The Essentials of Advertising on Hulu: What Brands Need to Know

Tired of the same-old, same-old advertising techniques on traditional television? It’s time to shake things up and delve into the world of advertising on Hulu.

With more than 48 million paid subscribers and counting, Hulu is taking the streaming game by storm and providing brands with uncharted territory to showcase their products and services.

But how does advertising on Hulu differ from traditional TV advertising? We’ve got you covered.

In this article, we’ll explore the essentials of advertising on Hulu and provide you with valuable insights on how to make the most out of your brand’s streaming experience.

The Essentials of Advertising on Hulu: What Brands Need to Know

Understanding Hulu’s Audience

Before we take a closer look at the mechanics of advertising on Hulu, let’s talk about the user base.

As previously mentioned, Hulu had over 48 million subscribers as of 2023, making it one of the most popular streaming services in the country. While the exact demographics are somewhat difficult to pin down, it’s clear that the platform skews toward a younger audience (the average viewer is in their 30s), with just a little over half of all users being female.

Hulu viewers also tend to be heavy ad consumers, with many opting for the ad-supported version of the platform over the ad-free subscription. A study by Nielsen found that the average Hulu viewer watches around 130 minutes of programming per day, with much of that time spent watching ads.

This is a higher ad consumption rate than other popular streaming services like Netflix, which is entirely ad-free, and Amazon Prime Video, which has an optional ad-supported plan.

Breaking Down Ad Formats on Hulu

Hulu offers a variety of ad formats, each of which is designed to reach viewers at different points in the content experience. Here’s a rundown of the different ad formats available on the platform:

  • Pre-roll ads: These are short ads that play before the main content begins, typically lasting around 15-30 seconds. They’re a great way to capture viewers’ attention right off the bat.
  • Mid-roll ads: Mid-roll ads play during a natural pause in the content, such as a commercial break in a television show. They’re typically longer than pre-roll ads, ranging from 30 seconds to two minutes.
  • Post-roll ads: These ads play at the end of the main content and are typically shorter than pre-roll ads, around 15-30 seconds. They can be a good way to use viewers’ attention to promote related content or products.
  • Interactive ads: Interactive ads are more immersive than traditional video ads, allowing viewers to engage with the ad content in various ways, such as by taking a quiz, exploring a product, or playing a game. They’re typically longer than other ad formats but can be more memorable and engaging.

When you’re choosing between which ad format to use, you need to take some time to seriously consider the context in which the ad will appear, as well as the intended message and goals of the campaign – don’t just randomly pick and choose.

Pre-roll ads, for example, may be more suitable for a brand seeking to build brand awareness and capture viewers’ attention quickly, while mid-roll ads may work better for brands seeking to tell a more in-depth story or showcase a product at a more leisurely pace.

Targeting Options to Consider

The Essentials of Advertising on Hulu: What Brands Need to Know

No matter which ad format you choose, it’s important to create effective ads that will resonate with viewers and drive the desired action. Here are some tips for creating successful ads within each format:

  • Pre-roll ads: Keep it short and sweet. Viewers are likely eager to get to the content they came for, so make sure your ad delivers its message quickly and effectively.
  • Mid-roll ads: Use storytelling to your advantage. Because mid-roll ads play during a natural break in the content, they can be a great opportunity to tell a longer-form story that will capture viewers’ attention and leave a lasting impression.
  • Post-roll ads: Offer a clear call-to-action. Because post-roll ads play at the end of the content, viewers may be more likely to take action immediately, so make sure your CTA is clear and compelling.
  • Interactive ads: Make it fun and engaging. Viewers are more likely to engage with an ad that feels more like a game or experience than a traditional ad, so make sure your interactive ad offers a fun, memorable experience that aligns with your brand.

Ultimately, one of the key benefits of marketing on Hulu is that you have targeting capabilities beyond just where you place your ads and the content you include in them. You can also target audiences based on their age, gender, location, interests, and more.

You can even target by device — marketing to different sets of users based on whether they’re using a mobile phone or smart TV.

These targeting options allow brands to effectively reach their desired audience where it matters most. For instance, a cooking appliance brand may target viewers who have shown an interest in cooking shows on Hulu, while a sports drink brand may target viewers watching sports content.

The Takeaway

The Essentials of Advertising on Hulu: What Brands Need to Know

With its unique user base and targeting capabilities, Hulu offers a level of specificity and flexibility that other streaming services and traditional TV simply can’t match.

If you’re able to take the time to understand the various ad formats available and to utilize Hulu’s targeting options effectively, you can create campaigns that are not only engaging — but also highly effective in achieving their goals.

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