We live in a multi-device world – we know that well. But as marketers, we’ve been conditioned to think of our “multi-device” world as a collection of computers, tablets, and mobile devices. Certainly, these are all important devices in our marketing campaigns – but they’re not the only screens capturing our audience’s attention. That’s why Google has recently enabled advertisers to use an additional device type to target in their YouTube campaigns: smart TV screens!
According to Google, users watch over 180 million hours of YouTube on TV screens every day, across platforms such as set-top boxes, gaming consoles, streaming devices like Chromecasts, and countless smart TVs screens. Particularly as younger viewers cut the cord and are unreached by traditional TV and cable ad spots, streaming services like YouTube are an increasingly effective way to reach these audiences.
Advertisers can control the reach of their video campaigns on smart TV screens as they would for computers, tablets, and mobile devices. Within Google Ads, advertisers can set a device bid adjustment for smart TV screens at either the campaign or ad group level. Bid adjustments can either be positive (up to +900%) or negative (as low as -100%, effectively excluding ads from showing on that device).
Of course, we expect users to interact with the TV in their living room differently than their other devices, but early results are promising. Google reports that YouTube ads shown on TV saw an average 35% increase ad recall and 47% increase in purchase intent.
That’s great impact, for sure, but it’s limited to those who see your ad on TV screens. And, as we all know, ads aren’t free – so how effective is advertising on TV screens? I looked at a few hundred advertisers to find out.
Firstly, it’s worth addressing the elephant in the room (specifically, the living room.) According to Nielsen, the majority (58.7%) of all US homes have at least one internet-enabled device capable of streaming to a TV. That’s closely in line with research from Pew that shows the majority of Americans own a smartphone (77%), tablet (55%), or computer (73%).
Not all connectivity is the same when it comes to the reach of our YouTube ads, though. Only about a third (30.3%) of households specifically have a smart TV. As such, we see that TV screens make up a smaller fraction of the reach of our YouTube campaigns with only 4.3% of all impressions. Much like mobile search, the majority of impressions on YouTube are on mobile devices (53.6%).
However, that relatively small share of the YouTube audience may be the most engaged. We’ve discovered that users watching YouTube on mobile are the most likely to skip TrueView ads, but users on larger screens are more likely to view the ads. In this pattern, we see that users watching YouTube on their TV screens have an astonishing average view through rate of 56.8% – over 50% higher than other devices!
Of course, all these views aren’t free – but advertisers will be relieved to see the low costs of these ads. Across devices, YouTube ads only cost a few cents per view on average, but we see that these newest ads on TV screens have the lowest cost per view (CPV). These new ads cost just over 2 cents per view – almost a full cent less than what we see on mobile screens.
There are a number of advantages to advertising on Smart TV devices. However, marketers will need to consider a different way to nurture their viewers from TV screens. YouTube advertisers have several different campaign strategies or tactics for a user to respond directly to their video ad and drive them to convert on their website via computers, tablets, and mobile. But people watching on their TV screens are less likely – or may not even be able to – click through to your website on that device. Consequently, advertisers on TV screens might expect to see direct conversions from these ads but will need to embrace the role their ads play in a multi-channel conversion path.
The aggregated data in this post is based on a sample of 644 WordStream client accounts advertising on YouTube between October 24 and 31, 2018. In calculating CPV, only USD clients were considered
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