What Do CTV Viewers Want from the Ad Experience?

April 12, 2023

This article is included in these additional categories:

Advertising Trends | Creative & Formats | Digital | Non-mobile Connected Devices | Television | TV Advertising | Video

There are various factors in play when thinking about connected TV (CTV) advertising, from viewability to length, frequency, and ad break timing, among others. One crucial aspect, of course, is the creative itself, which is “a key ingredient to garner attention and receptiveness,” according to a recent study from Yahoo! and Publicis Media.

In fact, creative is a bigger driver of sales than reach, targeting, and context, according to previous research.

So what can advertisers do to offer a solid ad experience to CTV viewers? According to a survey of 1,000 US CTV consumers that made up part of the report, two-thirds (67% citing as top-2 box) said that their ideal ad experience includes ads that are funny. This is supported by previous research that likewise finds humor to be the brand messaging type that resonates the most with consumers, although data from Kantar also shows that since the pandemic, there has been a decline in the use of humor in ads.

Beyond humor, CTV viewers also appreciate ads that are to-the-point (61%) and that feature good music or a catchy jingle (59%). This latter point is important, as the study results reveal that “audio branding is critical in low attention environments.” For example, more than half (53%) of respondents say they frequently have TV on in the background or do other things while watching TV, and 81% agree that when the TV is on in the background they still hear or listen to the audio.

Meanwhile, certain parts of the ad experience can prove frustrating to viewers. For example, almost half (47%) say that seeing the same ad multiple times negatively impacts brand sentiment, and an almost-equal share (46%) feel the same way about seeing an ad back-to-back. Two-thirds express annoyance at seeing the same ad more than once within the same break, and almost 6 in 10 (58%) are annoyed seeing the same ad at specific time intervals and within the same program.

By contrast, seeing different ads for the same brand that tell a story is much more likely to engender positive (47%) than negative (17%) sentiments towards the advertising brand. Viewers aren’t as sure about seeing different lengths of the same ad (32% positive; 27% negative).

Among the worst ad experiences are those that cut a show off at an unnatural place (such as in the middle of a sentence) or that cut a show off at a cliffhanger, with many also frustrated by those that aren’t evenly spaced out throughout a show.

Relevance also matters to viewers, with almost 6 in 10 saying they want ads that are relevant to them or their interests. However, 62% said that most of the ads they see on streaming services aren’t relevant, and 54% agree that social media does a better job of showing them relevant ads and promotions than streaming services.

Finally, almost 2 in 3 (64% of) CTV viewers would like to be able to customize their ad experiences on streaming services. Almost 6 in 10 said that seeing a countdown timer would make their experience better (57%), as would having the ability to choose what categories of ads they’re interested in (56%). A majority (54%) also feel that being able to choose which ad(s) to watch would improve their experience, though fewer (35%) feel the same way about having the ability to interact with ads.

In other takeaways from the report derived from facial recognition and eye tracking measurement:

  • Only about half of viewable ads are actually watched.
  • Attention is highest during primetime.
  • Attention to CTV ads is higher among older than younger adults.
  • Ads in the first position of a pod tend to capture more attention than others.
  • The ideal frequency for ad attention is 6-10 exposures with 12-24 hours between exposures.
  • Longer ads get more attention in terms of overall time, but the longer the ad the smaller the percentage of it viewed.
  • Ads that are contextually relevant tend to generate more attention.

For more, check out the full study here.


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