Hulu: The Role of OTT in a Cross Platform Video Campaign

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Cover image for  article: Hulu: The Role of OTT in a Cross Platform Video Campaign

Ad effectiveness measurement on PCs has existed for years, and more recently companies including Kantar Millward Brown, Nielsen and comScore are working towards developing measurement tools for mobile. But ad effectiveness of streaming in the living room? Still a mystery.

At Hulu, the living room is a critical place for our audience, accounting for more than 70 percent of viewing on [our service] -- but to date measurement has been incomplete.  Despite the fact that consumers prefer to watch long-form, premium streaming content on their connected devices and smart TVs, to date no one has offered a solution that captures the strengths of those platforms in the context of a cross-platform campaign.

How does the ad experience affect consumers? How does viewing ads in the living room affect viewers’ attitudes towards a marketer’s brand? These are insights that have been unavailable to us -- and to our clients -- for far too long. That’s why we’ve partnered with Kantar Millward Brown to pave the way for ad effectiveness measurement that includes OTT delivery.  Together, with help from MAGNA and their brand clients, we created and assessed a methodology, developed measurement guidelines and ultimately gleaned foundational insights. 

Here’s what we found:

OTT is Best at Driving Awareness and Brand Favorability, While Mobile is Better for Purchase Intent

By extending measurement across platforms, we are also extending measurement across Hulu’s entire user base, providing a holistic view of an advertiser’s campaign, rather than a proxy. 

A QSR advertiser that had previously tested ad effectiveness on PCs-only found that ads measured on PCs-only demonstrated moderate success in overall ad effectiveness. When the QSR advertiser compared these results to PC-only results from the cross-platform test, we observed a similar outcome. However, that’s where the similarities end. The mobile and OTT platforms proved extremely successful overall in the cross-platform test for this advertiser, driving significant lifts across the entire purchase funnel.

Our research showed that the living room exposures were most effective at driving both awareness and brand favorability. PC, meanwhile, led to the biggest lift in online brand awareness, while mobile exposures led to the most substantial bump in purchase intent.  Overall, the strengths of each platform were very complementary.

(Graph above:  QSR advertisers’ PC Brand Lift Results, Kantar Millward Brown, 2015; QSR advertisers’ Cross-Platform Brand Lift Results, Kantar Millward Brown, 2016)

OTT Measurement Maintains Thoughtful Pacing; Can Prevent Wear-out at High Frequency Levels

Frequency is always a concern in cross platform campaigns, as too much exposure in a short time frame can have a detrimental effect on brand perception.  In this case, while it only took one exposure to impact most of the KPIs, we consistently saw little to no decline in these metrics across campaigns, even at 9-plus exposures.  Of course, much depends on the product and flight length. But for these campaigns, which averaged two months in duration, one exposure or more a week allowed advertisers to keep the message in the viewers’ minds without negatively impacting their efficacy. 

These results aren’t entirely surprising, as they mirror similar findings from our PC-only campaigns.  Layering in living room measurement simply enhances the story.  While frequency capping remains an important consideration, these results show that higher frequency levels, if managed appropriately within the life of the campaign, can be beneficial.

(Graph above:  Cross-Platform Brand Lift Test Studies, Kantar Millward Brown, 2016)

In the past, the ability to measure only PC was revealing just a fraction of the overall campaign performance (and a slightly skewed one at that). Now, with measurement across all screens, we can provide an accurate view of how each platform plays a role in driving campaign success and uncover a richer set of ad effectiveness results by platform.

While this beta test provided us with foundational findings, we will continue to study the role of OTT in cross platform video campaigns, learning more about our audience alongside our advertisers, and laying the groundwork for ad effectiveness measurement in a cross platform environment.

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