Streaming Advertising Part 3: Not All Streaming Ads Are Created Equal! | Blog | Energy Circle

Streaming Advertising Part 3: Not All Streaming Ads Are Created Equal!

Jake Van Paepeghem

In Part 1 of our series on streaming advertising, we covered the generalities of advertising opportunities on streaming services like Hulu, YouTube TV, Spotify, and Pandora. In Part 2, we talked about integrating and utilizing streaming ads in your digital marketing strategy. But does it matter which streaming services you use to enhance the digital marketing portfolio of your HVAC, solar, or home performance business?

This third chapter in our ongoing series will take a peek into the complicated and murky waters of the differences between each streaming ad service, and how our industries can use this advertising medium to increase the overall effectiveness of an integrated digital marketing strategy. 

The Difference Between Streaming Ad Services

There is not, nor will there be, any kind of shortage of content streaming services in the near future. How many times have you been talking about a show with someone and asked, “Which subscription service can I watch/listen to that on?”

Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, Amazon Prime, YouTube TV, Apple TV Plus, Paramount Plus, Crackle, Tidal, Pandora, Spotify, Apple Music—the list goes on and on, and it continues to change day by day. 

DIY or Ad Reps?

Not all streaming services offer advertising, and some only allow ads on certain subscription levels. What may be even more important, however, is how a business like yours would go about advertising on these platforms. 

For most of these advertising services, a potential advertiser (you, the business owner, or a marketing agency working on your behalf) is required to deal with an advertising or media sales representative. This often results in a longer process, more opportunities for miscommunication, and usually (but not always) higher ad-spend minimums, on top of relinquishing control over audience targeting and sometimes even the budget of your campaigns. Let’s look at how some of these services operate and what they offer in terms of advertising options.

Hulu 

Hulu is a video-on-demand service considered one of the leaders in TV and movie streaming content. Hulu is colloquially considered the streaming service to go to for the latest episode of a TV series, but Hulu is also building a quiver of popular original content, like “The Handmaid’s Tale”, “Little Fires Everywhere”, and “11.22.63”. Majority-owned by The Walt Disney Company, Hulu has 92 million ad-supported viewers.

Hulu Advertising Options

Video Ads: ✅

Audio Ads: ❌

Display Ads: ✅

Interactive Ads: ✅

DIY Ad Platform: ✅* (*Beta has been announced but is not yet available)

YouTube TV

YouTube TV is a streaming television service that could be considered cable television for the cord cutter, allowing users to stream live TV (it offers nearly all of the same networks and channels available in a normal cable bundle) and watch on-demand video. YouTube TV has 3 million subscribers to date, and ads can include those bought through the local news affiliate, which can make understanding the intricacies of advertising on this service cloudy at best. 

YoutTube TV Advertising Options

Video Ads: ✅

Audio Ads: ❌

Display Ads: ?

Interactive Ads: ?

DIY Ad Platform: ❌

Spectrum Reach

Zooming in on local-based streaming options, Spectrum Reach is the proprietary streaming service of wireless provider Spectrum. Spectrum Reach is not a heavy hitter yet, but shows promise when it comes to affordable, local advertising on streaming channels through connected TV’s and devices. 

Spectrum Reach Advertising Options

Video Ads: ✅

Audio Ads: ❌

Display Ads: ✅

Interactive Ads: ❌

DIY Ad Platform: ❌

Pandora

Before Spotify made buying music albums almost irrelevant, Pandora made a run at putting the radio on the internet. Pandora is still widely used, with over 53 million users as of Q3 2020, and is a relatively versatile advertising option, especially considering it is primarily an audio platform. 

Pandora Advertising Options

Video Ads: ✅

Audio Ads: ✅

Display Ads: ✅

Interactive Ads: ❌

DIY Ad Platform: ❌

Spotify

Spotify has seen a steady rise in active users since 2015, coming in at an impressive 320 million users as of Q3 2020. However, not all of these users will see ads while using the popular music and podcast service. 144 million of those users are “premium” subscribers, and pay to use the service ad-free. This means the actual number of users that would see any ads at all is 176 million. This is still a large number, but considering we are talking mostly about service area businesses, local reach is going to be much more important than global users. 

Similar to Pandora, Spotify offers many of the advertising options available on other platforms, but the most important feature of advertising on Spotify is the self-serve ad platform, and low minimum ad spend of just $250!

Spotify Advertising Options

Video Ads: ✅

Audio Ads: ✅

Display Ads: ✅

Interactive Ads: ?

DIY Ad Platform: ✅ (not available for all ad types)

Finding a Good Place to Start

So, where does all of this leave the HVAC, home performance, and solar contractors that make up the better building industry when it comes to choosing the right place to start streaming ads? The largest determining factor in where we would recommend our clients start is the availability of self-serve or DIY ad buying and serving platforms. Spotify is one of  the only streaming service platforms that currently allows for bypassing media buyers and/or ad reps, while also offering a wide variety of ad types, even though not all ad types are available through the self-serve portal, which looks and acts remarkably similar to the Facebook Ads interface. 

Additionally, based on our research of the minimum ad spends for the available streaming services, Spotify’s barrier to entry is low, at just $250 minimum ad spend per campaign. Spotify provides the right environment for your contracting business to “get its feet wet” when it comes to ad creative, audience targeting, and ad spend optimization, while keeping you (or an agency acting on your behalf) in the driver’s seat. 

The advertising opportunity on Spotify goes beyond just its low barrier to entry. With video and audio ad inventory available, it’s one more way to diversify your digital marketing strategy and extend the shelf life of some of your existing video ad creative. 

Additionally, Spotify listeners may see or hear your ads across devices and in contexts where your other marketing efforts wouldn’t necessarily reach. That means you’re casting a wider net and potentially reaching new and different audiences – people listening to music on their phones while they’re working out, or streaming music or podcasts in their car during their daily commute, or using smart speakers and connected devices in their homes. Streaming ads on a platform like Spotify offer the possibility of capturing the attention of an audience that’s engaged in a much more passive listening activity, as opposed to an active one like searching on Google, or browsing Facebook. And any opportunity to reach a new or larger audience is worth exploring - especially when it supports a greater integrated marketing strategy.

As other streaming services open up their advertising to a “self-serve” model, like Hulu, which is in beta testing, you can find updates on how they affect our industries right here, on the Energy Circle blog!

Interested in learning more about what digital marketing channels to add to your marketing mix? Contact us or give us a call at 1 (207) 847-3644.

SERVING THE ENERGY AND BETTER BUILDING SECTOR

We are selective in who we partner with—and we know you are too. Find out with a no-commitment analysis how we can make an impact on your business.

1 (207) 847-3644

Benchmark Analysis Request

LET'S GET STARTED