More Consumers Report Engaging with QR Codes in TV Ads

March 29, 2023

Consumers’ engagement with interactive ads appears to be on the upswing, and QR codes are more likely to be used than other forms of interactive ads, according to a report [download page] from TiVo.

In surveying almost 4,500 adults in the US and Canada during Q4 2022, TiVo found 30% saying that they had used their phone to scan a QR code in a TV show or commercial. That marks a considerable rise from the year-earlier survey, when 20.7% had said the same.

After declines in usage as a method of making purchases, QR codes appear to be making a comeback of sorts. Research released in 2021 found an increase in the proportion of consumers – particularly Millennials – who wanted businesses to use QR codes. Soon after, another study noted that almost half of adult shoppers – including a majority of 18-29-year-olds – said they had used a QR code related to marketing, advertising, or a promotional offer. And more recently, another piece of research revealed a large uptick in reported use of QR codes for shopping assistance.

Meanwhile, engagement with other interactive ads is also rising, though not to the same extent, per TiVo’s results. In Q4 2022 about one-quarter (25.4%) of respondents said they had tapped on an interactive commercial on their smartphone or tablet, up from 21.4% in Q4 2021. Additionally, 17.4% reported having tried out interactive game elements/demo in a video game ad, up slightly from 15.2% in the year-earlier period.

Overall, nearly three-quarters of consumers are either “ad-tolerant” (60.3%) or “in favor of ads” (13.6%), per the report, leaving about 1 in 4 (26.1% share) who are “ad-averse.” Compared to a survey fielded 6 months earlier, preferences have tilted away from ads: in that study, almost as many respondents had described themselves as “ad-favorable” as “ad-averse,” whereas now twice as many are averse to ads. This latest report suggests a possible connection to the rise of ad-supported services, with the analysts noting that the results represent “the notion that despite cost advantages, the more people watch ads, the less they ‘like’ them.”

As regards attitudes to ads, Millennials appear to be the most intolerant: 34.8% describe themselves as “ad-averse,” compared to 26.1% of respondents overall, while just half (50.9%) are “ad-tolerant,” versus 60.3% of respondents overall.

By contrast, more than two-thirds of Boomers and Silent Generation respondents are “ad-tolerant,” and fewer than 1 in 5 of each generation are “ad-averse.”

Other Survey Highlights:

  • Consumers in Q4 2022 reported using almost 12 (11.6) services on average to consume video content, up from 8.9 a year earlier, with the number of non-paid services used growing from 2.4 to 3.9.
  • Millennials (26-41) had the highest average number of video sources used, at 16.3, while men (14.4) use more than women (9.3) and there’s a direct correlation to income, with those earning more than $200K annually using an average of 21.1 sources.
  • Ads running during other TV shows (47.9%) and word-of-mouth (46.5%) continue to be the top methods of discovering new video content, though both declined slightly. Display ads on the home screen of online video sources showed the fastest growth as a video content discovery mechanism.
  • A majority (55.9%) are happy with the content recommendations they see.
  • Consumers tend to prefer that entire seasons are released at once rather than one episode a week, with females displaying a stronger preference for this than males.
  • 7 in 10 respondents said that video is a moderate to high priority for their discretionary spending on entertainment.
  • Some 30.5% of current pay-TV subscribers said they had previously cut the cord but later resubscribed. The main reasons given were not being able to get all the entertainment they had wanted, pay-TV being the best way to watch major live events, and liking to know that they always have many channels available.
  • More than 1 in 4 (26.6%) said they had dropped an SVOD service in the previous 6 months, up from 18.2% in Q4 2021. Netflix was by far the most canceled service, and the most common reason given for canceling a service was that it had raised its prices.
  • Consumers are more likely to wait until a new release is available on a streaming service or live TV (59.1%) than to prefer to see a new release in the theater (40.9%).

For more, download the study here.

About the Data: The results are based on a Q4 2022 survey of 4,493 adults in the US and Canada.


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