Ebiquity: Linear TV Ad Impact Seeing Steep Decline of Younger Viewers

LONDON—Adult commercial impact of linear TV saw a decline of 4.4% in 2019, but if these trends in advertising reach continue it could result in a 21% drop from recent numbers by 2025, according to marketing and media consultancy Ebiquity.

In Ebiquity’s “Mind the Gap: A Closer Look at Video Advertising Reach in the Age of Increasing Media Fragmentation” report, the firm saw its initial prediction of a loss of 3.6% for commercial impact jump to 4.4%. A key reason for the increased drop in linear TV’s commercial impact came from a greater than expected loss among younger viewers, who are increasingly moving to online video, as well as broadcaster and subscription VOD services.

Advertising served on platforms like YouTube and Facebook were broadly able to match the reach delivered by TV for those in the 16-44 age range. Ebiquity believes that brands targeting younger consumers using YouTube will see the most incremental reach moving forward.

Even if the numbers for younger viewers were to slow down, as Ebiquity anticipates will happen, it still believes that more than half of today’s audience (56%) will disappear by 2025.

Still, focusing more on online may not be enough. When analysis shifts from a pure impression level to 50% or 100% completed reach, both YouTube and Facebook deliver less incremental reach.

“Although TV remains the primary driver of ROI, the change in media consumption habits is no secret and is a phenomenon that brands cannot safely ignore,” said Christian Polman, chief strategy officer at Ebiquity. “What our new study does is to confirm that the rate of change in viewing behavior is affecting brands. The ability to reach mass audiences at scale is critical for efficient and effective brand building. Advertisers need to take several actions today in order to close their own coverage gap and ensure success in the age of media fragmentation.”

Those four steps, according to Ebiquity, are:

  • Understanding what your coverage gap is and what the implications are for your business;
  • Taking a more granular approach to measurement;
  • Make the right creative for the right channel or platform;
  • Use structured testing to evaluate and optimize the channels you use to fill the coverage gap

The full report is available for download on Ebiquity’s website.