2020 TV Advertising: Executive Insights

TV was turned on its head in 2020. But despite a lack of tentpole events like live sports for months on end, a lot of advertisers were able to make the most of these ridiculously challenging times by monitoring shifts in viewer behavior and adjusting their ad strategies to the “new normal.”

Viewership got more niche and targeted, and primetime wasn’t the only place to find eyeballs at scale, as other dayparts gained momentum. The Streaming Services category exploded, of course, and new and old services utilized TV ads to fuel their expansion — with impressions up 93.5% as they competed for market share.

Larger streaming audiences also gave advertisers new opportunities to reach elusive demos — and made effective cross-platform measurement all the more urgent.

A busy year of news meant impressions jumped considerably for the likes of CNN (+47.7%), MSNBC (+40.7%) and Fox News (+27.2%), while reality programming on cable channels such as Food Network and HGTV rose as well.

Though some industries pulled back TV spending, 18 of the 25 top brands tracked by iSpot actually increased impressions compared to 2019. And, tellingly, 2,587 brands either came back to TV or advertised for the first time in 2020.

Why? Because TV advertising still works — incredibly well, if it’s done right. Success these days just demands a little more flexibility (and the use of quality measurement, of course). Download the full 2020 year-end report.

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