There’s no doubt that digital advertising has changed the marketing and advertising landscape. Each day, targeting becomes more specific, algorithms more advanced, artificial intelligence more learned. With all of the advancements in learning technology and system integration, I often wonder what will be the next big leap forward in creating consistent, targeted messaging across all channels for advertisers. And where will those leaps leave the smaller players, such as community financial institutions, when they go to advertise?

These thoughts were running through my head last week as I sat watching TV one night. I should clarify – I wasn’t watching TV in a traditional sense. I’m a “cord cutter” – one of those crazy Millennials that doesn’t subscribe to a cable or satellite dish package. Instead, we stream most of our TV and catch the rest on antenna broadcast. Between Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and Sling, we get all that we need and MORE!

Better Targeting and Learning

While I was watching a show on Hulu, it struck me. Since I’m streaming my television through an account that is (presumably) learning more about me every time I log in, and has collected information on my demographic profile, it’s safe to say that services like Hulu could hyper-target advertisements to their viewers. In fact, if any of you have watched a show on Hulu, you might have been subject to one of their “which version would you prefer?” advertisements, where you get to pick the ad you want to watch for the product being advertised. This kind of targeting is the stuff that dreams are made of for marketers needing to find more ways to put their product in front of the right audience at the right time.

The television streaming audience is growing and only going to go up from here. With more options being presented in services that also offer original content and flexible terms to their plans, consumers are becoming more and more drawn to streaming. Sling TV offers a “pick-your-package” offering of channels that you would find from normal cable subscriptions for a low monthly rate. Hulu just introduced Hulu Live TV, which lets you subscribe and watch Hulu’s streaming service, cable TV channels, AND local broadcast TV channels. All through their very own platform. YouTube has launched YouTubeTV, similar to Hulu Live, letting you watch your TV whatever way you want. All of these streaming services let you take your content with you on whatever device you want to watch on.

Additionally, most streaming services let the user set up different profiles for different people in the household. While a convenient way to separate your shows from the cartoons your kids watch, it also serves to separate the targeting of advertising messages. Genius!

The Downslide of Cable and Live TV

Meanwhile, traditional cable television is showing signs of trouble. Subscriptions have been trending down for the past 5 years after a short lift in subscriptions after the recession. Business Insider reports that, in 2018, the projected growth rate for cable pay TV will be a negative 4 percent. Negative growth.

So, what does all of this mean for the future of advertising? And where does the opportunity for community financials fit in?

In my opinion, the changes in how people are watching television programming is good news for smaller advertisers. Especially as more services move toward internet-based live TV streaming services, it’s only a matter of time before advertising is based on the viewer for live TV, and not what is being broadcast.

Much like Hulu already does for its streaming services, your bank or credit union has the opportunity to advertise within streamed television programs. All of this, without having to deal with buying large ad packages for pre-programmed content. Hulu allows their advertisers to target their audience based on known demographic information and viewing behaviors.

Personally, I think there is a future that isn’t too far out from the present that will allow on-the-fly ad presentations while streaming live TV. As more consumers move toward streaming live programming, it becomes easier to insert targeted advertisements during the show instead of relying on ad buys. What’s more, with Google entering the mix with YouTubeTV, a future where television commercial ads are presented on a bid-based system that also intertwines your web search and browsing history is entirely possible.

This future isn’t a complete picture of advertising perfection, however. One of the big downfalls that I see with streaming advertising is the ability for consumers to opt-out of seeing ads. Again, Hulu already provides this ability in their stream-based programming. For $4 per month, you can watch your shows uninterrupted. As a viewer, that’s a small price to pay. As an advertiser, that could set up a devastating loss of impressionable market.

Has your bank or credit union considered advertising on a streaming platform such as Hulu? Perhaps you’ve started out with pre-roll ads on YouTube to wade into the waters of video advertising? Let us know!