Research from ad measurement firm iSpot has found an industry where in the first quarter of 2022 advertisers finally got a unified view of TV ad performance in real time and where an ad-first approach is now table stakes.
The study of the US ad industry revealed that American TV ad spend rose by as much as 36.9% compared with Q1 2021 with TV ad impressions, meanwhile, increased by 8.8% during the same time. Live sports accounted for over 20% of TV ad impressions in Q1 as brands flocked to events like the Olympics, Super Bowl and March Madness and films returned with a bang as theatrical release impressions climbed by over 100% year-on-year (YoY). Furthermore, hiring and recruiting sites want in on The Great Resignation, as impressions for those brands rose by 57% YoY.
Of all of the key findings revealed in the Q1 TV Ad Rundown report, live sports were of hue importance key in Q1 2022, accounting for over 20% of TV ad impressions on new-airing programming. This was fuelled by the NFL, Men’s College Basketball and Winter Olympics, representing an increase from about 18% of impressions in Q1 2021, as live sports become even more crucial for networks.
In a particular highlight, the first-ever cross-platform measurement of the 2022 Super Bowl showed an average streaming minute audience of 10.5 million viewers. More than 70% of those that streamed the game came from cord-cutters or households without bundled pay-TV service. iSpot’s linear P2+ data showed in-home reach of 134.5 million during the game, with another 15.5 million total viewers on streaming services. Ad-wise, linear viewership spiked at 119 million viewers for the NFL’s spot before halftime.
Winter Olympics programming reached 163 million people across linear and streaming TV. Linear broadcasts reached more than half of US households, 75.1 million total, with streaming garnering another 12.8 million households. Audiences also consumed Olympic Games coverage via streaming more than ever, with 27.4 million streaming viewers. Two-thirds of thius audience viewed exclusively on Peacock or other streaming services.
Cable news also ranked high, impressions across CNN, Fox News and MSNBC declining slightly (2%) from Q1 of last year, but also climbing later in the quarter (55% in the second half of Q1) – especially once coverage focused on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In Q1 2021, impressions declined as the news cycle moved further past the events of 6 January.
After almost two full years of uncertainty, movie releases were said to have returned to normal, with the ad blitzes to prove it. TV ad impressions for theatrical releases rose by over 100% compared to Q1 2021, as studios promoted films like Uncharted, Dog, The Batman and more.
iSpot's research recruiting services were said to be pulling out all the stops to be the go-to for a consumer's next career move. TV ad impressions were up 57% YoY for job sites, as ads emphasised events like the NFL Playoffs and NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.