7 Advantages of Television Advertising

Updated, November 5, 2020

Contrary to some current beliefs, television advertising still has many advantages for brands. Watching TV continues to be a popular pastime, especially now. Many Americans turn to TV as an escape from daily stressors due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Engaged fans tune in to live events like award shows and sporting events, to see their favorite music artists perform and sports teams play.

Television ads, when done well, can be persuasive and evoke emotional connections.  Whether you watch TV through an antenna, satellite dish, cable provider or streamed via internet-connected devices, we think television is still a viable choice when considering your media mix.  In fact, we’ve identified 7 advantages of television advertising to help you rationalize the investment as a part of your media budget.

1. TV Reaches Large Audiences

You can’t beat TV’s reach.  At this writing, 121 million U.S. homes, or 96% of all U.S. households, have at least one television.  TV is often the first medium we think of for reaching large amounts of people in a short amount of time.  While Teens spend, on average, seven and a half hours a week with TV, the traditional TV audience composition tends to be be older than on other media. It’s a great way to reach Gen Xers and Boomers with disposable income.

2. Viewers Spend More Time With TV

Research firm, Ipsos, reports that Americans are listening to music and watching more comedy, action movies and dramas to alleviate stress.  In 1Q ’20, live and time-shifted TV made up slightly more than one third (35%) of all time spent consuming media.  As the coronavirus spread throughout the U.S., the WFH workforce blossomed. 

The lack of commuting to and from work and added restrictions on public gatherings led to increased at home TV viewing and accelerated the adoption of Connected TV.  As of 3Q, CTV usage has remained above pre-COVID-19 levels as traditional TV viewing has normalized.  And TV viewing is still a communal experience.  At the start of the pandemic, co-viewing grew across broadcast, cable and syndicated TV viewing.

3. TV Attracts Loyal Viewers

Popular serial television shows still attract a loyal, attentive audience and news, in particular, continues to see growing audiences.  While news viewership has dropped since its peak in 2Q’20, the amount of time spent watching news is still higher than the year prior, continuing the trend seen in 2019.  A recent iab study finds 84% of consumers feel advertising within the news increases or maintains brand trust. The pandemic, social unrest and the U.S. presidential election has driven younger, diverse audiences to TV news, especially local news sources.

New research from Ipsos confirms that we are escaping to media, with our top 2 methods being listening to music (57%) and watching more videos online, streaming or TV (48%).

4. TV and Online Work Together

Television is vital for online businesses. A brand’s presence on TV can lend credibility. It exposes that brand to a much larger audience initially than online advertising. TV advertising drives all other forms of promotion.

Viewers may be using multiple devices while they watch TV but they are far from being disengaged with the content. Social media networks allow viewers a shared experience with friends simultaneously.

Both advertisers and TV programmers will continue to use TV to push viewers to engage with more in-depth content online. This helps nurture the relationship with the consumer and create brand loyalty. Online is helping to make TV a more efficient medium and this synergy will continue to increase with time.

5. Ad Formats Adapt to Improve Viewing Experience

After YouTube introduced 6-second bumper ads in 2016, TV networks began experimenting with them as well.  However, the percentage of these shorter ads has since declined. Advertisers appear to value longer ad formats where there’s more time to tell a story and increase brand awareness.  Compared to online display, there’s more tolerance for ads on TV. Agencies are using data to make creative decisions. Ads that mirror the viewer’s life experience or highlight features that help consumers adapt to their post-pandemic normal, are especially popular.  Networks have also been reducing commercial ad loads in an effort to improve the viewer’s experience.

6. Fishing Where the Fish Are Is Getting Easier

If mass reach is not your goal, targeting specific audiences in key locations with television is possible.  This method is improving all the time with the help of addressable advertising, connected TV and programmatically buying TV audiences. The once mass-reach medium has now expanded beyond using typical geo targeting, specific programming or niche cable networks.

7. TV Advertising Can Be Affordable

It’s all relative, but TV can be affordable if you know where to look and how to buy it. Can’t afford the big NFL game on linear network TV? Invest in key local markets instead using broadcast television.  Have a smaller budget but still want the large video experience of TV? Buy an estimated amount of sports impressions using Connected TV.

What’s Next for Television Advertising?

Today, brands are having to pivot and interact with their customers in new and different ways.  TV is one medium that continues to evolve. It’s offering viewers new ways to watch, and advertisers new ways to reach potential customers.  As the media landscape changes, we are always looking for unique and effective TV opportunities for our clients.  We’d love the chance to support your brand in these efforts.  Learn how we’ve helped other brands with their television campaigns. Then connect with us so we can get started working together!  

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