Digiday+ Research: On the eve of the Super Bowl, brands much prefer advertising on CTV over traditional TV


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Super Bowl Sunday is upon us. And the commercials are half the reason to tune in, right?

Ahead of the Big Game this weekend, Digiday+ Research checked in with brands to find out how much they’re planning on spending on TV advertising this year, and how confident they are in TV as a marketing channel, in a survey of 33 brand professionals.

It turns out that, much like with agencies, brands prefer investing in connected TV over traditional TV — if they’re spending on TV at all.

Digiday’s survey found that fewer brands are investing in TV ads this year than you might think: 49% of brand pros said none of their marketing budget is going to TV as of the first quarter of 2023 (meaning 51% of brands are investing at least some of their budget in TV this year).

And the percentage of brands that aren’t spending on TV advertising has gone up incrementally over the last year. In Q1 2022, 43% of brand pros told Digiday they weren’t spending any of their marketing budget on TV. That percentage increased slightly by Q3 2022 to 48%, and again to 49% in Q1 of this year.

Meanwhile, there has been a significant decrease in brands that said they spend a large portion of their marketing budgets on TV over the last six months. In Q3 of last year, 31% of brand pros said they were spending a large portion of their budgets on TV. In Digiday’s most recent survey, that percentage fell to 21%. And it’s worth noting that, when breaking down the data further, not one brand respondent said a very large portion of their marketing budget goes toward TV as of Q1 of this year.

Brands might not be spending on TV ads because they’re not confident that they drive marketing success, Digiday’s survey found.

In fact, the survey revealed a big jump in the percentage of brand pros who said they’re not confident at all in TV’s ability to drive marketing success. In Q1 of this year, a third of respondents (33%) said they’re not confident that TV drives marketing success for their brands compared with 17% six months ago and 20% a year ago.

Meanwhile, the percentage of those who said they’re slightly confident, somewhat confident and confident saw decreases with Digiday’s most recent survey: Just 9% of brand pros said they’re slightly confident in TV as a marketing channel in Q1 of this year, down from 14% in Q3 2022 and down significantly from 28% in Q1 2022. Slightly more than a quarter of respondents (27%) said they’re somewhat confident in TV in Q1, down from more than a third (35%) six months ago. And 18% of brand pros said they’re confident in TV heading into 2023, compared with 28% in Q3.

Interestingly though, the percentage of those who said they’re very confident that TV drives marketing success for their brands increased slightly from 7% in Q3 2022 to 12% in Q1 2023.

Breaking out the data into spend on traditional TV vs. connected TV (which Digiday asked about for the first time this year), it’s clear that the brands that do invest in TV ads favor CTV over traditional.

This piece of data is particularly telling: Of the brands that spend on TV advertising, not one said they spend nothing on CTV. In other words, all brands that invest in TV as a marketing channel spend at least a little on CTV.

And it turns out that investment in CTV is significant for many brands, as opposed to being a small investment: 59% of the brand pros who said they spend on TV advertising put a moderate portion of their budgets toward CTV.

Meanwhile, for traditional TV, brand pros who spend a small portion of their budgets on traditional TV or none of their budget account for the largest groups of respondents. Twenty-nine percent of the brands who spend on TV told Digiday they spend nothing on traditional TV or a small amount on traditional TV.


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