Written by
Cassandra Lewis
Published
March 2016
Topics

Getting someone to put down the remote (or smartphone) and pay attention to your TV ad is harder than ever. In the digital age, viewers have limited attention spans, more distractions, and countless ways to ignore or skip ads.

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<p>Are People Watching My TV Ads? Australian Advertising in a Skippable World</p> <p>Getting someone to put down the remote (or smartphone) and pay attention to your TV ad is harder than ever. In the digital age, viewers have limited attention spans, more distractions, and countless ways to ignore or skip ads.</p> <p>As part of our research series diving into what makes an ad “unskippable,” we partnered with Ipsos and its eye-tracking partner, Objective Experience, to see how Australians’ TV ad-viewing behaviour has evolved. We conducted extensive in-home research in which participants wore eye-tracking glasses during their regular TV viewing sessions and we collected data on how they watched (or, more likely, didn’t watch) ads. We coded data at eight frames per second across 529 ad breaks. This breakthrough research offers insight into a question on the mind of all advertisers: “Are people watching my ads?”</p> <p>Today’s fight for attention means only 35% of the average paid TV break is actively viewed. Instead, people:</p> <p>19%: Channel surf</p> <p>18%: Look at other devices (multi-screen)</p> <p>13%: Get distracted by food, pets, TV guide</p> <p>9%: fast forward</p> <p>3%: Interact with people online</p> <p>First ad wins: Viewers are more likely to actively watch the first ad in the break than any other.</p> <p>Percentage of time across the average ad break spent focused on the TV screen:</p> <p>42%: First ad</p> <p>35%: Middle ad</p> <p>33%: Last ad</p> <p>28%: Sponsorship board</p> <p>One thing all Australians can agree on: skipping. Regardless of their gender, age, or TV consumption, Australians skip ads.</p> <p>No busting gender stereotypes here: Men are more likely to reach for the remote; women are more likely to multi-screen.</p> <p>Multi-screening is mainstream: Millennials aren’t the only ones reaching for their devices when the ads come on.</p> <p>Percentage of time across the average ad break spent looking at other devices:</p> <p>Baby Boomers: 15%</p> <p>Generation X: 20%</p> <p>Millennials: 19%</p> <p>What are people doing with their second screens?</p> <p>3 in 10 multi-screeners looked up content related to the TV program or TV ad they were watching.</p> <p>All advertising is skippable</p> <p>Now that people have more ways to skip ads than ever before, advertisers need to focus on creating unskippable advertising that viewers will choose and want to watch. Even a digital video ad format like YouTube’s TrueView has a built-in “skip” button, which means advertisers have to create more engaging stories that will grab and hold the audience’s attention. In a world of endless distractions and short attention spans, those first five seconds are crucial for advertisers, regardless of platform. Check out our “Australian Marketers’ Guide to Creating Unskippable Video Advertising” that has five data-driven keys for how you can create ads for a skippable world.</p>