Advanced Television

Research: Relevance combats ad resistance

January 25, 2022

Hub Entertainment Research has released the second wave of its research study, TV Advertising: Fact vs. Fiction, which explores TV consumers’ use of ad-supported and ad-free services and the factors that drive their decisions to use each.

The research suggests that TV viewers are not fans of heavy ad loads during shows, but also demonstrates that ad load has a strong impact on consumers’ perceptions of the entire viewing experience in general.

Highlights from the study:

1) A heavy ad load not only leads viewers to say the number of ads during a show was unreasonable, but it also has a negative impact on their viewing satisfaction generally.

  • Hub asked TV viewers about a recent experience watching a show on an ad-supported platform.

The per cent rating the number of ads unreasonable increased from…

  • 25 per cent among those estimating there were 5 or fewer ads (per 30 minutes) during the show…
  • To 36 per cent among those estimating 6-10 ads…
  • To a full 46 per cent among those estimating 11+ ads
  • More notably, when they were also asked to rate the overall experience of watching the show, all things considered (not just ads), positive ratings went from…
  • 44 per cent among those estimating 5 or fewer ads…
  • To 41 per cent among those estimating 6-10 ads…
  • To just 33 per cent among those estimating 11+ ads

2) On a more positive note, the viewers who were most satisfied with the viewing experience were those who found the ads relevant, including:

  • 58 per cent giving a positive rating to the viewing experience among those who said the show had ads featuring products that match their interests
  • And even 55 per cent of those saying the ads seemed to be based on products they’ve purchased or searched for – i.e., targeted ads

3) Ask TV viewers outright how they feel about having ads targeted to them based on information shared about them, and their response is more likely to be positive than negative.

  • Only 16 per cent have a negative reaction to the idea of ads targeted based on their personal information – and that’s down 6 points from when Hub asked the question in June 2021
  • On the other hand, 28 per cent have a positive reaction to targeted ads, up 5 points from the summer
  • The majority of consumers (56 per cent this wave) don’t have a strong feeling one way or the other

4) Majorities of consumers say they’re willing to have a range of personal information shared with providers in order to have a more relevant ad experience.

  • Included in the list of data a majority would be willing to share: the types of shows they watch (61 per cent), products they’ve purchased (51 per cent), and products they’ve searched for (50 per cent)
  • Consumers draw somewhat of a line when it comes to the websites they visit generally and the things they post in social media; fewer than half are willing to share that information.

5) The most striking example of ad relevance winning out over ad load is seen among recent viewers of a show on the ad-supported tier of Discovery+.

  • 50 per cent of survey respondents who subscribe to ad-supported Discovery+ say the platform tends to have more ads than other services, the highest percentage (by a significant margin) of any service Hub asked about.
  • In spite of that, Discovery+ ranked first among its viewers for having the most reasonable ad load during a recent viewing (60 per cent).
  • What’s more, Discovery+ viewers were the most likely to say they paid attention to all or most of the ads they saw during their recent show (39 per cent)

6) How can a service considered to have heavier-than-average ad loads also be the service considered most reasonable when it comes to number of ads – and the service most likely to lead viewers to pay attention to ads? The answer: relevance.

  • The ads I saw were relevant (24 per cent)
  • The ads I saw were consistent with the type of show I was watching (22 per cent)
  • The ads I saw were relevant for me (17 per cent)

“Ad-supported TV providers have been focused on finding ways to balance the needs of their two main constituents: advertisers (ensuring strong reach and frequency) and viewers (not bombarding them with insufferable ad loads),” advises Peter Fondulas, Hub principal and co-author of the study. “So far, the primary focus has been on finding the ad load sweet spot that both groups find reasonable. But this research – in particular, the findings for Discovery+ – suggests that the key to overcoming ad load concerns is delivering spots that viewers clearly recognise as in line with their interests. And the vast majority of viewers are not opposed to sharing the kind of data that will allow that to happen.”

Categories: Advertising, Articles, Broadcast, Consumer Behaviour, Markets, Research, Targetted

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