Streaming Video Wars in Paid Search

In April Amazon began offering a monthly membership to its Prime Video streaming service in a move that has been widely viewed as a direct challenge to Netflix and Hulu. To see how these competitors have been faring over the last 90 days we examined U.S. Google Desktop Text Ad activity on 57 non-branded streaming video keywords from March 9 through June 6, including the terms ‘streaming movies’, ‘free movie streaming’ and ‘online movies’.

While we were expecting to see a face-off between the Big Three—Amazon, Netflix and Hulu—we instead found a very different competitive landscape:

Streaming Video Click Share

Sony’s, which features movies, TV shows and original programming such as Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee”, led the field with 21.93% of all clicks on the keyword group over the last 90 days. Video streaming aggregator site was next with a 15.97% click share, followed by (13.82%), (8.25%) and finally (7.24%) rounding out the Top 5.

Amazon Less Efficient?

These findings are interesting because it’s somewhat rare to find a category that Amazon competes in but does not dominate in paid search. Upon further investigation, we found that Amazon was actually the top advertiser by paid search spend on the keywords from March 9 through June 6, but still fell behind Crackle and Yidio in total number of actual clicks on ads, showing it had a less efficient campaign. According to AdGooroo estimates, Amazon paid $83,000 to sponsor the keywords during the 90-day period compared to $38,000 by Crackle and $33,000 by Yidio.

The difference in total ad spend between the three competitors appears to be wholly due to differences in cost per click. AdGooroo estimates show Amazon had an average cost per click of $2.00 on the keyword group during the period while Yidio had a $0.68 CPC and Crackle had a $0.57 CPC. Ultimately, Crackle had the best-performing campaign, generating more clicks on the non-branded streaming video keywords, at a lower average cost per click than any other advertiser.

As for the other two major streaming video players, Hulu came in a distant fifth in click share, while Netflix was completely absent from the competition for clicks for the simple reason that it did not advertise on any of the 57 non-branded video streaming keywords during the period.

The Real Story Is In Branded Keywords

Of course, the findings above don’t tell the whole story, since they are based only on paid search activity on the 57 non-branded video streaming keywords we studied. To gain a fuller picture, and put these findings in perspective, we also looked at paid search activity (number of clicks) on three branded keyword terms during the same time period: ‘amazon prime’, ‘netflix’ and ‘hulu plus’.

Streaming Video Branded Clicks

Amazon generated more than 4.3 million clicks on the keyword ‘amazon prime’ during the period, while Hulu received 600,000 clicks on the term ‘hulu plus’ and Netflix received 354,000 clicks on the term ‘netflix’. (The number of clicks on ‘amazon prime’ may be especially high in comparison to the other branded terms because it encompasses Amazon’s entire, highly popular Prime service, which includes 2-day free shipping as well as streaming video.)

For comparison, clicks on the three branded terms eclipsed those on the top non-branded keywords. For instance, the most click non-branded term, ‘free movies’, received only 160,000 clicks, while the next most clicked non-branded term, ‘free movie streaming’, received only 61,000 clicks.

What the far higher click activity on branded keywords suggests is that consumers already have a strong awareness of the various streaming video services and are actively seeking them out by name via the search engines.

Moreover, Amazon may be late to the game for monthly streaming video services, but the fact that it generated around seven times more paid search clicks on its branded term ‘amazon prime’ than Hulu did on ‘hulu plus’, and around 12 times more clicks than Netflix did on the term ‘netflix’, demonstrates that the online retail giant already has a significant advantage based on the popularity of its overall Amazon Prime service.

Crackle appears to have benefited from its own brand awareness as well, receiving 200,000 clicks on the term ‘crackle’ during the period. Yidio, however, may have a longer way to go in becoming a household name, as it received just 87,000 clicks on its brand term ‘yidio’ during the last 90 days.

View the original article from AdGooroo

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