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The Power of Choice in Advertising

October 3rd, 2011 by JP Colaco SVP of Advertising

Management guru Peter Drucker once famously said, “Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.”

Drucker’s observation was spot-on. We share his belief that effectiveness is doing the right things — especially in advertising. This belief has driven our relentless focus on building the world’s most effective video advertising service.

Carefully balancing the needs of all our customers (users, advertisers and content partners) is a core part of achieving our mission. We believe that by offering users a premium viewing environment and relevant, targeted ads, we will reduce budget waste for advertisers and drive higher engagement, brand and message recall, likeability, and purchase intent among consumers. These improvements facilitate higher ad prices, which gives us the ability to better monetize content on behalf of content owners.

We conducted a significant research project with 1,500 people to help us better understand what users really want from an advertising service. We were told by users that they’d like us to innovate on two dimensions: more choice and greater control.  Users are tired of seeing ads that are not relevant to them, and are eager for more control over their ad experience. Below is some of the actual user feedback from the study:

  • “I would let the viewer pick the ads he wants to watch.”
  • “I would replace the commercials I watched with ones that were relevant and interesting to me.”
  • “Maybe the Hulu website could offer a choice of what kinds of commercials consumers could watch.”
  • “A choice of commercials to watch – a lot of the ads weren’t relevant to me and it would be great if I could skip them.”
  • “Allow for a choice of ads we see during or before the show.”

We’ve always believed that choice and control were instrumental to building the world’s most effective video advertising service. The unique interactive nature of our online streaming service enables users to actively participate in their ad experience. Our first approach to provide more choice and control was introduced with the Hulu Ad Selector, an ad innovation that came to market when Hulu launched publicly in 2008. The Hulu Ad Selector allows users to choose to watch one of three ads from the same brand (e.g. Coca-cola, Diet Coke or Sprite) or one ad from a selection of three different brands. Since 2008, we’ve seen that approximately two-thirds of users choose to participate when presented with the Hulu Ad Selector option. We’ve also found that the power of choice drives nearly 2x higher effectiveness metrics when compared to a standard pre-roll.

The strong performance history of Hulu Ad Selector coupled with the consumer input from our latest research project helped drive the development of our latest ad innovation, Hulu Ad Swap.

Hulu Ad Swap is the next evolution in user choice and control — an ad innovation designed to dramatically improve the advertising experience for users and results for brands. Hulu Ad Swap puts complete control in the hands of the user by enabling them to instantly swap out of an ad they are watching for one that is more relevant.

Here’s how it works…When an ad begins to play, a user can click on the Hulu Ad Swap icon in the top left corner of the player and bring up a number of ad choices, customized to that user’s profile and previous ad viewing preferences.

At this point, the user can select a more relevant ad from the available choices.

The advertiser whose ad initially began to play is not charged for that impression. This is a win-win scenario for both the user, and for the advertiser. The user now has ultimate control over their ad experience and the advertiser does not have to pay for an impression that would have been wasted.

In an online environment, advertisers have many more tools they can use to engage with key audiences, and in ways that are proven to improve brand recall, message recall, likeability, and purchase intent. With Hulu Ad Swap in particular, advertisers now have the ability to connect in meaningful ways with the consumers who are specifically interested in their brands.

We’ve been testing Hulu Ad Swap over the past several months, asking consumers for their feedback in shaping the product. Since testing began, we’ve found that this feature has a significant impact on effectiveness metrics, improving unaided brand recall by 93%, brand favorability by 27%, purchase intent by 35%, and stated relevancy by 46%.

As one user said, “It was pretty fun when the commercial would start and you knew you could change it if you wanted to. I kinda looked forward to it.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

We consider ourselves fortunate that we have the opportunity to be engaged in a meaningful feedback loop with users, advertisers, and content owners on a daily basis.  We are also fortunate to find ourselves in the thick of such an exciting time for the video advertising industry. It is this feedback loop that drives us to become the world’s most effective video advertising service.

We hope you enjoy using Hulu Ad Swap as much as we enjoyed building it. Let us know what you think!

Last comment: about 9 hours ago 65 Comments
  • Hi Becky. Thanks for writing. Advertisers buy ad space in shows they think their target audience will watch. In this case, if many episodes of a show are watched in a marathon fashion, ads will likely repeat. I hope this clears things up! Luckily we have half as many ads as you’d see on TV. Please let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks, Hulu Support

  • Becky says:

    I watch several different shows on Hulu. For the past month, every single ad break on every single show I watch has included the same ad. I have said it is not relevant to me at least 100 times. Still, it shows up every single commercial break. This saturation has ensured I will never, ever used the product being advertised, and I’m considering cancelling my Hulu subscription over it. I understand the need for ads on Hulu, but this level of repetition is unacceptable and is beneficial to neither Hulu subscribers nor the advertisers whose content is being shown so frequently that people become biased against their products out of annoyance.

  • Hi Maria,

    Thanks for your feedback. Unfortunately, advertisers purchase space in content they think is relevant to their products, so if you’re watching Grey’s Anatomy, for example, it’s more likely that medical-type ads will appear. Additionally, each advertiser has only a limited number of ads (sometimes only one or two!), so if you’re marathoning a particular show or type of show, the ads may become repetitive. Again, I’m sorry for the frustration, but I hope that helps clarify a little bit.

    Thanks,
    Tucker
    Hulu Support

  • Maria says:

    I’m SO sick and tired of seeing medical ads, WIndows and mobile phone ads! I hate medical ads in general and I would never buy a Windows product. I click not relevant every single time I see one of these ads, yet I keep on seeing them. Day in day out, stupid Windows ads, mobile phone ads, and medical ads!

    I’m completely ok with seeing commercials, I understand that Hulu needs to monetize the site and that the users are receiving a free service. I don’t mind watching some commercials so that I can continue to get this service for free, but PLEASE I don’t want watch the same stupid commercials everyday!

  • Adrienne says:

    In response to the July 3rd comment and reply about completely inappropriate ad content (East Los High being the one that is constantly coming up in front of the Mary Tyler Moore Show…really?)…apparently, your ad department didn’t get the memo that most people don’t want their young children exposed to your over-sexualized content or ads for it. Why on earth do I need to see and hear an underage girl having sex with my two young children in the room? Even if I wasn’t a parent and watching alone it is still inappropriate and I can’t imagine anyone with a brain or any self-worth even wanting to watch a show like that anyways. Glad I signed up for 7 days free…I’ll be cancelling this subscription because the company’s statements of caring about their customers wants/needs/interests in complete BS.

  • Hi Kirk, thanks for contacting us. At this time we do not have an option to block specific ad formats. We do, however, have the AdTailor feature that allows users to mark ads as irrelevant so they show up less often during their viewing experience. This doesn’t necessarily eliminate those ads all together, since advertisers pick which shows their ads run during, to cater to their target audience, but it does help lessen ads that don’t pertain to you. You can find the settings for this at ( http://www.hulu.com/profile/ad_tailor ).

    Best, Alexa, Hulu Support

  • kirkla79 says:

    I wish there was a way to block interactive ads. I don’t want to interact with ads, just run them. I don’t want to play games or quizzes, or choose between 3 ads.

    I also wish there was a way to block car ads, but only because they are ones that always cause black screens, screen freezing, and other issues.

  • Hi there,

    I’m sorry for any frustration or offense caused by our advertisements.

    I’m afraid our ad targeting capabilities don’t currently extend to user-specific exclusions of ad categories, so we do not have the ability to block a certain type of ad from appearing for you. However, we want our advertising to be effective and targeted toward users who might be receptive to the ads, so we will continue to explore your suggestion, as well as other options for excluding ad categories (such as “E-Harmony ads).

    We’re always trying to improve our ad experience to speak to both our users’ and our advertisers’ needs. If you have a moment, I’ll include some optional questions at the end of this email that may help our team investigate further.

    I appreciate the time you’ve taken to bring this to our attention, and I hope you’ll enjoy future refinements to our service. If there’s anything else I can help you with, please let me know.

    Thanks,
    Dave
    Hulu Support

  • Note Passer says:

    I find the eHarmony ads offensive. I have met two couples who found their current spouses on eHarmony. That’s the plus side. The down side is absolutely everything else. The test won’t let you go back even though you realized, too late, that on the very last question on the previous page you misread the answers. I know this test uses targeted redundancies to score inconsistencies in answers (at least I hope they do), but that was the one question of it’s kind and man did I end up with a bunch of women I had no interest in at all–at all.
    The test decided immediately that I had low self esteem. No one who knows me would say that of me. I have medical reasons, none serious, that make going out, with or without the crowd, more burdensome to me than staying home alone. His test is programmed to give an answer whether or not it is anywhere near the mark on any given trait. I guess their thinking is that a wrong answer is better than admitting they don’t know what’s going on with the customer.
    I find our host, Neil Clark Warren, to be (take this from a very highly intuitive person) to be a phony. He isn’t in psychology to help people, he’s in psychology to make money. I doubt he really has the slightest idea who he is, unless a trait description is good enough for him.

    Yet I cannot, cannot, cannot get rid of the eHarmony ads. I actually have already stopped watching Hulu as much as I used to, and thus miss all the other ads they want me to see, because I so revulsed by eHarmony ads.

  • Anto says:

    I swear to god, if I have to see that Nuvaring commercial one more time I might throw my laptop. Just because I’m a 21 year old female doesn’t mean I want to see the same birth control ad EVERY SINGLE TIME I sit down to watch a TV show. Oh, and while you’re at it, quit it with the pregnancy tests and cleaning products. It turns out women DO have things on their mind other than babies and laundry detergent.

  • Moni says:

    Its a great concept if you choose to burn your laptop out watching television. I want to be able to swap on a device as simple as my Roku. I was never so aware of this missing function until I became irritated by a current ad. My eyes are never glued to the telly but this ad actually forced me to watch the ridiculous content that goes perfectly lame with the stale Depeche Mode song that runs nonstop throughout. I hate this ad. What is this ad? What are they selling? Who is the company? Am I supposed to believe that Depeche Mode is still relevant? They came out with that new album I’ve been waiting 20 years for them to release? Stop it, already!! Bad, bad, and just plain lame!

  • Den says:

    Why is it only low quality shows are available even with a hulu plus subscription. With all the ads you make people watch to watch that trash, you should be paying us to stay tuned.

  • Hi there, Thanks for the comment. We’d be happy to look into this for you as well. Can you reach us at ( http://www.hulu.com/support ) and let us know which show you were watching when the ad played? Also, was this on a computer, a TV, or a mobile phone/tablet? Thanks, Gabe, Hulu Support

  • frog says:

    Yes this! (copying what “Kealie” said):
    “If hulu doesn’t give an option to block certain ads from playing, that might be a good enough reason to end our subscription. I’m tired of seeing ads for hulu exclusive shows that include sex and bad language. I’m not sure HOW hulu thinks I’m interested in these shows as nothing I watch is remotely similar to these advertisements. I’ve completed the Ad Tailor section, but this seems to have no influence on the ads for shows such as Essex, East Los High, PramFace and others like it. I have 2 young children and I do my best as their mother to not allow inappropriate material around them. The fact that hulu ads cannot be skipped or avoided is a HUGE disappointment and makes me consider finding another provider for our entertainment needs.”

    Pramface ads!? Really?! I can’t believe I have to explain what a condom is to my young son!!!

  • RT says:

    It would be nice if you would allow us to turn off the “choose your ad experience”. I’m not going to get up and select one, so I am stuck waiting an extra 15 seconds, and it gets frustrating.

  • Hi Kealie,

    Thanks for posting.

    I’m afraid our ad targeting capabilities don’t currently extend to user-specific exclusions of ad categories, so we do not have the ability to block a certain type of ad from appearing for you. However, we want our advertising to be effective and targeted toward users who might be receptive to the ads, so we will continue to explore your suggestion, as well as other options for excluding ad categories (such as Sex & Vulgar Language). The shows you listed are meant for mature audiences, so that might be why you are seeing those types of Ads.

    I’m sorry there isn’t a quick fix just yet.

    Thanks,
    Joe B.
    Hulu Support

    Optional questions (It would help if you could include responses at the top of the reply):
    • What was being advertised? (A specific brand name or description would be helpful.)
    • Which device were you using at the time? (Computer, iPad, PS3, etc.)

  • Kealie says:

    If hulu doesn’t give an option to block certain ads from playing, that might be a good enough reason to end our subscription. I’m tired of seeing ads for hulu exclusive shows that include sex and bad language. I’m not sure HOW hulu thinks I’m interested in these shows as nothing I watch is remotely similar to these advertisements. I’ve completed the Ad Tailor section, but this seems to have no influence on the ads for shows such as Essex, East Los High, PramFace and others like it. I have 2 young children and I do my best as their mother to not allow inappropriate material around them. The fact that hulu ads cannot be skipped or avoided is a HUGE disappointment and makes me consider finding another provider for our entertainment needs.

    Please let me know what you can do to help my family.

    Thank you.

  • Hi Leah,

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention. A family-friendly environment is a top priority for us at Hulu, so if it’s alright with you, I’m going to pass along your note to our ad-team. If you come across any more ads you feel are inappropriately placed, please don’t hesitate to let us know.

    Best,
    Aimee
    Hulu Support

  • Leah says:

    Ok so here’s the deal almost every time I am watching anything on Hulu this commercial for a show called “the yard”. In this commercial a kid cusses. I don’t know about everyone else but it makes me uncomfortable, especially since I have a 5 year old sister that watches I love lucy with me( not in the kids section). Every time she watches it I’m so afraid that that commercial will come on… And it has before!

    Also another thing is one of my favorite shows is now only available on web only. It’s called victorious.

    I guess my point is that I’m fed up with Hulu and really wish they wwoildnt show that commercial Again.

    One more thing…. Since I’m watching Hulu on my wii I don’t have the option to chose ads so there’s no way I can get around this commercial….

  • Hey there,

    Thanks for posting. Unfortunately the Ads are solely based on your Gender, but the shows you watch and the Ad Tailor preferences. You can change or modify your Ad Tailor preferences by visiting ( http://www.hulu.com/profile/ad_tailor ). It will not block any specific Ads, but at least you will have a little more control over what you may see. Please let me know if there is anything else I can address!

    Thanks,
    Joe B.
    Hulu Support

  • human first, xx second says:

    I am a person possessing two x chromosomes, and a first name associated with being female. I don’t have children. I never intend to have children. I don’t clean. My career doesn’t afford much time for housework. Short of canceling my hulu subscription, how can I see at least a tiny smidgeon of advertising that doesn’t assume that my primary interests aren’t spawning and cleaning up after other people? Can I unlist as “female” and just be a person? If I changed the name associated with my profile would you show me ads for tech and tools instead of baby drool?

  • HI Dania, thanks for posting. I’m sorry for the frustration you’re experiencing with the repeated Tobacco Free Florida ad, and I assure you we were not intending to annoy you. Advertisers buy space during shows that they think will hit their target audience, which is why certain ads come up more during certain shows. With this in mind, we have our Ad Tailor feature in place to make sure our users see a more relevant ad experience. By using our Ad Tailor feature already, you’ve helped make sure this ad comes up at least a bit less frequently. In the meantime I apologize for the frustration this ad has caused.

    Best, Alexa, hulu Support

  • Dania says:

    I agree with Kate… I see the Tobacco Free Florida ads so often. I’m literally about to cancel my Hulu Plus account due to the repetition of this ad alone. This ad is so depressing, it makes me want to shut off the tv. Why would you do this to the subscribers you have? At least make the ad relevant to what they are watching… Comedy = Funny Ad, etc. It would be great if the tool you’re speaking about now worked, also. I have clicked “NO” so many times when I’m asked if this ad is relevant to me. Ridiculous…

  • Josh says:

    Maybe find another job because you can’t seem to handle this one. Ad Taylor does NOT work. Ever. I’ve clicked no to the relevancy of some ad about a stupid reality tv show almost 2 dozen times but I still have to sit through this crap at least 2 times per episode. Ridiculous. This is only one of the reasons I dumped hulu plus.

  • University Student says:

    It is such a load of crap. I tell hulu every time that birth control ads aren’t relevant to me and I’d prefer no more nuva ring commericals. Yet, because I have a vagina, the only product they think is marketable to me is birth control. I hate hulu, and have stopped using it for the last month or so.

  • FrankenBrain says:

    This “which ad experience do you prefer?” is becoming such a nuisance! Truthfully, I prefer NO advertisements, but I understand the need for them,

    What I find irritating is not being able to sit through a batch of shows without having to always get up and click a stupid button for which commercial I want to watch – or sit and wait for the screen to go away.

    I don’t mind watching the one or two (and more recently sometimes three and even FOUR) commercials, because in my mind it’s still better than broadcast TV. But with the rate at which Hulu unexpectedly stops offering my favorite shows, and now this ridiculous advertising selection screen that keeps popping up, Hulu is quickly becoming less attractive than even the worst cable.

    At least cable doesn’t arbitrarily stop showing programs mid-season. And cable may make you watch a few more commercials, but at least it doesn’t force you to get up out of your seat and PICK which torture you want between every show.

    I came to Hulu because they offered 12 of my favorite shows. They’re now down to only 3 left. Ooops.., I take that back. Now down to 2. Oh, and I still have to select which ad experience I prefer.

    I’m starting to think the extra money spent on cable isn’t so bad after all.

    Way to go Hulu, you’re convincing me cable was the better alternative.

  • Dani says:

    Yes…the ads I see are not relevant. At all. No matter how many times I say NO to a car commercial, again, more car commercials.

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  • brien says:

    In response to the tobacco free florida one, i click no literally every single time it pops up because it’s disgusting and annoying and not what i want to when I want my shows. It shows up, on average, 2 times every episode of every show i watch. I don’t get it. The ad swap never even shows up on my computer.
    Get your shit together, cuz aside from this problem, hulu couldn’t have many other problems in my opinion.

  • Kate says:

    I would love this idea if it worked. I’ve seen others having similar issues as me, I’ve clicked no for ads not relevant to me several times on the same exact ad & what do I get when I start to watch an episode tonight “This ad is brought to you by Tobacco Free Florida” with NO option to swap ad at all. I get that smoking is bad. As a non-smoker, I obviously do. I’m SO SICK OF TOBACCO FREE FLORIDA ADS! Has anyone at Hulu ever watched those ads? Tobacco Free Florida prides itself on it’s aggressive anti-smoking ad campaign. After the hundredth time of hearing “don’t bend over, you don’t want to lose the food in your stomach” I want to punch the next thing I see. If it happens to be a former smoker with a trach, all the better!

    Watch the disgusting, disturbing (and frankly annoying) Tobacco Free Florida ads, then subject yourself to seeing them multiple times in a show, or just multiple times in a day or week. How about during your breakfast? I think images of rotting flesh goes GREAT with my morning cup of coffee. Disabled people giving you tips on how to perform everyday tasks is just what I want to see when I’m trying to unwind after a bad day. Don’t forget the cancer ridden old man in a wheel chair, dying in a hospital struggling to preach at you not to make the same mistake he did in the middle of your favorite comedy show.

    Considering I already am a non-smoker, hitting that “no” button when asked if this ad is relevant to me should have taken affect within the first few times I clicked on it. I certainly shouldn’t be subjected to the ad without the option to swap it out. This isn’t a custom ad experience for me at this point. It’s ads being forced upon me more than when I watch normal tv. At least with normal tv, I’m not subjected to these ads as frequently and can change the channel for a minute so I don’t have to watch these disturbing ads.

    How about you come up with some way to swear I’ll never ever ever ever smoke and STOP throwing these ads at me!? Save Tobacco Free Florida a little money by not preaching to the choir.

    Or- stop pretending this is a custom experience, because obviously the fact that a subject isn’t relevant to me doesn’t change my ad experience.

  • skine says:

    Hulu Support Advocate said: “Thanks for posting. I agree – sitting through the same ad over and over again can get frustrating. However, saying that an ad isn’t relevant doesn’t mean you won’t run into it again, but the idea is that you’ll see fewer ads like it.”

    I would like to call bullsh*t on that.

    I’ve started watching a show a few days ago, and so far I’ve seen 14 episodes. There are six commercial breaks per episode, and in five out of the six, I see an ad for Movie 43. So, by my count, I’ve told Hulu that the commercial isn’t relevant to me 70 times over the last few days, with zero change in frequency.

  • kim says:

    If it was really about keeping the price of the service lower, why isn’t there an option for ad-free at a higher price?

    I am watching my first-ever hulu plus video, and I am going to cancel my account already. The commericals are so often and intrusive that it destroys the entire viewing experience. I’ll stick with Netflix and just rent DVDs if i need something different to watch.

  • Mario Maggio says:

    Whenever I see offensive ads, such as those campaign ads for the MF jackass Obama, I not only click “No,” but reload the page.

    In one such setting, the users is asked “which advertising experience do you prefer” and all three options are Obama ads. I DON’T WANT TO HEAR *ANYTHING* ABOUT THAT A-HOLE, so I just reload the whole page until different options appear.

    GET A CLUE, HULU!

  • Christian says:

    Hulu should *ABSOLUTELY NEVER* be showing me advertisements for alcohol or tobacco products. I can tolerate just about any other advertisement, but for personal reasons these are so offensive to me that I’m considering giving up on Hulu altogether. The problem is, your Ad Tailor system is a joke; it does *NOT* work, and even if it did there’s no way to reject these types of ads.

    Also, when is Hulu Desktop going to allow us to tell the system that ads are relevant/not relevant to us? It it really that hard? (Although why I’m asking this question when I have solid proof that it’s meaningless to give this kind of feedback, I don’t know.)

  • JOhn says:

    I mute all of the ads. All of them are irrelevant to me. I usually switch windows until they are over and I can un mute and continue watching the video. There are more ad breaks on this than I remember there being on television. When will you fools finally get it? We don’t want ads. They are not relevant. They are not entertaining. We do not see it as a minor inconvenience. Ads are a waste of my time. I will continue to block, mute, and switch until there are either no more ads or i just give up and stop watching all together and read a book.

  • Lisa Barrett says:

    I agree that giving choice to the Hulu audience on what advertising to watch is essential. I see that you have done that, to a certain degree – HOWEVER, none of the advertising I am offered is relevant to me. None at all. I am constantly subjected to advertising about birth control and family discounts on hotel stays and Invisaline for teens. NONE of which I will ever, ever purchase. They don’t apply to me. It is all completely wasted air time, as I am a 56 year old lesbian woman without any children or granadchildren. Perhaps if you offered Hulu watchers a 1x advertising survery on their likes, lifestyle, interests, your advertising would be much more applicable and might even work. Your advertiers might just attract customers. Just as an FYI: I am an avid boogie boarder, snorkeler, kayaker, photographer, traveler, writer, I go out to eat, I date, I like romantic “open” getaways to specifically lesbian friendly towns and hotels, I would NEVER go to vegas, I like the beach, mountains, LL Bean, Crocs, great outdoor shoes and clothing; love Tevas, I love Hawaii, I hike, I travel the US, houseboats are awesome, I would like to rent a camper, I do go camping, I rent cabins and yurts, Yosemite is a favorite, I travel all over California, I love the Pacific Northwest and New England, discounts to women’s week in Provincetown would be awesome, I use the airlines, a scenic romantic Amtrack trip would be great… anyway, you get the idea. I have yet to see any advertising for anything I would ever use. Maybe you can change that?

  • eagle_eye says:

    Ad Tailor DOES NOT WORK! I mean, when I say no to a particular ad 4 times during a particular show, and then it comes up again, does HULU think I was lying the other 4 times?

    And I do click yes on several ads that ARE relevant….or at least not offensive…..but Hulu doesn’t care. Because I still get those ads I clicked no on several times.

    HULU, please stop lying……just stop lying and pretending I have a say. Because I clearly don’t.

  • robert says:

    the ad tailor repeatedly insists that fox commercials are being tailored to me despite the fact i have said no to every commercial that has had anything to do with any show or tv station. how this deduction is possible is beyond me. on other occasions i get a hulu plus commercial and the three options i have for swapping it are three other variations of the hulu plus commercial . what kind of ability to choose is that. then there are all the car/car insurance commercials. i don’t have a drivers license never had a drivers license and never will have a drivers license. why would any one think that continuing to show car commercial will some day make me want to buy a car.

  • sweetestsadist says:

    This Ad choice crap doesn’t work. It’s basically like the close door button on an elevator. I click “no” on every car and cell phone ad and still see not only more ads on those products, BUT THE EXACT SAME AD OVER AND OVER.
    It’s not like I don’t click “yes” either. Show me a movie ad, I’ll click “yes”. Show me a fast food ad, I’ll click “yes”. Yet I still see more “no” ads than I do “yes” ads.

  • Tom says:

    I am a hulu subscriber thinking of leaving hulu. There is no incentive anymore for hulu plus. I get the same amount of ads that i get on traditional OTA programming for free. Hulu plus needs to offer people more benefit. As soon as I can get a better service with less or no commercials I am leaving. Very disappointed in hulu plus and I hope more people will leave so that they get our message.

    The hulu Roku app is also buggy as shit! I have 3 different types of Rokus and your app runs like crap on all of them compared to netflix.

  • Andres Mora says:

    I’m so tired of seeing the commercial of the girl drinking the dead frog liquid for the tobacco ad! I keep putting that its not relevant to me yet it’s the most shown commercial when I watch shows!!! fix this please!

  • jt334 says:

    needs more ads because hulu keeps showing the same ads over and over

  • Hi Susie,

    Thanks for posting. I agree – sitting through the same ad over and over again can get frustrating. However, saying that an ad isn’t relevant doesn’t mean you won’t run into it again, but the idea is that you’ll see fewer ads like it. You can also further modify your Ad Tailor preferences – or reset them altogether – at ( http://www.hulu.com/profile/ad_tailor ) whenever you’d like.

    Thanks,
    Hulu Support

  • susie says:

    the “ad experience” is the worst. I’ve never seen or experienced such poor advertising methods especially considering hulu’s “innovative” ad experience system. A viewer gets more variety on television without having the option of selecting if the ad was pertinent to them. That’s really the irony of all the hulu articles on this site saying they are doing their best to tailor ads. If I see one more Charter Communications ad, I may have to cancel. There is absolutely no way of stopping them, and they make me want to stop watching the program I selected. I even have to see them when I reload a show after I already watched the ad initially. Major thumbs down in the ad aspect of hulu. Everything else is pretty good. PLEASE be like Pandora Radio and NEVER play an ad that has been “thums down” by the viewer!!

  • Hi Dee,

    Thanks for contacting us! I’m afraid we don’t offer any kind of advertising index at this time. This is an intriguing idea—I’ll be sure to pass this onto our ad team and site developers! I’m sure you’re not the only Hulu user who would find an ad index useful. I hope we can offer you this in a future site update!

    Thanks,
    Daniel
    Hulu Support

  • Hi Martin,

    Thanks for taking the time to give us your feedback! I’m very sorry for your frustration with our ad experience. I completely agree – sitting through the same ad over and over again can get frustrating. To explain: advertisers buy ad space during programs they believe their target audience will be watching, and each show only has a limited number of advertisers. What’s more, each of these advertisers may only have one or two pieces of ad creative. So if you’re watching several episodes of the same show in a row (or switching between similar shows), things can feel pretty repetitive.

    To combat this, we’re pushing for our advertisers to create a wider variety of streaming-specific ads to make this issue a thing of the past. I hope you’ll see results as we continue to work with our advertisers to make this a reality.

    I’m also very sorry for your disappointment with our Ad Tailor feature. I would like to offer a tip: you can modify your Ad Tailor preferences – or reset them altogether – at ( http://www.hulu.com/profile/ad_tailor ) whenever you’d like. It’s certainly not our intent to waste your time; it’s our goal to provide you with an ad experience that speaks to your interests and needs. We truly appreciate your patience as we continue to refine and improve our Ad Tailor feature.

    Thanks,
    Daniel
    Hulu Support

  • dee says:

    I’ve got a question: how can I find on the Hulu site, an index of the ads you’ve shown me? There’s an ad I want to find, but I can’t remember what the product/service offering was (not completely effective with that brand impression, were they?)

    It was for a Droid competitor. Two guys are in a phone store comparing the advertiser’s phone features against those of an R2D2 unit (‘the ‘droid”).

  • Martin says:

    When I first saw the Ad Tailor and Ad Swap it seemed like a cool thing – I thought I’d finally have a source of entertainment that didn’t bombard me with obnoxious advertising for things I’d never consider buying, and it would gear any ads toward things I actually would be interested in. When it didn’t seem to be working after several weeks trying it, I thought it might be my security settings blocking the capability. After lowering my security settings to nil on a test system, I still saw no change – Hulu would still bombard me with repetitious ads for products and services wholly inappropriate to me. I’m not sure what you’re actually doing with the information provided when people click on the Ad Tailor options, but it’s been a waste of a click for me and sometimes it causes unwanted popups.

  • Anonymous says:

    I find Hulu’s ad selection extremely sexist and insulting. I’m a 35-year-old woman, and the majority of the ads that I see are for baby food and cleaning products. I don’t even like kids, to say nothing about cleaning. There are plenty of things that I do buy: sporting goods, beer, good quality food (not the cheap TV dinners that are constantly being pushed down my throat by the ads). I would be OK with sitting through ads for products I can relate to, and I might even buy some of the products. As it is, I am so disgusted by the ad content that I am thinking about closing my account.

  • Joe says:

    I appreciate watching shows on Hulu. My problem is that no matter how many times I say no to an ad I still have to watch that ad over and over and over and over and over and over and if your getting tired of me saying over and over and over and over then you know how I feel. Thanks.

  • Brian says:

    I appreciate the free alternative to cable – there’s nowhere else I can go to find such a broad list of shows and movies available on here. The only complaint I have… is with the “ad experience” – it seems to me that if there’s an option to choose “Yes” or “No,” our selection should have some sort of impact. Right? The only apparent impact so far is my growing hatred for The Morning After and 5-Hour Energy.

  • Amanda says:

    I am so tired of Geico car insurance commercials. I click no every single time, but they are still there.

  • William says:

    How come no matter how many times I click no on Natures Made commercials, I still keep getting them? What good is this Ad Swap? Now I really hate Natures Made :)

  • Brent says:

    Yes, it’s not a commercial, it’s an “ad experience”.

  • michael kolany says:

    One long commercial in the beginning would be optimal in catching the viewers attention. Yes, these commercial might be “better” than those on television, or more convenient, at the same time, it is more likely for the viewer to walk away or go to another website with ease. When the viewers can mute the one commercial from the start, the chance of catching the viewers attention knowing that “this is it” to bare with the annoyance of advertisement is greater than seeing overplayed Geico commercials.

  • Hello. While I have been with hulu since just shortly it was launched…I must say that I have been quite happy overall with everything I have experienced…that is, up until just recently. Allow me to explain:

    I have continuously…and repeatedly selected NO for “is this advertisement relevant to you?” every time those horrible Geico commercials flash on my screen…along with the Dodge, and Chevrolet commercials…I don’t use these products…don’t want them, and have become very sick of the commercials. Why do I have to keep selecting NO if it doesn’t work? I can’t tell you how many times I have opted to close the hulu window and find something else to do…all because I get these particular ads over and over. The Geico advertisement is the worst! Please…dump these ads.

  • Amon says:

    I find the Ad Swap pretty much useless. I watch Hulu because I hate TV and commercials, and the convenience of being able to choose whatever show I want to watch when I want to watch it. That being said, the commercial times of Hulu are starting to add up. I remember when it was only 30 sec per commercial. Now it’s two min average. All Ad Swap does is give me a choice to lengthen my commercial time because, yes, it does start a new commercial. Say I’m in the middle of a boring commercial, I choose to swap it for something else – bam! I’ve just chosen to give myself a whole new one and it’s as if I never watched the other 30 sec of the previous one. Hulu, if you’re wanting me to be interested in commercials, give me ones that aren’t just about insurance, cars, and charities. Or, to be blunt, give me the option back to watch the long commercial that I can mute over and then watch my episode with no more interruptions. Thanks.
    P.S. The first comment on here looks like a propaganda message written by Hulu itself to make people think they like the Ad Swap. Just sayin’…

  • John Brown says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, Hulu. You have listened to your customer’s pleas, and given me something better than I could have dreamed with the new Ad Swap option. I was watching my program, ready to mute and flip to another tab, when I noticed it in the top left corner, and guess what? I actually WATCHED an ad on Hulu! Sure, maybe it wasn’t really an ad for something I really cared that much about, but it wasn’t the same, old, ad I’ve seen a gazillion times before, and even though I know some will say that the option to choose between a select few is slightly superficial, it is perhaps one of the greatest steps in a right direction that I have seen in the area of Internet advertising. I have to tip my hat to Hulu and give a much-deserved thank you. On the road to a better Hulu, on the road to becoming the best video site online. What I’d really like to see next would be Hulu really honing in on targeted ads for products to tailor me. Dear Hulu, please continue forward with great implementations like this and we can use this system to the ultimate effect and benefit for all parties. Innovation really can work in practice. Be bold.

  • Hi Scott,

    Unfortunately at this time our Ad Swap program is only available through Hulu when accessing our website. I apologize for the inconvenience but I appreciate your patience as we work on new ways to improve our ad experience for our users on devices as well as their computers.

    Thanks!

  • Sam Singer says:

    I agree with Chris and I think the ad swap idea is good. It’s always better if the user would have the power to choose. I run a shop where I implement referral marketing and I allow my clients to choose the perks they can get from my marketing strategy.

  • Scott says:

    I’ve never seen anything like this watching HuluPlus through my PS3, and I’ve found the short ad tailor survey when I joined the site useless. At least 50% of the ads I see are for Geico, and I don’t even drive! And I’m getting really sick of those ads.

  • Stephen Tapp says:

    I wish your Roku software would use the buttons on the Roku remote to enable this as well.

  • Adam says:

    “The advertiser whose ad initially began to play is not charged for that impression.” E.g. the advertiser you clicked **away from**.

    ______What if the advertiser was charged MORE for that bad ad?______

    Playing ads I don’t hate can only help to keep me watching Hulu more. Maybe driving brands to create better advertising could have a revolutionary impact on Hulu’s bottom line.

  • Chris says:

    You should have called it “Choose Your Own AD-venture.”

  • Will this work when using non-computer devices to watch Hulu? When using Xbox or my smart TV, there’s never been an ability to choose the relevancy of ads, so I’m guessing this will be left out of those as well.

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