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Hulu's Ad Targeting

Ordinarily, Hulu has been spot-on for serving up content that I like or that my fellow Huluians enjoy watching. Except for tonight. Earlier I had been surfing the web for recipe ideas for a Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) themed potluck, and subsequently hit a few culturally Spanish-oriented websites. Hulu usually presents users with one-question surveys about their viewing preferences. Sometimes these ads are represented in a way that is purely a commercial play where an advertiser pays a viewership fee and essentially hosts the entire video feed with one extended commercial at the beginning; or with regular commercial interruptions.

Tonight's pop-up ad was a user preference survey targeted at the Spanish speaking audience. Why I was targeted for this survey can only be traced to the cookies on my laptop. I have no problem with Hulu's surveys; it's a fair exchange of time, considering that I watch videos for free on Hulu. The experience is no different than a cable-tv subscription service where you pay to have to watch the commercials. I digress. This is where Hulu really should have used its own data warehouse for survey targeting instead of relying on web cookies. I haven't even watched a Spanish tv show or movie on Hulu. 

This was the survey ad that popped up:

Here's what's weird about the popup. There is a disclaimer on it, even though it is entirely in English. When you click through from "yes, let's get started" it warns you again that the survey is in Spanish and that you can "opt out" from the survey. Uhmmm..

If Hulu advertisers really wanted to know more, wouldn't it be more appropriate to have served up the popup in a bilingual format; or in formal Spanish intended for an American audience?

At it's core, it is a strangely written survey letter which started off great but leaves you wondering what is the real purpose of the mailer. Perhaps this was the least offensive demographic targeting method available to Hulu's ad agency (or in-house marketing team) since there isn't an ad choice in the user settings for foreign language movie preference.
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