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Advertising on Hulu: Ad Formats, Examples & Tips

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By Emily Sullivan

With the continued rise in streaming service adoption, advertisers are increasingly turning to OTT (over-the-top) advertising, which allows brands to reach their target audiences while they stream television shows and movies. OTT advertising is advertising delivered directly to viewers over the internet through streaming services or devices, such as streaming sticks and connected TVs. One of the most popular streaming ad-supported streaming services today is Hulu. 

At just $7.99 per month (with ads) and $17.99 per month (without ads), Hulu is a great deal. And where the deals are incredible, the subscribers follow… 

The formula itself is one we’re all familiar with, and it appears to be working out quite well for Hulu.

  1. Low prices attract more viewers
  2. More viewers brings more eyes to Hulu ads
  3. More eyes on ads brings more interested advertisers
  4. Advertising revenue climbs alongside impressive viewer growth

In this particular scenario, everyone wins! And the proof is in the pudding considering Hulu generated $11.2 billion in revenue in 2023.

Advertising on Hulu Ad Formats Examples Tips

In the following article, we will cover everything you need to know about Hulu including how to advertise on Hulu, ad types available, advertising cost, best examples of Hulu ads, and more. Let’s dive right in.

What is Hulu Advertising?

OTT Video Viewers in US by Service Over Time with over 111 million subscribers In 2023

Image Source: https://www.emarketer.com/content/disney-will-become-streaming-heavyweight

Hulu is a service that offers subscription video on demand. Hulu currently has more than 50.2 million subscribers across their SVOD (ad-free subscription video on demand) and AVOD (advertising-based video on demand) plans, translating to nearly 100 million viewers in 2021. eMarketer predictions estimate that number will grow to 115.6 million viewers by 2024.

Hulu notes on their website that their ad-supported offering is their most popular. Previously shared statistics showed that in 2023, 58% of total Hulu subscribers opted for the ad-supported plan.

Hulu subscriptions can be purchased on their own, or as part of a bundle with other services. One such popular option is The Disney Bundle. The new Disney Bundle brings together the extensive Disney+ and Hulu libraries – including beloved characters, award-winning films and series, and 100 years’ worth of inspiring stories – all in one place.

Hulu’s ad-supported and ad-free plans offer subscribers a vast streaming library, inclusive of thousands of movies and TV episodes. Hulu Originals are also included in both plans, as is the ability to watch on the internet-enabled device of your choosing—TV, mobile, tablet, or laptop. As the first platform to introduce viewer-first advertising innovations, like the industry’s first interactive ad formats, Hulu continues to give viewers choice and control over their ad experience.

Outside of the primary differentiators between the two options—ads or no ads, and cost—the only additional distinction to be made is that the ad-supported version does not allow subscribers to download and watch titles on-the-go.

Hulu offers a popular option with an ad-supported tier. This utilizes OTT advertising, meaning ads are delivered directly to viewers over the internet through the Hulu platform, rather than traditional cable or satellite TV. Unlike a typical TV buy where you get a set amount of ad space, these OTT ad buys allow for granular targeting based on demographics, location, and interests, similar to what you might experience on other digital platforms.  While these ads are strategically placed before, during, and potentially after your chosen content, they are not skippable. It’s also worth noting that even ad-free tiers might show a few promotional spots for certain shows or live TV events.

Hulu has its very own ad platform that includes a robust set of options for bidding, targeting, and measurement, as well as different ad experiences. 

Why Advertise on Hulu?

In today’s media landscape, reaching your target audience effectively is crucial. Hulu offers a compelling advertising platform with a variety of advantages:

  • Massive Reach – Tap into a vast audience of engaged viewers. Hulu boasts over 50.2 million subscribers, with their AVOD tier reaching a staggering 109.2 million viewers per month.
  • Targeted Engagement – Go beyond traditional TV’s limitations. Hulu’s targeting capabilities allow you to zero in on specific demographics, interests, and even geographies. This ensures your message reaches viewers most likely to resonate with your brand.
  • Cost-Effectiveness – Hulu has many buy options, which makes it accessible for any size client to run a campaign on Hulu. Hulu offers campaign minimums as low as $500, which creates a low barrier to entry for most clients. Especially, when partnering with an agency like Tinuiti, where brands can anticipate 2-3x more efficient CPMs when compared to the general market. This makes it accessible for businesses of various sizes to test and refine their advertising strategies.
  • DRAX – Disney’s Real-Time Ad Exchange establishes direct connections to major media buying platforms for streamlined ad buying across Disney+ and Hulu. This integration increases automation, allowing advertisers easier access to Disney’s inventory. Partnerships with Google and The Trade Desk provide direct paths to Disney’s inventory, offering greater reach, flexibility, and transparency. 
  • Engaging Ad Formats – Hulu offers a variety of ad formats beyond standard video ads. Explore interactive elements to capture viewer attention and create a more immersive brand experience with Shoppable ads, pause ads, takeovers, and more.
  • Brand Safety – Hulu prioritizes brand safety, ensuring your ads appear alongside high-quality content. This minimizes the risk of your brand being associated with inappropriate content.

By leveraging Hulu’s advertising solutions, you can target engaged viewers, deliver impactful messaging, and ultimately reach your marketing goals.

How Advertising on Hulu Works

Hulu offers brands of all sizes a chance to advertise on their platform. And since Hulu falls under the Disney umbrella, advertising opportunities extend beyond the Hulu platform itself. There are opportunities to buy into inventory cross ESPN, Disney+, ABC and more.

It’s important to keep in mind, the method through which you purchase ads plays a role in the measurement insights you’ll receive. Below are the three primary ways to buy ad placements on Hulu, with additional details regarding programmatic buys, and Hulu’s self-service platform.

  1. Purchase ads directly from Hulu sales teams
  2. Programmatic ad buys
  3. Through Hulu’s self-service platform (currently invite-only, but brands can request access)

If you’re not ready to pick up the phone and collaborate with Hulu’s sales team on a large ad buy, you’re probably going to end up using Programmatic Guaranteed ad buys or purchase ad space through the Self Service Platform. Here’s a little more information on each option:

Programmatic Guaranteed (Reserved Buys) and Private Marketplace (Auctionable) 

Ads purchased through a programmatic sales team that works directly with platforms and streaming agencies, like Tinuiti. This offers advanced local and national targeting and measurement capabilities, enhanced reporting, and suite of targeting options at fixed or biddable rates.

Whether you want to target lookalike audiences, specific demographics, interest or behavioral segments, or leverage audience CRM matching for a customized group, you’ll know exactly when and where your ads showed, and be provided with robust reporting that helps measure what’s working best, and where you should continue to invest for optimal performance. You’ll also enjoy guaranteed media buys that ensure you get the expected visibility and reach.

There are certain Hulu ad types that can’t be purchased programmatically, including sponsored placements, pause ads, and ad-selector ads, among other standout units. For these types, Tinuiti makes reserved buys for our clients from opportunities that are only available through Hulu directly.

Not sure which ad types make the most sense for your business and advertising goals? Our team works with clients to determine which campaign initiatives are best for them, and help ensure their creative meets Hulu’s requirements.

Self-Service Hulu Ads (Beta) – Must RSVP and Be Approved as a Brand

Hulu’s self-serve ad platform allows brands to access ad inventory directly, with a modest $500 campaign minimum. These ads are ideal for smaller businesses that don’t have a sizable streaming ads budget, or are just getting started with OTT and want to test the waters.

The Self-Service Ads beta program offers a glimpse into the future of advertising on Hulu. With features like budget management, targeted audience selection, and ad format flexibility (to some extent), businesses can craft impactful campaigns tailored to their specific needs. However, remember the current limitations and the need for approval before getting started.

Reporting Limitations: Notably, when purchasing through the self-service platform, your reporting will only include impression data; you won’t have insights into where your ads actually ran.

While this offering is still in beta, Hulu has already shared some early success stories. Learn more here about how Hulu self-serve ads work.

How Much Does Hulu Advertising Cost?

Unlike traditional ad buys, Hulu advertising utilizes a cost-per-thousand-impressions (CPM) model. This means you pay each time one thousand viewers see your ad, with estimates ranging from $10 to $30 CPM. Factors like targeting specifics, competition, and ad format (pre-roll vs. mid-roll, length) can influence the final cost. 

Hulu advertising costs are structured to allow for advertisers of all sizes and budgets, but the total costs, you’ll realize, will largely depend on a number of factors, including:

  • Whether you’re buying directly through Hulu or a DSP (demand-side platform)
  • Any restrictions you place on Hulu regarding where your ads display. Specific audience or genre targeting, and/or frequency caps, may incur a premium as well
  • Which ad types you choose
  • How much creative you will need to generate for your ads (production costs)
  • Seasonality—Q4 advertising costs are higher than other quarters
  • Whether you’re buying through an up-front agreement (advertising commitment for a full TV season), or the scatter market (ad buys that run month-to-month, or quarter-to-quarter) 

How to Advertise on Hulu

Here’s what you need to know to advertise on Hulu, from buying and targeting to measurement and optimization.

Hulu offers several advertising reach options for brands:

  1. National: Reach viewers across the US
  2. Local: Reach a localized target audience
  3. Advanced TV: Automated, data-informed ad buys

Within the Advanced TV category, Hulu has 3 different bidding options:

  • Programmatic Guaranteed: Automated, guaranteed buy with advanced targeting.
  • Private Marketplace: Non-guaranteed buy with increased targeting control.
  • Invite-Only Auction: Find your audience, set your price, and optimize from within your DSP

In Hulu’s invite-only auction, advertisers select their target audience, determine their bid price for that audience, and control and optimize their ad campaigns in real-time based on results and performance. You can learn more about Hulu’s advanced targeting options here.  

When it comes to executing Hulu ads, at Tinuiti, we can take on all the heavy lifting for you.

Ad Types Available on Hulu [With Specs]

In today’s streaming world, capturing viewers’ attention is more important than ever. When it comes to Hulu ads, pre-roll placements (those shown before your chosen content) are proven to be highly effective, especially earlier slots within the pre-roll sequence. This is prime real estate for grabbing viewers before they settle into their show.

But don’t be limited! Hulu offers a variety of ad formats to suit your needs, including pre-roll, mid-roll (shown during commercial breaks within the content), and even 7-second bumper ads for quick, impactful messaging. Whether you choose a short and sweet 7-second spot or a more detailed 15 or 30-second video ad, Hulu offers the flexibility to tailor your message to your audience and campaign goals. 

When creating your Hulu video ad, it’s important to follow their specifications including:

  • Video Duration: 15 to 30 seconds
  • Audio Duration: Must match video duration
  • Dimensions: 1920×1080 preferred; 1280×720 accepted
  • Display Aspect Ratios: 16:9 preferred; Hulu will accept videos shot with 2.39:1, 1.375:1, 3:4, or 4:3 dimensions, but you must make the video fit a 16:9 ratio by inserting matting on the top and bottom of the video.
  • Video Format: QuickTime, MOV, or MPEG-4
  • File Extensions: .mov or .mp4
  • File Size: 10 GB maximum
  • Audio Format: PCM, AAC
  • Frame Rate: 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, or 30 fps
  • Frame Rate Mode: Constant
  • Video Bit Depth: 8 or 16 bits
  • Video Bit Rate: 10 Mbps – 40 Mbps
  • Audio Bit Depth: 16 or 24 bits (for audio channel 2)
  • Audio Bit Rate: 192-256
  • Chroma Subsampling: 4:2:0 or 4:2:2
  • Codec ID: Apple ProRes 422 HQ preferred; H.264 accepted
  • Color Space: YUV
  • Scan Type: Progressive Scan
  • Audio Channels: 2 channel stereo
  • Audio Sampling Rate: 48.0 kHz

Hulu offers what they call “a viewer-first ad experience” made up of an extensive variety of different ad products and solutions, including:

Video Commercial

This is the most ‘standard’ ad type available from Hulu, with your video playing during any “long-form content commercial breaks.” Hulu allows 7-, 15- and 30-second video commercials, and “does not accept stitched Ads.” This simply means that if advertisers want to display a 30-second commercial, they will be required to have an asset of the correct length, and can’t ‘stitch together’ two separate 15-second ads.

Ad Selector

This ad type gives the viewer greater control over their ad experience. Viewers will be given the option to choose between two or three different video ads to watch from the same advertiser. This can increase the chances that viewers will be engaged with your ad as they had some degree of choice in watching it. If no ad selection is made within 15 seconds of being presented with the options, one of the two or three available ads will be selected at random and played automatically.

According to Hulu Brand Lift Norms, 2020, products like these that “give viewers choice and control” have “result[ed] in 70% higher lifts than the average campaign on Hulu.”

Branded Entertainment Selector (BES)

Choice comes into play with Hulu’s BES ads as well, but in this scenario, they are choosing not just their ad experience, but their viewing experience as well. Viewers are given the option to watch their programming of choice with the typical commercial breaks, or to enjoy their programming uninterrupted by first watching a longer ad. We like to think of it as finishing your dinner before eating dessert! This is a popular choice for advertisers who want to tell a story with their ad—or advertise a movie or upcoming event—and need more than 15 or 30 seconds to do so.

Binge Ad

Want to reach viewers dedicating some of their downtime to an hours-long binge session, but don’t want to risk hitting them with the same ad, delivered in the same way, episode after episode? Hulu’s Binge Ad placements are designed with brand safety and a positive watching experience in mind. These “enable marketers to deliver contextually and situationally-relevant messages at the right time and place – during a viewer’s binge session.”

According to the Kantar Brand Lift Study, 2020, ads like these have been shown to “increase[ing] unaided brand awareness by 24% and ad recall by 25%.”

Interactive Living Room

These ads are designed to “foster greater affinity with a brand” through “customizable interactivity” focused on whatever elements of your brand you would like to promote. Whether you want to get the word out about a new product launch, enhanced features of an existing product, a new line of services, a company announcement, or more, these ads make it engaging and easy. Hulu notes that they offer “select functionality via third-party producing and hosting partners,” and that the production lead time is quite a bit longer than for most ad types at “four to six weeks from the receipt of the final assets.”

Max Selector (Beta)

In this ad type, viewers are given a choice over how they would like to learn about the product or service being advertised. Interactive templates are designed to create “a more engaging and immersive choice-based ad experience.”

Branded Slate

Advertisers are given the opportunity to reach audiences before the show has even begun with Branded Slate custom title cards. These brief, static video ads feature your logo with “Presented by” text, with voiceover audio that identifies your brand as the sponsor. Hulu also offers Branded Slate ads specifically tailored to entertainment clients.

Premium Slate

This 7-second ad type is similar to the aforementioned Branded Slate ads, but allows for advertisers to include “their own video, dynamic visuals, and sound” as opposed to a static video with voiceover. If preferred, you can still opt for the voiceover to be handled by Hulu talent, but it is not required as it is with the Branded Slate ads. Hulu also offers Premium Slate ads specifically tailored to entertainment clients.

GatewayGo

These unique ads are designed with conversions in mind, bringing together “Hulu’s traditional living room video ads with action-oriented prompts and personalized offers.” GatewayGo ads harness “second screen enablement technologies such as QR codes and push notifications” by “shifting conversion actions from the TV to mobile devices.” Viewers who wish to learn more can simply scan the QR code using their phone—which is likely within reach, if not in their hand—or choose to receive notifications.

According to a 2020 Hulu Internal Study, “6 in 10 viewers like that they can discover and act on deals with GatewayGO.” For these ad types, Hulu strongly recommends 30-second placements “to increase engagement,” though the minimum required length is just 15-seconds.

Pause Ad

Pause ads are unique in that they reach viewers who have decided they are ready for a break by pressing the pause button, with the ad serving as a screensaver of sorts. These offer an ideal opportunity to reach viewers in the least intrusive way possible, and give you significant opportunity to increase brand awareness—particularly for viewers who pause often, and for longer periods of time.

Poster Marquee Ad

Want to entice viewers to watch a specific series or theatrical release? This ad type makes it possible by leveraging “existing coming soon design components to promote a trailer for an upcoming title.” Hulu recommends that these should ideally be an “extended trailer,” with 15-second and 30-second ad spots not recommended.

Cover Story Brand Placement

Hulu Cover Story Brand Placement Example

Image Source: https://advertising.hulu.com/ad-products/cover-story-brand-placement/

For this ad type, the only thing Hulu requires is your logo, which will be showcased directly within the Hulu homepage alongside the “Presented By” notation, as shown above. Thanks to their prominent placement, these ads are ideal for increasing exposure, and enhancing brand recognition.

Sponsored Collection Brand Placement

Hulu Sponsored Collection Brand Placement Ad

Image Source: https://advertising.hulu.com/ad-products/sponsored-collection-brand-placement/

This placement offers “advertisers extended ownership of a collection sponsorship through logo placement adjacent to content in Hulu’s UI across devices.” As shown in the above example where “Newly Added TV” programs are “Presented by LOGO” (your logo here!), your sponsorship displays in a highly visual location that naturally draws in viewers’ eyes.

Promoted Content Marquee Ad

This unique advertising option “mimics the existing Hulu UI design and only supports long-form full-length episodes or feature films.” Because “Hulu viewers already recognize this design to promote content that is available for them to watch,” they may not even realize what they’re seeing is an ad.

*Note: The ad units mentioned are almost exclusively available via guaranteed IOs (national or local) and not the audience-driven methods.

Best Practices for Hulu Advertising Campaigns

Whether you’re promoting a new product, driving subscriptions, or raising brand awareness, these best practices will help you maximize the impact of your Hulu ads and connect with your target audience effectively. Let’s explore the essential tactics and insights for creating high-performing Hulu ad campaigns.

Follow Creative Best Practices for Video Campaigns

Adhere to Ad Specs – Always adhere to the platform’s ad specifications to ensure your video displays correctly across different devices and platforms. This includes guidelines on resolution, aspect ratio, file format, and maximum file size. 

Build a Strong Hook – Grab the viewer’s attention within the first 3-5 seconds. This can be achieved through visually striking imagery, compelling storytelling, or posing a thought-provoking question. The key is to pique curiosity and entice viewers to continue watching.

Consistent Branding is Key – Maintain consistent branding across your video campaigns to reinforce brand recognition and recall. This includes using your logo prominently at the beginning and end of the ad, as well as incorporating consistent color schemes, fonts, and messaging that align with your brand identity.

Stick with Simple Messaging – Focus on communicating a single, specific idea or message in your video ad. Avoid overcrowding the ad with too much information, as this can overwhelm viewers and dilute the effectiveness of your message. Keep it simple, clear, and memorable.

Use Text for Emphasis – Use text overlays strategically to highlight key messaging or calls to action in your video ad. This ensures that important information is conveyed effectively, especially for viewers who may be watching with the sound off.

Provide Variety and Freshness – Rotate your video ads regularly to prevent audience fatigue and maintain engagement. Experiment with different creative strategies, visuals, and messaging to keep your ads fresh and appealing. This also allows for A/B testing to determine which creatives resonate best with your target audience.

Utilize Audience Targeting – Tailor your creative content to resonate with the specific interests, preferences, and demographics of your target audience. This may involve customizing the storyline, imagery, and messaging to appeal to different audience segments and maximize relevance and impact.

By incorporating these best practices into your video campaigns, you can enhance their effectiveness and drive better results in terms of engagement, conversion, and brand awareness.

Use Hulu’s Targeting Capabilities Wisely

Hulu Ad Manager empowers you with a robust suite of targeting options to reach your ideal audience.  Here’s how to leverage them effectively:

Audience Targeting:

  • Demographics – Reach viewers based on age, gender, income, and parental status. This allows you to tailor your message to resonate with specific segments.
  • Lifestyle Interests – Target users based on their interests and hobbies. For example, target fitness enthusiasts with ads for your activewear line. (Explore the full range of interest categories within Hulu Ad Manager).
  • Behavioral Targeting – Go beyond demographics by targeting viewers based on their past purchase behavior or browsing habits. This can significantly increase campaign relevance.

Content Targeting:

  • Genre Targeting – Place your ads within specific genres (e.g., comedy, sports, documentaries) relevant to your product or service. This ensures your message reaches viewers actively seeking content aligned with your offering.
  • Programmatic Targeting – Target specific shows or programs on Hulu where your ideal audience is likely to be watching. This allows for highly focused ad placement.

Location Targeting:

  • Geographic Targeting – Reach viewers within specific cities, zip codes, Designated Marketing Areas (DMAs), or regions. This is ideal for promoting local businesses or service-based offerings with a geographical focus.

Pro Tips for Smart Targeting:

  • Combine Targeting Methods – Utilize a combination of audience and content targeting for maximum reach and relevance. For example, target viewers interested in fitness (audience) while placing your ads within workout-related shows (content).
  • Leverage Lookalike Audiences – Expand your reach by targeting audiences similar to your existing customers.
  • Test and Refine – Don’t be afraid to experiment with different targeting combinations and monitor performance metrics to optimize your campaigns for better results.

By strategically using Hulu’s targeting options, you can ensure your ads reach the right people at the right time, maximizing campaign effectiveness and ROI.

Measure and Optimize Campaigns Based on Performance

Data is king when it comes to optimizing your Hulu ad campaigns. Hulu offers advertisers varying measurement and attribution insights for their campaigns, which depend in part on how the ads were purchased. Hulu’s attribution capabilities let advertisers measure brand lift and direct ROI, and business outcomes across QSR, retail, ecommerce, tune-in, automotive, and CPG categories. Third-parties like Tinuiti offer more omnichannel campaign analysis options.

Here’s how to leverage Tinuiti’s expertise to achieve peak performance:

Set SMART Goals and Benchmarks

It’s crucial to begin by defining your objective with a clear SMART goal that aligns with your overarching marketing strategy. This goal should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Once your objective is established, it’s essential to establish benchmarks by leveraging historical data from past campaigns or industry averages. These benchmarks will help set realistic expectations and guide your efforts in tracking key metrics such as impressions, clicks, and conversions throughout the campaign.

Continuous Optimization

At Tinuiti, our omnichannel campaign analysis allows us to compare your Hulu campaign’s performance with other marketing channels like social media and email, giving you a holistic understanding of how customers engage with your brand across different platforms. But it’s not just about data – our team of experts dives deep, uncovering hidden patterns within the data and translating them into actionable insights. 

These insights then fuel data-driven recommendations for optimizing your Hulu campaign. We might suggest adjustments to your targeting strategies, ad creatives, or even budget allocation to ensure you achieve the best possible results. We can also analyze viewer fatigue and recommend A/B testing new ad variations, keeping your audience engaged and maximizing the effectiveness of your Hulu advertising.

Putting it into Practice

After a few weeks of your campaign running, revisit your initial benchmarks to evaluate progress. Don’t just rely on surface-level data, leverage omnichannel analysis to understand what elements are resonating and which areas need improvement. This comprehensive analysis allows you to pinpoint the strengths and weaknesses of your targeting, ad creatives, and budget allocation. 

By taking a data-driven approach and utilizing Tinuiti’s expertise, you can continuously measure, optimize, and refine your Hulu campaigns, driving maximum impact and achieving your marketing objectives.

Example of Hulu TV Ad promoting livestreaming sports

Best Examples of Hulu Ads

Let’s dive into some of the most memorable and effective Hulu ad campaigns that have left a lasting impression on audiences.

Filippo Berio Interactive Ads

Hulu Interactive Campaign for Filippo Berio

Image Source: https://advertising.hulu.com/brand-stories/filippo-berio/

Filippo Berio is a brand best known for their selection of olive oils and vinegars, with a legacy tracing back more than 150 years. Their thoughtful use of interactive ad formats helped them in connecting with potential customers, with their Hulu ad campaign resulting in a “2x lift in brand favorability”, and a “3x lift in brand consideration.”

  • Filippo Berio’s use of the Interactive Living Room ad type “was especially impactful as an awareness-driver, highlighted by a +44% lift in brand awareness and +64% lift in message association
  • Other ad types were included in the campaign as well, including standard and situational ads

ThirdLove Contextually Relevant Original Sponsorships

Hulu Sponsorship Campaign for ThirdLove

Image Source: https://advertising.hulu.com/brand-stories/thirdlove/

ThirdLove is a lingerie and loungewear company that focuses on body positivity and inclusivity in their marketing, and importantly, their range of products and sizes. The brand crafted a Hulu advertising strategy that aimed to enhance “awareness and overall consideration for their products across women of all demographics” with ads that ran “alongside premium and contextually-relevant Original content.”

ThirdLove saw results that outperformed “both industry and Hulu retail norms,” in part by advertising during women-produced content, and content that focuses on themes and issues that are of importance to women. This Hulu campaign included:

  • Co-branded ads at the start of every episode of Mrs. America
  • Creative that included a CTA and a discount code that could be accessed by “visiting a unique URL tied to the Hulu Original series, Little Fires Everywhere

Best Strategy for Hulu Advertising [from the experts]

Experimentation is at the heart of all statistically-significant data, and Hulu makes experimentation easy and affordable. With more than a dozen distinct ad types to choose from—and an array of ad lengths to suit all advertising needs and goals—you are provided with all the necessary tools to find the ideal methods to reach new and existing audiences.

With Hulu ads, there is no shortage of innovative options to choose from, and we encourage you to experiment extensively, but also strategically. No matter how sizable your streaming ads budget, no brand can afford to throw everything at the wall and see what sticks. But you can thoughtfully design combinations of differing visual components, and ad lengths, to see which resonate best with viewers.

These learnings can then be applied across similar streaming platforms as well, many of which won’t have the same robust inventory of options to experiment with.

According to a Nielsen CTV Analytics study, 62% of Hulu viewers never saw a brand’s ad campaign on linear TV, making Hulu a critical partner to brands trying to reach new audiences or their full target audience. And with Hulu’s ability to audience-target based on CRM matching or behavioral segments, Hulu is an important partner in delivering addressable TV at scale.

If you’re interested in advertising on OTT/Streaming TV, check out Tinuiti’s TV & Audio advertising services.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published by Tara Johnson in July 2020 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists

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Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

You ask the head of marketing how the team is doing and get a giant thumbs up. 👍

“Our MQLs are up!”

“Website conversion rates are at an all-time high!”

“Email click rates have never been this good!”

But when you ask the head of sales the same question, you get the response that echoes across sales desks worldwide — the leads from marketing suck. 

If you’re in this boat, you’re not alone. The issue of “leads from marketing suck” is a common situation in most organizations. In a HubSpot survey, only 9.1% of salespeople said leads they received from marketing were of very high quality.

Why do sales teams hate marketing-generated leads? And how can marketers help their sales peers fall in love with their leads? 

Let’s dive into the answers to these questions. Then, I’ll give you my secret lead gen kung-fu to ensure your sales team loves their marketing leads. 

Marketers Must Take Ownership

“I’ve hit the lead goal. If sales can’t close them, it’s their problem.”

How many times have you heard one of your marketers say something like this? When your teams are heavily siloed, it’s not hard to see how they get to this mindset — after all, if your marketing metrics look strong, they’ve done their part, right?

Not necessarily. 

The job of a marketer is not to drive traffic or even leads. The job of the marketer is to create messaging and offers that lead to revenue. Marketing is not a 100-meter sprint — it’s a relay race. The marketing team runs the first leg and hands the baton to sales to sprint to the finish.

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via GIPHY

To make leads valuable beyond the vanity metric of watching your MQLs tick up, you need to segment and nurture them. Screen the leads to see if they meet the parameters of your ideal customer profile. If yes, nurture them to find out how close their intent is to a sale. Only then should you pass the leads to sales. 

Lead Quality Control is a Bitter Pill that Works

Tighter quality control might reduce your overall MQLs. Still, it will ensure only the relevant leads go to sales, which is a win for your team and your organization.

This shift will require a mindset shift for your marketing team: instead of living and dying by the sheer number of MQLs, you need to create a collaborative culture between sales and marketing. Reinforce that “strong” marketing metrics that result in poor leads going to sales aren’t really strong at all.  

When you foster this culture of collaboration and accountability, it will be easier for the marketing team to receive feedback from sales about lead quality without getting defensive. 

Remember, the sales team is only holding marketing accountable so the entire organization can achieve the right results. It’s not sales vs marketing — it’s sales and marketing working together to get a great result. Nothing more, nothing less. 

We’ve identified the problem and where we need to go. So, how you do you get there?

Fix #1: Focus On High ROI Marketing Activities First

What is more valuable to you:

  • One more blog post for a few more views? 
  • One great review that prospective buyers strongly relate to?

Hopefully, you’ll choose the latter. After all, talking to customers and getting a solid testimonial can help your sales team close leads today.  Current customers talking about their previous issues, the other solutions they tried, why they chose you, and the results you helped them achieve is marketing gold.

On the other hand, even the best blog content will take months to gain enough traction to impact your revenue.

Still, many marketers who say they want to prioritize customer reviews focus all their efforts on blog content and other “top of the funnel” (Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation) efforts. 

The bottom half of the growth marketing funnel (Retention, Reputation, and Revenue) often gets ignored, even though it’s where you’ll find some of the highest ROI activities.

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Most marketers know retaining a customer is easier than acquiring a new one. But knowing this and working with sales on retention and account expansion are two different things. 

When you start focusing on retention, upselling, and expansion, your entire organization will feel it, from sales to customer success. These happier customers will increase your average account value and drive awareness through strong word of mouth, giving you one heck of a win/win.

Winning the Retention, Reputation, and Referral game also helps feed your Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation activities:

  • Increasing customer retention means more dollars stay within your organization to help achieve revenue goals and fund lead gen initiatives.
  • A fully functioning referral system lowers your customer acquisition cost (CAC) because these leads are already warm coming in the door.
  • Case studies and reviews are powerful marketing assets for lead gen and nurture activities as they demonstrate how you’ve solved identical issues for other companies.

Remember that the bottom half of your marketing and sales funnel is just as important as the top half. After all, there’s no point pouring leads into a leaky funnel. Instead, you want to build a frictionless, powerful growth engine that brings in the right leads, nurtures them into customers, and then delights those customers to the point that they can’t help but rave about you.

So, build a strong foundation and start from the bottom up. You’ll find a better return on your investment. 

Fix #2: Join Sales Calls to Better Understand Your Target Audience

You can’t market well what you don’t know how to sell.

Your sales team speaks directly to customers, understands their pain points, and knows the language they use to talk about those pains. Your marketing team needs this information to craft the perfect marketing messaging your target audience will identify with.

When marketers join sales calls or speak to existing customers, they get firsthand introductions to these pain points. Often, marketers realize that customers’ pain points and reservations are very different from those they address in their messaging. 

Once you understand your ideal customers’ objections, anxieties, and pressing questions, you can create content and messaging to remove some of these reservations before the sales call. This effort removes a barrier for your sales team, resulting in more SQLs.

Fix #3: Create Collateral That Closes Deals

One-pagers, landing pages, PDFs, decks — sales collateral could be anything that helps increase the chance of closing a deal. Let me share an example from Lean Labs. 

Our webinar page has a CTA form that allows visitors to talk to our team. Instead of a simple “get in touch” form, we created a drop-down segmentation based on the user’s challenge and need. This step helps the reader feel seen, gives them hope that they’ll receive real value from the interaction, and provides unique content to users based on their selection.

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So, if they select I need help with crushing it on HubSpot, they’ll get a landing page with HubSpot-specific content (including a video) and a meeting scheduler. 

Speaking directly to your audience’s needs and pain points through these steps dramatically increases the chances of them booking a call. Why? Because instead of trusting that a generic “expert” will be able to help them with their highly specific problem, they can see through our content and our form design that Lean Labs can solve their most pressing pain point. 

Fix #4: Focus On Reviews and Create an Impact Loop

A lot of people think good marketing is expensive. You know what’s even more expensive? Bad marketing

To get the best ROI on your marketing efforts, you need to create a marketing machine that pays for itself. When you create this machine, you need to think about two loops: the growth loop and the impact loop.

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  • Growth loop — Awareness ➡ Acquisition ➡ Activation ➡ Revenue ➡ Awareness: This is where most marketers start. 
  • Impact loop — Results ➡ Reviews ➡ Retention ➡ Referrals ➡ Results: This is where great marketers start. 

Most marketers start with their growth loop and then hope that traction feeds into their impact loop. However, the reality is that starting with your impact loop is going to be far more likely to set your marketing engine up for success

Let me share a client story to show you what this looks like in real life.

Client Story: 4X Website Leads In A Single Quarter

We partnered with a health tech startup looking to grow their website leads. One way to grow website leads is to boost organic traffic, of course, but any organic play is going to take time. If you’re playing the SEO game alone, quadrupling conversions can take up to a year or longer.

But we did it in a single quarter. Here’s how.

We realized that the startup’s demos were converting lower than industry standards. A little more digging showed us why: our client was new enough to the market that the average person didn’t trust them enough yet to want to invest in checking out a demo. So, what did we do?

We prioritized the last part of the funnel: reputation.

We ran a 5-star reputation campaign to collect reviews. Once we had the reviews we needed, we showcased them at critical parts of the website and then made sure those same reviews were posted and shown on other third-party review platforms. 

Remember that reputation plays are vital, and they’re one of the plays startups often neglect at best and ignore at worst. What others say about your business is ten times more important than what you say about yourself

By providing customer validation at critical points in the buyer journey, we were able to 4X the website leads in a single quarter!

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So, when you talk to customers, always look for opportunities to drive review/referral conversations and use them in marketing collateral throughout the buyer journey. 

Fix #5: Launch Phantom Offers for Higher Quality Leads 

You may be reading this post thinking, okay, my lead magnets and offers might be way off the mark, but how will I get the budget to create a new one that might not even work?

It’s an age-old issue: marketing teams invest way too much time and resources into creating lead magnets that fail to generate quality leads

One way to improve your chances of success, remain nimble, and stay aligned with your audience without breaking the bank is to create phantom offers, i.e., gauge the audience interest in your lead magnet before you create them.

For example, if you want to create a “World Security Report” for Chief Security Officers, don’t do all the research and complete the report as Step One. Instead, tease the offer to your audience before you spend time making it. Put an offer on your site asking visitors to join the waitlist for this report. Then wait and see how that phantom offer converts. 

This is precisely what we did for a report by Allied Universal that ended up generating 80 conversions before its release.

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The best thing about a phantom offer is that it’s a win/win scenario: 

  • Best case: You get conversions even before you create your lead magnet.
  • Worst case: You save resources by not creating a lead magnet no one wants.  

Remember, You’re On The Same Team 

We’ve talked a lot about the reasons your marketing leads might suck. However, remember that it’s not all on marketers, either. At the end of the day, marketing and sales professionals are on the same team. They are not in competition with each other. They are allies working together toward a common goal. 

Smaller companies — or anyone under $10M in net new revenue — shouldn’t even separate sales and marketing into different departments. These teams need to be so in sync with one another that your best bet is to align them into a single growth team, one cohesive front with a single goal: profitable customer acquisition.

Interested in learning more about the growth marketing mindset? Check out the Lean Labs Growth Playbook that’s helped 25+ B2B SaaS marketing teams plan, budget, and accelerate growth.


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