How to Use a Roku Channel to Drive Traffic to Your Website

As a Roku developer, one of the biggest questions I hear from our TV channel clients is how do we “connect” their Roku channel to their website. They’ve invested a ton of money into their website, and now they’re investing more into a Roku channel and, by golly, it all needs towork together.

For most people new to Roku, they hear “Internet TV,” or “Connected TV,” and they immediately think of something akin to 1990′s Web TV. They logically assume that Roku is web-based and therefore, we can link between the two; that Roku TV viewers can instantly click-through to their website. (Not yet, anyway, but maybe one day ((That would/will be awesome!))). It’s a common misconception. Most people hear “Internet,” and think, “World Wide Web.” The average person doesn’t know there’s a difference between the two. And you can’t blame them. I mean, just looking at Roku on the TV screen and moving that icon around with your remote, it all sure seems like you’re using the Web!

Fact is, Roku is NOT web-based. It doesn’t use HTML and there’s no browser. Like the Web, it uses the Internet but it is in fact autonomous of the Web. I like to tell people to think of Roku as it’s own web — a web of channels, that, like the World Wide Web twenty-plus years ago, is quickly growing as more “sites” — or channels — are added:

“Imagine the World Wide Web when it had only 5,000 websites. That’s where Roku is at today. Now think how far the Web has come since only having 5,000 websites and THAT is how far Roku is going! Now imagine being ONE of those original 5,000 websites having gotten in on it when the gettin’ was good! That opportunity is here again, but with Roku.”
— Philippe Autelitano, Founder/CEO Mediarazzi

Just because Roku and the Web are separate, however, doesn’t mean they can’t work together. By simply prominently displaying your website URL throughout your channel you can use your channel to drive traffic to your website. Of course, for most marketers all of this probably goes without saying, but not everyone launching a Roku channel is a master marketer. That said, here are seven ways you can use your Roku channel to turn TV viewers into website visitors, and ultimately, clients or customers.

  1. Add your URL to your channel’s splash screen. The very first thing viewers seen upon entering your channel is your splash screen. There’s no way around it — this is PRIME real estate! It only makes sense to use this screen as a primary marketing platform AND to display your URL. Viewers will see it every time they come to your channel and will no doubt memorize it as a result.

Fig. 1 — Notice the URL at the bottom of the splash screen on Vegas Sports Advisors

 

2. Add your URL to your channel platform. This is your channel’s main menu —where every viewer STARTS after entering your channel. Your channel’s overhang (strip along the top) is another piece of prime real estate. There’s plenty of room there for your logo AND your URL. Also, depending on your channel layout, you can run a static banner along the bottom, or dynamic background image, that features your URL.

3. Add your URL to your channel springboards. If your channel uses springboards to launch video, this is more prime real estate. In order for a viewer to view their selected content, they must first pass through the springboard that displays a screenshot and description of the content along with the PLAY button. You can add your URL to the description itself or in place of the content year, director, etc.

Fig. 2 — We used a custom URL on Paula Deen Network to track traffic from the channel.

 

4. Add your URL to your actual content. You can add your URL to pre-roll or post-roll credits or both AND you can superimpose it OVER the content itself — i.e., as a caption or as a ticker or crawl along the bottom of the screen.

Fig. 3 — Vegas Sports Advisors runs their URL at the bottom of the screen AND makes mention of it several times throughout the content itself.

5. Mention your website as often as you can in the content itself.Again, this may go without saying for some of you. You want to make mention of your website as often as you can, without sounding too desperate, LOL. At least once at the beginning of a video piece, and once at the end. If it’s longer than five minutes, once in the middle, too. Every five minutes is good rule of thumb. Some may argue more or less.

6. Use “premium” content to drive web traffic. Create a password-protected side of your channel with exclusive “premium” content exclusively for those who register at your website. Viewers will visit your site to sign-up and get their password. This also helps grow your mailing list, creating future marketing opportunities.

Fig. 4 — Raw Country channel description on Roku Guide (www.rokuguide.com) includes URL at the bottom.

 

7. Add your website URL to your channel description. When viewers browse the channel store and select your channel to learn more about it, they should see your URL in the channel description. They may not add you channel, but they may still go to your website, so don’t overlook this prime marketing space. Your channel description is also picked up by websites like Roku Guide andMkvXstream that offer online guides to Roku channels and content.

Roku can be a great way to reach a market or demographic you may not otherwise be reaching. With nearly 20 million viewers actively involved in Roku, your channel is practically guaranteed to get some play. Roku viewers are hungry for fresh content, so new channels always get play. Tons of it!Keeping those viewers coming back, however, (requires quality content and) is another story. But even if you just have a handful of viewers, that’s a handful of viewers that aren’t on the Web at the time and that you wouldn’t otherwise have gotten. Do it right, and pushing viewers from your Roku channel to your website is easy.

I should point out, too, that it pays to use a custom URL — i.e., “www.yourwebsite.com/roku” or similar— as a way of tracking which visitors come via the channel. You could even go so far as to create multiple custom URLs to track more specifically which part of the channel or what actual content motivated them to come.

You may also want to use coupon codes— whether mentioning them in your content or displaying them on-screen, or both — as a way of motivating viewers to the website AND tracking them.

In closing, Roku and the Web being separate actually helps rather than hinders your web traffic. If you consider that most people now have a secondary device handy when watching TV — whether it’s a smart phone, laptop, or tablet — tit’s practically second nature for them to use that device to visit your website while watching your channel. I do it all the time —I see or heard something on TV and I’m instantly looking it up.

And when they do, that’s TWO billboards of your information in their face, rather than one. A marketing double whammy!

If you’d like to know more about Roku channels and how you can use one to promote your business or cause, or to distribute your own creative content — and make money with it! — visit our website www.mediarazzi.com

— P.

Phil Autelitano is founder and CEO of Mediarazzi. We develop branded TV channels and applications for Roku and Connected TV.www.mediarazzi.com

@PhilAutelitano