5 Questions to Help Jumpstart Your Streaming TV Ad Campaign

Planning an effective streaming TV ad campaign is not much different than any other form of advertising. The biggest difference is the video production required (though that’s not the focus of this article), but the biggest challenge is oftentimes only having a few seconds to grab a consumer’s attention and keep them engaged.

How do you maximize on 60 seconds or less for a successful streaming TV campaign? The secret lies in asking the right questions up front, determining who you want to reach, developing a clear game plan for what you want to communicate with your ad, and identifying which action you want consumers to take after viewing it. With this focus you will quickly become a streaming TV ad campaign pro.

Here are a few questions to ask and general guidelines to follow before you ever schedule that casting call or book a location for your shoot. Time is money in streaming TV advertising and here’s how you can make every second count.

1. Who is your Target Audience?

All too often, advertisers have a hard time defining exactly who they are trying to reach with their ads. It’s actually a pretty easy mistake to make because finding your audience is full of nuances that can be hard to get right. For example, if you fall into the trap of casting a wide net, saying, “We want to attract people who will buy our products and services,” don’t be surprised if your ad campaign falls flat. Sure, you’ll get a lot of eyeballs (aka, impressions) on your ad, but will those impressions convert into actual customers? Unfortunately, probably not.

That’s why it’s so important to get a crystal clear idea of who you want to reach before developing
any creative or launching any ad campaigns. The more specific you can get around who your target consumers are, the more likely you’ll be able to get your ad in front of the eyeballs that really count.
Not only will this help you refine your ad, it will also influence how you set up your ad campaigns. Keep in mind, that while knowledge is power, getting too granular isn’t always the best strategy. Sometimes this actually narrows your reach too much and, in order to strike that perfect balance, you will want to loosen the reins on the specificity of your targeting.

First start by building audience profiles, using demographic indicators like location, age, gender, purchase interests, and lifestyle to paint a clear picture of your ideal consumer.

Jumpstart-Campaign-Graphic-1

By clearly defining your audience, you’ll have the best chance at deploying a successful ad campaign that not only reaches those specific consumers but also resonates with them at a more relevant level.

2. Where does your audience live, work, or play?

Aside from simply identifying where your ideal consumers live, it’s worth connecting the dots between where they work and play too. This will help you develop variations on your ad that speak to consumers in more relevant and timely ways based on their current location, increasing the chances of them taking action on your offer in real-time.

For example, if you’re a health and fitness advertiser and you are looking to reach people interested in working out that go to the gym frequently, you can reach those specific types of people and get your ad in front of them. And who knows – they may even be watching that ad on their mobile device while AT the gym!

3. What is the one message you want to convey to consumers?

You only have a few seconds to grab the attention and pique the interest of the people seeing your ads, so don’t make this experience more complicated than it needs to be. As a general rule of thumb, stick to one clear message and, if possible, make sure it’s communicated at the start of the ad. This is even more important for shorter streaming TV ad spots (i.e. 15 seconds or less) where you have very little time to get your point across and then motivate viewers to act.

4. Why should your audience care?

This is perhaps the most important litmus test of them all. You might think that the message you’ve put forth in your ad is the one that needs to be conveyed, but is it really the message that’s going to resonate most with your audience? Sure, we all have business priorities, but communicating those priorities in a way that doesn’t necessarily speak to the needs, wants, desires, or expectations of the people you are trying to turn into actual customers does not make for effective advertising.

You need to ask yourself why your preferred audience should care about what you have to say. And if you find that there’s a disconnect between what you want to say and what your audience wants—or, rather, needs—to hear, then it’s time to go back to the drawing board.

5. How can consumers take advantage of what you have to offer?

The final step in building an effective streaming TV ad is making sure that your single, clear message is complemented by a single, focused call to action. Once your audience has viewed your ad, what should they do next? Again, you don’t have a lot of time to capture a viewer’s attention, much less to get them to act, so be sure to keep the message focused and make it abundantly clear how consumers can take advantage of whatever it is you have to offer.

Jumpstart-Campaign-Graphic-2

Short, sweet, and simple is a great rule of thumb to follow. The more barriers you can eliminate, the more likely you will be to turn prospective customers into paying customers!

Tips to remember before creating your streaming TV ad?

No matter how big your budget is or how sophisticated your streaming TV ad may be,

if you aren’t clear on your overarching strategy and have a solid understanding of what will motivate your audience to take action on what you’re offering, you’ll be hard-pressed to drive results that spark business growth.

Enjoy the development process – get creative with your ad! Just make sure to stay focused and don’t let yourself get blinded by the “fun” or novelty of it. After all, a piece of advertising creative is only as good as the long-term value it drives for any brand or business.

Learn more about how you can start advertising on streaming TV and getting your offers in front of the right audience with our self-service solution.


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Q: Why do you ask for progressive?

A: The Hulu player, unlike traditional broadcast, does not play back interlace scan, so we require that all videos be delivered with their scan type set to progressive. If your video is natively interlaced, you must de-interlace it to progressive and you must employ a de-interlace filter that does not result in blending or ghosting artifacts. We recommend an auto-adaptive de-interlace if available.

Stress mark should be marked with [capitals] to indicate the primary stressed syllable, as in: news・pa・per [NOOZ-pey-per] in・for・ma・tion [in-fer-MEY-shuhn]

On living room, mobile, and tablet devices, the color gradient overlay is dynamic and will change based on the cover story art. It is not something we can control on our end.

If the tagline/date messaging doesn’t fit within the 11 syllables max, it can be included as text.

On living room, mobile, and tablet devices, the color gradient overlay is dynamic and will change based on the cover story art. It is not something we can control on our end.

  • No symbols such as registered marks, copyrights, etc.
  • If symbols are required, they will be presented in standard text such as" Brand (TM)".

Q: When is letterboxing allowed and not allowed?

A: When the native aspect ratio is 1.78:1 or 1.33:1 throughout the entire program, there should not be any letterboxing (black bars on top and bottom), nor should there be any pillarboxing (black bars on either side). We should should see an active picture take up the full frame. If the aspect ratio is wider than 1.78:1, such as 2.35:1, matting on the top and bottom is permissible. Additionally, if there is a creative choice to add matting or if there is a mix of native aspect ratios, this is usually waived, but please reach out to your Hulu representative to confirm.

Q: Should the bitrate be constant if delivering ProRes codec?
A: No, since ProRes codec is built to be variable, this is waived.

Q: Can you accept bitrate higher than 30 Mbps?
A: Yes, we can accept bitrate beyond the recommended range for H.264 and ProRes. In the case of ProRes, bitrate will often exceed 30 Mbps due to its variable setting.

Q: What does native frame rate mean?

A: Native frame rate refers to the frame rate the source footage was shot. Whenever possible, we require all videos to be delivered in their native frame rate. This means that no frame rate conversion should be performed, which includes adding 3:2 pulldown for broadcast.

Q: Why do you prefer PCM codec?

A: PCM codec is lossless audio quality, so whenever possible, please deliver PCM audio.

The use of Graphik is acceptable in cases where the Client cannot supply their own typeface.

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Q&A With
Gadi Amit

Founder, New Deal Design

Gadi: The development of serendipity in recommendations is very important. An analogy I use is that of a restaurant. If you go to a good restaurant, you don’t always want to see what you’re looking for. You’re looking for surprises. It’s not the expected, it’s the unexpected. You trust in the restaurant’s atmosphere. You don’t know exactly what you’re getting, but you trust their creativity and that you’ll enjoy whatever they serve you.

Do you think it is possible for a streaming service to become that “restaurant” - a trusted source of serendipitous recommendations?

Gadi: I absolutely do. But it is difficult. It’s a long game. It requires them to build trustworthiness with audiences through genuine content recommendations over the years.

Q&A With
Gandi Amit

Found New Deal Design

Gandi: The development of serendipity in recommendations is very important. An analogy I use is that of a restaurant. If you go to a good restaurant, you don’t always want to see what you’re looking for. You’re looking for surprises. It’s not the expected, it’s the unexpected. You trust in the restaurant’s atmosphere. You don’t know exactly what you’re getting, but you trust their creativity and that you’ll enjoy whatever they serve you.

Do you think it is possible for a streaming service to become that “restaurant” -- a trusted source of serendipitous recommendations?

Gandi: I absolutely do. But it is difficult. It’s a long game. It requires them to build trustworthiness with audiences through genuine content recommendations over the years.

Q&A With
Jonathan Miranda

Emerging Strategy Principal, Salesforce

Another expectation among younger generations seems to be personalization. How are you seeing this play out in media?

Jonathan: If you go into the world of advertising and marketing, customized, personalized advertising is more important than ever before. There’s a realization that eight years of funny commercials that we’ve showed everybody probably for the fourth time, doesn’t work anymore. So there’s a lot of companies moving towards specialized advertising.

How does this type of personalization translate to personalizing content beyond advertising? Who’s going to predict what people will want to watch, and do it first?

Jonathan: It’s not about being the first to predict what people want to watch. It's different. It’s about getting viewers to browse. You want to show them the value of all of the money Hulu has spent and the great range of TV and film for them to choose from.

Q&A With
Julie DeTragila

Head of Research & Insights, Hulu

Julie: There are vast differences between the way under 35-year-olds watch TV and over 35-year-olds watch TV. I grew up in a world where there were maybe 10 channels, and my viewing changed as technology and options changed. Younger viewers started from a really different place. Everything has always been on-demand. Anything they ever wanted to see was available to them, and they therefore have different expectations for TV.

How so?

Julie: One of the things we found with Gen Z is that they really want to be immersed in something for a long time. They want to have content that they can live with for a while; it’s like this long, seamless storytelling. They’ll knock off a couple episodes a night and it will last a couple of months. And then they’ll re-watch it a million times over.

What other shifts have you seen happen-with Gen Z but also more broadly-with the rise of streaming?

Julie: For years, television had to deliver a specific rating. Shows had to appeal broadly or else they wouldn’t survive. And those days are long gone because, with streaming services, shows can reach hundreds of thousands of people or tens of thousands of people and still be considered successful. There’s more experimentation with the types of content; we’re not locked into an hour, a half hour, a comedy, etc. The industry can create really niche shows to appeal to niche audiences, but also simultaneously create big, broad experiences that are shared by millions.

Q&A With
Larissa May

Founder, #HalftheStory

Your work focuses a lot on Gen Zs who, for better or worse, are dubbed “digital natives.” How do you think a generation of digitally native audiences view digital content differently than older generations?

Larissa: I think for young people digital content is a way they’re able to explore their own identities through the story... They want to see themselves and their stories in the content that they’re engaging with.

Tell us a little more about this digital content as Gen Z’s form of self-reflection.

Larissa: Digital content is sort of like a currency. I find that young people want to watch things that their friends are watching so that they can have conversations about it. For example, with Euphoria, young people were just kind of in love with the characters. It was very timely and a bit provocative, and then there was a way that they could see themselves in these stories and connect with their friends about the topics and ideas in the show.

And then also they could almost embody these characters in their own life. I really do think that the TV shows that young people are buying into are actually influencing their culture and their trends and even their language that they’re using.

Q&A With
Richard Frankel​

Global Creative Director, Spotify

What does the future of personalization look like?

Richard: I think it’s all down to trust. We're going to see more opportunity on platforms like Hulu and Spotify where the user trusts us.

That’s really interesting. Another area we wanted to explore is podcasts, and their relationship to video. For example, the show Homecoming is an adaptation of a podcast; the podcast Office Ladies is a spin-off from a TV show. Why do you think the two formats work so well together?

Richard: Anything at all that drives conversation in pop culture, and TV does a lot of that, is worthy of consideration in a podcast environment. Any of these conversations can become multiple audio streams that evolve with experts, interviews, and all kinds of narrative threads that can flesh out characters, or narrative development, or whatever's happening in those shows.