The way people watch TV is rapidly changing. While streaming TV viewership has expanded steadily over the years, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the shift into high gear, with the number of worldwide subscriptions to streaming services catapulting to an astonishing 1.1 billion in 2020.
Now that consumers have multiple options for where and how they watch TV, advertisers are left wondering: Where is my target market consuming their TV media, and how can I make sure they see my ads across channels?
Using our viewership graph of over 35 million households and data collected from 100,000+ nationwide surveys, Tunnl has built audiences based on how Americans consume their TV media:
Mega Consumers: Individuals who are both high linear TV consumers and high streaming consumers.
Traditionalists: Individuals who are high linear TV consumers and low streaming consumers.
Early Adopters: Individuals who are high streaming consumers and low linear TV consumers.
Elusive Consumers: Individuals who are low linear TV consumers and low streaming consumers.
Using these prebuilt audiences, advertisers can more easily reach and appeal to their target markets on the channels where they are most likely to see their messaging.
In this article, we’ll explore the four TV viewership audiences so that by the end, you’ll have a clear understanding of what these prebuilt audiences offer and how you can use them to increase your ad viewership across channels.
What Is the Mega Consumers Audience?
There are millions of Americans who simply watch a lot of TV, both on linear TV (aka traditional cable and broadcast) and streaming platforms. These are the people who have not “cut the cord” to their linear TV programming, and who also consume a lot of over-the-top (OTT) content via connected TV (CTV) platforms.
We call this audience Mega Consumers, made up of people who are both high linear TV consumers and high streamers.
“The Mega Consumers are the most reachable of all viewership-based audiences,” says David Seawright, Tunnl’s Chief Revenue Officer. “Because they consume so much TV across platforms, you can more easily reach and engage them with your advertising efforts.”
The Mega Consumers audience is ideal to leverage against both your linear TV and streaming advertising efforts, since they consume both forms of TV heavily. By using the insights found in this audience, you can maximize your outreach efforts by reaching your audience on every platform in which they consume both linear and streaming media.
What Is the Traditionalists Audience?
There are still many American households that only consume linear TV. These households are typically made up of older Americans who have no intention of cutting the cord, nor are they interested in learning how to stream.
We call this group Traditionalists. As its name suggests, the Traditionalists are your “classic” TV consumers: they spend a significant amount of time consuming linear TV, but not much, if any, streaming channels.
“The Traditionalists are far and away Americans over the age of fifty-five,” says David. “Linear TV is the tried-and-true channel for reaching and engaging with these individuals.”
Tunnl’s Traditionalists audience is an ideal choice to leverage against your linear TV advertising strategy, as you gain instant access to the particular cable and broadcast channels these individuals consume, as well as deep insights into what this audience looks like. Informing your campaign with human-level facts on your core market helps in building your campaign messaging and ad placement strategy.
What Is the Early Adopters Audience?
The trend of cord cutting, or ending cable subscriptions in favor of streaming, is only increasing in popularity. In fact, major linear TV has lost 25 million subscribers since 2012 due to people switching to streaming services – and they’re projected to lose another 25 million by 2025.
So, what if your target market is made up of cord cutters?
That’s where the Early Adopters audience comes in. This group is made up of people who watch a lot of streaming content, but little to zero linear TV.
The Early Adopters are easy to reach across streaming platforms, but difficult to target on linear TV. Should these consumers watch any linear TV at all, it is most likely a rare occasion and on premium programming for live events or sports (i.e. pay-per-view).
“The Early Adopters are your younger demographic, and they lean more heavily Democratic,” says David. “Reaching this audience means prioritizing more modern channels, like streaming and social media, for your ad placement strategy.”
Due to the fact that they consume virtually all of their TV media via streaming, this audience is perfect for targeted advertising on streaming platforms.
For the greatest impact, it is recommended to increase advertising frequencies on CTV and not to waste any of your media spend on linear TV, as the Early Adopters will likely never see – or engage – with messaging there.
What Is the Elusive Consumers Audience?
Finally, there are Americans who consume virtually zero TV, be it on traditional broadcast or cable, or streaming. These potential consumers are hard to reach across any channel, making advertising to them a challenge.
We call this audience Elusive Consumers, made up of people who don’t consume a lot of streaming content, and who don’t watch a lot of linear TV, either.
The question on every advertisers’ mind is, How do you reach these individuals if not on streaming platforms or traditional linear TV?
To reach the Elusive Consumers, you need to focus your outreach efforts outside the realm of TV advertising.
That’s where Tunnl’s audience insights come in handy. Leveraging the media consumption index (see image below), you can see where this audience spends their time online (e.g. social media platforms) and if they consume any content elsewhere (e.g. traditional or digital radio).
While present and helpful in every Tunnl prebuilt audience, the media consumption index is especially critical when informing your ad strategy to activate against the Elusive Consumers, who are extremely hard to reach using TV advertisements.
“When you reference the media consumption patterns found in your Tunnl audience insights, you can clearly inform your ad placement strategy to have the most impact,” says David.
This audience is also ideal to contact via offline methods, such as direct mail, peer-to-peer texting, or telephone calls, since they are likely more reachable in these channels and not via TV.
Start Increasing Your Ad Viewership Across Channels
The TV landscape, while complicated now, will only become more fragmented as streaming continues to rise in popularity. To maximize your ad spend and inform your messaging strategy with deep, human insights on your core market, leverage the four Tunnl TV viewership audiences described within this article.
Doing so will help you reach the right people on the right platforms where they’re most likely to be receptive to your messaging.
Want to learn more about Tunnl's TV viewership audiences?
Take a deeper dive into Tunnl’s TV viewership audiences to understand their demographic data and how you can leverage them on individual campaigns in Tunnl’s white paper “How to Use Tunnl Audiences to Reach Linear & Streaming TV Consumers.”
Layer the TV viewership audiences to view custom counts and insights
The Mega Consumers, Traditionalists, Early Adopters, and Elusive Consumers audiences offer detailed windows into your core consumers’ TV viewership habits. For even deeper insights, you can slice, dice, and layer these audiences against other Tunnl prebuilt audiences to create unique counts and data you can see nowhere else — all within the Tunnl platform.
Learn how to slice, dice, and layer Tunnl audiences in the article linked below.