shifting ads from tv to digital

TV vs. Digital Advertising: Why A Blended Strategy Is Best

The shifting landscape of TV is creating an interesting dilemma for advertisers. TV seemingly remains an important part of the marketing landscape, as a recent survey by eMarketer indicates that the majority (62%) of US internet users still watch TV using a cable or satellite service.

However, with streaming services slowly creeping up on its lead and social media platforms launching their own networks, many advertisers are unsure how and when, or even if they should, transition their budget away from TV and invest more in digital channels.

Navigating The Gray Area Between TV and Digital

While there is no easy, one-size-fits-all solution when finding the balance between TV and digital, there are a few things that every brand needs to consider before deciding when and how to move forward.

Don’t miss opportunities to connect with a new demographic.

The case can be made that TV is a safe bet because it still gets significant viewership. However, as the graph below indicates, TV viewership is slowly giving way to other online streaming services.

TV data emarketer

Now, this isn’t a call to abandon TV advertising altogether. Rather, this is a call for brands to start thinking ahead of the trends and consider how they can leverage digital channels to connect with consumers beyond traditional TV.

There is the chance of significant lost opportunity should brands ignore digital, and not just with Millennials and Gen Z. In the long run, if too much budget is devoted to TV,  lost opportunities can be expected in every target demographic.

Not just when and how, but who?

In general, companies that shift their “traditional ad spend”, such as TV to digital tend to have a bumpy migration. One reason may lie in the fact that companies lack the personnel intimately familiar with the changing viewing trends and the resulting advertising needs.

In a recent study, 30% of respondents from a Harvard Business Review Analytic Services survey say their organization’s marketing professionals are very knowledgeable about the advertising opportunities associated with consumers watching programming on devices other than a television set.

That means 70% of organizations are not confident in this arena. A foundational element in making the transition from traditional to digital marketing is having knowledgeable marketers to manage the shift. Without that, you risk not having a clear grasp of what is going on with your campaigns.

For instance, take vanity metrics. If you emphasize vanity metrics such as likes and followers, you can easily lose sight of metrics that show how a marketing campaign delivers against your overall marketing strategy and business goals, such as revenue growth.

Why A Blended Strategy Is Best

When deciding how to budget your ad spend and debating on spending on TV, or spending on digital, the answer is simple: Both.

A recent study from the Advertising Research Foundation found that when you increase the number of platforms you advertise on, you increase your ROI by as much as 35 percent. That includes TV.

Additionally, there is an increasing attention-splitting between TV and digital devices. So, even if your target demographic is reportedly still watching TV at a strong rate, they are reachable, too, by digital devices. For instance, two-thirds of people aged 18-54 are likely to pick up another device during a TV ad break. This data proves that the question of TV over digital is not a binary decision, but rather a blended strategy.

People are watching TV, but their attention is divided. In the multi-screen world we live in, online ads are often more action-oriented and are distracting potential consumers from traditional TV media, often during the ad breaks. So, the trick becomes establishing a methodology to find the right mix of digital and traditional media.

The opportunity for incremental growth as a result of combined traditional and digital dollars is great for many demographics. The idea is not to shift people away from TV and into digital, but to advertise and measure against consumers who are already there.

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