Seven myths about TV advertising – and why you shouldn’t believe them
First-time TV advertisers will need to see past stereotypes that it is costly, hard to measure and in decline. Here’s why those views are outdated.
Studies consistently show that TV is the most effective medium for building brand awareness and growing sales long-term, but it’s also often thought of as the preserve of big brands with deep pockets.
Thanks to addressable TV advertising, that’s no longer true and brands of all sizes can benefit. It’s time to update assumptions about the nature, role and impact of TV once and for all.
Here, Finecast’s senior director of engagement Joel Wilkinson debunks the myths and misconceptions about TV advertising.
1. Is TV still relevant?
Joel Wilkinson (JW): Absolutely. We just watch it differently today.
Some marketers wrongly view TV advertising as complex and hard to access, but it remains the most powerful, impactful and trusted media channel. Recent research from Finecast demonstrated that TV drives more attention than other platforms, and there is a proven relationship between attention, short- and long-term brand performance, and mental availability (when a customer thinks of a brand when considering a purchase).
Innovations such as addressable TV mean advertisers can precision-target their ads and deliver more relevant messaging. Brands can therefore spend their budget more effectively while reaching only their target audiences.
For example, women’s fashion brand Sweaty Betty might not be an obvious choice for TV advertising, but it used the medium for the first time in 2020 to boost brand awareness beyond its loyal fanbase. It created a product-led campaign targeting upmarket female fitness enthusiasts and paired addressable TV advertising with social, email and online video.
The campaign delivered a 10% rise in women likely to visit the website within the next month and an 8% jump in those likely to go to a store. Seeing the brand on TV led to Sweaty Betty’s target audience having an improved perception of the company and its net promoter score rose by 8%.
Some 45% said they expected to see a brand like Sweaty Betty advertising on TV.
2. Isn’t my brand too small to advertise on TV?
JW: This is a common misconception among smaller brands.
However, they needn’t be worried. By using the best precision data from the likes of Experian, Acxiom and Nectar, brands get an understanding of different households and utilise bespoke audience profiles, to reach the people they need to and cut through the noise. Addressable TV can create multiple layers of efficiencies and help brands minimise media wastage.
When What Car? was looking for a cost-effective way to build brand awareness and drive results for its car-buying platform, it chose addressable TV. This was the brand’s first venture into TV advertising, and it used postcode-level location data to build an exclusion map.
It still achieved national coverage, but its ads were precision-targeted to where there were dealerships. The benefit of this was that the brand could concentrate driving awareness of the product on those who could actually make use of the service – matching mental availability with physical availability.
What Car? received 87% more enquiries from the TV activity than from email, paid social and display ads combined. In fact, 69% of car buyer enquiries could be attributed to addressable TV.
3. Isn’t it difficult to measure the return on investment of TV advertising?
JW: Not at all, especially with the latest advances in the industry through technology and data.
A range of measurement tools can help brands to understand exactly what their campaign is delivering based on specific KPIs and business objectives, and advertisers can use self-service reporting tools to track a campaign across a range of media metrics. Alongside this, third-party measurement tracks how the campaign is being received by the target audience.
For example, oat milk brand Moma’s recent TV advertising campaign ended in October. Its brand tracking revealed that investing in TV helped it to grow at a relatively faster rate during the campaign period than its established competitors with bigger marketing budgets.
4. With the country entering a recession, isn’t this the worst possible time to start advertising on TV?
JW: It’s actually a very smart time to start advertising on TV because brands that continue to invest in a downturn tend to come out of a recession in a stronger position. Marketing investment, now more than ever, is critical to ensure brands stay relevant in the short term and reinforce their value in the longer term. And with budgets being scrutinised, every pound has to work harder, more effectively and more efficiently. Addressable TV has the targeting and measurement capabilities to reassure advertisers that they’re spending smart and driving real results.
One fast-growing challenger brand new to TV is authentic Italian food company Crosta & Mollica. Its distribution was scaling more quickly than its media strategy, and it needed to broaden long-term brand awareness and encourage short-term sales.
Many consumers were unaware of Crosta & Mollica, so its TV creative concentrated on communicating its brand values, provenance and products. Turning to addressable TV, the brand partnered with Finecast to identify ‘foodie family’ audiences within a short drive or delivery radius of a stocked retailer, utilising Nectar data.
The campaign encouraged existing customers to spend more with the brand and pushed new customers to the company for the first time. It drove a 6.6% incremental sales lift for products featured in the TV ads and a 3.2% rise in incremental sales at a brand level. The activity also provided valuable data to benchmark performance for future campaigns.
5. It’s all too complex, with so many ad formats. I don’t know where to start
JW: It can seem complex, but if an advertiser knows if its campaign objective is brand awareness or sales – or both – an expert partner will guide the marketing team to the best format for them.
As an untested channel, it would never be sensible to pour the entire marketing budget into TV, but if a brand is using email, digital and social marketing then they just need guidance on where TV sits alongside other channels and which TV format will bring the best return.
In combination with these, TV delivers uplift across all other channels alongside the impact it has itself. We would always recommend a blend; what exactly that is depends on the client, category and objectives of the particular campaign.
6. I can’t afford decent creative, and I don’t want my TV ad to be poor-quality and damage my brand
JW: Advertisers can be introduced to highly experienced creative agencies, who will develop the best ideas to match the business’s objectives and budget.
There are other commercial ways that addressable TV experts can add value to a campaign and make sure a brand creates the best advert it can with the budget available.
With new technology it is easier and more cost-effective than ever to shoot quality content. The use of green screens and the repurposing of content for different campaigns not only saves money but helps a brand’s advertising become more sustainable – a key consideration for brands in the modern world.
7. Won’t I lose control of my business and brand if the TV ads are too successful?
JW: Many smaller businesses worry they’ll become the victims of their own success if they grow brand awareness faster than they can scale distribution. But because of this, they often fall into the opposite trap of just speaking to the customers they know and trying to increase the frequency of sales within a limited pool.
Addressable TV advertising is about broadening a brand’s appeal and growing the customer base – and, subsequently, the business – through precision targeting.
A smaller brand may worry that it could not cope with a large influx of enquiries, but this is all about having control. Advertisers can test their campaign in certain areas to prove the concept and see what kind of uplift they might expect. A campaign can be optimised in different regions at different times. There are also options to pause and cap coverage. If a campaign is not delivering as expected, changes can always be made – with addressable TV the control is with the advertiser.
When you run addressable TV campaigns, you can be confident that not only will the targeting help you define and reach your target audience, but also that once the creative is in front of your ideal customer, it will have the greatest possible impact.
If you haven’t invested in addressable TV with Finecast yet, what are you waiting for? Make 2023 the year your brand gets on TV.