Hulu adds interactive ads allowing viewers to get email offers

Hulu is deepening its strategy around interactive advertising by launching new ads that allow viewers to sign up for email offers.

According to Variety, the new ads by Sleep Number, a company that manufactures mattresses, have been running on the subscription video service for weeks. BrightLine, an interactive ad technology firm, helped Hulu build the ads that offer to send viewers promotional deals via email.

Peter Naylor, senior vice president of advertising sales for Hulu, told the publication that the adoption curve for transactional advertising is trending upward. “We continue to train the audience that spots are going to be interactive.”

About one year ago Hulu and BrightLine announced a partnership on a new ad format called T-comm that allows users to purchase things like movie tickets directly from an advertisement. The first T-comm was a trailer for Warner Bros.’ “Tomb Raider” that featured a personalized, location-based overlay that let viewers select a movie theater and time and purchase movie tickets through their connected TV.

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BrightLine has spent the last few years working with various media companies on interactive ads. In 2012, the company partnered with DirecTV to develop interactive liquor ads. In 2014, the company partnered with ActiveVideo to build interactive ads that could work on legacy pay TV set-top boxes. Last year, the company teamed with NBCUniversal to run interactive ads during its coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics. Also last year, BrightLine added voice recognition capabilities to its OTT ad platform, allowing it to detect voice assistants and serve relevant prompts.

For Hulu, adding interactivity is about boosting engagement for ads on its platform. The company’s research division said interactive ad units achieved a 50% increase in ad recall and a 45% increase in purchase intent, according to Variety.

Other video platforms are also experimenting with more interactivity. Netflix has introduced several “choose-your-own-adventure” style series and films. Facebook has rolled out interactive features that will allow creators and publishers to add polls, quizzes and challenges to video.