Survey: Two-Thirds Don't Actively Watch TV Ads.


Despite all the chatter about making TV advertising more appealing to consumers with better targeting and storytelling, a new study from Sharethrough indicates that the lack of interest in TV advertising remains a major problem.


In a December 2021 survey of 1,000 U.S. and Canadian viewers released this week, Sharethrough found that 66% of viewers say they don’t actively watch TV ads, with 64% grabbing their phones during a commercial break, 21% switching to another channel, and 15% leaving the room or doing something else. Worse, the actual number of people uninterested in ads is even higher. Among the 34% that say they usually do watch TV ads, 28% say they typically watch on mute — which implies that 76% of people are not actively watching TV ads, Sharethrough said.


The survey also found that 36% of people often mute their TV during commercials, with 46% of those saying they mute commercials because they find TV commercials are too loud or find them annoying, 29% do it so they can hear their other device, and 26% do it so they can have a conversation. A key reason for the lack of attention to TV ads, cited by 39% of respondents, is that they find TV ads irrelevant most of the time and they don’t bring value to them. About 31% find the ads too repetitive and 31% complain that there are too many ads; 64% of them said there should not be more than two ads during a commercial break.


In contrast, 71% of these said they would pay more attention if TV ads were better targeted to their interests and 82% of those people said they would pay more attention if ads were more diversified in terms of products/services.


Interestingly 85% of people indicated that they would be willing to share personal information to watch a TV show with no commercials. In terms of the information they’d be willing to share, 50% cited age and gender; 50% said an email address; 45% said products/services they’re in the market for; 29% a phone number; 29% household income; and 25% home address. Respondents were allowed to mark more than one item they’d be willing to share.


Despite the obvious lack of interest in a lot of advertising, 60% of respondents said they have purchased a product on their phone, computer or tablet after seeing a TV ad for it and 58% said they would use their TV remote to buy a product or get a coupon for a product they liked in a commercial. The researchers noted that the problem of engaging consumers with ads opens up a particularly notable opportunity for connected TV players who have the capability of making advertising more relevant through better targeting and better ad experiences.

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