I’ve been watching The Mindy Project on Hulu recently. It’s a comfort show that’s enjoyable but doesn’t require my full attention. As I’ve been binging the show, I’ve gotten to know a few characters who aren’t a part of The Mindy Project, but who have been closely intertwined with my experience watching it. There’s a counselor who teaches people to be less like their parents. There’s an ambitious young sign-spinner, convinced that spinning the sign is strengthening his arms and so committed to his craft that he often falls asleep on the couch with the sign. His partner is unimpressed. There’s an overbearing HOA leader bringing the hammer down on a couple that’s just moved into the neighborhood.
It’s a common experience. You’re binging a show on Hulu, Peacock, or some other OTT service and at each commercial break you’re greeted by one of several familiar ads. There is some variety, but they are fairly limited in number. After a few hours or a weekend at home, you’ve memorized all of them.
As consumers migrate from linear television to OTT services, this is a real problem. Not only does this mean that there are only a few advertisers bringing money into this space, it means that customers are annoyed with a poor ad viewing experience. Even the most clever, effective ad in the world can get old really fast.
The industry knows this is an issue, and there has been a significant amount of work done in an effort to solve the problem. Hulu made news this week when it announced that the Hulu Ad Manager self-service platform would be available to advertisers willing to spend as little as $500. This is key because it opens up opportunities to local and regional businesses.
Many of those organizations lean heavily on Facebook and Google for advertising. Those platforms make it easy for businesses to dump money into them, and digital is understood to be a friendlier process. Television can seem intimidating! But the opportunity to mix in some ads on Hulu — or OTT in general — may very well appeal to these businesses if they can only get over that initial hesitation. TV can be easy and more effective.
As connected TV advertising improves, so will targeting. If local and regional businesses dive into connected TV advertising and find it successful, they’re going to continue to go back to that well. It can become not only a standalone, but a key part of their marketing mix. This will help move television advertising into the future and help to break down the idea that TV advertising can be especially wasteful or too tall a mountain to climb for smaller businesses.
Why should you care?: From what I’ve seen in my own viewing experience, there still isn’t a great deal of variation in connected TV and OTT advertising. It has yet to be embraced by smaller players. But as Facebook and Google have shown, there is incredible opportunity to both grow small businesses and drive advertising revenue to new heights through small spends, targeting and self-service. OTT platforms that get this right will reap enormous benefits for years to come.
As All Eyes Turn To Local, Television Steps Up
An overview of the changes coming and the effort to reach audiences in the right place, at the right time, the right number of times. There’s also a link to a report, for those who’d like to go deep.