Multi-Screen Video Viewers Most Receptive to Ads on Live TV

October 22, 2015

MillwardBrown-Attitudes-Video-Advertising-by-Device-Oct2015TV’s share of multi-screen video viewing time might be challenged by digital screens, but viewers remain most receptive to ads on live TV, perhaps due to an acceptance of these ads as the status quo, details Millward Brown in a recent study [download page]. The results are based on a survey carried out among 13,500 16-45-year-olds multi-screen users (who own or have access to a TV and mobile device) across 42 countries.

Overall, 50% of respondents’ time, on average, was spent with TV, with the majority of that time going to live TV (32%) and the rest to on-demand TV (18%). Smartphones (22%) were the device found to capture the next-largest share of video viewing time, followed by computers (18%) and tablets (10%). Within the US, respondents reported spending a considerably larger share of time in front of the TV, with almost two-thirds of their “yesterday” viewing time going to live (31%) or on-demand (33%) TV.

It’s important to remember that the survey was fielded among a generally young sample of global multi-screen users, which may explain the disproportionately high amount of video viewing time allotted to digital devices (as opposed to TV’s general dominance in the US). Indeed, younger viewers (16-24) in the global study reported spending the smallest share of their video viewing time with live TV, which may portend a coming shift in overall video viewing habits, or may simply be a reflection of their age.

Of note, TV appears to be the most social screen for viewing. Globally, less than half of respondents said they watched live TV (37%) or on-demand TV (47%) yesterday alone. By contrast, more than 6 in 10 watched video on their tablet (62%), computer (63%) or smartphone (66%) alone. Millward Brown notes that “social viewing can increase advertising receptivity.”

Ad receptivity appears to be greater for live TV than for other viewing methods, though that’s not necessarily an endorsement for ad receptivity overall. In fact, while 29% of respondents said that they had a positive attitude towards live TV advertising, 33% have a negative reaction. Still, the net reaction (% positive – % negative) of -4% points was far better than advertising in other formats. Smartphone video advertising, for example, garnered a positive attitude from 19% of respondents and a negative attitude from 49%, for a net reaction of -30% points.

The study suggests that control over advertising has the biggest correlation with receptivity, in that viewers are most receptive to ads they feel they have control over. However, TV is a notable exception in that it engenders the most receptivity and the least amount of control. Millward Brown attributes this to acceptance of live TV advertising as the “status quo.”

Looking further at online video types, the survey reveals that there is far more receptiveness towards branded videos than ads. For example, 64% of respondents have a positive attitude towards tutorial videos, supporting other research indicating that among branded video types, consumers most want to watch how/to and tutorial videos. Nevertheless, a majority of the Millward Brown respondents also have a positive attitude towards expert review videos (55%) and user review videos (52%). In each of the 6 branded video cases tested, positive attitude far outweighed negative attitudes.

Meanwhile, given that control correlates with receptivity, Millward Brown notes that skippable pre-roll video ads have among the highest levels of receptiveness for online video ads. These clearly provide challenges of their own, but humor can help combat skipping, per the report, as can ads that match viewers’ interests. On that front, targeting can be positive, as viewers are more positive than negative (by a 2:1 margin) about videos targeted to their interests. However, while they’re also net positive in terms of video ad targeting based on the type of brands they like or follow, the opposite is true for videos targeted based on their online search history, social media profile, or web browsing history, among others.

When it comes to skippable ads, Millward Brown recommends capturing attention and integrating the brand in the first few seconds. For ads that are likely to be seen on a mobile device, the authors note that it’s important to keep the brand clearly visible, as small details can be lost. It’s also worth keeping length in mind, as shorter ads were found more likely to keep participants engaged until the end.

About the Data: The video viewing and receptivity results are based on surveys fielded on mobile devices among 13,600 16-45-year-old multi-screen consumers (people who own or have access to both a TV and either a smartphone or a tablet). There were a minimum 300 respondents per country across the 42 countries.

The video copy testing was based on web-based interviewing for 20 ads in 5 contexts (TV, YouTube skippable pre-roll, Facebook auto-play, Facebook click-to-play and mobile video). The total sample size was 10,739 with a minimum of 100 respondents per ad. Respondents were from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Mexico, the UK and the US.

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