With dollars flowing into mid-term election advertising, political ads are garnering eyeballs from an attentive audience, according to new data from TVision.
Viewers are engaging more with political ads than other commercials, staying in the room longer and paying more attention, according to the analysis. TVision reviewed viewer engagement with TV advertising on linear and CTV for people 18+ years of age between January 1 – August 29, 2022, with a panel that includes approximately 13,000 viewers across the U.S. and self-reported political affiliation.
The average TV ad captured attention of 37.4% of viewers for at least 2 seconds – political ads were over 1% higher at 38.7%.
Less than half of viewers for a couple of seconds might not seems like much, but as political candidates vie to grab voters, TVision stated that “even a 1% variance in attention is noteworthy.”
For other metrics, TVision found viewers stayed in the room for political ads 22% longer and paid attention 15% longer than for all other ads.
And those identifying as Independents are paying the most attention to political ads, at above 40%, outpacing Democrats or Republicans, and suggesting candidates have an opportunity to reach outside of their base, according to the study. Attentiveness based on political affiliation and the network where ads ran was perhaps less surprisingly, as Republicans paid most attention to political ads that run on Fox News (a full 71% more than those that run on MSNBC), while Democrats were more tuned in on MSNBC. Independents, meanwhile, paid the most attention to political ads that ran on CNN compared to Fox News or MSNBC.
Younger audience paying more attention on CTV
Older viewers aged 55 years and above are still most engaged with political ads, but in the 18-24-year-old age demographic attention on CTV compared to other ads was notable.
Viewers in that age group are paying 12% more attention to political ads on CTV compared to all other ads (compared to 2% more attention for 25-34-year-olds and 50-54-year-olds, 2% less attention for 35-49 age group and 14% more attention for the 55+ demo). That didn’t hold for linear TV, where 18-24-year-olds paid 1% more attention to political ads than other commercials.
As reported by Axios, as of August 1, political ad spending in 2022 included $309 million on CTV advertising ahead of the mid-term elections. More recently, the New York Times reported data from ad tracking company AdImpact that projects political ads on streaming services will generate $1.44 billion, or around 15% of the expected $9.7 billion on ad spending for the 2022 election cycle.
One of the benefits of CTV for political advertising is the ability to more narrowly target, including based on interest, as described in a recent report by TVREV analysts on political ads in the streaming CTV space. Written by TVREV co-founder and lead analyst Alan Wolk, the report noted that if the goal is to reach a voter on cable with more left-leaning views, the best option for linear is “The Rachel Maddow Show” on MSNBC and then work to find other shows that index high against that program’s viewers or viewers in a specific demo.
“Either way, you are going to get a lot of waste,” TVREV states. “On streaming, however, you can reach viewers who frequently watch Maddow by running ads on others shows they watch.”
The report notes that opted-in automatic content recognition (ACR) data that smart TV OEMs collect enables them to build datasets campaigns can use to target viewers that watch specific types of programs.“Thus streaming allows campaigns to target Maddow viewers on shows that are not necessarily political in nature,” wrote the report authors.