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Disney+ Tops HBO Max & Hulu in Social Media Ad Wars

(Image credit: BrandTotal)

NEW YORK, N.Y.—With social media ad campaigns playing a crucial role in attracting new subs in the ongoing streaming wars, BrandTotal has released a fascinating new study that analyzed hundreds of social media ad campaigns by the top streaming ad platforms. 

Based on that survey, it found that Disney+ was winning the paid share-of-voice, with nearly one-third (30%) of all impressions. HBO Max was in second with 23%, followed by Hulu at 21%. 

“Disney+ won on paid SOV [share of voice], which speaks to their advantage with spend,” said Alon Leibovich, CEO and 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% and Paramount+ (7%). Netflix (1%) and Apple TV Plus (2%) were the least prolific social media advertisers, the report noted. 

BrandTotal’s latest report, “Social Intelligence Competitive Snapshot: The Streaming Wars,” analyzed 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.

The data also showed that YouTube and Twitter are key for the social media ad campaigns of streamers. When averaging the percentage of ad impressions for each channel among the seven streamers, YouTube was the most popular, with 59% of all impressions, followed by Twitter (32%), Facebook (7%), and Instagram (2%).

"Facebook-owned platforms were the least compelling for streamers," said 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 more on Twitter (49% of all sponsored impressions vs. 43%). Hulu was the most reliant on YouTube, with 94% of its social ad impressions there. Meanwhile, Paramount+ was the top Facebook advertiser (18%) and Netflix was the top Instagram advertiser (4%).

In terms of demographics, most streamers aimed ads at a younger audience, specifically Gen Zs. 

Hulu, in particular, went after this market, with 68% of its sponsored impressions focused on 18-24-year-olds. Disney+ was the second biggest streamer to target this age range, with 58% of its impressions, BrandTotal reported. 

"Younger audiences have migrated to streaming platforms more quickly than older audiences," said Leibovich. "The targeting is no surprise."

For more information about BrandTotal’s competitive social advertising intelligence, visit