Well, a lot more of us are.

For the first time ever, streaming just passed TV for numbers of hours watched. That means it’s officially a bigger deal to appear on Netflix or Hulu than ABC or NBC. At the same time, advertising on streaming services keeps getting easier.

We’re nearing a tipping point where the cost and convenience of advertising in a medium that was once reserved for Budweiser and Toyota may soon be the obvious choice for small business advertisers. As of right now, there are no fewer than 9 streaming services that offer open access to their ads and, as far as the viewer is concerned, may as well be network TV:

Hulu, Roku, Sling, Tubi, Amazon Prime, YouTube TV, Peacock, Paramount+, HBM Max

Aside from the obvious thrill of seeing your brand pop up during your favourite show, why buy steaming ads? Because that’s where the smart money is headed.

Media buying has always followed a fairly consistent pattern: A new opportunity is introduced, the big brands are invited to take advantage first, then they make it possible for small business to buy media. In order to do so, they have to jump through hoops before the self-serve platforms become more widely available, but they’re clunky and most brands aren’t set up for them. Until finally: mass adoption is achieved and the cost of those ads skyrocket.

At each progressive step, the competition goes up and the effectiveness of the ads goes down. Remember when Google and Facebook Ads could be purchased for a $0.10 CPC? This deal isn’t quite that good, but right now the rates are as good as they’ll ever get. Today, steaming ads are somewhere in the middle. A lot of platforms have opened up self-serve buying, but it’s still mostly the big brands that have taken the leap.

The Downside?

Buying directly with any of the streamers still requires a minimum spend in the tens of thousands of dollars, which is more affordable than traditional networks TV, but still out of many business’ reach. That’s where third-party resellers, who can give access to steaming ads with low minimums, come in. Yes, you’ll pay a little more per impression, and yes, they’ll take a cut, but it may be worth it if you gain access to new and valuable audiences.

Other benefits that come with streaming ads:

1. Better analytics

You can see how long people watched, data about who they are, and whether they took an action

2. Retargeting

Let’s see traditional TV try to do that

3. Flexible placement

Appear when, where, and for as long as you want

4. Early-mover advantage

Especially if you’re a small business, TV ads still carry some legitimacy, when the only other brands appearing next to you are Doritos and Toyota

Want to know more? Check out this primer from Entrepreneur.com