4 Facts About TV Advertising That Prove it Works

Janet Calvo

Janet Calvo About The Author

Oct 29, 2020 3:00:00 PM

4 Facts About TV Advertising That Prove it Works

Television is one of the most profoundly influential sources of entertainment on the planet. From eye-watering TV show budgets to intense, world-gathering events like the World Cup and the Olympics, television shapes our culture and plays a critical role in our society. So, naturally, TV ads have incredible pull with audiences.

In fact, TV ads are so powerful that cigarette companies are not allowed to advertise on television. The last cigarette ad was displayed on January 2nd, 1971 — making it decades since cigarette companies have been able to influence consumers on TV.

Fortunately, the rest of us can continue leveraging the power of TV ads to promote our products and services, engage our audiences, and build meaningful relationships with our consumer base. So, why should you put ad spend towards this decades-old entertainment medium?

Believe it or not, TV is still the single most impactful advertising medium. Here are 4 facts that prove TV advertising still works.

1. People Are Consuming More TV Than Ever

It can be tempting to discredit TV in the modern age. You may think that social media or digital video platforms like YouTube have diminished the impact of television. And, of course, major companies like Google have tried to sway marketers with YouTube-focused research. Despite all of the wonders of digital media, television is, far and away, the most consumed type of content on the planet.

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The average U.S. adult is watching nearly five hours of live and time-shifted television each day. That's around 77 days per year that the average person sits in front of the screen. Of course, this catches marketers' attention. TV ad spend hit $72.4 billion in 2018, and it's expected to grow to $75 billion by 2022. For a medium that's been a staple of marketing for years, this steady growth tells us one thing: TV is here to stay.

2. People Are Engaged When Watching TV

Television may be the only medium where ads are an integral part of the viewing experience. Over one hundred million people watch the Super Bowl, and over 20 percent of them only watch it for the ads. In other words, over 20 million people tune in to a channel simply to watch TV ads. TV ads work so incredibly well that Loctite — a little-known glue brand owned by Henkel — spent their entire marketing budget on a single Super Bowl TV ad in 2015. And, believe it or not, they — and every related glue brand — saw a massive sales lift due to that single commercial.

As a practice, think about how many digital ads you remember. Then, think about how many television commercials you remember. From Apple's 1984 commercial and Budweiser's "Whassup?" bit to Old Spice's "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like," there's a good chance you remember TV ads far better than you do digital ads. There's some science behind that. CMO studied eye-tracking on individuals watching television and YouTube. They found that TV commanded twice the active viewing of YouTube and 15 times the active viewing of Facebook.

Simply put, TV ads are more engaging than their digital counterparts, and they probably always will be. Luckily, TV ads also spur digital reactions. Each of those commercials above has millions of digital views.

3. Both OTT & TV Are Growing — Together

Linear television isn't the only advertising player in the television game anymore; over-the-top (OTT) video (e.g., Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus, HBO Max, etc.) providers are steadily gaining ground. Luckily, OTT is ripe with ad potential. According to IAB, 73% of OTT viewers choose ad-supported video options.

Linear TV is a fantastic way to grab attention, brand effectively, and engage your audience, but it has some drawbacks. Fragmented time slots make it challenging to segment and target, and there is a very real generational gap that permeates linear programming. Fortunately, ad-supported OTT creates another layer of value for TV advertisers. 

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With OTT, you can segment, target, and reach a larger percentage of the younger generation. So, it's not too surprising that 59% of marketers are expecting to increase their data-driven linear TV and addressable TV budgets.

Of course, the real value happens when you combine OTT with linear TV and digital audience data. At Meredith Nashville, we help marketers combine TV advertising with OTT/data-driven linear TV. Linear television and OTT shouldn't be competing for your ad spend. They're both incredibly powerful advertising mediums that require careful planning, attention, and data-driven insights to successfully navigate. We can help you combine data with powerful creatives to capitalize on the value of both platforms.

4. TV Provides The Best Profit Overall

Engagement, branding, and attention are all vital parts of the advertising machine, but everything comes back to ROI. Luckily, TV provides the best overall ROI of any advertising medium. According to Thinkbox, TV ads generate an average profit of 71% — with an average short-term profit rate of 62%.

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Not only does this conquer print and radio, but outpaces digital video. In other words, TV is still the best profit-generating advertising medium, and that's why TV ads are growing despite an industry trend towards digital-first mediums.

TV is Still King

With more people tuning in than ever before, unparalleled engagement rates, best-of-breed profit generation, and the rise of OTT programming, TV advertising continues to lead the charge in the ad mix. But TV ads are tricky. Traditional creative and targeting methods don't work anymore. You need data-driven campaigns that leverage the buyer's journey to reach the right audience at the right time. 

Determining the perfect mix of OTT and linear ads to reach your audience with the best possible ROI is an art form in itself. By working with a media partner, you can develop a world-class TV advertising strategy that combines proven creative methods with modern data-driven insights.

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