CMO Strategies: After YouTube, advertisers choose Prime Video and Hulu for streaming ads

This research is based on unique data collected from our proprietary audience of publisher, agency, brand and tech insiders. It’s available to Digiday+ members. More from the series →

This is the second installment in Digiday’s multi-part series covering the top ad-supported streaming services and part of Digiday’s CMO Strategies series. In case you missed it, the first installment provided an overview of the various platforms’ offerings, including pricing and plans, ad options, and new ad formats, along with our methodology.

After YouTube, Prime Video and Hulu win the most ad placements

When Digiday+ Research surveyed brand and agency professionals about their streaming platform preferences, we first asked them which platforms receive the bulk of their ad budgets and ad placements. 

YouTube, with the largest audience reach of all the platforms, came out on top as the platform that received the largest portion of both respondents’ ad placements and budget allocations. Three-quarters of brand and agency respondents (75%) said in Q1 2024 that they currently place ads on YouTube, a slight decrease from the 83% of respondents who said the same in Q1 2023. However, marketers’ YouTube budget allocation held steady year over year. More than half of respondents (60%) said YouTube consumed the largest portion of their budgets in 2023 and 2022. (For more details on this, see the first installment of this report series.)

After YouTube, Amazon’s new ad-supported tier Prime Video (with ads) tied for second place with The Walt Disney Company’s Hulu when it came to ad placements, according to Digiday’s survey. More than a third of brands and agencies (36%) said that they placed ads on both Hulu and Prime Video, respectively, as of Q1 2024. Hulu also came in a distant second to YouTube when it came to ad budget allocation. Thirteen percent of brand and agency respondents said that they devoted the largest portion of their 2023 ad-supported streaming budget to Hulu (60% said the same of YouTube).

To note, Prime Video (with ads) was excluded from our 2023 budget allocation analysis because Amazon did not launch the ad-supported tier until January 2024.

While neither Prime Video (with ads) nor Hulu have nearly the audience reach of YouTube, they each bring their own consumer audience and data benefits that appeal to advertisers.

Prime Video’s entry into the streaming ad market raised the stakes on its rivals because Amazon automatically opted in Prime subscribers to the streaming platform’s ad-supported tier, a tactic that has enabled the e-commerce giant to report a monthly ad-supported audience of 200 million-plus monthly viewers. But it’s Amazon’s strength as a sales platform that gives it an added advantage over other streaming platforms due to the sheer volume of consumer data it collects.

Amazon is the fourth-most visited website in the U.S. — behind Google, YouTube and Facebook — and it is the most visited e-commerce and shopping marketplace, according to web analytics company SimilarWeb. Due to the massive number of monthly visits to the site — 2.2 billion total visits worldwide in March 2024 alone — Amazon is able to collect data from a wide range of demographic groups with varied audience interests. That means Amazon can offer agencies and brands access to a massive amount of consumers, and their data.

Similarly, because it is owned by Disney, Hulu has access to all of Disney’s first-party consumer data through the company’s Disney Select platform, which gives Hulu a similar competitive advantage in the race to provide advertisers with immense first-party data reserves. In general, streaming platforms that are owned by larger parent companies have an overall advantage when it comes to data access. Hulu also taps into Disney’s programmatic ad exchange dubbed DRAX (Disney RealTime Ad Exchange), in which buyers can bid on all Disney ad impressions — thereby appealing to advertisers on both a first-party data reserve basis and a programmatic basis.

When it comes to audience size, Hulu has claimed more than 115 million ad-supported viewers, which would put it in league with Prime Video’s reported 200 million-plus viewers.

Matching up platforms to different advertiser needs

Based on what each platform told Digiday it offers advertisers (plus Digiday’s own research and reporting), and taking into consideration what brands and agencies shared as their greatest platform needs, we put together this quick guide on which platforms are right for campaigns that rely on some key advertiser demands:

If you’re an advertiser looking for:

  • Frequency capping
    • Hulu
    • Netflix Standard (with ads)
    • Peacock
    • The Roku Channel
    • Tubi
    • YouTube
  • Non-skippable ads
    • Discovery+
    • Hulu
      Max
    • Netflix Standard (with ads)
    • Peacock
    • The Roku Channel
    • Tubi
    • YouTube
  • Shorter ad breaks
    • Discovery+
    • Max
    • Netflix Standard (with ads)
    • Peacock
    • Tubi
    • YouTube
  • Pause ads
    • Netflix Standard (with ads)
    • Peacock
    • Max
    • Hulu
    • Tubi
    • YouTube
  • Shoppable ads
    • Hulu
    • Peacock
    • The Roku Channel
  • Content takeovers
    • Hulu
    • Peacock
    • The Roku Channel
    • Tubi
  • Deep first-party data reserves
    • Disney+ Basic (with ads)
    • Hulu
    • Peacock
    • YouTube

Coming soon: For information on the ad attributes that matter most to marketers — factors such as ad break length, non-skippable ads and frequency capping keep an eye out for our third installment in this series.

https://digiday.com/?p=543345

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