Gender Differences in TV Viewing Helps Marketers Improve Targeting

Recently, Barnes & Noble released a report showing that college students believe TV to be the most effective ad format. When that narrow age range is expanded to include all Millennials, those between the ages of 18 and 34, TV ads still matter. But, it’s important for marketers to understand the types of TV shows that appeal to each gender.

Nielsen says that young women are drawn to TV shows that are upbeat and aspirational. When they are looking for humor, Millennial women appreciate anything that’s off-​beat but not mean spirited. And with respect to character development, young women viewers are seeking to identify with the protagonist, especially in a happy situation. For young men, the picture is a little different. As they are channel checking, programs that are action oriented or involve extreme competition are likely to catch their eye. Marketers can best reach young male viewers by promoting their products on shows with slapstick or sarcastic humor. Men can also identify with ‘normal’ guys who must deal with ‘exaggerated situations’ in a TV show.

Nielsen data also show that women spend more time in front of  all video formats than men. The difference adds up to approximately 11 more hours per month viewing video. TV still comprises the largest portion of viewing time at 137 hours and 39 minutes. On the Internet, women watch 7 hours and 42 minutes of video each month while they turn to their phones for 5 hours and 11 minutes for this purpose.

Joe Stagaman,  EVP, Advertising Effectiveness Analytics for Nielsen, encourages advertisers to use the differences between genders to their advantage instead of ignoring them.

To learn more about the characteristics of TV audiences for shows ranging from Cartoons to Science Fiction, check out the Television & Video reports available through the Audience Interests & Intent section on the research store at Ad​-ology​.com.

[Source: Gender Divide: Reaching Male vs. Female Millennials. Blog​.nielsen​.com. 14 Sept. 2012. Web. 27 Sept. 2012] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.