TV is an effective medium for reaching a broad audience. Ninety-seven percent of households in the US have at least one TV, and 84% of households have more than one TV. To put it mildly, advertisers can reach a mass market through television, but it’s not always a targeted audience. When the TV is on, the family gathers around. In addition, programs that have wide appeal to males will also attract a large audience of females, and vice versa. For example, the TV audience for college football is 61% male – a heavy skew, but still 39% female. And Oprah? 23% of her viewers are men.
With this in mind, we looked at advertising effectiveness across female and male demographics. Table 1 shows the top 10 categories that skewed female, i.e., those categories that had the highest differences between the average Ace Scores among females and the average Ace Scores among males. Table 2 shows the top 10 categories that skewed male. These 20 categories are drawn from the 76 Ace categories that aired at least 25 unique ads between January 1, 2011 and April 30, 2013.
We did not find many surprises in Table 1 – Cosmetics, Skin, Hair and Baby, among others, populate that list. Traditional household gender roles are also apparent, with categories associated with cooking and cleaning rounding out the list. The average Ace Score was 70 points higher among female panelists compared to male panelists across the 1,200+ ads in these 10 categories.
Along the same lines, Table 2 shows the categories that skewed male. We were surprised to see that Mortgage and Investment both landed on the list. The component scores showed particularly wide skews in Desire and Relevance for these two categories. The other categories that skewed male included Beer, Video Games, Liquor and TV – in short, all of the accoutrements of a well appointed man cave. The average Ace Score was 43 points higher among male panelists compared to female panelists across the 2,000+ ads in these 10 categories.
Marketers are certainly wise to the challenges of using TV as a medium for highly targeted campaigns. In fact, ad volume trends may already reflect a shift away from television — and towards online media — among categories that benefit from gender targeting. As shown in Table 3, total ads aired in 2012 declined by 11% year-over-year within the 20 gender-skewed categories. But the other 56 categories more than picked up the slack, increasing their ad volume by 10%. This resulted in total unique ad growth of 5% in 2012.
In future blog posts, we’ll look at other dimensions of demographic targeting, including ethnicity, household income, and geographic region. As always, the data promise to shed light on key trends affecting the advertising landscape in 2013 and beyond.