Hulu has worked hard to improve the amount of choice in advertising available to its viewers over the past several years, and now it’s taking that innovation one step further. Hulu’s new Ad Swap product, which launched on Monday to kick off Advertising Week in New York, will give its users even more control in deciding which ads they want to see.
Hulu has long advocated user choice as the best way to target more-personalized and relevant ads. The site launched with its Ad Selector format, which allows users to pick the type of ad they want to see before it plays. And it collects tons of data through its Ad Tailor product, which lets users give feedback about the relevance of a given ad shown to them and targets later ads based on that info. When faced with an ad that isn’t of interest, the new Ad Swap product will now let users choose a completely different ad, based on their preferences.
It works like this: When an ad begins to play on Hulu, a user will get a prompt at the top of the video player for the Ad Swap option. Once he has decided to switch, he will get the option of three different ads that may be more relevant than the one that is currently displayed. A short promotional video on Ad Swap is embedded below:
For users, Ad Swap improves the user experience by attempting to do away with nonrelevant ads and providing only those that the user wants to see. But advertisers are the ones who stand to truly benefit from the new ad product. That’s because they aren’t charged for advertisements that viewers opt out of watching. More importantly, those ads that viewers do choose boast significantly better performance across the board, according to Hulu:
Unaided Recall of the brand went from 30% to 58% (+93%)
Aided Recall became near universal, from 59% to 91% (+54%)
Brand Favorability went from 34% to 43% (+27%)
Purchase Intent went from 23% to 31% (+35%)
Stated Relevancy went from 15% to 22% (+46%)
Interestingly, while Ad Swap gives more control over the ad experience users have on the site, Hulu doesn’t expect many of them to actually take advantage of the offering: In a blog post, Hulu Director of Research and Sales Strategy Bryon Schafer said the company only expects response rates of around three percent for Ad Swap.