Ad Effectiveness: TV Plus Digital Significantly Outperforms Digital Only

Adding television to digital media improves overall ad campaign performance compared to digital-only — including significantly higher time-spent with ads, brand recall and purchase intent. 

That’s the main takeaway from a just-released, panel-based study from Comcast Cable’s sales division, Effectv, and MediaScience. 

For the study, conducted last September, Effectv and MediaScience assembled a panel of 147 U.S. adults, with their gender ratio reflecting the U.S. population. Participants were all subscribers to TV through cable, satellite or telco, and users of Facebook, YouTube or both. 

Participants were shown ads on YouTube only, Facebook only, YouTube and TV, and Facebook and TV. The ads shown were for a mix of known and unknown (fictitious) brands in the automotive, retail and home improvement categories. The digital ads were viewed on mobile. The television experience was designed to simulate linear TV viewing, with ads shown within top-rated cable programming. 

Participants’ responses were measured with biometrics, facial coding, eye tracking and survey questions.

3X Greater Time-Spent, 2X Brand Recall 

When exposed to ads on both TV and digital, versus digital only, viewers spent three times more time with ads, and their brand recall more than doubled. TV-plus-digital drove also drove a 15% lift in purchase intent, according to the study report. 

In addition, TV produced a “halo effect,” causing digital ads and their brands to be perceived as more appealing than when they were viewed without accompanying TV ads. 

When a digital ad was preceded by a TV ad, perceptions of brand attitude saw a 12% lift. Digital ads were also perceived to be less intrusive, annoying and boring after TV exposure. 

While TV was shown to improve consumer response to all brands, the lifts in key metrics were more pronounced for  unknown brands than known or established ones. 

Participants said that seeing a brand on TV, even if unknown, “legitimized” the company for them, whereas they expressed skepticism about unknown brands they saw only on digital channels.

The significant improvement in ad effectiveness and brand performance seen when TV and digital were paired is in part a factor of lower attention to ads in digital environments, according to the researchers. 

In the study, 94% of viewers watched the TV ads, compared to 78% in the digital environment. TV ads were watched 2.7 times more than digital ads. 

“As consumers’ attention is divided between various screens and experiences, advertisers have more options for where to allocate budget,” John Brauer, executive director of data, insights and innovation, Effectv, tells Digital News Daily. “Many advertisers have shifted more attention to targeted digital video campaigns that focus on short-term sales activation outcomes. Our hypothesis was that this strategy alone is not effective without the contribution of traditional TV advertising designed to build brand strength across the whole category.” 

The results show that consumers’ trust in TV as an information source makes it “an essential piece of the puzzle, building brand trust, dramatically improving results, complementing digital channels, and making advertising dollars work harder,” he sums up. 

More on methodology: The study was designed to determine statistically significant differences in exposure to a range of brands on digital only and digital with a linear TV exposure. 

All participants saw TV, YouTube and Facebook, with the order of Facebook and YouTube rotating. Test ads rotated across the three platforms, so that some brands were seen once on a single platform, and others were seen twice/on two platforms. 

Viewers were always exposed to all eight brands on digital (four in YouTube and four in Facebook). However, four of the eight brands were also shown on TV. This allowed researchers to isolate the impact of the brand equity TV spot in combination with the digital spot, versus the digital spot alone. In addition, digital effects were separated out for a short-form video (YouTube) environment versus a social media (Facebook) environment. 

5 comments about "Ad Effectiveness: TV Plus Digital Significantly Outperforms Digital Only".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. Tom Tyler from GCTVTexas, September 23, 2020 at 1:51 p.m.

    Thanks for the link to the study! 

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, September 23, 2020 at 1:54 p.m.

    Very interesting, but this is a "forced" or "invited" ad exposure study which does not come close to replicating the normal situation for either medium. In reality, less than 50% of the program viewers will "watch" an average TV commercial not 94% and I expect that the corrsponding figure for digital is much lower than 78%. While I happen to believe that an average TV commercial has more impact than an average digital ad the only way to demonstrate what this study is attempting to show is by doing it the hard way and measuring the effects of TV and digital ads, plus combinations of same, in actual, real world exposure situations, taking into account whatever limitations are there---such as TV commercial zapping, people leaving the room, the fact that a certain percentage of the digital "exposures" never happen due to fraud, etc.

  3. John Grono from GAP Research, September 23, 2020 at 6:52 p.m.

    Thank you Karlene.

    It's a tad odd that they only balanced the n=147 by gender and not by age.   I think age would be a more explanatory factor than gender.   For example, if it was n=140 for 65+ and n=7 for Under 65, the results would be very different if it was n=140 Under 35 and n=7 35+.

    I'll download the report later, but there seems to be an incongruity in the large differential between Digital and TV+Digital which in high for Time and Brad Recall, but a small differential for Purchase Intent.   Any ideas before I read the report?   It could be that in 'Digital mode' people think "Buy", whereas when in "TV mode" they think "Brand" (which I have always suspected as the case but I had no evidence).

  4. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, September 23, 2020 at 7:52 p.m.

    John, the "report" does not really tell you all you need to know to evaluate its findings.For example, I assume that those exposed only to ads on FB and YouTube "saw" each brand's ad twice---but this isn't explained so it might be only once. And those who were exposed on FB or YouTube plus "TV" saw one digital and one TV commercial---I guess. In which case the comparison is fair. If, however, the digital-only groups  got one exposure per brand while the TV plus digital group got two ads per brand---one a TV commercial, the other a digital ad ---that raises serious questions---right?Anyway, while I happen to agree with the general findings, I'm not at all sure that this study  is robust enough ---for a number of reasons---to support the strongly stated conclusions.

  5. John Grono from GAP Research, September 23, 2020 at 8:18 p.m.

    Point taken Ed.

    It had crossed my mind as to frequency and content duration and their impact on 'Time'.   But I was going to check the report first.

    I think the design and approach is good, so I encourage the initiative - I'd just like to look at the detail.   That incogruity in 'Purchase Intent' might shine some light.

Next story loading loading..