As more consumers reach for their smartphones, tablets and laptops for news and entertainment, there’s a new segment of viewers that watch less than two hours of TV per day - the “light TV viewer.” Around 31% of adults 18 to 49 are light TV viewers. And this segment is growing - households that opted for broadband internet instead of cable TV grew 22.8 percent over the past year, according to the latest Cross Platform Report from Nielsen.

To understand how this trend will impact advertisers in 2012, we partnered with Nielsen to conduct six cross-media studies looking at viewership patterns and campaign effectiveness across TV, YouTube and the Google Display Network (GDN). The conclusion? The light TV viewer is more efficiently reached with cross media campaigns on YouTube and the GDN than with TV alone.

The Light TV viewer
Consumers in this group tend to be younger (49 years old and below), diverse, college-educated, high-income, social-networking, and influential consumers. Our research found that light TV viewers overall averaged only 39 minutes of TV a day. Since this audience watches significantly less TV than the general population, they can be difficult to reach with TV advertising alone.

Additional reach, lower cost
On average, YouTube and GDN campaigns added 4 percentage points of incremental reach to light TV viewers - and it cost 92 percent less to achieve these results online than it would have on TV. The research also showed that TV failed to reach 63 percent of light TV viewers.

By shifting budget from TV networks that primarily reach the “heavy TV viewer” audience to YouTube and the GDN, you could more efficiently reach light TV viewers. In our study, a projection done for Reebok found that 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.

Increased frequency and recall
Finally, our research showed that online campaigns added much-needed frequency to help increase brand recall for the light TV viewer. Combining YouTube and GDN drove a 27 percent increase in impressions, since even light TV viewers exposed to both TV and online ads saw more online ads than TV.

Overall, the results suggest that adding YouTube and the GDN to your TV network campaigns improves effectiveness in several powerful ways, helping to:
  • Reach a valuable, complementary, younger audience
  • Add much-needed frequency to light TV viewers
  • Deliver media more evenly across light and heavy TV viewers, reducing waste
  • Do all of this both efficiently and affordably

To learn more about how to reach the lightest TV viewer, visit Think Insights to view more findings from the full study.

Posted by Sheethal Shobowale, Advertising Research Manager