A Quick Guide to Hulu’s New Advertising Beta Testing

Should your marketing strategy bet on Beta? Here’s what you need to know about Hulu’s newest ad manager.


Advertising on Hulu

You probably know Hulu, at least as a user. And if you’re familiar with Hulu, you’ve probably come across Hulu’s ads. Just a few years ago, advertising on Hulu was minimal and required users to work directly with a Hulu account manager. However, Hulu has been shaking things up with the new Hulu self-advertising option.
So, how can business and brand owners take advantage of this new platform, and how much would it cost? Read on for our primer about this great new platform.

Ads Displaying while watching Hulu

What is Hulu Advertising Beta Testing?

Hulu advertising has existed for a while, despite the launch of the new beta-testing platform. Unless you have a restricted commercial-free plan, all Hulu advertisements show before, during, and even after streaming users’ content. No matter which platform you’re using, this advertising principle cuts across all of them.

These advertisements last for 7-230 seconds and allow advertisers to show video ads to engage and captivate their audience as they wait for their show to resume. There are no fast-forwarding options on these ads, meaning that they will probably reach their target audience and deliver a brand’s information. On-demand services have also become dominant compared to traditional cable TV, suggesting that these ads are essentially superior to television commercials in most cases.

Hulu claims that its advertising platform can be incredibly effective when it comes to creating brand awareness. According to their case study, notable brands like HP, Manscaped, Filippo Berio, and even Toyota have experienced a surge in brand awareness, purchase intent, and message association through Hulu advertising. There’s also plenty of data to back this up, which includes:

There are a lot of other benefits that clearly illustrate how effective Hulu advertisements can be. But it seems things are just getting started, especially with the introduction of Hulu Advertising Beta Testing.

How Does the Hulu Advertising Beta Testing Compare to the Other Options?

With the most recent self-service option, Hulu also offers two additional advertising options, which include:

  • Premium Programmatic: This advertisement option is suitable for brands that want to influence audience CRM matching, lookalike audiences, and behavior segmenting in their ad campaign.
  • Action with Broad Appeal: Through this option, advertisers can integrate their brand with Hulu’s customized content collections and deliver their adverts through an innovative format.

These two options restrict advertisers from customizing and managing their advertisements directly. An account manager would approve and help you set up your campaigns, unlike the new self-advertising platform. The new self-service platform also targets small and medium-sized businesses with low budgets, as low as $500, which is reasonable for many of these businesses.

There’s a reason why Hulu has gone a step further into allowing beta-testing self-service advertisements. With digital companies like YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram offering self-service advertising platforms, Hulu had no choice but to get into this new trend. Besides that, these digital companies have established lots of success through their self-service advertisements, making more sense why Hulu has decided to adopt it.

Like Facebook Ads or Google Ads, you can create your campaign and be creative with the new Hulu beta testing, but must abide by the terms of service. This self-service platform also allows you to manage campaigns and access analytics.

How Much Does Hulu Advertising Cost With the Beta Testing Option?

Hulu ads have been averaging between $30-$40 per thousand impressions. However, these rates have recently gone down to close to $20 with the new self-service option. With the increased number of subscribers, it makes perfect sense why Hulu is reducing its pricing and targeting small and medium-sized enterprises.

However, the honest answer to the cost of a Hulu advertisement narrows down to the specific type of advertisement that you pick. Here are the top ad choices available on Hulu.

Standard Video Ads

A standard Hulu video ad appears as a commercial break during a full episode stream. These advertisements appear as pre-rolled clips hosted by Hulu distribution partners or as a companion banner.

Branded Slate Video

Branded Hulu slate video adverts show before a show begins. There are two types of slate video ads:

  1. The Branded Slate: This option offers a seven-second clip of your brand’s logo, following the advertisement announcement, “the following program has been brought to you with limited commercial interruption by <your brand’s logo>”
  2. Premium Branded Slates: This option allows advertisers to add a 5-second video clip to their ads along with the standard custom titles used in their branded slates.

Branded Entertainment Selector Ads

Branded Entertainment Selector ads, or BES ads, allow viewers to select the length of the commercial they’re interested in, such as a long-form or short-form commercial.

Ad Selector

Ad selector is a Hulu adoption that allows advertisers to use 2-3 creative options. Users can select one of the options and enable it to play during the entire show. For instance, an automobile advertiser can use SUVs, coupes, or trucks as the viewer options. If the user chooses SUV-related adverts, Hulu will show these ads throughout the show.
With this option, users can select ads according to their interests, giving advertisers a suitable opportunity to provide relevant branding.

Binge Ads

Hulu Binge ads allow advertisers to deliver contextually important messages during their binge-watching session. This allows advertisers to engage viewers in a non-disruptive way. Brands like Maker’s Mark and Kellogg’s are known for using this advertisement option on Hulu.
Cover Story Brand Placement Ads
Cover story brand placement Hulu ads are suitable for companies with large advertising budgets (over $100,000). This advertisement option allows advertisers to integrate their branding with the Hulu homepage.

Cover Story Brand Placement Ads

Cover story brand placement Hulu ads are suitable for companies with large advertising budgets (over $100,000). This advertisement option allows advertisers to integrate their branding with the Hulu homepage.

Gateway Go Ads

All the advertisement products discussed above are branding-oriented. However, Gateway Go Ads are action-oriented options that allow advertisers to shift their marketing conversion from the stream to mobile devices. That’s why they use technologies like QR codes and push notifications to prompt viewers to take immediate action.

Interactive Living Rooms Ads

Interactive living room advert allows selected advertisers to display their product through interactive living room ads. These are full-screen ads that inform viewers about a specific brand, product, or service. You must contact a Hulu sales representative to start using this advertisement option.

Pause Ads

Pause ads work as displays that appear when a viewer pauses their streaming content. This is a non-intrusive, user-initiated advertising experience. These ads display at the bottom right side of a viewer’s screen, creating a positive viewer experience.

Promoted Content Marquee Ads

Promoted content marquee adverts are for entertainment companies intending to promote their new series premiere. These ads mimic the Hulu UI design for full-length featured episodes or films.

Sponsored Collection Brand Placement Ads

Sponsored collection brand placement ads allow advertisers to display their logo close to Hulu’s collection of shows using a Hulu User Interface. Advertisers only need to use a primary logo of their business or company, making it easier for startups to advertise on the platform.

Apart from the ad product that you choose, your total cost will largely depend on factors such as:

  • Whether you’re buying your advertisement campaign through Hulu or demand-side platform
  • Restrictions that you put regarding where the advertisement will display
  • Specific genre, frequency caps, and audience you’re targeting
  • The number of creative assets you want to generate for your ad
  • Seasonality
  • Whether you’re buying an upfront agreement or scatter market

How Do Brands Use Hulu Advertising?

Both established and emerging brands can use Hulu advertising through their products that can fit every business’s needs. Here’s how brands can use Hulu ads as part of their advertising campaign.

Popularize Their Brand Through Customized Approaches

It’s no secret that renowned brands like Coca-Cola, GEICO, and Starbucks have had their fair share of instant recognition by their consumers; but how has Hulu helped them achieve this milestone? By using subtle branding cues or product images.

For any brand to perform well, whether an established or an emerging brand, using product images throughout the ad campaign would significantly impact consumers. Hulu allows advertisers to couple their brand names or logos with visual and auditory cues to captivate their consumers.

Emerging brands can also utilize longer advertisement formats to give viewers more time to learn about the product and its offering. According to Hulu, two out of three campaigns from emerging brands that use 30-second-long video ads gain more views than those that opt for ads with shorter runtime.

Capture Consumers Based on Their Purchase Cycle

Every product has a consumer purchase cycle. Some require a longer decision-making process while others require a shorter approach, especially everyday brands like commodities and snacks. That’s why Hulu provides options that can send consumers directly to the brand’s website or storefront for high-consideration products.

Additionally, advertisers can utilize discount deals as a percentage rather than dollar amounts (for example, using the Hulu advertising platform for 50% off rather than $80 off a product). This leads to higher ROI for high-consideration brands.

However, products with lower price tags, especially everyday brands, can use the dollar amount rather than the percentage option. For instance, advertising $1 tacos rather than advertising them as 50% off could attract more consumers.

Choose Their Ad Length Depending on Your Goals

With Hulu, advertisers are not limited to 15-second or 30-second advertisements. They can utilize whichever length matches their story. However, it’s recommended that brands focus on the length of ads that support their ROI goals. Although all advert lengths can achieve remarkable results on Hulu, the various lengths do have their own pros and cons.

For instance, shorter ads have less time to capture the viewer’s attention, so a consistent reminder of the brand cues is crucial. Additionally, 15-second ads that include humor have been found to perform better than those that include too much information, which diminishes the brand’s memorability.

When using Hulu advertising, you may wonder how to measure and optimize your ad. Hulu has various measurement and attribution insights for their campaigns, depending on the product you buy.
Hulu’s attribution allows advertisers to measure their brand lift and direct ROI, business outcomes, CPG categories, automotive, and eCommerce. Hulu has also partnered with third-party providers to check audience data and measure viewership success.

How to Advertise on Hulu Self-Service

The Hulu self-service product is still in the beta phase. Therefore, advertisers must first submit an RSVP form that includes their business’s information. Once the request is accepted, setting up your marketing campaign is a much more straightforward process. Here are the steps you will follow:

Select the Dates in Which You Want Your Advertising Campaign to Build Your Audience

In this step, you can target your audience depending on location, age, interest, gender, and even streaming genre. If targeting a certain region or city, you can narrow your audience down to your target state, zip code, or a designated marketing area.
While Hulu allows advertisers to secure ad placements with certain genres of streaming programs (Reality, Drama, Comedy, etc.), it doesn’t allow advertisers to select their audience based on the show they want their ads to run on — I.E. there’s no “I want this to run during The Masked Singer” option.

Choose Your Budget

The minimum budget to run a Hulu campaign is $500. This is a typically low cost compared to other self-service platforms for video ads like Amazon, which charges an upward of $35,000.

Upload Your Video Advertisement

You must meet a few requirements to upload your video on Hulu advertising. These requirements include:

  • Your video must last between 15 to 30 seconds
  • Must be formatted in MOV or MP4
  • It must be HD and have stereo sound
  • Must meet the technical specifications provided by Hulu
  • Must be compliant with Hulu advertising policies

The approval process for an individual ad can last up to three business days.


Hulu only accepts credit cards for payment. It doesn’t accept debit cards or business bank accounts. If you choose to cancel or pause your ad campaign, you will only be charged for the delivered impressions.

Track your Advertisement Performance

You can track your ad performance through the Hulu Ad Manager. You won’t be able to find how many times Hulu aired your advertisement or during which show, but you can find standard metrics like clicks and impressions.

Hulu Impressions by Platform Hulu Impressions by Show Genre

Advertise Your Brand With the Best Marketing Agency

Hulu is one of the best platforms for using video to advertise your brand. However, your primary focus should be on results and ROI through your Hulu advertisements. Unfortunately, many business owners don’t know how to reach their potential customers with high-impact Hulu ads. At Big Sea, we focus on designing effective and stunning video campaigns to meet your goals, make the most of your budget, and connect with your audience.

Contact us today, and let’s help you take your brand Beta and beyond.