A Boost in Watching TV and Outdoor Activities Could Help Advertisers

BY Rachel Cagle
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You’ve just gotten off a long day of work. You either return home from the work or leave the room you have your home office set up in and flop down on the couch, as the feeling of having an evening’s worth of freedom begins to destress you. What do you do next? If you’re like most Americans, you’ll be watching TV.

According to a study by Gallup, Americans’ top two favorite ways to spend their evenings off during the COVID-​19 pandemic are spending time with their family (33% of U.S. adults agree) and watching TV (23%). And there may not be a difference between the two in many cases, says Gallup. “In some households, the two activities may be intertwined, with families spending time together watching TV shows or movies.”

Until this year, fewer Americans had been naming TV as their favorite evening activity with each passing year since the 1960s. The percentage had gotten to as low as 16% in 2016. However, with social distancing and temporary business shutdowns limiting what Americans can use their free time doing, watching TV is gaining popularity again.

This may not be a temporary trend either. “The proliferation of new television apps and services in recent years may be a factor in the latest figure in drawing more Americans to spend time watching television,” says Gallup. Watching TV may become a favorite American pastime again.

Outdoor activities have also seen a change for the better this year. Americans who say that getting outdoors/​walking/​going to parks is their favorite way to spend an evening hasn’t risen past 1% since 1960, reports Gallup. But now it’s up to 5% since it’s one of the only ways Americans can get out of the house during the pandemic.

Both of these changes are opportunities for advertisers. For the first time in ages, American consumers are more likely to pay attention to both TV and outdoor ads in their pandemic boredom. AudienceSCAN data on AdMall by SalesFuel can give you insight into how effective each of these advertising mediums has been at inspiring your client’s target audience to take action even before the pandemic set in. And now they’ll be more effective than ever.