There’s no doubt that the past year has accelerated our love of digital and how we access and consume content. Canadians continue to turn to digital video as a way to inform, entertain and learn new skills, discovering new content and ways of watching along the way.
One of the new behaviours here to stay, is streaming digital video through connected TV (CTV) in the living room. For more than a generation, Linear TV was our industry’s most critical medium. Now, with people accustomed to spending more time at home, the TV screen has become another extension of our connected lives.
Here are four Canadian streaming trends we’re noticing.
Canadians are watching longer videos on YouTube
In Canada, over 13 million Canadians streamed YouTube on their TV screens in December 2020.1 That’s about one-third of the country. And we’re noticing that when Canadians are watching YouTube on their TV, they’re watching for longer by engaging with long form content and longer viewing sessions.2
Longer watch time and viewing sessions mean advertisers have more opportunities to reach viewers while they’re engaged.
Canadians are still watching the content they love
At the beginning of the pandemic, we saw a big shift in the content being consumed on YouTube. But as Canadians have settled in at home and created new normals, we’re seeing more people turning to the types of lifestyle content more traditionally found on Linear TV.
When it comes to the type of content Canadians are consuming, there are several categories seeing growth in watch hours. For example, watch time of travel, music, cooking, and education YouTube content on TV screens has each grown 45% year-over-year in Canada, as of December 2020.3
For marketers, this creates an opportunity to reach Canadians across a variety of needs and screens.
YouTube is driving higher brand results
With Canadians spending more time on YouTube, advertisers are continuing to see positive results. A recent Nielsen meta-analysis that looked at the optimal campaign mix between TV and YouTube showed that weeks with more than 50% of spend on YouTube drove the highest combined ROI.4 What’s more, measured brand health metrics were an average of 1.9X higher for YouTube compared to Linear TV per $1 million spend,5 which can help brands build for long-term success.
Audiences expect an interactive viewing experience
Streaming on TVs isn’t a new trend but it accelerated during the pandemic. There are now more streaming subscribers in Canada than pay TV subscribers,6 and 50% of Linear TV watchtime has disappeared among Canadians under the age of 55 in the last decade.7
As YouTube CTV reach and watchtime grows, there are new opportunities for advertisers to create more helpful experiences for viewers, by allowing them to easily engage with brands. Later this year, Google is launching brand extensions — the first of many interactive ad features designed for the TV screen. Brand extensions will allow advertisers to highlight a URL or promotional code at the bottom of their CTV video ad. From there, viewers can click “send to phone” with their remote control to learn more.
The pandemic has changed the way Canadians live, and blurred the lines between online and offline, digital video and Linear TV. For marketers this means ensuring your plans reflect the dynamic changing video landscape so you have the opportunity to reach and connect with the customers you care about.