4 in 10 TV Viewers Say They’d “Never” Act In Response to a Commercial

July 17, 2013

This article is included in these additional categories:

Boomers & Older | Broadcast & Cable | Household Income | Men | Mobile Phone | Television | Women | Youth & Gen X

Viamedia-TV-Viewers-Who-Would-Never-Act-on-Ad-July201341% of TV viewers say they would never act on a commercial, regardless of the device they’re using to watch TV, according to results from a Viamedia survey conducted by Harris Interactive. Of course, even if those figures are correct (most research finds TV ads to be highly influential), the flip side is that 59% would act on a commercial – and there’s a solid argument to be made that that’s a high percentage. That debate aside, the survey results suggest that viewers who watch TV on a computer are most likely to act on a commercial. (Acting on a commercial could include seeking more information about a product or service, purchasing a product, or other such activities.)

The survey asked viewers on which of a number of devices they would be most likely to act on a commercial, with computers coming out on top (30%), followed by a TV (24%), smartphone (21%), and tablet (21%). Only 4% said they’d be most likely to act while watching on a smart TV. (It’s worth noting that the survey was conducted online, so the results may favor computers and mobile devices over traditional TV sets.)

Of course, that doesn’t mean that more Americans overall would respond to a TV ad viewed on a computer than on a regular TV. That’s because far more TV viewers watch broadcast and/or cable TV (87%) than watch on their computer (29%), tablet (29%) or smartphone (18%), according to the study’s results.

The study contains some interesting demographic breakdowns to its responses. Notably, among TV viewers, only 30% of 18-34-year-olds would never act on an ad regardless of the device they were watching it on, compared to the 41% average. Indeed, the results suggest a linear age pattern, where responsiveness tends to ebb alongside increasing age. (Other research has similarly found that TV ads prove more influential to younger age groups, despite older Americans watching far more TV.) Within this young group, there’s also a clear gender difference: just 22% of 18-34-year-old male viewers said they would never act on a TV ad, as opposed to 37% of female viewers of that age. (Overall, there was less of a gap between male viewers and female viewers, at 39% and 43%, respectively).

Separately, while there was no clear skew when sorting by education or income level (with the most and least affluent virtually tied), household size does appear to be a factor. That is, 47% of respondents who are the only member of their household said they would never act on an ad, compared to 26% of respondents coming from households with at least 5 people in them. Additionally, 45% of those without any children in the household said they’d never act on a TV, compared to 31% who have children in the household (and 26% with children under 6 years of age).

About the Data: The survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Viamedia from June 24-26, 2013 among 2,029 adults ages 18 and older, of whom 1,958 watch television programming. The online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

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