Four takeaways from Google’s advanced TV insights study

CTV and programmatic persevered in the pandemic as TV consumption shifted.

(Credit: Getty Images)
(Credit: Getty Images)

TV consumption evolved over the past year as people continuously pressed play to stay entertained during the pandemic, according to Google Ad Manager’s second annual Advanced TV Inventory Report.

Google analyzed data from Q3 2019 to Q4 2020 across 35 global TV partners that sell long-form and episodic commercial break inventory through its Ad Manager platform. The report, which analyzes live and VOD content, breaks insights into four categories: COVID-19 recovery, viewership insights, transaction trends and live streaming performance.

Here are four takeaways.

1. Connected TV thrives

After advertisers pulled back spending in Q2, CTV quickly bounced back as consumers streamed more TV at home.

CTV made up the largest share of ad impressions globally across Google Ad Manager supply last year. While advanced TV ad impressions overall declined 18% year-over-year in Q2, CTV was resilient, growing 14% year-over-year during the same period.

2. In-app viewership takes the lead

2020 marked the first year that in-app viewership was higher than on the web.

Consumers ditched desktop browsers to watch content on OTT streaming apps as they adopted new CTV devices. The switch caused in-app ad impressions to grow 90% year over year, compared to 35% web viewership growth.

3. Programmatic stands strong

Programmatic is TV’s fastest growing transaction method. Programmatic transactions declined by just 1% year over year in Q2 at the worst of the pandemic. Meanwhile impressions bounced back by 55% in Q3. By Q4, programmatic grew by more than 70%.

Traditional spot reservations, meanwhile, dropped by more than 35% in Q2, but increased in Q3 by more than 55% quarter over quarter. Overall, it still represented more than 80% of all impressions on Google Ad Manager.

4. Live content viewership bounces back

2020 started off rocky for live content viewership as sporting events were canceled during the pandemic. While VOD represented 55% of TV ad impressions on digital devices in 2020, live content skyrocketed back in Q4, as ad impressions increased by more than 85% globally year over year.

Viewers saw more than 45% of ads in live CTV content last year, as people adopted live streaming from their TVs. In comparison, more than 40% of VOD content was streamed on mobile devices.

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