Online Video Boosts Incremental Reach For Marketers Targeting Light TV Viewers

Despite all the reassuring data for TV buyers claiming that most Americans watch just as much TV as they ever have, Nielsen and Google have uncovered this gem -- there’s a segment of consumers who watch less than two hours of TV each day.

With about 31% of adults 18 to 49 being “light TV viewers,” the two companies paired up to study ad effectiveness across media forms including TV, mobile devices and on YouTube in reaching these light TV viewers. Obviously, Google-owned YouTube has a vested interest in driving more online video advertising, especially on YouTube. Nonetheless, the findings are still worth having in the toolset of any online video provider.

In six cross-media studies, Google and Nielsen found that a combination of YouTube and Google’s Display Network added four incremental percentage points of reach to a TV buy targeting the lightest TV viewer. What’s more, that reach was delivered at 8% the cost of a TV spot, Google said. Plus, 63% of light TV viewers didn’t see the TV ads at all. “In our study, a projection done for Reebok found that the advertiser could decrease impressions to heavy TV viewers by 40 percent and increase impressions delivered to light TV viewers by 76 percent, showing more ads to a valuable, hard-to-reach audience,” wrote Sheethal Shobowale, advertising research manager for Google, in a blog post.

Why is it worth reaching light TV viewers with a specialized strategy? Many of the light TV viewers are young, college-educated and earn incomes of more than $100,000 a year. Also, about 20% don’t subscribe to cable, while they are 11% more likely than the general population to watch mobile video and 14% more likely to be heavy personal computer users.

These are not surprising findings, but they are a good reminder -- especially in the TV upfront season -- that TV-only buys may end up hitting the broad side of a barn, but missing the horse that’s hanging out eating hay just a few feet away. Which would be a bummer if you were really trying to reach the horse. 

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