IAB Identifies Audience Motivations & Mindsets as Signals Required to Better Inform Targeting Strategies for Digital Video

IAB Identifies Audience Motivations & Mindsets as Signals Required to Better Inform Targeting Strategies for Digital Video

Delving into how consumers watch digital video—beyond dayparts, demos and/or perceived personas—IAB released research that highlights how consumers motivations and mindsets inform their receptivity to advertising. The study presented at the 2019 IAB Digital Content NewFronts, entitled “A Day in the Life of Video Viewers,” shows that consumers watch video on different screens throughout the day—and do so with multiple motivations—which impacts their receptiveness to advertising. As marketers look to unify TV and digital campaigns, the research provides valuable information about how advertisers can use the medium more effectively to connect with consumers.

“A Day in the Life of Video Viewers”

Motivation wise, nearly 90 percent of weekly online video viewers say that they stream video to relax at the end of the day and during their free time—the highest percent of any motivation/mindset. The next most common viewing motivations are planned viewing (76%) and taking a break (75%).

Motivations/mindset groupings in the study include:

Motivation/Mindset Description
Relaxation To relax at the end of the day/during free time
Appointment I have planned to watch alone
I have planned to watch with others
Spontaneous I stumble-upon or get pulled into watching
To spontaneously view/share with others
To catch up on popular/viral videos
Escapist To take a break during the day
To pass time while traveling
Educational To learn a new skill
To help me with a project/task
Informative To get ready for the day

Viewers are significantly more attentive to both content and ads when watching videos for educational/instructional purposes, and 40 percent say they pay more attention to ads in this mindset. In addition, consumers are highly attentive to ads when they are watching video as they prepare for the day.

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Overall, digital video viewers are accepting of advertising and communicate clear ad preferences:

  • Nearly 80% of digital video viewers accept free content as a value exchange for watching advertising
  • 56% of video viewers say that they prefer and are more open to contextual ads
  • On average, 37% of viewers surveyed reported an increase in ad receptivity when exposed to ad targeting that they prefer (e.g., Behavioral, Contextual, Mindset, Demo)

Learnings by device Include:


  • Mobile phones are the ‘go to’ device for all ages for Informational, Spontaneous or Escapist viewing, with ages 13-17 more likely to use a smartphone for any viewing mindset. As ad attention is higher in these states consider shorter, vertical video and/or native ads.

Connected TV:

  • Viewing occurs on the big screen across all age groups, typically when appointment viewing or in a relaxation mindset, where TV shows and movies are preferred and no strong ad relevance preference is shown. Consider general advertising.


  • Educational/instructional videos, where consumers are most open to ads, rank highest on desktop for all age demos. Consider contextual or informative (e.g. product learning) ads.
  • Adults 35+ over index on spontaneous viewing on desktop—consider delivering sequential horizontal ads when consumers are binge viewing clips

“The IAB is constantly working to improve the video marketplace and educate buyers and sellers on opportunities and what works best,” said Anna Bager, Executive Vice President of Industry Initiatives, IAB. “Digital video isn’t traditional TV, and today there are many more viewing options. As consumers jump from different content and different screens throughout their day, their openness and receptiveness to advertising changes, and what it takes to successfully reach them shifts as well.”

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“The industry recognizes that the on-demand and always-on nature of media consumption requires a more nuanced approach to connecting with the right audience. We see this ‘day-part to mind-part evolution’ as key to a more relevant and effective way of working,” said Eric John, Deputy Director, Video Center of Excellence, IAB. “We hope this study will lead to innovation and greater rigor in both audience research and the data and methods used for pairing content, consumer mindset, and advertising.”

“A Day in the Life of Video Viewers” was released during the IAB NewFronts Insights Symposium in New York City by IAB Research and Measurement and the IAB Digital Video Center of Excellence.

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