With the meteoric rise of digital marketing and social media in recent years, some marketers believe that traditional TV advertising is about to take one final bow before riding off into the marketing world sunset.
Don’t believe it. TV advertising isn’t going anywhere.
Sure, TV viewership is declining, and the numbers back that up. With so many streaming and pay-TV options available, the number of cable TV subscribers in the U.S. has decreased from 98.7 million in 2016 to 72.2 million in 2023. Television audiences are more fragmented than ever, and brands, in an attempt to keep up to where their audiences are going, are changing course and turning to CTV and OTT advertising.
But it’s a little premature to be sounding the death knell for traditional TV advertising.
In fact, almost half of Americans still subscribe to cable or satellite TV, and traditional TV ad spending is projected to reach $61 billion in 2023.
As brands look to build trust with consumers, TV advertising remains one of the most effective marketing mediums. It’s a tested-and-true marketing strategy that reaches a broad audience and drives brand awareness and credibility with viewers.
Here’s a closer look at the state of TV advertising in 2023 and why it should be a crucial part of your brand’s marketing strategy:
Jump to a Section:
- Is TV advertising still an effective marketing strategy?
- Broad marketing: Fishing with a net, not a spear
- Types of TV Marketing
- Example: Jill Martin’s Steals and Deals
- How consumer brands leverage TV advertising/marketing
- Example: Procter & Gamble “Thank You, Mom”
- OK, a Super Bowl ad is out of reach, but…
- Creating a successful TV advertising strategy
- Example: ThirdLove “Focus on Fit and Comfort”
- Our approach to TV advertising
Is TV advertising still an effective marketing strategy?
The short answer? Yes. You can put your bottom dollar on it. Television advertising is the second-most profitable advertising medium in the U.S. It’s not going away anytime soon.
Sure, audiences are more unique than they’ve ever been, both in how they consume content and how they want to be reached by brands. Millennials and Gen Zers are changing the marketing landscape. However, despite the popularity of digital marketing and social media, Americans still spend an average of 5 ½ hours watching broadcast or cable TV every day.
Television still holds unparalleled advantages over other marketing channels:
1. Wider audience reach:
Broadcast TV still has the highest reach among all platforms. Yes, higher than social media and email. Television advertising reaches a vast audience quickly and strategically, making it the ideal medium for brands looking to build brand awareness and recognition.
2. High impact:
Television advertising offers brands the opportunity to create a strong emotional connection with viewers through storytelling, music and messaging. Hands up to those of you who had a tear in your eye watching those Budweiser puppy commercials during Super Bowls. That’s why they are still talked about. It’s the type of high-impact advertising that creates a lasting impression with viewers and can transform a brand into a legacy.
3. Trust and credibility:
Trust remains the most vital currency for TV advertisers, and television is still viewed as more trustworthy than other forms of advertising. A TVB survey found that local broadcast news is still the most trusted platform among viewers. When it comes to trustworthiness, consumers are more likely to trust the brands they see on TV.
4. Targeted advertising:
Times have changed. Brands no longer have to send the same message to an entire nation. Advances in technology mean that brands can now target their television advertising to specific demographics and interests. This is called targeted advertising, and it is one of the most effective strategies in marketing today. The right message to the right audience at the right time.
5. Television advertising yields a higher purchase intent among viewers:
The TVB study showed television commercials’ impact when viewed on a larger screen vs. a mobile device. Ads shown on a larger screen showed a 2.2 times higher unaided recall and a 1.3 times higher purchase intent among viewers. In other words, the larger the screen the commercial is viewed on, the more effective it will be.
Broad marketing: Fishing with a net, not a spear
As brands look for marketing strategies that offer the highest ROI, many are turning to a broad marketing approach, quickly pushing a single message to a wide audience.
It’s like fishing with a net and not a spear.
Broad marketing is the antithesis of targeted or niche marketing but is used by brands that feel the broad strategy will bring in higher returns.
A textbook example of broad marketing? Television advertising.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the advantages of a broad marketing strategy:
1. Increased exposure:
One of the primary benefits of broad marketing is increased exposure, which is the most apparent advantage of television advertising. By reaching a broader audience – see our “fishing with a net” analogy above – brands increase their prospect list and the odds of landing a big catch.
2. Getting the most for your advertising buck:
Using a broad marketing strategy and leveraging television advertising can improve your bottom line. By reaching a wider audience, brands can benefit from economies of scale rules, including lower advertising rates for expanded reach. Sure, television advertising isn’t the cheapest form of marketing, but it can provide the highest ROI to your marketing efforts.
Broad marketing strategies such as an all-out television advertising blitz can be both flexible and adaptable, meaning brands can change their messaging and targeting as consumer behaviors change. The only constant in life is change, and television advertising allows brands to restructure their strategies on the fly.
4. Reaching a new audience:
Television advertising is an effective way for brands to reach new markets and expand their customer base. It’s simple math, isn’t it? By targeting a broader audience, brands reach potential customers they may not have considered in their original marketing strategy.
5. Builds brand awareness and trust:
Television exposure helps build brand equity by creating a lasting impression through visuals and messaging. Think of the world’s most popular brands. Nike. Apple. Amazon. Starbucks. When brand storytelling is compelling and seen on television advertising repeatedly, viewers will remember it when they reach for their wallets. It’s why the world’s best brands are so effective at creating a connection. They tell their story with emotion and empathy. When it touches the heart, it’s tough to forget.
Types of TV Marketing
When Bulova ran a 10-second advertisement prior to a Brooklyn Dodgers game way back in 1941, it changed television – and advertising – forever.
Since that day, television advertising has been a constant in homes around the world.
In 2023, TV advertising is much more complex, with many options. Here are a few of the ways brands can leverage TV marketing:
1. Linear Advertising / Television Commercials (TVC):
The most common form of TV ad, typically running 30 or 60-second spots shown during commercial breaks of television programs. Ads can be targeted to specific audiences to build brand recognition and power a lift in sales.
2. Product placement:
This type of TV marketing involves products being featured prominently in movies and TV shows. Remember Wayne’s World and their over-the-top play on product placement? A tongue-in-cheek example, sure, but it’s proof how effective this strategy can be.
If you’ve got deep pockets, why not sponsor a TV show or sporting event? It’s not cheap, but if you’re willing to pony up some cash, it’s a unique way to reach a larger audience and, as the sponsor, connect with them in a proprietary way.
4. Infomercials & shopping channels:
Ever had insomnia and flicked on the TV at 3:00 a.m.? Who hasn’t? Infomercials are longer-format advertisements that typically run half an hour or more and are a proven direct response (DRTV) marketing strategy. An extremely effective plan of attack if you are promoting products that require explanations or product demonstrations.
5. Branded content:
Dove. Apple. Red Bull. These are just a few of the many brands that do branded content, and do it well. This is an effective form of TV marketing where brands create entertaining or emotional content that builds a bond with the viewer. When done right, branded content can drive loyalty, boost audience engagement, and go viral.
6. News broadcasts:
Loyalty is still a thing, and local news viewers tend to stay loyal to their stations and anchors. That is why advertising on local news is an effective strategy. Viewers have a comfort level and familiarity with their favorite news station, so any product or commercial promoted on the station will get the viewer’s attention 100% of the time. It’s live, it’s trusted, and it’s been effective for decades, which is why satelitte tours (SMTs) are so popular with brands.
Example: Multiple Brands – Jill’s Steals & Deals
You don’t have to break the bank to promote your product on TV. There are several strategies that marketers and PR agencies implement to reach a broader audience at a budget-friendly cost. Examples include satellite media tours, news stories, and dedicated product segments such as NBC Today’s “Steals & Deals.”
Hosted by influencing powerhouse Jill Martin, Steals & Deals has featured THOUSANDS of products over the years. Don’t think news segments have the power to sell your product? In 2019 alone, Martin helped bring in $60 million in e-commerce revenue.
More than 3 million viewers watch Steals & Deals, and it is a proven sales driver, with one segment bringing in $5 million in revenue in just 24 hours. It proves what a dependable, media-savvy spokesperson can mean for brands.
Key takeaways for your brand:
- If you don’t have the budget or available resources to create and distribute your own television commercials, you can look at other options such as satellite media tours.
- A trustworthy spokesperson that relates to your audience can drive awareness and sales of your product.
- Local news and morning show viewership have increased since the start of the pandemic. Piggyback on that momentum and leverage viewers’ trust in their local broadcasts.
Like any marketing, TV advertising is not a one-size-fits-all strategy. The effectiveness and ROI of your strategy depends on several factors, including campaign goals, target audience, messaging, creative execution and brand equity. A strategy that works for one brand may not work for another. As always, it’s best to test and analyze the effectiveness of your TV marketing strategies to determine which works best for your brand.
How consumer brands leverage TV advertising/marketing
It’s not surprising that TV ads for this year’s Super Bowl LVII sold out despite the $7 million USD price tag, the highest in Super Bowl history.
People tune into the Super Bowl. In fact, more than 113 million watched Super Bowl LVII in the U.S. alone, making it the third biggest TV program in history.
Why are big brands so willing to pony up millions for a 30-second spot? Because the game provides cultural relevance on a scale unparalleled by any U.S. event. Wide reach. High engagement. Brand association. Creative freedom. Viral potential.
It’s why many legacy brands are willing to spend a good chunk of their marketing budget on a Super Bowl ad.
Sports is king in TV advertising.
In fact, according to the Sports Business Journal, live sporting events made up a staggering 94 of the top 100 telecasts of 2022.
Of the top 20, 19 were NFL games. Only the State of the Union Address kept the NFL from a clean sweep.
As we mentioned above, the demise of the linear broadcast platform may be a little exaggerated. And you don’t have to invest millions in North America’s premier sporting event to have an impact on viewers.
Example: Procter & Gamble – Thank You, Mom
There’s an old marketing saying that states, “When you market to everyone, you’re marketing to no one.” Well, Procter & Gamble might have proved this adage wrong with their prolific “Thank You, Mom” integrated campaign, which debuted at the 2010 Winter Olympics.
This emotionally charged campaign created by ad agency Wieden + Kennedy told the story of how the unconditional support and love of a mother helped Olympic athletes reach the pinnacle of their respective sports. While mothers comprise the ideal target audience for P&G, the emotional campaign tugged at the heartstrings of millions worldwide during the Olympics, one of the most-watched sporting events on the planet.
“Thank You, Mom” proved how valuable creating an emotional connection with your audience can be. Generating $500 million in global incremental P&G sales, 76 billion global media impressions, over 74 million global views, and an impressive 370 million Twitter interactions, “Thank You, Mom” stands as one of the most successful global campaigns in P&G’s 175-year history.
As the “Proud Sponsor of Mothers,” P&G was able to shroud its Olympic sponsorship, connect with its audience, and create a genuinely ubiquitous campaign applicable globally.
Key takeaways for your brand:
- For a truly successful television campaign, focus on the connection between your product and your audience.
- Timing means everything when it comes to marketing on television. Deploy your next television campaign when your audience is watching. This can be the Olympics, Sunday Night Football, national holidays, or even Black Friday.
- Television broadcasts to a broad and diverse audience, so ensure your message has broad appeal.
OK, a Super Bowl ad is out of reach, but…..
Obviously, not every brand has the budget to leverage their advertising spend on a sporting event, the Oscars or the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. But as we mentioned above, positioning your ad to run at the right times can deliver high ROI for your campaign.
Here are some examples:
1. Seasonal trends:
Depending on your brand and the product or service you offer, you can target viewers during certain times of the year. Consider timing your campaign around seasonal trends such as back-to-school, Black Friday, spring cleaning or the can’t-miss holiday season. These seasonal trends often see a surge in consumer spending and attention, so it’s a perfect time for brands to advertise.
2. New product launches:
If your brand is launching a new product or service, a broad marketing strategy featuring TV advertising can get the word out to a lot of people in a hurry. It’s the perfect way to create a buzz about your new product.
3. Market conditions:
The world’s most successful brands know how to read the market and run ads when the conditions are ideal. By focusing their TV ad spend during periods of economic growth or when consumer confidence is high, they are capitalizing on favorable conditions for maximum effectiveness and ROI.
4. Audience viewing habits:
Brands need to consider when their target audience will most likely be watching TV. For example, if their audience is young adults, they may want to invest in TV advertising during primetime hours when this demographic is most likely watching.
Creating a successful TV advertising strategy
As mentioned earlier, TV advertising isn’t the same across-the-board strategy for all brands. Instead, brands must take a strategic approach built around their target audience and the goals of the campaign.
TV advertising remains a powerful, high-value strategy and, when done right, can drive brand awareness, engagement and substantial increases in sales. The right campaign can transform a brand.
Here are some key elements to consider when mapping out a plan:
1. Set clear goals:
Like all marketing initiatives, brands must set goals. Without clear, attainable goals, your campaign is at a disadvantage before you even get started.
2. Develop a clear message:
Want to get the most ROI from your campaigns? It’s all in the messaging. Be clear and concise with your message, and make sure it resonates with your target audience. The messaging should be consistent with your overall brand messaging and voice. Make sure the messaging is memorable, emotional, impactful and, most importantly, speaks directly to your audience’s needs.
3. Be creative in your brand storytelling:
Think outside the box and tell your story in a creative, powerful way. Don’t just connect with your audience; connect with them on a deeper level that makes your brand hard to forget. Brands should create ads that don’t feel like ads. The creative should tell a story, evoke emotions, and create a lasting impression. We’ve said it before, and we’ll repeat it: when it touches the heart, it’s hard to forget.
4. Select the right TV programming:
To get the most out of your TV advertising spend, brands have to choose the right programming that reaches their target audience. Do your research, and find out what, and when, your audience is watching. You can create the greatest spot in the history of advertising; if your target audience isn’t watching when it airs, does it even matter?
5. Measure effectiveness:
Like all marketing efforts, brands need to track and measure their TV advertising campaigns to see what is working and what is not. By analyzing metrics such as reach, engagement and conversions, you can assess your campaign’s impact and make adjustments on the fly.
Example: ThirdLove – Focus on Fit and Comfort
You don’t have to be a multi-billion-dollar conglomerate to achieve great results with television advertising. Rising stars can find their success by diving into an expanded market approach. Need proof? Look at what online bra retailer ThirdLove accomplished with the ad agency Quirk.
Founded in 2013 by Heidi Zak and her husband, David Spector, ThirdLove’s primary business objective was to provide quality intimate apparel directly to consumers via online channels. Trying to keep up momentum by acquiring new customers, ThirdLove set its sights on the broader market that television can provide.
ThirdLove‘s strategy focused on OTT and CTV advertising, featuring their ads on platforms like Hulu. The company found that site visits from search increased by 71% and direct website visits increased by 44% due to TV ads. They also saw a 65.6% uplift in users’ likelihood to participate in ThirdLove’s Fit Finder quiz, an assessment to help shoppers find a correct bra fit.
ThirdLove was quickly hooked on TV and quadrupled its television media investments within months, helping to scale its brand beyond the reach of social media.
Key takeaways for your brand:
- Direct-to-Consumer brands looking for some extra oomph should step out of their comfort zone and craft a television marketing strategy to reach larger audiences.
- New to a market and need to stand out? Focus on your differentiation, such as ThirdLove‘s unique half-sizes for bras.
- You don’t have to focus on linear television. Over-the-top (OTT) and Connected TV (CTV) have had widespread adoption across the world.
Our approach to TV advertising
At Parent Tested Parent Approved, we are driven to promote brands we work with through an effective, engaging TV advertising strategy.
Our annual satellite media tour is turnkey marketing for your brand. This strategy allows for your brand spokesperson, Sharon Vinderine, to be interviewed by media outlets across the country in a single day, effectively increasing reach and engagement. Sharon, who has been called a “dynamic expert and product guru who shines on TV”, is an enthusiastic, media-savvy brand expert with more than 300 TV appearances.
Satellite media tours are an effective way to get your brand in front of a broad audience. In a survey of brand and marketing professionals, only 3% said they planned to cut back on SMTs.
Why? Because they work.
Our approach is simple. We use a broad marketing approach, getting your brand in front of many eyes as possible in the shortest time period. Using creative storytelling and clear messaging, our media blitz reaches a nationwide audience, ensuring your brand gets in front of the right audience, with the right message, at the right time.
We offer a strategic, cost-effective approach to TV marketing that allows our partner brands to build awareness and recognition, drive an increase in sales and create lasting impressions with their target audience.