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Hulu Will Start Offering ‘Attribution’ Measures for Advertisers

TV networks aren’t the only media outlets trying to get in on new technologies that help advertisers determine if their commercials did more than make someone sing a funny jingle.

Hulu, the video-streaming hub that is owned by Comcast, Fox and Disney, will launch its own effort to help sponsors determine “attribution,” or whether the ads people see spur a consumer to make a purchase or take some other concrete action, like sign up to take a test drive at a car dealership. “We have advertisers who want to move more quickly into that,” says Julie DeTraglia, head of research at Hulu, in an interview.

More media outlets and advertiser have grown interested in the concept, particularly as video audiences have begun to splinter across dozens of digital-viewing outlets that allow for a two-way interaction with audiences. A+E Networks last year unveiled a plan to offer a select group of “outcome-based guarantees” to advertisers as part of negotiations in TV’s annual “upfront” market, when U.S TV network try to sell the bulk of their advertising inventory. The company was interested in backing website visits or foot traffic at retail locations. Earlier this week, AT&T’s Turner indicated it would use set-top box data from AT&T video subscribers to help further develop attribution deals it has already been offering.

“We know we can measure more accurately every single impression that gets served on Hulu,” says DeTraglia. Hulu will develop customized deals depending on the types of customer-relationship data its advertisers can share, she says. That information can be matched with customer behavior metrics from Hulu.  The company earlier this week said its service topped 25 million subscribers in 2019 and snared more than $1.5 billion in ad revenue, representing ad growth of 45% over the previous year.

Hulu has begun “beta testing” the attribution offering with select clients, says DeTraglia. “We believe that by the second half of this year we will have a fully functioning product, open to anybody who had data that they are willing to send to us.”

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