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About three-quarters (74%) of US consumers ages 13 years and older watch streaming video at least weekly, with 41% watching daily. Many of these consumers acknowledge that there is a price to watching free videos: the majority (78%) of the 1,500 US consumers that the IAB surveyed for a recent report [download page] agreed that they accept ads as a value exchanged for watching free content.

Ad relevance matters to consumers. In fact, 6 in 10 (60%) respondents to a Kantar Media survey said they prefer ads that are relevant to their interests. More specifically, the IAB’s survey found that when it comes to ads during videos, more than half (56%) of respondents prefer that the content of the ad be relevant to what they are watching.

To a lesser extent, respondents also prefer ads that are related to their browsing behavior (36%) and their mindset / why they are watching the video (35%), though fewer prefer (24%) ads that are related to who they are demographically. Only about one-fifth (19%) of respondents reported preferring untargeted ads that were not related to them or what they were watching.

Motivations for Viewing Videos

With more than one-third of respondents saying they prefer ads to be targeted to their mindset or motivation for watching a video, it might be handy to look at what their top motivations are. Some 9 in 10 (89%) respondents say they watch videos to relax at the end of their day or when they have free time. Three-quarters (76%) watch when they are alone, with the same proportion (75%) saying they watch to take a break during the day.

Connected TV was the device most used by those respondents who watched videos to relax, as well as for those who were watching videos alone. Those individuals who watched videos to take a break from the day tended to prefer watching on their smartphone.

People are also watching videos for educational reasons, including when they want to learn a new skill (46%) or when they need help with a project or task (46%). Those people tend to prefer watching the videos on their computers.

More than half (51%) of US adults report that YouTube videos are very important to them when they are figuring out things they have never done before. Therefore, it shouldn’t be too surprising that respondents paid the most attention to content that helps them learn a new skill (80%) or helps them with a project or task (78%).

To read more, download the report here.

About the Data: The IAB surveyed 1.544 US consumers, ages 13 years and older for one week in April 2019. The respondents are representative of the Census.

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