Study: Disney+ wins social ad wars

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Social competitive intelligence and brand analytics platform BrandTotal has shared new data on how the world’s leading streaming services advertise across top social media channels.

BrandTotal’s latest report, Social Intelligence Competitive Snapshot: The Streaming Wars, analysed all paid social advertising campaigns from Disney+, HBO Max, Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV Plus, Peacock, and Paramount+, over a 90-day period, from June 23rd to September 20th, 2021. Key findings are as follows.

Disney+ Wins on Paid Share-of-Voice

Disney+ dominated with nearly one-third (30 per cent) of all impressions. HBO Max was in second with 23 per cent, followed by Hulu at 21 per cent.

“Disney+ won on paid SOV [Share of Voice], which speaks to their advantage with spend,” advises Alon Leibovich, CEO & Co-Founder, BrandTotal. “They are prolific when it comes to paid advertising and social media is no exception.”

The top-five were rounded out by Peacock 16 per cent and Paramount+ (7 per cent). Netflix (1 per cent) and Apple TV Plus (2 per cent) were the least prolific social media advertisers.

YouTube and Twitter are Key for Streamers

When averaging the percentage of ad impressions for each channel among the seven streamers, YouTube was the most popular, with 59 per cent of all impressions, followed by Twitter (32 per cent), Facebook (7 per cent), and Instagram (2 per cent).

“Facebook-owned platforms were the least compelling for streamers,” says Leibovich. “Instead, YouTube dominated, which makes sense given the video-first nature of the platform. Twitter was also a leader, which speaks to the surging value of video ads there.”

YouTube was #1 among all streaming advertisers except for Peacock, which relied on Twitter more (49 per cent of all sponsored impressions vs. 43 per cent). Hulu was the most reliant on YouTube, with 94 per cent of its social ad impressions there. Meanwhile, Paramount+ was the top Facebook advertiser (18 per cent) and Netflix was the top Instagram advertiser (4 per cent).

Who’s Targeting Who? Demographic Breakdown

In terms of demographics, most streamers aimed ads at a younger audience, specifically Gen Zs. Hulu, in particular, went after this market, with 68 per cent of its sponsored impressions focused on 18-24-year-olds. Disney+ was the second biggest targeter of this age range, with 58 per cent of its impressions.

“Younger audiences have migrated to streaming platforms more quickly than older audiences,” notes Leibovich. “The targeting is no surprise.”


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