Hulu Advertising and Campaign Basics
Marketers have long relied on television advertisements to get their messages across, but these days fewer of their viewers are watching network and cable TV shows. Where have they gone? Increasingly, they’re spending their entertainment hours watching over-the-top (OTT) television programming on streaming content providers such as Hulu.
OTT refers to viewable content that is streamed over the internet. Because it most often comes into homes over cable, it travels over the top of the conduit for “regular” TV programming. It isn’t always viewed on a television set. You can watch it on a laptop, tablet or smartphone. It’s not a traditional broadcast signal that’s recognized by older TV sets. To watch it on a set, you need a smart TV, or you need to add an OTT device such as a Roku or Amazon Fire Stick to your non-smart TV.
Viewers access OTT content by subscribing to OTT providers such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu. The advertising on OTT is different from broadcast ads. Typically they’re 15 to 30 second ads that are either pre-roll or mid-roll. That is, they’re presented before or during an OTT show. Viewers tend to pay more attention to them than to traditional, or linear TV ads, and they’re more likely to watch all the way through to the end.
Hulu Advertising Platform
One of the best OTT advertising platforms is Hulu. Hulu offers video on demand (VoD) with a library of old television shows and movies that viewers can view whenever they choose on whatever connected device they want to use.
Hulu customers can choose a Hulu subscription with or without advertisements, but the majority choose to save money and stick with the cheaper plan that includes ads. During 2020 the number of paid Hulu subscribers has increased from 30 million to 35 million. The pandemic has moved viewer habits toward streaming services, and it’s unlikely they’ll move back.
OTT advertising platforms such as Hulu offer marketers an audience that linear TV programming can’t match. Hulu advertisers can target viewers by age, gender, zip code and viewer interests. They receive feedback on who’s watching, whether they’re watching ads to completion and how often they’re visiting the advertisers website for more product information.
Hulu Ad Products
Hulu provides marketers and viewers with a suite of tools to tailor the advertising experience. Viewers may use Ad Selector to choose an ad from two or three options or, with Brand Entertainment Selector, choose to watch a long commercial up front or shorter commercials during the show. There are pause ads that appear only when viewers take a break from streaming. Hulu is always trying to make advertising less disruptive to the viewer and more engaging.
For OTT advertisers, Hulu offers Binge Ad for placing relevant advertising into viewer binge sessions. Branded Slate offers “presented by” introductions at the top of a show. Marketers can integrate advertising with Hulu’s home page, offer personalized ads to targeted audiences and present those audiences with an interactive experience.
Hulu Advertising Specs
With linear TV advertising, a marketer is concerned only about how ads look on a TV screen. Hulu TV ads, however, aren’t always viewed on a TV. Advertisers have to think about how their ads will appear on every type of device. The ads need to be captivating on an oversize wall unit, and the advertising content also must look right on a smartphone.
Every OTT platform publishes guidelines such as Hulu advertising specs or YouTube ad specs. These tell you, for example, that all advertisements must be in HD and stereo. They specify what’s required in dimensions, display ratio, frame rate, audio bit rate and so forth. They remind you that the maximum file size is 3 GB and the duration must be between 15 and 30 seconds. This duration is critical in retaining the acceptability of the ads to viewers and maintaining a high watch-to-completion rate. There are additional considerations for Hulu interactive ads.
Compliance with technical requirements is critical, but Hulu also has suggestions for how to specify your target audience and how to choose what kind of content you want your advertising to run in conjunction with. Specifications and guidelines such as these are a boon to all marketers, especially those who are new to the OTT advertising arena. Hulu has consultants and self-service tools to help advertisers work within the ad specs and enjoy a truly positive ad-placing experience.
Hulu Advertising Cost-Per-Mille and Ad Campaigns
Where do you start if you need to know how to buy OTT advertising and kick off your Hulu ad campaign? Are you ready to commit a substantial portion of your advertising budget to an OTT platform? If that platform is Hulu, there’s a tool, such as Keynes Digital, being introduced that can get you into the world of streaming TV advertising with low barriers to entry.
Hulu Ad Manager Tool
The Ad Manager is a self-service tool to help smaller companies place their ads on Hulu. While Hulu works with large corporations, they also want to lower the barrier to entry for organizations that have a limited budget. These small players can now use Ad Manager to partner with Hulu to launch, manage and track ads in the new world of streaming content.
All you have to do is create an account, submit a video, select the dates you want and use the tool to define your target audience. Once your video is approved you’re good to go, and your ad will reach a viewership that you may have thought was beyond your means.
Why Cost Per Mille
How much does it cost to advertise on OTT? If you’ve looked into it, you’ve run across the term “cost per mille,” or CPM. The “mille” stands for thousand, and the CPM is the amount you pay for 1,000 impressions, or 1,000 viewings of your ad.
In linear TV advertising, you buy a time slot, and the price depends on how many TV sets are expected to be turned on when that time slot occurs. Everyone who sees your ad is going to see on the same date and time. In the OTT world nobody can predict exactly when your advertisement is going to be seen. Fortunately, OTT advertising gathers statistics and knows whenever your spot runs on a connected device. With CPM pricing you pay only for people who actually view your commercial. Many small to medium companies can’t afford the cost of a large linear TV audience, but the CPM model allows them to buy advertising in affordable increments.
For any OTT platform, the CPM varies based on a number of factors, such as the popularity of the show and whether or not they’re Hulu transactional ads, which allow viewers to interact with a commercial and take action in another window. These ads use push notifications and QR codes to prompt view actions such as making a purchase. Hulu CPM generally runs from around $20 to about $60.
Hulu Advertising and 2020’s Successes
Hulu ads 2020 focus on this year’s trends for OTT viewers. The unusual stresses of this year mean that your Hulu commercial 2020 more than ever must be attuned to today’s viewing habits.
Toward the end of last year Hulu launched a research project aimed at understanding the contemporary audience. March of 2020 and the arrival of COVID-19 gave even more impetus to this research. People are at the same time binging more and watching more varied content. They’re watching on more types of devices. Smartphone wifi viewing in particular has spiked.
Hulu commercial list 2020 includes new successes this year and continued successes from the past year. Hulu uses what they’ve learned to boost the advertising success of their partners. They’re proud of their case studies that demonstrate that success. Their partners included household names as well as companies that are just beginning to put their names on the map.
They worked with Third Love, a marketer of all-size bras, to expand their reach by positioning their ads with top-quality content of concern and interest to women. They helped Alfa Romeo introduce a new sports model with in-show integration with an action movie. They integrated Jagermeister with the Huluween feature to increase brand favorability and purchase intent. The partnered with trimmer manufacturer Manscaped to reach their target audience of millennial and GenZ men.
Hulu will work with you to help identify how best to position your advertising dollars. It’s especially true for medium-sized companies: Hulu is a platform that can open the doors to the expanding world of OTT advertising and help reach audiences in ways that weren’t possible only a few years ago.