Monday, 23 February 2009

Apparently, TV isn't dead after all

Saw a good article today on TV effectiveness from Advertising Age, which brings together a few different studies showing that the demise of TV might have been overstated.

Lets have a look at the central claim that TV is as 'Effective as Ever'.

MMA has run a meta-analysis across marketing mix models dating from the early 1990s and concluded that the effectiveness of TV per Rating Point (GRP) is not dropping. They also found that 1/3 of brand-name Google search queries are actually being driven by off-line media spend - so some of that online ROI is actually (partly at least) offline ROI.

Interesting study, but should we be surprised by the result? I don't know about you, but I'm not.

I was asked by a media planner not long ago to show that TV was still right for their 'youth' brand as the client was pushing hard to swap TV budget for online (the question is always asked this way round, rather than 'could my client be right?')

Two things jumped out straight away. One, it wasn't really a youth brand - the client had put far too much emphasis on a segmentation - and two, the best way to reach a young audience quickly is still TV. Young people have embraced new technologies faster than older demographics, but in the UK at least, the single media consumption activity that they do the most is to watch TV. A quick TGI run confirms it, but I won't post the chart up here as its not my company's blog.

The second reason why it's not surprising that TV is holding up, is the key part of the effectiveness statement. Effective at what? Selling product. Measured how? Per GRP.

So if you put the same amount of TV in the top, you get the same sales out the bottom. This could change if the reach of TV had dropped dramatically, so a lot fewer people were watching a lot more TV. It hasn't. Alternatively, you'd get less sales per GRP if TV ads were being watched, but had somehow mysteriously stopped working. These studies say not.

Before you get excited, do TV GRPs for your target audience cost more or less than they did in 1990?

What the MMA study hints at, and where analysts are starting to find new questions, is how you can best use new media to amplify TV, not to replace it.

Another study mentioned in the article states that

"more than half the advertisers (16 of 29) in the study still lost money by running their TV ads"

Including a long term effect? It would be good to know.

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