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Comcast Report Suggests Advertisers Spend Up To a Third of Their Budget on CTV

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Advertisers should divert more of their budgets to streaming, and in particular services like FAST but by no means abandon traditional TV buys just yet, according to a new report from Comcast’s advertising division.

Comcast of course has a dog in this hunt, and admits as much. Comcast Advertising sits in the middle of the TV advertising ecosystem; FreeWheel is its advertising technology platform, and Effectv its advertising sales division.

The inaugural Comcast Advertising Report combines insights and research from both FreeWheel’s Video Marketplace and Effectv’s TV Viewership Report.

The headline is a recommendation that advertisers allocate 20-30% of their premium video budget towards streaming, and the rest to traditional TV. This is indicative of the massive reach still available from traditional TV.

This likely to change as streaming continues to take hold.

"Overall streaming viewership is likely to increase and take on a larger importance for (and should represent a larger percentage of) an advertiser’s video advertising strategy," the report states. "Until then, it is important for advertisers to follow the data to maximize their campaign results based on what current trends indicate."

Comcast doesn't want advertisers to abandon the TV just yet despite the signs that connected TV has taken hold. Another recent report, from Leichtman Research Group, found 87% of U.S. homes have at least one CTV device—up from 80% in 2020 and 38% in 2012.

Comcast says that as connected TV matures, the ability for more custom targeting can improve. That's tricky when use of third-party cookies is being restricted, meaning advertisers and their TV system partners need to rely more on first party data.

One challenge remains, the report outlines: Utilizing first-party data requires the most stringent protections to ensure it is handled securely and confidentially. "But when this is done right, companies can connect first-party data to delivery across screens, and better understand how their campaigns perform in totality for the audience they most want to reach and the conversions they want to generate," the report says.

In short, advertisers are advised to use a combination of tactics to achieve their goals: Reach more potential buyers with traditional data-driven TV and then use addressable advertising as a tactic to reach those more likely to buy sooner.

As a result Comcast predicts that addressable advertising will finally scale. Comcast Advertising itself reports 20% month-over-month growth in addressable advertising since the beginning of 2021 and expects that trend to continue.

Other data points from the report:

  • Viewers prefer live content on both TV and streaming. In fact, 89% of traditional TV viewing is spent watching live TV and 54% of digital video viewing is live.
  • Viewers are exposed to more digital ads than ever before, as ad views on digital services increased by 45% from 2020 to 2021.
  • FAST viewership grew 25% year over year—which is faster than the connected TV category overall. Some out of 10 households with connected TVs use FAST services, described by Comcast as a "budget-friendly, big screen opportunity" for TV viewers to watch their favorite shows.
  • Audience targeted campaigns have increased by over 50% year-over-year, as advertisers turn to audience targeting to reach viewers, at scale, across viewing platforms.

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