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Is TV advertising making a comeback?

Updated: Jul 17, 2022

Harvard Business Review says “yes”, eMarketer forecasts “no”. It's certainly interesting to review their perspectives.

📺 💻 First, some trends:

Digital advertising has been growing for many years driven by lower costs (originally), ability to target more precisely, and access to the younger, digital first generation on the platforms where they actually watch. As a result, Marketers have been shifting media $ from traditional (TV, radio, newspaper, events, outdoor) to digital advertising to grow their ROI.

Interesting, but not surprising, during the COVID lockdown in 2020, TV watching grew for the first time since 2011, with an uptake in TV viewership across all age groups (eMarketer) — BTW, Sales of TV devices grew substantially too.

🔮 Now, their forecasts:

eMarketer (Apr’22) forecasts spend on TV advertising to go down after 2022, primarily noting ongoing “cord cutting”, leaving less people watching TV on TV. They expect marketers to shift ad spend away from TV, both $ and as % share of total media ad spend (from 21.5% in 2021 to 15.5% in 2023).

HBR (Apr’22), on the other hand, shares why TV advertising will make a comeback and grow. Their key reasons include:

🤦‍♂️ Frustrating digital clutter: “As consumers are spending most of their waking hours online, it seems they are becoming increasingly numb to conventional digital advertising and engagement. They report frustration and negative brand association with digital advertising clutter …”

💰 Ambiguous ROI: “traditional media channels — led by TV, radio, and print — outperform digital channels in terms of reach, attention, and engagement relative to costs. This performance differential is amplified as costs of online advertising have increased, especially when accounting for impression, click, and conversion fraud — whereas the costs of traditional media have fallen.”

🎯 Tougher Targeting: 3rd party data restrictions are now limiting digital targeting capabilities

They also note: "“Consumer-facing companies are leading the shift, with B2C service companies predicting the largest increase in traditional advertising spending (+10.2%), followed by B2C product companies (+4.9%). Further, and somewhat ironically, companies that earn 100% of their sales through the internet are leading this inflection — predicting an 11.7% increase in traditional advertising spending over the next 12 months.”

So, what should marketers do?

As always, it's all about knowing your audience and leveraging the right platform to best convey the specific message relevant to your consumer's experience journey.

⚖ Don’t discard TV advertising, as it has a role to play, and digital has its limitations. Figure out the right balance of how to use TV and Digital content to complement each other (HBR has examples), in ways that grow your overall ROI.

So, how are you allocating your ad spend?


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