While South Africa is still awaiting the hammer that is Netflix’s ad-supported tier, the streaming giant is reportedly ready to begin testing out a ‘new’ marketing strategy where its ads are concerned in a bid to make them actually watchable.
The idea seems simple – make ads feel like less of a chore by finding innovative ways of engaging with the audience. Simple in theory but difficult to implement. Yet, Netflix feels it’s up for the challenge, according to a paywalled Financial Times report (via TechRadar).
A serious undertaking
Financial Times reports that Netflix held some rather important talks with some “of the world’s most important ad executives at this year’s Cannes Lions festival in the South of France.” Those talks apparently involved Netflix’s burgeoning marketing schemes, like its big, ‘new’ idea – episodic ad campaigns. So… kinda just like those Hooked ads that plagued Instagram a couple of years ago.
The idea of episodic ads isn’t exactly new. Broadcasters like DStv have been doing it for years, just with far less targeting attached. Netflix’s platform gives episodic ad campaigns more freedom to work with, and a larger scale to execute it on. It already knows exactly what you’ve watched, what you’re watching and probably what you’re going to watch.
Each episodic campaign, hypothetically, would include a set number of ads, allowing Netflix to play them in sequential order to specific watchers. Once you’ve seen the first “episode”, Netflix will know, and feed you the next in the ad campaign’s series. The idea is a good one that should help keep viewers engaged, rather than infuriated at seeing the same ad for the 34th time.
The report also indicates that the streamer could potentially reserve certain episodic campaigns for specific movies and TV shows, to assure advertisers that their ads are being seen by the right people. As one of the advertisers put it: “They’ll know what you’ve seen. So the old days of making episodic work may be back because before you could never guarantee what people have seen already. Now you can write 15 episodes of an advert and guarantee that the viewer will see them in the right order. So that’s really interesting.”
“Interesting” isn’t exactly the word we’d use, terrifying maybe.
For now, South Africa needn’t worry about Netflix’s attempted hostile ad-takeover. The streamer has yet to express an interest in bringing its ad tier subscriptions to the country, though we’re not sure how long that’ll last. Let’s just enjoy our ad-free time while we can, shall we?