Q3 TV Advertising in Review

TV programming might feel back to “normal”, but is it ever really?

There is ample evidence of declining linear TV viewership, yet there is a surge toward free ad-supported streaming and pay TV services. This change means ad impressions are coming from a wider selection of viewing channels, but also that TV networks are leaning into that fragmentation to drive higher value for the reach linear provides. 

A review of Q3 ad trends generally reflects the sun setting on summer programming, and the return of fall sports to TV. But Q3 2021 also indicates larger changes afoot. Impression deliveries are down slightly from a COVID viewership surge in 2020, but ad revenues are up — indicating networks are able to charge more for impressions. New brands are still flocking to TV for reach and advanced measurement capabilities, though.

And with that, a flood of new creatives are on air and surging back in dramatic fashion to outpace recent years. Networks are exploring longer ad breaks and brands, attempting to make up for lost audiences, are purchasing more ad time to stay at the same reach and frequency levels from pre-pandemic times.

This latest report highlights top TV ad trends and insights from Q3 2021, showcasing how fast, accurate and actionable data from iSpot facilitates informed decisions for brands, agencies and networks. Whether you’re a long-time iSpot user, or just now looking for an alternative to ineffective TV ad measurement, this is your definitive guide to Q3 TV advertising.

Key findings include:

  • Top three programs (by ad impressions served) were: Tokyo Olympics, NFL Football, & College Football
  • Insurance, QSR & Automotive were the top three industries by impressions and estimate national TV ad spend in Q3
  • TV creatives from Royal Caribbean, Chevrolet & Dairy Queen were among the top breakthrough spots of the quarter