Do TV Ads Still Work? Survey Says…

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Confidence in TV ads has plummeted in the era of digital video, but a new analysis shows that TV ads are actually still the most effective advertising medium available when compared to numerous digital or offline channels.

“This analysis clearly demonstrates that TV ad effectiveness remains powerful and has not diminished, maintaining its leadership strength over other forms of media,” Howard Shimmel, chief research officer of Turner Broadcasting, said in a statement. Turner was one of the funders of the study, which was performed by MarketShare.

The analysis considered thousands of marketing impressions for top advertisers over the five-year period between 2010 and the end of 2014. TV ads outperformed display and social ads online, print advertising, and radio. TV delivered even more strongly for a few industries in particular. Automotive and telecom advertisers, for example, had six times as many sales from TV ads than from online ones with comparable spending.

And while online advertising is often touted for its ability to generate more accurate viewer data and therefore advertise with less waste, MarketShare found that there’s more than enough data available to optimize TV interactions for savvy spending.

Of course, smaller business in particular may be put off by the high initial spending that TV advertising requires and need to start with lower-cost inbound marketing; outdoor inbound advertising (such as signs) cost a full 80% less than TV advertising, and 60% and 50% less than newspaper and radio ads, respectively.

Given that Turner’s revenue relies heavily on the sale of TV ads, one could be a bit skeptical of the study’s results. But Horizon Media, which joined in commissioning the research, has no particular reason to favor one medium over another.

“We don’t have any skin in the game,” Eric Blankfein, chief of Horizon’s WHERE Group, told Advertising Age. “This is all about gaining a better understanding of the role media plays in conversion.”

The full report is available online from MarketShare under the title “Evaluating TV Effectiveness in a Changed Media Landscape” (an email sign-up is required prior to download).

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