Why Prioritizing Diversity is Key in Connected TV Ads

If you are looking to make moves into the Connected TV (CTV) space, oh do we have some content you’ll want to see:

America has always been a land of diverse opportunity; a country where people from all across the world could find acceptance and community under one geographic roof. But for nearly a century, American television and advertisements have primarily represented only one facet of U.S. audiences, and not the entire patchwork of cultures and heritages that make up our “nation of immigrants,” as President John F. Kennedy once used to describe the United States. 

However, as population demographics shift with each passing year, representation on television and in advertisements are changing with it. Brands are recognizing that their audiences are craving content that is reflective of all Americans, and not just the historical majority.

As we continue to make the important, necessary moves to create a more representative world, Hollywood has been making headway as well. As a recent report from UCLA on minority representation in television concluded, “America’s increasingly diverse audiences prefer diverse television content.”

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As the report states, “In cable…for all groups, conventional ratings were highest for cable scripted shows with casts that were at least 41 percent minority […] In digital, ratings peaked for all groups in 2019-20 for shows with relatively diverse casts and for which the credited writers were also relatively diverse.”

Keep in mind, this was during the 2019-2020 television season. With the tidal-wave of progress we’ve seen made in diversity, equity, and inclusion over 2021, we can only imagine these numbers will be accelerated exponentially in the coming years.

The report also needled into how diversity on television translated into social media engagement. The findings couldn’t be clearer: “Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter engagement was highest in 2019-20 for cable scripted shows with majority-minority casts.” 

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What is Driving Diversity on Television (and CTV)?

But as the report concludes, there are two “interrelated factors” that go into their discovery that diverse representation is necessary for television survival: technological change and demographic shifts

“First, the emergence of streaming technologies has given rise to a business model different from the advertising based model that has traditionally hamstrung programming choices in broadcast and cable. […] What this has meant in practical terms is that the greenlighting of television shows created by people of color and women–projects that would not have received serious consideration within the reign of Hollywood business as usual–have found new life with the ascendance of digital.”

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“Second, the impact of the increasing diversity of the U.S. population cannot be overstated. According to the 2020 U.S. Census, people of color now constitute 42.7 percent of the population. [...] Equally notable is the fact that most Americans under 18 are now people of color (53%). Within about two decades, people of color of all ages combined will constitute the majority.


Connected TV (CTV) Advertisements Necessitate Diversity

If you are a marketer or advertiser, these are insights you must digest and learn from. Because if your ads aren’t prioritizing diversity, then you haven’t been paying attention to the last five years.

Who has been paying attention are the people at Magnite, who just released a detailed report entitled “CTV Is for Everyone.” Their report surfaced fascinating audience insights that speak to the necessity of creating ads for Connected Television that are representative of everyone that exists in the United States. As Sean Buckley, Chief Revenue Officer, CTV of Magnite said, “While traditional TV audiences have become more homogeneous, CTV viewers encompass a representative cohort of ages and backgrounds.”

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CTV Advertising Means Diversity

The first point to understand is that traditional TV audiences skew heavily towards white audiences, while CTV audiences are more reflective of the national population. It seems like a no-brainer, but this means that ads targeting more diverse audiences will perform better on CTV than they would on traditional linear television. As the report states, “To serve demand, streaming platforms are driving more diverse representation in TV, with programmers committed to improving diversity in their film and TV slates. We expect to see this trend strengthen in 2022 as CTV media owners and content producers invest in more culturally diverse programming”


Boomers Go Big on Traditional

CTV may be the domain of younger generations, but if you have a product that is targeted towards older audiences, traditional TV may still be your best bet. Magnite’s report found that “54% of traditional TV viewers were over 55 years old.

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Prioritize Brand Ideology for Conversions

How’s this for an eye-opener: “80% of CTV viewers said they are more likely to pay attention to ads from brands that are in line with their lifestyle and opinions, and 62% said it was important to buy from brands that align with their lifestyles and opinions.”

You’ve spent hours sketching out your ideal buyer personas, which should give you a clear picture of the values of your target audience, like an interest in supporting brands that prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Use that data to fuel your ad creative concepting, and front-load those ideological messages into your campaigns. When your audience can see themselves in your brand, you turn simple customers into brand devotees.

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The Diversity on CTV Takeaways

As the Magnite report proves, diversity is the key to winning on CTV. But just being on CTV is a win in and of itself! Why? Because CTV’s audience has utterly usurped audiences on traditional television. Here are a few high-level takeaways:

  • There are over 87 million ad-supported CTV households in the US. (The Trade Desk)
  • By the end of 2024, fewer than half of US households will subscribe to a pay TV service. (eMarketer).
  • 55 million households are CTV-only, with approximately 50 million watching ad-supported content (Magnite)
  • “CTV viewers were twice as likely to make a purchase after seeing a relevant ad than traditional TV viewers” (Magnite)

Learn more about the ins and outs of this high-growth performance channel: The A to Z of CTV/OTT

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