Streaming Consumption Is Surging, and Your Ads Need to Be There

Carnegie Higher Ed Aug 27, 2020 Carnegie Higher Ed Persona The Visionary Frontrunner

With a variety of streaming options in today’s digital space, it’s no surprise that viewers are choosing to cut ties with traditional cable TV and make the change to more flexible and affordable streaming platforms. Connected TV media consumers—also known as “cord cutters”—are people who have left traditional cable TV in favor of streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, YouTube TV, or Amazon Prime. In addition to choosing Connected TV, people are also shifting in the way they listen to music and podcasts by switching to platforms such as Spotify, Pandora,, and iHeartRadio over traditional radio.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt our day-to-day lives, Americans are relying more and more on these services, and the uptick in streaming isn’t expected to change anytime soon, even after the pandemic subsides.

According to a recent study from  2018, there were 90.3 million US households subscribed to cable TV, that number now having dropped by almost four million in 2020 to 86.5—with the expectation of dropping even further by 2021. Furthermore, it’s expected that by the end of 2020 there will be over 191.5 million subscribers to streaming services.

Traditional TV and radio ads are broadcast to an entire market based on the channel and stations themselves, rather than who is watching or listening. Through digital ads on streaming platforms, we’re able to layer on targeting filters to reach a niche audience of your choice instead. By utilizing advertising on streaming services, you’re able to control the overall cost of your campaigns while also increasing your return on investment. Digital advertising through these channels allows you to easily exclude prospective students and their families who wouldn’t be interested or qualified for your school or program, which isn’t possible to do with traditional TV or radio. Your ads get delivered to a specific, targeted audience, ensuring the ads are relevant to each individual who sees or hears them.

In-stream audio advertising is an untapped opportunity

Pandora and Spotify leverage first-party data to capture niche audiences based on user log-ins, which ensures you’re getting in front of your audience in real time—and at the right time. Both Spotify and Pandora users who choose to access the streaming platform at no cost have to listen to audio ads during their experience with no option to skip or fast forward. Unlike with some other platforms, such as YouTube, your audience will not have the option to scroll past your ads or hit the “Skip Ad” button after a few seconds, greatly contributing to your institution’s branding and visibility.

Advertising on or iHeartRadio gives you the best of both worlds: you’re able to reach an audience that is still listening to traditional radio, but not necessarily from their vehicle. Your ads are delivered to  audiences that aren’t available on Pandora or Spotify and contain no ad-free premium option, so all listeners within your target audience will be reached. Since many people enjoy streaming their favorite radio stations from their laptops or mobile devices, you can reach your audience wherever they primarily listen to radio. With this type of advertising, you’re still able to reach prospective students through traditional radio while ensuring you’re only reaching those who are relevant or qualified for your institution or a specific program. 

Reach your target audience outside of traditional cable

There’s no more guessing with Over-The-Top (OTT)  advertising. OTT content can be streamed through internet-connected devices such as Roku, Chromecast, or a Smart TV.  Like audio streaming, OTT provides advertisers with the opportunity to target a specific audience according to their lifestyles and behaviors.

This is a great opportunity to reach an audience that’s getting rid of traditional cable television or supplementing their TV habits by streaming OTT video content. Your institution can utilize ads to reach your target audience before or during the shows they’ve selected to watch. A major perk of OTT ads are that they are unskippable, and you’re only charged for 100% ad completion. The only way that someone would be able to “skip” your advertisement would be if they stopped watching the show or turned the television off completely, which is why branding is so strong with this ad format. 

Although some OTT services, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, are paid for by viewers and don’t contain ads, there are many options that do to support the service both with and without a paid membership. Streaming services such as Hulu come at little to no cost with advertisements that play before and during its programs. With 85,000+ episodes available on Hulu, there’s a huge opportunity to reach a variety of prospects throughout their college search.

More control = more ROI

Unlike traditional television and radio, streaming platforms know more about viewers than just what they watch or listen to. Specific demographic targeting and other valuable data make it easy to target your institutions’ unique audiences while increasing your marketing dollar return on investment.

Your prospective students and their families are changing the way they consume media, and staying in front of them through this  shift is important for you as an institution. If you’d like to learn more about adding streaming to your marketing mix, Carnegie Dartlet is here to help!

Never miss an update.