4 in 10 Discover New Products and Services via TV Ads

June 3, 2022

Despite ceding ad spend share around the world to digital, TV advertising remains one of the highest-rated vehicles for improving brand awareness and recall. A new report [download page] from GWI finds that 4 in 10 US internet users ages 16 and older report typically hearing about new products and services through TV ads.

That figure has remained relatively constant over an 18-month span: the 39% who reported hearing about new brands via TV ads in Q4 2021 compares to 41% who said so in Q2 2020.

In fact, TV ads are second only to recommendations from friends and family for product discovery in the US, per the report, losing the top spot only in Q4 of last year. However, age-related trends indicate that TV ads will lose ground in the future. While Baby Boomers still discover products and services via TV ads more than any other channel or method, among Gen Z and Millennials, TV ads have dropped to the 5th spot, behind channels including social media, search engines, and online retail sites.

This can be tied in some part to changing viewing patterns. Gen Zers (69%) and Millennials (74%) in the US, for example, are far more likely to have watched subscription services in the prior month than Boomers (55%). At the same time, they’re much less likely to have watched live TV on a TV channel (37%, 53%, and 85%, respectively), as streaming increasingly replaces traditional TV for its viewers.

Still, TV is proving useful beyond advertising. One in 5 US internet users ages 16 and older surveyed in Q4 said that they heard about new products and services via TV shows and films, while about 1 in 9 (11%) said they did so via sponsorship of a TV show. Interestingly, product placement in streaming video has also proven effective among younger generations.

Meanwhile, the report also examines product and brand discovery through digital audio, finding that, unlike TV ads, these are slowly exerting a greater influence on consumers. Digital audio was the fastest-growing digital advertising channel in the US last year, with its growth rate being 64% higher than the overall total, at 57.9%.

As it stands, some 18% of podcast listeners ages 16 and older surveyed in Q4 said that they discovered new products and brands via ads heard during podcasts. That was up from 15% who said so in Q2 2020.

Fewer (14% of) music streaming service users said they discovered new products and brands via ads heard on these services, though again that was up from 11% in Q2 2020. Given the growth in paid music streaming subscriptions and podcast listeners, these will likely become more important channels for product and brand discovery over time.

Other Findings:

  • US internet users ages 16-64 surveyed in Q4 on a whole still spent more time watching broadcast TV (2:40) each day than online TV (1:46).
  • Almost 6 in 10 (58% of) respondents reported using Netflix in the previous month.
  • Among internet users ages 16-64, daily time spent streaming music rose to 1 hour and 50 minutes (1:50) in Q4 2021, while daily time spent listening to podcasts climbed to 54 minutes.
  • Spotify was the most popular music streaming service in Q4, used by 43% of American music streaming service users.

About the Data: Figures on time spent watching broadcast and online TV and on listening to music streaming services and podcasts are from almost 500,000 US internet users ages 16-64 surveyed from Q1 2015 through Q4 2021.

Figures on product/service discovery via TV are from surveys of roughly 122.5K US internet users ages 16+ from Q2 2020 – Q4 2021.

Figures on music streaming are from surveys of more than 10,000 music streaming service users from Q2 2020 – Q4 2021, while for podcast ad response are from surveys of more than 6,000 podcast listeners in the US ages 16+ during the same time frame.

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