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The Year’s NewFronts Will Reflect Recent Changes In Consumer Behavior

May 26, 2020 Sarah Cavill

Shutterstock_1368793937 Hand holding a TV remote while watching shows on a streaming service on Television.

The NewFronts, like TV’s upfronts, are a chance for advertisers to see what creative content is scheduled for the upcoming season. In this case, via digital video and streaming services. Sponsored by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), this year’s NewFronts will be live-streamed June 22-26 and will be a reflection of all the ways in which digital content is changing and marketers can adapt to be a part of this evolving industry.

“This is the only event that brings digital, streaming and audio together to make opportunities for brands and the entire ecosystem clear,” said Randall Rothenberg, CEO of IAB.

The Newly Imagined NewFronts Will Reflect Changing Consumer Behaviors

The last several months of self-isolation have changed consumer behaviors significantly, including a major uptick in streaming. After delaying the NewFronts to reimagine how the event would happen virtually, the event’s theme was changed to “Insight. Inspiration. Transformation.” to better reflect and amplify the impact those new behaviors are having on the streaming industry. “Our industry isn’t on ‘pause.’ Far from it. It’s on fast-forward, and we’ll all have to race to catch up with changed behaviors,” said Rothenberg. Sessions at the revamped NewFronts will include understanding which consumer behaviors are likely to last, what implications new behaviors will have on marketers and developing formats that marketers should be aware of.

YouTube And Roku Will Debut Their New Programmatic Ad Products

New programmatic ad platforms are popping up everywhere, offering better targeting to more diverse audiences, and especially in the case of YouTube, a massive catalog of content for advertisers interested in reaching OTT viewers. Just ahead of the NewFronts, YouTube announced YouTube Select. “YouTube Select surfaces a diverse mix of content packages called lineups — each tailored to globally and locally relevant needs like beauty and fashion, entertainment, technology, sports and everything in between,” said Vishal Sharma Vice President, Product Management, YouTube Ads, in a blog post explaining the new offering. According to Marketing Dive, with advertisers expected to spend 33% less on traditional TV upfronts this year, YouTube is hoping YouTube Select will garner some attention and ad haul at the NewFronts.

Roku, making its debut appearance at the NewFronts this year, will likely be leaning heavily on the debut of its new programmatic ad buying platform, OneView Ad Platform. At the NewFronts, Roku will be discussing how the “the last ten weeks have accelerated ten years of change” and “building for a future when all TV is streamed” with programmatic, measured and scalable advertising opportunities an important part of making the switch away from totally TV-centered approaches.

Hulu Is Having A Moment And Will Share Their Success At The NewFronts

Shutterstock_1034739478 COLOGNE, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 27, 2018: Closeup of Hulu logo displayed on Apple iPhone

With Amazon opting not to participate in the virtual NewFronts, Hulu will have the attention of advertisers looking for seasoned streaming services among the upstarts. Just as the country went into quarantine, Hulu experienced some program changes, namely the addition of the FX hub when Disney acquired 21st Century Fox and reorganized their assets across Disney+ and Hulu. TechCrunch explained, “The company announced today the launch of a new FX hub on the streaming service that includes over 40 FX Networks TV shows, new original linear series and other FX originals that will now be exclusive to Hulu.” 

The addition of the FX hub included a lot of buzzy shows, and Hulu benefited, with a survey in early April indicating that Hulu and Disney+ were the top two services most subscribers added to their streaming line-ups. At the NewFronts, Hulu plans to discuss how it “will continue to lead as part of The Walt Disney Company.” 

Hulu is one of the few streaming services that offers a free version of its services and an ad-free paid version, hitting what insiders call the “sweet spot” for subscribers who may feel overburdened by too many services. The streaming service has also been creative with its ad formats, like binge ads, which could be appealing to advertisers with leaner budgets looking for innovative options. 

Social Media Platforms And Publishers Share Their Original Content At The NewFronts

Original digital content is becoming the norm across every online medium, including social media platforms and publishers, most of which now have in-house studios. The 2020 NewFronts will include presentations from Snapchat, TikTok and Facebook, the Wall Street Journal Group and Condé Nast. Advertisers interested in reaching OTT audiences across the digital universe should be increasingly interested in opportunities to align with original content in different formats, especially platforms that have huge built-in userships like Facebook and TikTok. 

Every article written in January of 2020 about where streaming was headed will have an asterisk this year, as the whole format has undergone an unexpected shift, while at the same time digital advertising is also recalibrating. The NewFronts will be an opportunity for brands and advertisers to take the temperature of the OTT industry from both sides, as businesses of every kind forge paths ahead into the “new normal.”

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About the Author

Sarah Cavill

With more than 20 years of writing, editing and reporting experience, Sarah Cavill brings to Digital Media Solutions (DMS) a fine-tuned and diverse set of skills. Her work has been featured in notable publications including The Daily Muse, CBS Local, Techlicious and Glamour magazine. Sarah has a passion for current events and the deep-dive research that goes into the content development and brand identity of DMS Insights. In her role as Senior Marketing Communications Writer, Sarah contributes to the pitching, researching and writing of multiple stories published each week surrounding digital and performance marketing innovations in pop culture, news, social media, branding and advertising.

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