An intro to advertising to cord cutters

Before we dive into who’s cutting what and how to reach them, let’s look at the numbers. Here’s what ​Roku​ found in 2019.

  • 7 Million​ people ​have cable​.
  • 8 Million​ people ​used to have cable​.
  • And ​6.4 Million​ people ​never had cable​.

This tells us a couple of things. 1) While cable is still big, it’s lost tens of millions of viewers, and 2) Cord Cutters shouldn’t be the only segment we talk about; we should also think about Cord Nevers, those who never had cable in the first place.

That said, more than 10 million people have left pay TV since 2012, with 3.5 million households cutting the cord just between March 2018 and February 2019. So, let’s get on with it.

Who’s got sharp scissors? Families. Parents that are 35-54 years old. They are educated, working professionals. And they have 2-3 kids. According to a recent study by ​FuboTV​. Essentially, they’re your average TV viewers, seeking value and relevance.

But cutting the cord doesn’t mean disconnecting.  Unsurprisingly, they are replacing pay TV for streaming subscriptions. Most cord cutters have at least three streaming subscriptions, and that count continues to rise as more and more companies launch streaming services. And for the Cord Nevers, they not only spend their time watching paid streaming services like Netflix and Disney+. They’re also watching video content on YouTube and other social platforms.

So how do we reach them? Here’s the good news: Most Cord Cutters are open to relevant advertising because that’s what they’re used to seeing, especially at a local level. Some streaming services offer advertising similar to pay TV, like Hulu. You can target your ad as you would a TV spot–regionally or by other demographics.

Mobile shouldn’t be ignored. Think about how you watch what you watch. Your smartphone is probably in your non-remote hand, and your iPad might be on your lap. Advertisers must think about mobile messages. Social media can be a great way to reach different audiences. Most cord cutters are on Facebook, and most cord nevers are on platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.

Preroll is another way to meet them where they’re at. When people cut the cord, they get their news from their phone or laptop. So, consider digital buys through news sites. Cord Nevers are busy consuming endless content on YouTube. You can run your message at the top of their next “How To” rabbit hole.

Don’t be scared of scissors. This all might sound intimidating. But it’s actually good news for advertisers. The digital era has made it easier to collect data on audiences and segment relevant messages to them.