Up to 30% of premium video ad budgets allocated to streaming

Programmatic campaigns set to account for half of premium video selling by 2026 with an 80% year-on-year growth in programmatic ad views in 2021.

Advertisers are allocating 20 to 30% of their premium video budget to streaming while the rest is spent on traditional TV, according to new research.

Despite a continued reliance on traditional TV, a study of more than 20,000 campaigns  from Comcast found that reach was highest for multi-screen campaigns, but beyond 40% streaming benefits were outweighed by the minimisation of traditional TV. The findings point to a growth in streaming and a need for advertisers to place more importance on streaming as part of video ad strategies.

James Rooke, General Manager of Comcast stablemate Effectv, said. “Advertisers shouldn’t be making a guess or ‘going with their gut’ on this; rather, they should focus on the data. By 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.”

Ad buyers looking to programmatic 

The report, also using data from Comcast stablemates FreeWheel and Effectv, reveals insights into how advertisers were buying last year, with a focus on targeted audiences, and a surge in advertisers turning to programmatic campaigns including:

  • Audience targeted campaigns increased by over 50% compared to H2 2020;
  • Programmatic ad views grew 80% years-on-year; and in H2 2021, guaranteed programmatic deals accounted for 60% of programmatic video impressions;
  • Nearly 60%  included a digital screen in addition to their TV campaign to maximise reach; and
  • Many advertisers are turning to their own first-party data to provide more direct alignment to their audience segment targeting objectives – particularly in political and auto categories.

Comcast concluded that programmatic advertising could comprise half of premium video selling by 2026, with a normalisation of using data-driven targeting and multiscreen audience-based buying aiding control, security and decision making.

Think outside the ‘primetime’ box

Comcast Advertising’s first Advertising Report 2022: Actionable Insights for the Modern TV Advertiser also found that viewers are spending more than six hours a day watching ‘traditional’ TV, but 71% of that time is outside of ‘primetime’ viewing hours. 

While the majority of viewing time (89%) is spent on traditional TV over digital formats, more than half of the viewing on digital is for live broadcasting, highlighting that ‘catch up’ and ‘bingeing’ is less likely to be the behaviour of the digital viewer. 

Consumers are more exposed to digital ads on video services, with ad views growing by 45% in the first half of 2021 compared with 2020 – supporting the research that 75% of viewers are happy with ads on streaming as long as the content is free. 

“Advertisers who rely only on traditional “standbys” like primetime and top networks will see their campaign reach decline, as consumers spread out their consumption. By using ever-increasing data on viewing across all endpoints, marketers will help foster an ecosystem driven by audiences and outcomes, rather than content,” the report said. 

Sellers look to simplify purchasing paths

However, the growth in devices and content means sellers are looking for ways to simplify paths and maximise value of their inventory, said the report. More sellers are turning to programmatic capabilities to premium environments, particularly connected TV, and sellers worked with 60% more programmatic partners on average in 2021 compared to 2020; up to 30 different companies.

Mark McKee, General Manager, FreeWheel, said: “This has been an incredible year for TV advertising’s progress and innovation, and this is clearly evident in the discussions we've been having every day,”

“From addressable, to programmatic, to first-party data – the opportunities are there for advertisers to do more with their budgets and connect better with sellers.”