Research From Unruly Finds CTV Ads Perform Better Than Linear TV

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By Nick Woodford, Global Content and Engagement Manager, Unruly

The consumption of connected TV (CTV) content is rising rapidly in the age of COVID-19.

Accelerating even before we felt the impact of the Coronavirus due to a plethora of new CTV channels and devices entering the market, CTV usage has risen sharply over the last few months as people spend more and more time at home.

Research from Unruly showed that 42% of the US population is spending ‘a lot more time’ watching CTV content since the start of the pandemic — second only to a 50% increase in time spent on mobile devices.

As consumers increasingly pivot from linear to CTV, it is more important than ever for brands to understand and embrace CTV advertising.

CTV advertising offers brands the chance to reach TV audiences at scale in a highly targeted, personalized way that has, until now, not been possible.

So, to help brands understand the format better, Unruly, in collaboration with Tremor Video, conducted a global survey of 2,562 UK and US consumers that builds on previous research we carried out earlier in the year on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new research not only found that eight out of 10 people in the UK and US now have access to CTV content through various devices, but that CTV ads are also more effective at driving positive outcomes for brands than ads on linear TV.

The study found after seeing an ad on TV, compared to linear TV, ad-supported US CTV users are:

  • 71% more likely to tell a friend about a brand;
  • 53% more likely to search for a brand;
  • 52% more likely to buy a product;
  • 48% more likely to have an improved opinion of the brand;
  • 45% more likely to visit a store or website.

CTV’s more advanced targeting capabilities and the ability to personalize creatives based on who is watching the ads result in superior campaign performance because ads are more relevant to individual consumers compared to linear TV ads.

Other findings showed that changes in consumer lifestyle, turbulent economic times, the rising costs of cable and satellite TV and the emergence of many new free-to-view, ad-supported streaming services have resulted in a shift away from consumers paying for TV content.

Three-quarters (77%) of UK and 73% of US consumers said they prefer to use free, ad-supported services vs. paid-for, ad-free options. According to Unruly’s Global VP of Insights and Solutions, Rebecca Waring, “the accelerated growth of CTV doesn’t seem to be a flash in the pan – of the one in five [UK consumers] who have experimented with a new ad-supported streaming service, most plan to continue. The quality and range of content is the main motivator to use an ad-supported service, just as it is with paid services.”

More than half (54%) of UK and 65% of US consumers also said they are actively seeking free, ad-supported options for watching their favourite films and TV shows, demonstrating a shift away from traditional paid-for TV services like cable and satellite.

“For ad-supported CTV, the ad experience itself is also critical. 41% of UK consumers said either the quality of ads, or the number of ads, or both, was the reasons they decided to continue” added Waring. In the US, CTV ads that match the topic of the TV content are 24% more memorable than their linear TV counterparts, and CTV ads that match the tone of the TV content are also 12% more memorable than their linear TV ad counterparts.

Aligning an ad with the topic and tone of the TV content in which it is shown minimizes the interruption to the user experience and increases relevancy, which is proven to drive better performance compared to generic demographic targeting.

CTV consumption has skyrocketed over the past six months and these results shine a light on just some of the advantages that this format offers advertisers. Waring’s one key takeaway for advertisers is “that creating a quality ad experience is crucial for the continued growth of this exciting new medium (CTV).”

To access the findings in full click here to download the whitepaper or get in touch to find out more about Unruly’s CTV offering.

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