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

by Brian Colling - May 24, 2017

The answer is yes. For the past several years, it has become a popular opinion that TV advertising, like a lot of other traditional forms of advertising (ex. Radio Advertising, Digital Billboard Advertising, and other forms of print advertising, such as Newspapers and Magazines) 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 to obtain information, news, and entertainment.

First, let’s define what television is NOT. For example, Hulu, Roku, 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. This really is a form of digital advertising disguised as traditional advertising.

Below are 4 undeniable reasons why TV advertising should still be an important part of your marketing mix.

1. Super Bowl (and other 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 very strong 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 advertising during big live events like the Super Bowl is highly coveted by advertisers.
  • While TV viewership for the Super Bowl dipped a little this year compared to last year (111.3 million in 2017 v. 111.9 million in 2016), the numbers are 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 for 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 both national and local advertisers to be a part of these live events to help gain new prospective shoppers in all markets. A multi-touch attribution approach through integrated marketing channels using a traditional source like TV and digital like paid search 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 take into consideration when advertisers are deciding how to reach their target demos with the right messaging with the right advertising vehicle.
  • For example, Baby Boomers make up 50% (76 million) of the US population and they 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 parent’s homes and start their own families which result in more TV watching. As their behaviors and lifestyles start to evolve and their disposable income increases their purchasing power gets stronger and this enables the buyer’s journey.

3. Fragmented Attention Span

  • Reports say that 70% of people use mobile devices when they’re 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 do a search on either the commercial they saw or the product if it’s relevant to them.
  • TV can have a direct positive impact on engagement on either through social and search campaigns when similar language is used in both types of campaigns.
  • The synergy of TV advertising and digital campaigns can help boost online conversions and help advertisers with tracking 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 forms of advertising are well integrated with one another to help influence a purchase. The challenge that advertisers have with traditional forms of advertising like TV advertising is being able to measure and track the following engagement activities with prospective consumers. The ability to track KPIs after a viewer watches a TV commercial is becoming easier with the right tools to manage both micro and macro conversions.

For instance, at Colling Media, we have created our own customized dashboard, The Hub which allows transparency and accurate real-time reporting that will illustrate the relationships between all campaigns. If an advertiser would like to know the effect their TV advertising had on website traffic or conversions, we are able to show the relationship between the time of day their TV commercial ran and when people visited their website / filled out a form / made an appointment, etc. This can be done by creating a unique URL for a landing page, call-tracking, promo special offer codes, and hashtags for example.

How many TV’s are in your household? The author of this blog post owns 3.


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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