streaming, I don’t just think about the 30-second, 2-minute, or even 15-minute video asset we might produce and distribute on behalf of a brand. I start by thinking of Roku as the #1 streaming platform that offers every streaming channel and multiple touchpoints with the consumer across the entire streaming experience. So, the creative process includes working with our channel partners and our engineering team to create products and offerings that contemplate user behaviors and deliver the best creative storytelling and experiences for our brand partners and our streaming users.
Q: Kimberly, how do you work with your internal team on creative streaming strategy?
A: The beauty of being in-house is the power of integration; you are able to see how all the pieces fit together for a more effective whole. Our overarching business strategy is about putting the customer first, and that’s reflected in how we approach our creative, media, and overall marketing strategy. We must always ensure that we’re marrying the message with the media and using media creatively.
The 411 virtual events are hosted by Jennie Stark, the Senior Director of the MTM Program at 24 Seven. They are designed for Marketing Managers to bring value, direction, and inspiration to their teams from insightful conversations with top marketing leaders. Each event contains insights on different disciplines, such as what brands are focused on, leading teams, measuring success, and more.
Chris Bruss, Head of Roku Brand Studio at Roku: Chris Bruss leads the Roku Brand Studio, which launched in the Spring of 2022. He works with advertising partners to do creative and innovative executions on the platform to help advertisers move beyond the traditional 30-second spot – whether that be sponsorships, content curation, custom spots, branded content series, etc. Before his time at Roku, Chris worked with advertisers at Funny or Die, a comedy website and production company, overseeing FOD’s digital business, including editorial content, programming, sales, and partner content.
Kimberly Haynes-Peterson, Director, Broad-Reach Media at Zillow: Kimberly Haynes-Peterson has been at Zillow for over two years and is one of the paid media directors within their integrated marketing group. She guides their team through holistic planning, emphasizing broad-reach channels, including linear and streaming television, audio online, video display, et cetera. Kimberly has a background on the agency side and has experience in a multitude of categories, including CPG, retail, and more.
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