- Hulu and BrightLine have collaborated on a new interactive advertising unit for the video streaming platform that links together email and video marketing, Variety reported. The adjustable mattress brand Sleep Number piloted the feature over the past several weeks.
- The commercial unit allows viewers to request offers from the advertiser, which are sent to the email they have connected to their Hulu account. Interactive ads, like the Sleep Number campaign, can boost ad recall by 50% and purchase intent by 45%, according to Hulu research.
- Leveraging interactive experiences for commercials could enable viewers to do everything from redeeming coupons to signing up for newsletters, Hulu and BrightLine explained to Variety. The companies previously partnered on an interactive ad feature that let viewers purchase movie tickets.
The ability to tie digital video advertising to email offers, including discounts and product promotions, could help Hulu attract more marketing dollars and drive revenue in a highly competitive streaming market. More brands are investing in over-the-top and connected TV services like Hulu as cord-cutting continues to rise, but they're also seeking out greater innovation beyond traditional, largely static commercial units, which consumers increasingly express fatigue over. Netflix, a key Hulu rival, has similarly put a greater premium on interactive content, including through a recent choose-your-own adventure program that had viewers pick between different cereal brands as part of the story.
OTT ad spending was expected to increase 40% in 2018, reaching $2 billion, per Magna forecasts. Consumers are also more often demanding memorable experiences and relevant, personalized marketing content from brands, and could appreciate the opportunity to seamlessly receive offers without interrupting their streaming sessions. Hulu also speculates that viewers will eventually expect to be able to purchase or interact with brands in-programming, according to Variety.
The interactive ad capability follows other new advertising products that Hulu has unveiled recently to boost ad revenue. The company plans to test a "pause ads" format with Coca-Cola and Charmin in Q2 of this year. The ads activate five seconds after users pause a program. The format is static, contains short messages and small images, and appears on a translucent background so the content isn't covered. Hulu will test consumer reactions to the format for 90 to 120 days after rollout.
Hulu is also reportedly testing performance-based measurements to help brands understand how many consumers purchased products, downloaded an app or signed up for more information after seeing an ad on the platform.