TV Ad Impressions 2020: Streamers Up 93%, Insurance Dominates Most-Seen Brands

Streaming services showed the largest TV advertising impressions growth of all categories in 2020: up 93.5% compared to 2019, according to iSpot’s year-end TV advertising insights report.

“The streaming services category exploded, of course, and new and old services used TV ads to fuel their expansion,” notes the report, which includes data from Jan. 1 through Dec. 6, 2020.

Disney+ led the pack, with 16.8 billion impressions — up 483% versus 2019, an increase that’s not surprising, given that it didn’t launch until mid November 2019.

Other leaders included established services Hulu (14.4 billion, up 144%) and Amazon Prime Video (10.9 billion, up 32.9%); new-in-2020 Peacock (6.4 billion); and Apple TV+ (6.2 billion, up 72.2%, launched Nov. 1, 2019); Fox Nation (5.3 billion, up 96.3%); HBO Max (4.7 billion, launched in May); and CBS All Access (4.2 billion, up 326%).

Sling (-19.7%), ESPN+ (-27.3%) and Spectrum TV On Demand (-48.4%) were the only services within the top-20 in total impressions that saw declines versus 2019.

Now-defunct Quibi — launched April 6, 2020 and shuttered on October 21 — ranked thirteenth, with 2.8 million impressions during its short life.

Discovery+, which launched in some international markets in 2020 but didn’t officially announce its Jan. 4, 2021 U.S. launch until Dec. 2, 2020, nevertheless managed to generate 1.3 billion U.S. TV impressions.

Insurance Brands: TV Everywhere?

While it’s not the technical meaning of the term, insurance brand ads did seem to be virtually everywhere on TV in 2020.

With the single exception of pizza brand Domino’s, all four of the top five most-seen brands were in insurance:

All of these brands had impressions increases, with Liberty Mutual’s up most (29.5%) vs. 2019, followed by Progressive (up 19%) and Geico (up 15.2%).

Here are the other most-seen brands in 2020:

Auto and general insurance was the most-seen industry in 2020, impressions-wise, followed by automakers, quick-serve restaurants, wireless carriers, skin and foot care, cleaning supplies, candy and gum, department stores, video streaming services and pizza.

After streaming services, the categories with the largest percentage increases were laundry detergent/fabric softeners, vitamins/supplements, pets, and skin and foot care.

Other Notable Changes

The brand with the largest impressions increase was Amazon: up 163%, to 29.1 million.

Other brands with large increases included Downy, Subway and Tide, up 88.9%, 59.7% and 50.1%, respectively.

Through the end of November, 2,587 brands were new to TV or returned to it, accounting for a combined 234 billion impressions and an estimated $3.18 billion in ad spend.

Among D2C brands, the impressions leaders were Carvana (16.9 billion), (14.4 billion), Wayfair (10.9 billion), Grubhub 6.4 billion) and Home Advisor (6.2 billion).

Those with the largest increases were Robinhood (up 619%), Etsy (up 248%), Daily Harvest (up 229%) and GoodRx (up 179%).

The TV networks generating the most impressions were CBS (319.9 billion); Fox News (300.8 billion), NBC (283.7 billion), ABC (267 billion) and CNN (193 billion).

Shows generating the most impressions were the NFL (138.6 billion), “Friends” (56.6 billion), the NBA (54.5 billion), the NCAA (50.9 billion and “Law & Order SVU” (49.7 billion).





1 comment about "TV Ad Impressions 2020: Streamers Up 93%, Insurance Dominates Most-Seen Brands".
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  1. Tony Jarvis from Olympic Media Consultancy, December 23, 2020 at 4:56 p.m.

    Karlene: My understanding is that iSpot measures "viewable impressions" (per the MRC defintion) and not target audience impressions as generally reported by the syndicated media measurement currency services and used in media planning and buying.  Neither of these "impressions" come close to actual "viewing" by a target audience without which there can be no brand outcomes.  (Are you "listening" or "hearing" Wayne Friedman?)  In addition, my understanding is that MRC has stated that "viewable impressions," which are merely a measure whether an ad was rendered to specifications to a screen, is not a media currency. 
    Based on the extensive misuse, deliberate abuse or inaccurate use of the media terms: impressions, audience, viewing, reach, etc. by the industry, including the trade press, I respectfully suggest that Media Post as the industry leader always uses the established correct terminology and/or advices the reader of the way a term is being by a company being reported relative to its generally accepted established defintion.  It would be a great service to the accuracy and accountablility some of us strive for and would go a long way to eliminating what surely amounts to "fraud" in certain circumstancess. 

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