Commentary

Comcast Study: 20% - 30% Of Video Ad Spend Should Go To Streaming

Comcast Advertising has released a report that recommends that 20% to 30% of premium video ad budgets be allocated to streaming and the rest to traditional television. 

Comcast, of course, has a firm foot in both camps. But it says its recommendation is based on an analysis of more than 20,000 campaigns using Comcast aggregated viewership data and ad exposure data from TV+ streaming campaigns conducted through its Effectv ad-sales division in second-half 2021.

“Advertisers shouldn’t be making a guess or ‘going with their gut’” about how to best balance investment across TV and streaming to optimize campaign performance, said James Rooke, general manager of Effectv. “Rather, they should focus on the data. Looking at tens of thousands of campaigns across verticals and across budget amounts, the data is quite clear: TV should still act as the foundation for most advertisers, but reach is highest when 20-30% of the budget is allocated to streaming.” 

While advertisers should consider adjusting within 10% and 40% for streaming depending on the audience, the analysis found that beyond 40%, streaming benefits are outweighed by the minimization of traditional TV. 

The study — one element within what Comcast is describing as its first annual advertising report — found that 82% of multiscreen campaign reach is unique to traditional TV. 

It also found that 51% of the 18% of households reached only through streaming or a combination of streaming and traditional TV are incremental to TV campaigns. 

This jibes with viewer behavior insights gleaned through Comcast aggregated viewership data and a 2H video marketplace report from Freewheel, its ad-tech arm. 

Specifically, that viewers are still spending six hours and six minutes per day watching traditional TV, but on their own schedules (71% of it outside of primetime, for example). 

The analysis further found that 89% of traditional household TV viewing is devoted to live TV watching, and 54% of digital video content viewing is live versus 34% spent watching longform. (And that 8% of total campaign reach was unique to sports, and 42% of all households reached by sports programming were incremental to the campaign.) 

In addition, between 2H 2020 and 2H 2021, ad views on digital video services grew 45%, reflecting increased streaming time.   

Especially with the rapid growth of free, ad-supported streaming service (FAST) viewing, “Advertisers who rely only on traditional ‘standbys’ like primetime and top networks will see their campaign reach decline as consumers spread out their consumption,” argues the report. “By using ever-increasing data on viewing across all endpoints, marketers will help foster an ecosystem driven by audiences and outcomes, rather than content.” 

Insights regarding ad-buyer behaviors included in the report: 

*Last year, nearly 60% of advertisers included a digital screen in addition to their TV campaign to maximize reach. 

*Programmatic ad views have grown 80% year-over-year, as advertisers see programmatic buys as a means to target audiences more efficiently. 

*In 2H 2021, guaranteed programmatic deals accounted for 60% of programmatic video ad impressions. 

*Advertisers’ use of first-party data is indeed increasing as the phase-out of cookies looms—particularly for political and automotive campaigns. 

Meanwhile, the increasingly complex and fragmented advertising ecosystem has media sellers turning to technology to maximize schedule efficiency and yields; working with more programmatic partners and bringing programmatic capabilities to more premium environments—particularly connected TV; and being more open to new measurement currencies. 

The report also summarizes the broad trends expected to continue going forward: Investment of growing portions of video ad budgets in streaming as streaming viewership growth continues; a shift to new measurement currencies driven by audience-based buying; growing use of first-party data; and the scaling of addressable advertising due to better technology and increased inventory availability.

On the last front, Comcast Advertising reports seeing 20% month-over-month growth in addressable advertising since the start of 2021. 

1 comment about "Comcast Study: 20% - 30% Of Video Ad Spend Should Go To Streaming".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, June 9, 2022 at 12:38 p.m.

    This "study" is based on set usage by a panel of cable home subscribers. As such when it says that "viewers are still spending six hours and six minutes per day watching traditional TV" this is, no doubt, a set usage not a viewer figure as the latter would be much lower---say about four hours a day? The same reservation applies for much of the other data reported and when we talk about reach we need to remember that it's much easier to "reach" a household than an individual resident in a household. We also should define the time frame---daily reach,; weekly reach?; monthly reach? total campaign reach?---it makes a huge difference as incremental reach is much higher---as a percent gain---on a weekly basis than it is for a monthly schedule. The longer your time frame the less one platform adds to another's reach.

    Nevertheless, the core point is valid. There are some homes---and consumers---- who are not reached easily---or at all ----by traditional TV schedules. So adding streaming---or, maybe, digital video----is a sensible consideration. However, if incremental reach is your only goal---and this need not be the case---you wouldn't plunk 30% of your ad dollars into streaming as a 10% allocation would probably get you almost all of the incremenal reach you require---at less cost. If, on the other hand, you are worrying about younger adults---those under the age of 50, you might allocate 20% of your budget to CTV----or even more---- to improve frequency as well as greater reach. The formula approach ---put 20-30% into streaming-----does not apply to every situation.

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