5 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Underestimate TV Advertising


Marketing Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for Marketing pros

Monday, October 12, 2020

Television advertising may now be seen as a relatively traditional medium, but that doesn't mean it's no longer relevant or effective, as some of the latest trends and statistics show.

Article 4 Minutes

In the modern marketing environment - a space increasingly driven by innovation, rapidly changing customer expectations and cutting-edge technologies like augmented reality and geo-targeting - television advertising might seem a little behind the times.

But there's plenty of evidence to suggest TV advertising is alive and well. It's a medium that can offer brands a valuable combination of long-established appeal and openness to change.

Here are five reasons why you shouldn't overlook television ads when planning or updating your marketing strategy:

1. It's effective

There's no bigger incentive to use a particular advertising medium than feeling confident that it will deliver results, and research has shown that television has lost none of its power to command viewer attention.

A study by Professor Karen Nelson-Field of the University of Adelaide used an 'attention app' to gauge levels of engagement with ads on TV, YouTube and Facebook. The app measured:

  • Active viewing (the user looking directly at the screen)
  • Inactive viewing (the user not looking at the screen)
  • Passive viewing (the user looking at the screen but not directly at the ad, such as when scrolling through a Facebook newsfeed)

The results showed that television achieved more than twice the active viewing levels of YouTube and 15 times that of Facebook.

This effectiveness isn't lost on marketers, with earlier research by WARC highlighting an increase in the percentage of marketing campaigns that are TV-led.

2. It's familiar but evolving

The fact that television is such a well-established medium means it can offer a sense of reassurance and familiarity to customers, which can be a big plus for marketers. In the US, it's estimated that adults watch nearly five hours of live and time-shifted TV every day on average.

However, what's even more encouraging for advertisers is the change and evolution taking place in this space. While people watch a lot of TV, the way they do this is changing. The number of viewers watching internet-connected TV services in the US is forecast to increase from 195 million in 2019 to 204 million - 60% of the population - by 2022.

More than half of US households now subscribe to some sort of paid video streaming service, compared to only one in ten in 2009. This underlines the scale and pace of change occurring in the television environment, which opens up new opportunities and channels for brands to engage with their customers.

3. Diverse audiences

Digital spaces like social media are constantly expanding and providing access to new audiences all the time, but it would be a mistake for marketers to assume that, in this tech-driven environment, TV doesn't enable connections with broad and diverse audiences around the world. Quite the opposite, in fact.

As was noted on World Television Day 2019 (November 21) - the theme of which was diversity - TV is "truly entrenched" in the lives of a vast array of societies, cultures and individuals around the world.

"With millions of stories at their fingertips, viewers are invited to an endless journey of discovery. This is also the trusted environment advertisers are seeking more than ever. We invite everyone to once again celebrate our medium around the world - now and for many more years to come." - Katty Roberfroid, director general, egta.


4. High-quality content

It's often said that we're currently living through a new 'golden age' of television, defined by a surfeit of high-quality, critically acclaimed TV shows with high production values and big-name stars.

This is good news for marketers, mainly because the new sense of prestige and respect television has enjoyed since the turn of the century has driven up viewing figures and boosted exposure for brands investing in TV advertising.

Furthermore, the ever-increasing quality of content that people get to enjoy via their television screens creates a positive environment and context for advertising. People feel joy and excitement when watching their favorite shows, which unlocks opportunities for brands to make positive emotional connections through their ads.

5. New technologies

It's clear that, while it may be an old medium (relatively speaking), television is moving with the times and reaping the benefits of tech evolution and innovation.

This is evident in the range of methods that are now available to help brands overcome common challenges in TV advertising, like measuring results and finding a reliable attribution model.

Cutting-edge tools enable businesses to gauge the success of their TV ads based on brand recall, sales, store visits and other metrics, according to Keith Eadie, vice-president and general manager of Adobe Advertising Cloud.

Eadie also highlighted how technology is driving the TV medium forward when it comes to ad buying. Businesses can now use dashboards to bring their TV ad buying up to speed with the programmatic approach, which has had a transformative impact on online display advertising.

As long as it continues to evolve and benefit from changes taking place in the broader marketing space, TV will undeniably have an important part to play in many brands' advertising strategies.

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