Adults in the US spend significant amounts of time with media each week. However, figures from Nielsen show that American women spend on average 5 hours more per week (72.5 hours) across media as a whole than American men (67.5 hours).
Given the fact that traditional TV viewing is trending down overall, it might be easy to assume that most of this time is now spent away from traditional sources. But this isn’t necessarily the case – TV remains a major opportunity for reaching consumers, with Nielsen noting that it accounts for 8 out of every 10 minutes of media consumed.
And while women might be heavy users of social media, TV – the traditional stalwart of the ad industry – also presents a strong opportunity for brands looking to reach women. Nielsen data indicates that more than half of adult women (52.9%) agree that advertising on TV provides useful information about new products and services, compared to just 45.2% of men. Women are also more likely to agree that advertising on TV is meaningful (40.2%) than men (32.6%). Summarizing this, Nielsen’s authors conclude that “right out of the gate, advertisers have better odds with women than men.”
Women also appear keen to watch live TV even more than they do now. Some 3 in 10 (29.4%) say that they are interested in watching live TV on their phones, with 14% being willing to pay a monthly fee to do so.
But there’s another reason why advertisers should continue to embrace advertising to women through live TV. On live TV alone, women in the US spend an average of 3.5 hours each day tuning in versus 3.2 hours for men. Even as the adoption of streaming services is now on par with old-fashioned viewing, live TV still accounts for the majority of total TV time (5.2 hours women, 4.4 hours men) across devices and formats.
In particular, stay-at-home moms present an engaged audience – an attractive prospect given that parents are active online shoppers and eager consumers of subscription services. Those women staying at home are more likely to strongly agree (18.4%) that TV advertising is useful compared with those heading to work (14.3%).
Separate research supports the value that TV continues to offer. Data from MarketingCharts’ Purchase Influencers Report [available for purchase] shows that some 85% of adults watch TV in a given week, with that figure being slightly higher among women than men (87% vs 84%). It’s also the format through which adults are most likely to say they have encountered advertising in a given week, with more than 6 in 10 (63% women, 62% men) reporting as such. Recall for specific ads is also highest for watching TV, although men report slightly higher rates (40%) than women (38%).
So are advertisers targeting women effectively? If online video can be used as a proxy, perhaps not. Data from Google and the Geena Davis Institute shows that female characters are seen less in YouTube ads, even though ads that are women-led or gender-balanced garner more views. Given the additional hours spent and more positive sentiment among women, advertisers should make sure their message resonates with this key audience.
About the Data: Nielsen’s figures are derived from the following sources: Scarborough USA+ 2019 Release 1; Nielsen National TV Toolbox (formerly NPOWER); and the First-Quarter 2019 Nielsen Total Audience Report.