Television advertising continues to generate better business outcomes than other online and offline channels — a finding that makes its role within a marketing media mix of enduring value, even as digital strategies ramp up.
This comes with a word of warning for brands: because of TV’s impact as a driver of online engagement, significantly decreasing TV spend can cause serious repercussions for the efficacy of online marketing tactics.
A study from Neustar, Evaluating the Effectiveness of TV Advertising in the Modern Media Landscape, commissioned by Turner and Horizon Media, found that TV ads consistently outperformed other options from 2010 to 2016 with up to seven times the relative lift (impact) over paid search and five times better than display advertising.
Looking across hundreds of models to assess the relative lift of TV, online display, print and radio across the automotive, movie, consumer electronics, financial services, consumer packaged goods (CPG), quick service restaurants (QSR), retail and telecommunications industries, TV drove more sales and new accounts than paid search, print or online (display and social), meaning that the effectiveness of TV advertising is essentially unchanged despite the explosion of online media over that time.
The report also noted that TV has a significant cross-product halo effect on the brand’s portfolio outside the one being featured in the advertisement, with one brand attributing 35% of sales to non-advertised products. Meanwhile, removing TV and implementing a standalone digital strategy has an average negative halo effect of -18% on ROI.
However, the report noted that marketers should look at TV as just one part of a greater picture. And brands agree.
“TV, at least in the foreseeable future, is always going to have a place in big brands’ media mixes… Every medium has a place in your mix,” David Christopher, CMO at AT & T Mobility, said back in February. “We think about it as video, not TV. That’s how we buy it and how we think about it.”
To this end, marketers can use advanced analytics to optimise TV spend more effectively, the report noted, and they shouldn’t limit this to digital marketing. Leveraging high-frequency data to glean quicker performance insights can help advertisers reallocate resources by TV type, network, creative and day part to significantly impact results.
“Because TV advertising drives measurable real-time actions such as inbound calls and online searches, marketers can correlate these interactions to ad exposure as key data points for evaluation,” the report explained. “Using these indicators, we are able to recommend a very detailed TV budget reallocation across network, day part, ad length and pod position. In one example, putting these new insights into effect drove a nearly 3% sales increase for the brand.”
To better understand the role TV plays in an optimal marketing media mix, consider the fact that if the same telecoms advertiser had reduced its TV spend by 20%, then reallocated the funds to online display, the advertiser would have experienced a 7% decrease in sales.
There are several reasons for the decreased effectiveness of media plans that overemphasise digital, but the single factor that is most apparent is the loss in consumer reach, according to the findings.
“While online and mobile have grown tremendously in popularity for advertisers, TV remains the best giant megaphone to communicate a message to the masses,” the report concluded.