Have You Heard About Hulu’s New Self-Serve Ads?

Early last month, Hulu announced plans for a self-service ad platform called Hulu Ad Manager. It aims to allow advertisers to run streaming television ads all on their own for a minimum spend of $500, which is significantly less than other television advertising options.

Given that Americans are spending more time at home in 2020, this new advertising opportunity couldn’t come at a better time.

Let’s talk about what we know so far about this ad platform and what changes like this could mean for digital marketing moving forward.

What We Know About Hulu Ad Manager

Getting Access

As of publication, the platform is currently beta only. You’ll need to submit your information, indicate if you’re in-house or agency-side, if you have an existing video ad, what industry your ads fall into and what your estimated spend will be in Hulu.

Applications will be reviewed and approved for advertisers who are a good fit for the Beta. More folks will be invited on a rolling basis.

The current campaign minimum is $500, according to documentation on the Hulu website. What we don’t currently know is how fast advertisers should expect to spend that $500, if there are daily budget limits, etc.

Available Targeting

Hulu’s documentation says that gender, age, location, interest and by content (genre) targeting is available. It’s hard to know how specific “interest” and “content/genre” targeting can be, but we will hope that it’s specific enough.

Image copied from Hulu documentation

State, DMA, city, zip code and a combination of these geographic targets are also available.

It sounds like this would be a great way for small businesses, like home contractors or boutiques, to reach users who are interested in home renovation or fashion shows.

Reporting Capablities

Hulu says advertisers can start, stop, pause, cancel and delete campaigns at any time. Additionally, there will be a campaign dashboard that allows you to easily track up-to-the-date performance.

Ad Specifications

If you’re interested in Hulu ads, you’ll want to make sure your ads are in high definition, have stereo sound and comply with Hulu’s ad policies.

Currently, the video ads can be 15-30 seconds in the MP4 or MOV format.

Similar to other newly launched advertising channels, you’ll need to give Hulu as much as 3 business days for a review once you have a campaign that is ready to launch. To err on the side of caution, you may even want to give it 5 business days.

What Does This Mean for Digital Marketers?

Hulu is an advertising-based business model, so in my opinion a move to a self-serve platform was a logical next step for the company. With the current state of the world, it’s great that they were able to roll this option out at a time that so many people are spending an increased amount of time in front of their televisions.

A lot of people call traditional television advertising “useless” and a “waste of money”. It’s true that television is a much more expensive advertising option and it’s certainly not as measurable as digital options. Traditional television and its advertising counterparts are going through a change right now as more Americans continue to discontinue cable and opt for streaming services.

As someone who comes from a television marketing background, I can say that Hulu’s self-service are a great option for local businesses (think law firms, home contractors, car dealerships, HVAC contractors, etc.). It will allow these businesses to save some cash on advertising while still reaching their target audience in the same manner.

I think we might see other streaming platforms follow suit as live stream cable continues its rise in popularity.

What do you think about Hulu’s self-serve ad platform news? Are you planning to test it out? We’d love to hear your thoughts below!