Set-top box data reveals learnings about network audiences

Friday, May 1, 2009 | 12:32 PM


Google TV Ads recently launched an audience data reporting feature which allows advertisers to better understand if their ads reach their desired audience using anonymous set-top box data in combination with anonymized demographic and marketing data from such companies as Equifax and Nielsen. As our advertisers have been learning about who is watching their ads, here at Google we have done some analysis of our own in order to better understand what types of audiences are watching what shows.

We've found that sometimes the audience that you'd expect is watching a certain program or network, but other times intuition can be a poor guide in matching television viewers and the programming that interests them -- that's where data can be useful. Here are a few interesting and suprising examples we'd like to share.

Skiers are looking for excitement
We learned that skiers are found in a greater proportion on BBC America's Top Gear, a long-running series about cars, than on Tru TV's Ski Patrol, a show that follows ski patrolmen and their daring rescues of skiers and snowboarders. So while an advertiser can certainly reach skiers on Ski Patrol, one can also reach them through programming one might not naturally think of. Google TV Ads data helps advertisers discover previously overlooked networks and programs to reach their audiences.

Chefs prefer travel to interior design
We also learned a bit about gourmet chefs and their TV viewing habits. Would food aficionados be more drawn to programming on home design or travel? Foodies care a lot about their kitchens, but they are always on the look out for new recipes from other countries. Bottom line -- it's hard to say. Our analysis showed that in fact the Travel Channel reaches a higher proportion of those interested in gourmet cooking than HGTV. Data settles the debate.

Same network, different audience
A given network does not reach the same audience all the time. We looked at the gender breakdown of households watching TNT during a certain week. Monday night attracted 60% more women only households than men only households while the scenario was reversed on Thursday with 20% more men than women watching the network. This suggests that it is important to know what shows you're advertising on; buying spots broadly across a given network may not always give you access to your target audience.

Learning from these insights
We're intrigued by what we're learning from the set-top box data and thrilled to see advertisers using the data to identify where their ads should run to best reach their desired audience. By focusing investment on reaching right viewers, advertisers can get more out of their campaigns.

Posted by Deeksha Hebbar, Marketing Analyst for Google TV Ads