Connected TV 10 Min Read

Connected TV Misconceptions: Part 3

Written by Tim Edmundson

The complex and diverse world of Connected TV can sometimes lead to confusion for consumers and advertisers alike. In our previous entries into the world of CTV misconceptions, we covered everything from the myths about it’s complexity to how skippable the ads are. If you didn’t get a chance to read them, check out Part 1 and Part 2 here.

This time around, we will attempt to clear up two of the myths surrounding Connected TV that could be hurting a marketer’s chance to utilize an advertising channel truly worth the time and effort.  

Misconception: Your Audience Isn’t Watching

One of the main misconceptions that many advertisers seem to have about Connected TV is that it wouldn’t be worth their time and ad dollars because their audience simply isn’t watching. Many see Connected TV as a channel populated by millennial and Gen Z audiences alone, and that older generations are more likely to be reached through traditional channels. 

The truth is that your audience is definitely on Connected TV. Younger audiences are certainly one of the demographics that has embraced the ease of use that CTV devices and platforms provide, and many of them grew up in cord-cutting or cord-never households. However, this doesn’t mean that CTV audiences are actually skewed younger. In the U.S., the median age of CTV consumers is 45, with the rest of the audiences spread evenly across all age segments. And age is not the only diverse segment of the Connected TV audience makeup – this channel appeals to users across diverse ethnicities, locations, and incomes. 

And this is especially true now more than ever. This year has seen a rise in the consumption of Connected TV for users across all backgrounds. At the beginning of the pandemic, during the first week of lockdowns in the US, the amount of hours CTV users were spending on their devices had increased by 50%. And as restrictions loosened, that number didn’t return to pre-pandemic levels. In fact, 2020 has seen an 81% year-over-year increase in Connected TV usage overall, with no signs of slowing down. 

Many viewers are spending increased time in front of their TVs, and are more eager than ever to see cheaper options to the often high cost of linear TV. That leads us into our next misconception surrounding Connected TV. 

Misconception: Viewers Prefer Ad-Free CTV Content

Many advertisers reach the conclusion that users who are watching their favorite shows on Connected TV are on ad-free services such as Netflix. However, while Netflix is one of the larger services available out there, they certainly aren’t the only one. This year has seen a dramatic increase in the number of available streaming services, with most major TV networks creating their own ad-supported apps in order to find audiences as they cut the cord on their cable subscriptions. 

Not to mention that most Connected TV watchers subscribe to a number of subscriptions – One survey found that 32% of of CTV users subscribed to at least two, and around a quarter subscribe to three. These survey takers listed the flexibility, variety, and affordability as the primary reasons why they watch TV on Connected TV devices, and that they were looking for ways to increase their access to content without increasing the cost. 

And this year, users are being especially discerning about how much they are spending on TV content. The truth is that viewers would much rather consume ad-supported content if it means not paying the often exorbitant fees that accompany ad-free content. In July of this year, 65% of U.S. consumers reported that they were actively seeking ad-supported, free services in order to cut down on costs. And this desire has translated directly into action – this past October, 73% of 18+ streaming viewers reported watching their favorite shows through ad-supported services, with 45% of them actually watching ad-supported content the most. 

And these viewers aren’t just tolerating the ads they see on Connected TV – many viewers are embracing the personalization that goes into the ads they see. 58% of CTV watchers have a generally positive attitude about the ads they are being served, both for allowing them to watch free content and for providing information about brands they are interested in. This presents a unique opportunity for advertisers, as combining the targeting and personalization capabilities of Connected TV advertising will allow them to reach interested consumers with ease. 

The Truth will Set You Free

As the Connected TV landscape continues to evolve and grow, it is only understandable that advertisers might come to some incorrect conclusions about this relatively younger channel. The truth is CTV is here to stay – and with its highly effective targeting and performance capabilities, every marketer should be considering the benefits of adding Connected TV to their marketing mixes.