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Research: TV Promos Aren’t Engaging Millennials

Ad tech company Unruly has released a new report that provides a mixed picture of the effectiveness of TV promos.

On one hand “The Science of Sharing: TV Promos and the Millennial Shift” research found that TV marketers need to improve the effectiveness of their promos in engaging digital native and that they are not creating content that resonates with millennials. The survey found that Millennials are 10% less likely to share TV promo content than the average TV viewer.

But the survey also found that when the promos are effective enough to get shared they can boost tune-in, with 80% of Millennials saying they are likely to watch a TV show if they have watched a promo shared with them online.

The results are important because Nielsen measured TV viewing by millennials has been declining in recent years and that they spend less time watching TV than any other demo. Producing promos that boost tune-in could help reverse that trend.

“TV marketers are missing out on a huge opportunity to grow their audiences,” argued Scott Button, the CEO of Unruly, in a statement. “We may be in a golden age of television content, but the way TV networks are currently promoting their shows to new viewers is missing the mark on digital and social media. Audience fragmentation, ad avoidance and social discovery are all powerful forces for disruption and we’re seeing a big increase in the number of TV networks reaching out to us to help them solve the strategic challenges that digital transformation poses to their business models and their bottom line.”

The report, which surveyed 500 people and analyzed 14,221 TV promos from the big five networks in the U.S., also found a positive correlation between social media sharing and ratings.

The researchers concluded that “the rate of TV promo sharing more closely correlates to Nielsen Ratings than number of promo views: The more shares a TV network generates for its promos, the more likely that will translate into ratings. The front runner, NBC, generated 39% share of shares and a 33% of overall Nielsen ratings.”

Of the five networks, the report found that NBC is leading the way on social video, with 48% share of online promo views and 39% of promo shares.

Second ranked ABC had 27% of promo views and 34% of promo shares.

Another example of the need to improve engagement with millennials is the survey’s findings on brand recall. “All of the promos tested in the Unruly TV Promo and Millennial study — for the top rated network shows — fell well below the U.S. market norm for brand recall from online videos (at only 75%),” the study concluded.

Button added in another statement that “we are seeing a promo paradox — TV networks are known for telling great stories in their programming, but they’re not creating engaging promos to support this great content. Millennials are highly peer-influenced, with 80% citing that they’d check out a show after receiving a shared online TV promo. Yet the promos aren’t strong enough for Millennials to want to share. Even worse, TV promos aren’t creating a memorable experience with viewers. Of the videos we tested in our study, show recall fell well below the U.S. market norm for brand recall in traditional ads, making it difficult for even a motivated Millennial to remember which show they wanted to see. TV marketers need to start making promos that resonate with Millennials and more heavily call out their shows if they want to change viewer habits and drive new viewers to tune-in.”

Full copy of the report is available here.