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Introducing Hulu Ad Manager: A Self-Service Advertising Solution for Streaming TV

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As more customers “cut the cord” from traditional TV in favor of streaming services, how should businesses change up their advertising strategies to ensure they’re also reaching this new kind of audience? To answer this need, Hulu is proud to announce our new self-service ad solution, Hulu Ad Manager: a new way for businesses of all sizes to affordably launch, manage, and track their own streaming television ads, for a minimum spend of $500.

This user-friendly tool makes it easy to include streaming ads in your overall marketing strategy. Simply create an account, submit your video ad and, once you’re approved, you will be ready to reach thousands of potential customers!

We sat down with our own, Matt Koontz, Director of Product Management, to help spell out the benefits of Hulu’s self-service advertising solution, how it works, and answer questions about how businesses can get the most out of this new service.

What led to the creation of Hulu’s self-service ad management solution?

Matt Koontz: At Hulu, we take a viewer-first approach to everything we build, including our ad products. Our research has shown us that running a variety of ads, rather than the same ones over and over again, produces a better overall viewer experience. By putting viewers first, we’ve seen viewers watch more content on Hulu and the more content they watch, the more engaged they are with ads, which directly leads to better business results for advertisers.

While we enjoy collaborating with the top 200 brands in the US, we also want to accommodate smaller companies with more modest budgets. So, we built a simple ad buying toolset that lets us substantially lower the budget required to get started advertising on our platform. We’re really excited for this launch as it will contribute to an improved experience for our viewers—and translate into a new marketing channel that will help smaller brands grow their business.

What challenges will this platform solve for advertisers?

MK: We want to help businesses of all sizes reach their target audience, not just large companies. Many of today’s consumers are choosing to stream their entertainment—which has created a new avenue for businesses to reach their audience. By providing an easy way to engage with customers through their preferred media, we’re helping businesses close the gap.

However, traditional tv commercials are often cost-prohibitive and super complicated for smaller businesses. We took a page from the playbook of other large scale digital platforms in order to develop a self-service solution that opens up TV advertising to practically every brand at an affordable entry point. For example, our campaign minimum is $500, which is meaningfully less than many other premium streaming services and more approachable than traditional TV. This lowers the barrier to entry and presents a great opportunity for businesses to bring more customers their way.

Why should businesses advertise on streaming TV?

MK: Well, the simple reason to advertise on streaming TV is that it’s where many of a business’ prospects and customers are consuming content. eMarketer has predicted that over 25 percent of households in the U.S. will ditch their set-top boxes by 2023. We’ve experienced the growth first-hand at Hulu too. In just the past two years, ad-supported viewers on Hulu have doubled. And, they’re spending more of their time watching too. Year over year, we’re seeing an increase of 61% in time spent watching streaming content.

Streaming is an endemic trend in the entertainment industry, and while we’re still in the early days of that transition, not including streaming ads as part of your broader marketing strategy means losing out on potential customer engagement. So, at the end of the day, if you aren’t currently adding streaming TV to your marketing mix, your business might be left behind as your competition takes advantage of the opportunity. Streaming TV advertising will eventually be a mainstay of every marketer’s investment plan, so the opportunity here is for smaller advertisers to get started and learn how to take advantage of the best storytelling medium out there.

For decades, TV has been a very strong channel for marketers to create general brand awareness. Seasoned marketers already familiar with traditional television opportunities will find that our platform is easy to use and offers up-to-date performance metrics available right in your campaign dashboard. For more digital-native marketing types, Hulu’s Ad Manager will feel approachable and similar to the tools they use on other platforms.

How will advertisers benefit from using this ad management platform?

MK: Hulu Ad Manager, our self-service solution, affords businesses an opportunity to reach their audiences with measurability and reporting that just isn’t available with traditional television ads. We’re bringing the power of digital to TV advertising.

Hulu is dedicated to constantly learning more about who is watching our shows, customer viewing patterns, demographics, and granular audience segments (such as age, gender, and interests). Now brands will be able to use our in-depth knowledge and apply it to their own advertising strategy. By knowing more about who’s watching and exactly how many views their ads receive, advertisers can get in front of their ideal audience by having their ads matched with relevant show genres and movies as well as viewer preferences.

Why choose Hulu’s self-service ad management solution?

MK:

How does the self-service solution work and how can you get started using it?

MK: This solution enables brands to purchase ad inventory on Hulu directly through the platform —hence “self-service.” By automating certain aspects of the process, we’re providing businesses of all sizes with an efficient platform that gives them the ability to create, launch, and track the performance of their ads.

Right now, we are in the beta testing stage to make sure we have all of the features and functionality advertisers will need to be successful. You’re invited to apply for this testing group by filling out this form on our website. We will be reviewing applications to ensure interested advertisers are a good fit with our Beta program structure, then invite folks to use the platform on a rolling basis.

Once on the platform, you can quickly set up a campaign – select the dates you’d like your ads to run, your target audience (who you want to see your ads), upload your own video ad for approval, submit your payment info, and you’re ready to go! Our product is designed to be very straightforward and easy-to-use.

It’s important to keep in mind that your ad’s video quality must meet Hulu’s tech specifications and ad policies. Remember that we’re a premium content destination that our viewers love and we expect our ads to reflect the standards of our community. This ends up working out well for advertisers and viewers as better ad creative also leads to better business results for marketers.

Any final thoughts to share?

MK: Hulu’s self-service advertising solution for streaming television provides an excellent opportunity for an underserved slice of the market to take charge of their own streaming service advertising. We look forward to finally getting it into the hands of businesses looking to expand their reach.


Source: Hulu Internal Research, Ad-Supported Minutes, 2019 vs. 2018.

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