TV 101: Proof That TV Works

Lisa Schaetzel

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Aug 18, 2020 2:16:00 PM

TV 101: Proof that TV Advertising Works

TV has been around for a long time, as has TV advertising. In days gone by, television was the only mass media channel that allowed advertisers the ability to leverage the use of sight, sound, and motion to engage their target audience.

Of course, with the advent of the Internet and digital marketing, that paradigm has shifted to a certain extent. Nevertheless, TV advertising continues to be a powerhouse medium for companies all over the world. For instance, research from Nielsen indicates that American adults watch an average of 5 hours of live and time-shifted television every day! 

Still, there are a lot of misconceptions about TV advertising. The following information discusses 5 myths around this marketing channel and what the facts actually show.

Myth #1: TV Advertising Doesn't Bring in ROI

With the proliferation of OTT providers, streaming services, mobile apps, and other forms of digital media, some marketers may feel that TV advertising doesn't deliver a high enough ROI to justify its incorporation into an overarching strategy. However, nothing could be further from the truth.

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In reality, television has consistently garnered the majority of advertising revenue for decades, despite challenges to its supremacy from new platforms. TV advertising continues to reach demographics that other forms of media simply cannot. It comes as no surprise that in 2018, TV advertising's average ROI equaled $6.50 for every dollar spent.

Myth #2: You Can't Reach a Lot of People

The exact opposite is true. While television may not have as much flexibility as OTT media or online marketing, it remains unsurpassed in the sheer number of consumers it reaches. For instance, as of Q1 2019, weekly TV reached 90% of Americans aged 18+. Among older demographics (ages 35+), that percentage goes up to 94%. The fact is, TV advertising still reaches large numbers of people on a daily basis.

Myth #3: You Can't Target Segmented Audiences

Some marketers look askance at TV advertising, especially when it comes to audience segmentation. They may tend to unfavorably compare television with digital marketing channels, such as organic search, pay per click, or social media advertising.

However, just because TV advertising doesn't always allow for precise segmentation doesn't mean that it doesn't allow for segmentation at all. In fact, TV advertisers can segment their target audiences in at least 3 ways:

  • Choice of channel: A news channel will likely have a much different audience than a channel that features cooking shows.
  • Choice of time: Older viewers may be more likely to consume daytime television, whereas younger members of the workforce may watch TV in the evenings or weekends.
  • Choice of program: A romantic movie will likely attract a different audience than a soccer match.

In these and other ways, TV advertisers can effectively segment their target audience for maximum ROI.

Myth #4: It's Too Expensive

Some marketing professionals labor under the impression that TV advertising is cost-prohibitive, and simply not worth the hit to the company's budget. While some TV commercials come with large price tags, the truth is that there is a huge variance in TV advertising costs. For example, a business could pay as much as $34 per 1,000 viewers for a local TV ad, or as little as $5 per 1,000 viewers, depending on the market and several other factors.

A high-quality TV commercial doesn't have to be extremely expensive. There are a number of cost-effective measures that companies can take to stay within their marketing budget, such as limiting the number of actors, shooting all or part of the commercial at the company's own office, or using animation. In addition, there are alternatives to developing and publishing a traditional TV commercial; sponsoring a TV show or segment often results in increased brand exposure at a reduced cost.

Myth #5: No One Watches TV

Even though some cable networks have seen a decline in viewership over the past several years, others have seen significant increases. Television remains unsurpassed in its reach, especially with regard to live events, such as news programs and sports. For instance, the Super Bowl in February 2020 attracted almost 100 million viewers, while the halftime show surpassed even that number with an average of 103 million viewers.

Not surprisingly, TV viewership boomed in the wake of COVID-19. A study from Comcast found that the average household was consuming 8 hours more television per week as of May 2020. Even though that increase in viewership has leveled out somewhat, the fact remains that now is an excellent time for companies to invest in TV advertising.

In summary, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions around TV advertising; yet, it remains a marketing powerhouse for forward-looking businesses. TV advertising brings in a high ROI, has an extensive reach, offers the capacity to segment audiences, and has a high-cost variance. In order to see the best results from your TV advertising efforts, consider working with an experienced media partner that can guide you through the process.

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Topics: TV Advertising