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Is TV advertising dead?


Recent studies report that TV advertising is having less impact now than ever before. Since the emergence of TV on demand and online streaming services,consumers now have the option to skip through traditional TV adverts which often results in missed brand exposure and marketing messages. Unlike traditional TV advertising, digital marketing channels allow brands to better select their target audience, allowing granular identification and targeting of certain demographics ensuring their message reaches the right people.

Despite the reduction in impact, TV advertising is still a vital part of the marketing mix– brand exposure, awareness and reinforcement all help to build an emotional connection with the consumer.

Why are streaming services becoming more popular?

People are becoming intolerant of adverts disturbing their viewing, even online, which is evident due to the high volumes of internet users installing ad blockers. Streaming services, like Netflix, answer the demand for instant viewing gratification as they do not rely on traditional advertising.They are funded by monthly subscription fees allowing users to watch TV and movies on demand, without commercials. However, it is apparent that there will always be a demand for regular television scheduling, because consumers tend to use online services to compliment traditional TV, not replace it.

Is there still demand for TV ads

The variety of new, digital advertising techniques is affecting how brands choose to promote their products and services. However, online advertising is still in its infancy and experimental, whereas TV advertising has been tried and tested. The consensus is that television ads are more trusted and reliable than online. Due to their stringed standards and higher cost, brands who choose to advertise on TV are likely to be perceived as more legitimate and real in the eyes of the consumer. This indicates that the demand for TV adverts is still present, however marketers must adapt to suit viewer behaviour.

Gaging the success of a campaign

As a rule, TV ads are expensive and time consuming to produce, however they aim to draw the viewer’s full attention with an effective combination of visuals and audio. This is almost unheard of in online advertising as it is easy for the consumer to be distracted by other on-page content, even on video ads.

Modern consumers absorb information much faster now and so it’s increasingly challenging to retain engagement throughout a standard 30 second ad campaign. As a result, it has become trendy for adverts to create emotion and capture the audience’s imagination and attention through selling a story, rather than a product. Christmas campaigns, like John Lewis’, are great examples of how story telling becomes a talking point, generating unpaid online exposure off the back of a traditional advert.

Unlike online advertising, where brands can track every click, conversion and lead, it’s difficult to gage the success of a TV ad campaign. The only way to determine its success is through increase in sales, which is likely to be a result of numerous factors in collaboration with the advert. Performance tracking online is a massively advantageous for marketers, as they can see exactly what’s working and what’s not. This has resulted in online ad spend seeing a dramatic increase.

Audience reach and engagement

Online ads provide the immediacy and relevancy that digital consumers crave. Adverts can be highly targeted based on demographic and can even be retargeted to increase customer return, a feature which is not possible with TV ads.  The lack of personalisation and engagement in TV adverts can be problematic, however they are the most successful way to reach large audiences in a short time. Generally, television ads are driven by large events and prime-time viewing (Olympics, X-factor etc.), however programmatic TV-ad buying is becoming more relevant. This allows brands to focus on the right audience at the right time, rather than focusing on show ratings, which can help with personalisation.

It is apparent that TV advertising is not dead just yet as it remains the most successful way to reach the masses and is still valuable for building and promoting brands. Online and TV advertising can co-exist and as it stands, each method is as valuable as the other. Omni-channel marketing, where brands establish a consistent message across all channels, including TV, is the best strategy to develop a well-rounded brand image.

About Jennifer Flood

Jennifer Flood, senior marketing director at tombola, focuses on acquisition for business, working with the team to develop campaigns for TV, SEO, Affiliate Marketing and insert distribution. Jennifer finds the ever-changing landscape and developments in consumer behaviour are what keeps her interested in the industry.

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