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Gen Z Loves CTV — Will Gen Alpha Follow Suit?

Gen Alpha's Viewing Habits - Blog

Advertisers are not surprised that Millennials and Gen Z prefer streaming content over watching linear television. What is more surprising is that these consumers don’t mind streaming ads — as long as they are high-quality or perceived as relevant to their interests. More than half say CTV ads are more relevant than what they watch on cable.

But what of their fresh cohort, Gen Alpha? What’s their basis of comparison? They’re so young they may not remember linear TV or embrace analog media like radio. Gen Alphas belong in the still emerging 2010 – 2025 bucket and, similar to their Gen Z predecessors, seem as comfortable online as off. For example, their favorite channel is, well, not really a channel at all. It’s YouTube

A recent study shows 86% of kids aged 2-12 watch video content on YouTube and from a Connected TV. And, of course, they also watch YouTube on their phones. eMarketer says of Gen Alphas, “They are drawn to authenticity, interactivity and gamification.” These tea leaves aren’t challenging to read: While interactivity may baffle some seniors, digital natives seem willing to exercise that freedom. 

United We View 

For generations, children have watched TV often in the presence of a parent or guardian — a dynamic known as co-viewing. In many homes, CTV watching continues the “family time” tradition. A Mntn study found that “The younger an audience is, the more likely they are to co-view, and families with children have the highest rates of co-viewing.”

But as in prior generations, you can expect Gen Alpha youth to discover independent viewing and the pleasures of streaming TV as they slide into their high school years. Of course, they’ll also watch YouTube on a SmartTV, especially when the censors, aka their parents, do something else. 

We know this because Gen Alpha are the offspring of Millennials, and that’s a significant indicator of what’s to come. “Gen Alpha will develop very similar preferences as their millennial gatekeepers — because it’s all they know,” explained Heather Dretsch, a marketing professor at North Carolina State.

Gen Alpha may never set new TV consumption records. “Gen Z loves their movie marathons and are up for longer ads, while millennials prefer quick bites of content,” reports Mntn. On the other hand, “Gen Alpha has been described as tech-empowered, not dependent,” asserts eMarketer. Perhaps it will just take time. They’re coming of age at a time when many parents express concern about limiting “screen time.” Like Gen Z, Gen Alpha has TikTok and an engaging array of media options. 

Following Gen Alpha’s Path to Purchase

Did we mention that Gen Alpha will become the world’s largest generation, with more than 2 billion people in a matter of years? Axios attributes this finding to Mark McCrindle, a social researcher who “coined ‘Generation Alpha’ and determined its bounds.”

While Gen Alpha loves YouTube — especially content in partnership with influencers — the in-store shopping experience is no less important to them than to their elders. What do Gen Alphans enjoy purchasing? You probably didn’t have skincare products on your Gen Alpha bingo cards, did you? A prototypical campaign may involve a mobile to in-store pattern with messaging on YouTube (CTV) or TikTok, possibly from an influencer, tracked to a Sephora in a nearby mall. 

Viant applies several technologies to tie CTV streaming ads to in-store purchases, empowering marketers to measure and optimize Gen Alpha campaigns that cross online and offline channels.

  • Viant’s Household ID solution allows marketers to target multiple connected devices within the same home, including TVs, smartphones, tablets, laptops, smart speakers and more. 
  • Marketers can also collect, track and report on actionable data — and optimize that data with Viant’s Data Platform — allowing them to understand their customers better and optimize their campaigns as needed.
  • With Viant Conversion Lift reports, you can measure online and offline conversions and optimize your media across Lift & Incrementality, Device, Daypart and Geography. 
  • Viant also tracks cross-channel activity in its TV vs. Digital report, allowing advertisers to quickly understand the total reach for users exposed to TV, digital or both channels and the incremental lift resulting from the digital campaign.
  • Viant enables marketers to optimize campaigns based on direct sales and market share data from our integrated partners: Catalina, IRI or NCSolutions.

Contact your Viant representative to learn more about how to reach the burgeoning Gen Alpha audience.


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