Why Marketers Should Make A New Year's Resolution To Buy More TV

The end of the year always marks a time for us to think about the year past, create plans for the future and make our New Year’s resolutions for what we want to change. While some experts have predicted the decline and demise of television advertising, I think marketers should make a resolution this year to buy more TV.   

We have heard countless times that TV advertising is simply not sustainable given the growth of online marketing, social, mobile and other forms of digital media. But even though digital and mobile are growing, nothing can match TV in terms of reach. When it comes to customer acquisition, the first screen is still the best screen, and that is why spending on TV ads in 2014 will outpace digital video by a factor of 10 to 1 and mobile advertising by a factor of 17 to 1, according to a study published in eMarketer. PwC has also recently reinforced the need to pay close attention to TV. That report stated that “despite the growth of digital media, TV advertising remains the place to be. Global TV advertising revenue is successfully responding to the rise of newer forms of digital media and will grow 5.5% over the next five years.”



A study by Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau (CAB) supports what I have been telling marketers when they come to me with questions about their marketing mix; it’s time to get into the TV game. CAB studied the TV investment of pure-play Internet brands during the past five years, finding a direct correlation between TV spend and Web site traffic and revenue. It’s why, according to CAB, pure-play Internet brands have increased their TV spend by more than one third over the past five years, investing over $4 billion on TV last year alone, as per the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau report “Cable Nation: What’s Driving Digital?”

For marketers that have focused heavily on digital, now is the time to take a much closer look at TV. It’s critical to the marketing mix, and with the right model and management, TV can provide an effective, trackable and scalable option.

TV and Digital Working Together

In the past, marketers might have spent ad dollars on TV to build their brands, or focused exclusively on digital advertising to stimulate transactions. Today, you no longer have to choose between brand building and direct sales. TV and digital can and should work together to help you build your brand and scale your business. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Consumers rarely focus on a single screen. The majority of people who own smartphones and tablets are using them while they watch TV. It’s important to know when and why people use their smartphones or tablets so you can create advertising campaigns that drive people to the Web, carrying the conversation from one screen to the next.
  • TV can benefit digital’s growth. Even as more attention is given to other screens, adults still spend an average of 4 hours and 28 minutes a day watching TV, accounting for 36.5 percent of their total time with media. Used correctly, TV can initiate the campaign and drive transactions through digital channels.
  • TV makes digital more effective. Digital advertising can only get you so far.  When combined with TV, you dramatically increase the number of people who see your campaigns, and they become more transaction focused. Campaigns that leverage television and digital can be more efficient and ROI is easier to measure.

Direct Response Makes TV More like Digital

Pure-play Internet brands are transaction-driven businesses, and it’s why they value campaigns they can measure and track. Direct response is the only form of TV advertising that can be measured the same way as digital advertising, integrating with other media channels to encourage a transaction. The ability to inspire consumer transactions and measure success is the reason why direct response makes TV more like digital. Combined with television’s broad reach, it’s clear why brands should make TV a significant part of their marketing mix.

Maximize TV Investment

The CAB study found that TV ads are primary generators of website traffic; beating magazines, newspapers, online mobile, word-of-mouth and PR. It also, found that traditional Internet brands that increased their investment in TV during the past five years experienced an increase in web traffic, as well as an increase in revenues.

To fully maximize your investment in TV and build campaigns that impact traffic and revenues, you must establish baselines; taking stock of your site visits and page views prior to campaign launch. You should be prepared to adjust your campaign by building algorithms that correlate time, expense, visits and views, which can then help you optimize future media buys and their impact.

One of the most important things I tell marketers is to measure daily. Taking regular stock of the analytics will make your advertising more efficient and help grow your business. By understanding what channels and ads are driving transactions, you can make adjustments to your media buys and adapt your strategy accordingly. With transaction-based reporting and results, justifying ad spend becomes much easier.

Transactional Brand-Building

The notion of transactional brand building fits perfectly with brands that want to scale their business using television. Beyond TV ratings, traditional TV advertising can be difficult to measure. Inherent in direct response, however, are transactions as advertisers use campaigns to drive traffic to a website, call a phone number or send a text message, making TV more like digital for measuring success. Brands no longer have to wonder what happens next when they run ads on TV.

7 comments about "Why Marketers Should Make A New Year's Resolution To Buy More TV".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, January 2, 2015 at 9:45 a.m.

    Many good points, David, however we should also note that many advertisers rely on TV to a greater extent than is necessary, in the process, suffering the diminishing returns effect as their campaigns wear out. It has been demonstrated many times that a more balanced media mix might be better in terms of ROI, but so far, nobody seems to heeding this advice. While I'm often critical of the wild and highly theoretical claims made by "digital media" advocates, if they, at long last, clean up their act------ especially on the visibility and attendant CPM pricing fronts----- then digital is certainly one of the most likely alternatives. Not to replace TV but to compliment it.

  2. Stephen Sullivan from xys, January 2, 2015 at 4:12 p.m.

    But you are not biased towards TV at all... LOL

  3. John Grono from GAP Research, January 2, 2015 at 5:20 p.m.

    Ed, totally agree .... +1. Stephen, Ed would be the least partial and most informed commenter across all of the media here on MediaPost ... -1.

  4. John Grono from GAP Research, January 3, 2015 at 1:16 a.m.

    Let us know your conversion rate when you are done Mike.

  5. Steve Bottomley from sudaqo, January 3, 2015 at 5:31 a.m.

    Surely, the rule should be, buy the right media for the job in hand test, monitor and adapt to make sure the mix remains effective. Most people lead multi-media lives so, it may be appropriate for many brands to do so as well. Coming from a multi-media background, I have seen most media types used well and badly. I would be wary of anyone who tells me their medium is best without specific info on the task.

  6. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, January 3, 2015 at 6:54 a.m.

    Thanks for that, John. Stephen, if you take the trouble to buy and read our publications----"TV Dimensions" and "Intermedia Dimensions" you will find that we pull no punches in our evaluations of any of the media, including "legacy media" and, especially, "Linear TV". My comments on Media Post about programmatic buying , ad viewability, comparative CPMs, etc. are merely an attempt to keep things in balance in response to the barrage of largely unanswered and highly speculative posts favoring digital media.

  7. Chris Wood from Xerox, January 5, 2015 at 9:50 a.m.

    Great article. I'm grey haired enough to remember the internet bubble when online evangelists claimed that they don't need any other channel / medium to build audience. Strange how businesses mature and realise TV can, and does drive traffic to their site! Totally agree with Steve B and support Ed's position. Media planning should take into account the role for communication - not every piece of communication is intended to generate a direct response - whether thats via legacy ATL or via digital. But when that is the goal, there needs to be a robust methodology for measuring and tracking the cumulative effect - not last click attribution

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