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Is TV Advertising Still Effective, Relevant, and Worth It?

by Brian Colling - May 24, 2017

The answer is yes. It has become a popular opinion that TV advertising, like many other traditional forms of advertising like Radio Advertising, Billboard Advertising, and print advertising (newspapers and magazine), are on their way to being extinct. But this is far from the truth! If anything, TV is redefining its importance to audiences and advertisers with massive reach and familiarity as a trustful source of information, news, and entertainment.

Let’s define what television is NOT. Hulu, Roku, Disney+, Netflix, and Apple TV are not examples of TV. If it is a streaming source to view TV or movies, that does not accurately represent linear TV. It’s not TV when advertisers are spending money on ads attached to TV streaming on the internet. Buying commercials on streaming services is really is a form of digital advertising disguised as traditional advertising, call Over The Top (OTT) advertising.

Four reasons why TV advertising should still be an important part of your marketing mix.

1. Live Events

US adults are watching TV an average of 33 hours per week.

People who enjoy watching sporting events and/or other live events mostly watch them on TV versus watching on a streaming service. The reach that TV has is still powerful despite technological alternatives for viewers.

Live sporting events are viewed all at once by large audiences, and the TV ads are not skippable, which is why advertisers highly covet advertising during big live events like the Super Bowl.

While TV viewership for the Super Bowl dipped (111.3 million in 2017 v. 111.9 million in 2016), the numbers were still much higher than the streaming audiences of 1.7 million in 2017 or 1.4 million in 2016.

The Super Bowl and other large live events like the Oscars or the Grammy’s allow advertisers to take advantage of the large mass audiences that watch and engage with each other through various social media platforms. There is a massive opportunity for national and local advertisers to participate in live events to gain new prospective customers in all markets.

A multi-touch attribution approach through integrated marketing channels using a traditional source like TV and digital like Google AdWords and social is the recipe for a strong results-driven campaign.

2. Older Audiences + More TV Watching = $$$$$$$$

The average American watches at least 5 hours of live TV per day!
The number of viewership drops for teenagers and young adults but increases with adults 25+. This is important to consider when advertisers decide how to reach their target demos with the right messaging with the right advertising vehicle.

For example, Baby Boomers makeup 50% (76 million) of the US population and control 70% of all disposable income. Depending on the TV advertising campaign, messaging, and product, this bit of information might be vital when discussing the best ways to reach the appropriate audience.

Furthermore, here’s the average weekly TV usage for ascending age groups, according to Nielsen:

Ages 2-11: 24 hours, 16 minutes
Ages 12-17: 20 hours, 41 minutes
Ages 18-24: 22 hours, 27 minutes
Ages 25-34: 27 hours, 36 minutes
Ages 35-49: 33 hours, 40 minutes
Ages 50-64: 43 hours, 56 minutes
Ages 65-plus: 50 hours, 34 minutes

More adults are making purchasing decisions based on seeing something they saw advertised on their TV. As people get older, they move out of their parents’ homes and start their own families, resulting in more TV watching. As their behaviors and lifestyles start to evolve, and their disposable income increases, their purchasing power increases, enabling the buyer’s journey.

3. Fragmented Attention Span

Reports say that 70% of people use mobile devices when watching TV, and 87% of 16 to 34-year-olds use a mobile device while watching TV. TV is still a powerful driver to consumers when introducing a new brand or product to the market.

Since most viewers have their 2nd or 3rd screens (laptop and/or mobile device) nearby them while watching TV, they are more than likely to search for either the commercial they saw or the product if it’s relevant to them.

TV can directly impact engagement through social and search campaigns when similar language is used in both types of campaigns.

TV advertising and digital campaigns’ synergy can help boost online conversions and help advertisers track their TV commercial performance using hashtags or whichever social driver is used.

4. Every Major Brand Uses TV Advertising

Google, Apple, Facebook, McDonald’s, and IBM all use TV advertising in their marketing mix. Why would that be? Because TV is still the best branding play in advertising. If TV is good enough for those brands, it should be good enough for you to reconsider putting TV spots back into your marketing strategy.

A greater experience is created for the consumer when several advertising forms are well integrated to influence a purchase. The challenge that advertisers have with traditional advertising forms like TV advertising is measuring and tracking the following engagement activities with prospective consumers. The ability to track KPIs after watching a TV commercial is becoming easier with the right tools to manage micro and macro conversions.


For more on Colling Media’s TV advertising services, visit our TV Advertising page.

Related article: Top 10 Rules for Billboard Advertising



Photo by Ajeet Mestry on Unsplash

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