Why TV is the new pumping heart of media.


“The media landscape has dramatically changed but TV is still the dominate media. TV is the beating heart of a campaign”. Andrew Challier, Ebiquity

The recent Thinkbox event “TV Response – new rules, new roles” was a fascinating insight into how TV is changing by getting a lot smarter.

The key change is TV’s relationship with online, in the world of a direct response advertising and how different channels work so advertisers can optimise their budgets.

We can all recall the cries that “TV is dead, digital is the brave new world” from those in digital, but the tide is turning.

Ironic, as TV goes from strength to strength, the digital ad industry is in panic over it possible suicide – a constant tsunami of bad and irritating ads hs driven consumers to adopt ad blockers on a mass scale.

Ad blockers have already been adopted by 20% of UK consumers (higher in Germany) and threatens publishers with an end to ad income. Is it too late to reverse the trend? We only have to see the high adoption of TPS and MPS to see how consumers feel about bad marketing and there’s no going back once they are in.

By comparison, TV gets the highest rating for likeable ads, and consumers aren’t bothered by bad TV ads as much as online ads, and if you look at what ads people talk about, around the office water cooler or on social media, almost always it’s TV ads.

Whilst creativity is an important factor in the mix (Google preaches that an ads effectiveness is 70% creativity, 30% media/targeting) this conference was focused on the other aspects of media and it’s influence on other channels, especially digital. Though it may be a good point to highlight that the IPA discovered in a study that creative ads deliver 12x better results.

All media has its strength and weaknesses, it’s widely accepted that TV builds brands and status and is brilliant for emotional engagement, whereas digital is poor at brand building but cheap. But in an era of mass digital adoption, TV is now the great stimulator – from social to search.

Are brands really spending big budgets on digital?

We are constantly being told that digital ad spend is now overtaking spend on big media (TV, OOH, print, radio) but if you level the playing field that’s not actually the case.

Just looking at Alf /BRAD data (supplied by Nieslen) of top brands from multiple sectors, reveals a very different picture for paid media, TV is still the choice of most big brands.

As one marketer said, “TV works really well, you get a truck load of volume!”

10 of the top 15 FMCG brands have moved budget out of digital and back into TV over the last few years.

It is also ironic that top digital brands, Google, Amazon and Facebook are spending millions on TV, so they obviously believe in its power. There has also been a growing number of web brands using TV and outdoor like Airbnb.

In some case the escalating costs of PPC (known as digital heroine) makes TV a more attractive solution. The often under appreciated effect is that people stop using search and just find your brand. One brand saved so much money on PPC it offset the cost of the TV campaign.

Influencing search

It’s claimed that up to 69% of search is stimulated by TV because many of us are now watching TV with a second screen, and being curious creatures, we like to explore and act on impulse. As for the telephone, we really don’t call any more, Direct Line (that company that has that animated red phone) gets 80%t of its response via SEO.

But one of TV’s biggest influences is upon sales – in high street retail, online and direct, the numbers are impressive.

Short term vs long term.

One of the great things about TV is that it delivers short term (immediate response within 8mins), medium term (up to 3 months) and long term (up to 2 years). Whilst a retail brand may see an instant response, a car brand may expect to see 80% of its results after 3 months.


The power to sell

A GroupM study found that media accounts for on average 39% of sales in the short to medium term and that 33% of these media-driven sales are driven by TV advertising – more than any other communication channel. By comparison, paid-for online search created 22%. The study also showed that TV has far reaching, but often hidden, effects across the communications system.

This study also found that TV is responsible for driving an indirect response through online channels, generating 32% of media-driven sales via paid-for online search; 30% of media-driven sales via online display and 20% of media-driven sales via affiliate marketing.

Plus, TV is responsible for driving 44% of all media driven interactions for brands on Facebook (e.g. likes and comments).


Brand TV vs direct response TV.

Today all TV is in effect response led, it’s just some ads demand more of an instant response. Though some of the findings of a study suggest that conventional thinking about DRTV and it’s placement has changed, partly because we no longer call but go straight to digital.

The study also challenged the conventional wisdom of frequency over coverage – seems now we should be going for coverage over frequency.

Test, test and test again

The new ethos of TV is taken straight form direct marketing, test, refine, test, refine and keep testing. Vodaphone has been one brand that has exhaustively tested TV advertising and explored every option and parameter (they conducted over 100 tests) to a point that it now knows exactly how TV can work for the brand.


The challenges going forward

We need to look at the customer journey across all channels and link TV to all touch points. We need to be part of that journey was the message.

We need to make the important measurable, not the measurable important. There is a need to educate clients about what actually maters. Many still live in the old school environment.

We need more joined up thinking, for example TV ads now are extending into other channels like VOD, narrowcast and even targeted in bar media like Captive Media which targets Millennial men. Not to mention the possibility of an ad going viral (note the word ‘possibility’).

TV has come of age, it’s now more sophisticated, more accountable, more influential and more measurable. But the biggest challenge is not to become complacent, as it has been in the past, and to constantly reinvent and to keep up with the consumer.

We now live in an age where technology means the pace of chance isn’t measured in decades, or even years but in moments.



GroupM study reveals hidden effects of TV advertising