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Hulu Launches Beta for Self-Serve Advertising Platform

Aimed at small and medium-sized businesses, the new beta aims to give lower-budget the opportunity to appear alongside nationally-known shows.

Long-known as a an expensive platform for ads, Hulu is now making a play for small and medium-sized businesses.

The company announced a beta launch for a self-service ad platform, with a low minimum budget of just $500.

Campaign Setup and Views

Brands who are whitelisted will find a streamlined, simple interface that walks them through setup and launch.

Advertisers choose a date range, audience targeting, budget, and then an area to upload their ad.

A dashboard will also show advertisers what they’re running, start/end dates, budget, target impression level, and the serving status.

Audience & Placement Targeting

Advertisers can target by age, gender and location. There are also options for interests or show genre, but the website does not provide a full list of those options.

Geographic targeting can be by state, DMA, city, zip code, or any combination of them.

Brands may not specify which shows they would like placement on. The closest they can get to that level of granularity is via genre choices.

Creative Specifications

Ad creative must be video, anywhere between 15-30 seconds long. Unlike other advertising ecosystems brands might be used to, it will currently only support one creative per campaign. This should be considered in the campaign set up phase if an advertiser has more than one version they would like to run.

The file format must be in .mp4 or .mov output, in HD with stereo sound, and cannot violate any ad policies.

All ad creative will go through an approval process that Hulu notes can take up to 3 days.

The Likely Launch Factor

It’s no secret that in-home streaming has exploded during Covid-19. Stay at home mandates and general population aversion to being out and about lended itself to a lot of down time in the home.

This, combined with aggressive moves being made on other video platforms, no doubt influenced this decision.

“We understand that small and medium sized businesses are faced with mounting challenges. It’s critical for these businesses to have a way to get in front of their customers and communities.” – Faye Trapani, Director of Self-Service Platform Sales for Hulu.

Hulu has long had a gated feeling to it, with prohibitively high ad prices. This meant small business would divert video commercial funds to paid social platforms and YouTube, primarily. As the demand for video increased quickly during Coronavirus, it opened up a lot of opportunities for business to grow more aggressively when it came to apportioning their ad dollars to streaming services.

Non-TV Video Ad Dollars

There have also been signals that streaming video is making moves to deliberately go after advertiser money. YouTube participated in the upfronts for TV ad dollar allocation this year, and launched YouTube Select to specifically address TV watchers.

However, Hulu faces competition from areas other than just streaming for television.

Video-specific arenas have also grown with actions like IGTV launching monetization for creators, and  TikTok launching its self-serve ad platform.

While different formats and states of mind for a user, it’s all creating more options for a share of media spend on video.

Hulu’s official announcement can be found here, and there is also an interview with their Director of Product Management.

Interested businesses will need to apply for the beta, and wait to be contacted.

Images courtesy of Hulu

Susan Wenograd Consultant

Susan is the Paid Media Reporter for Search Engine Journal. A marketing veteran of almost 20 years, she has managed ...

Hulu Launches Beta for Self-Serve Advertising Platform

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