TV ads need more accountability

FACT: It has been projected that U.S. television advertising revenue will total 71 billion U.S. dollars, while by 2022 the forecasts see a modest increase to 74.9 billion U.S. dollars. When it comes to national television advertising – this sector has experienced a relatively upward trend in spending. By 2021, national TV ad spend was set to reach a total of 51.26 billion U.S. dollars, compared to 39.27 billion U.S. dollars a decade earlier. 

There’s nothing quite like the power of sight, sound, and motion in building an emotional connection with audiences. So it’s little wonder why television remains at the forefront of traditional advertising but are TV ads really driving consumers to buy your product?

 Americans watch a lot of television. In fact, adults in the U.S. are watching nearly five hours of live and time-shifted television per day on average, which is equal to more than 77 days per year. (Source: Nielsen)

That might be good news right but does your TV ad actually lead to someone buying your product? That’s a question which a lot of agencies and marketing executives constantly duck.

First, you need to ask yourself a basic question. “Will my TV ad drive people online to look for more information or will the level of awareness lead to increased purchases?

In the case of ads for automakers, I would suggest that nobody is going to see an ad on TV and run out to buy a vehicle. They will, of course, go online to your website to learn about the vehicle and its options/cost.

But what about ads for beer or other grocery store items? I could make a significant case that people won’t go online to learn about frozen pizza or a new candy bar. In fact, I would bet that 98% of all TV ads don’t drive direct sales.

Too many marketers are focused on awareness, reach and frequency when they should be focused on the purchase funnel and buying experience. What good is TV advertising for a new product when the experience, at retail, is really lousy?

In an ideal world, every product has great visibility and shelf space but we don’t live in an ideal world. Retail stock help doesn’t care how much you spent in marketing your product they just want to get it on the shelf.

What about online?

Does your website really lead to conversion or are you using raw traffic numbers to make yourself look good?

Take Liberty Mutual insurance. Their latest commercials with an Emu are supposed to get us to buy their insurance but online there is a Facebook group called “Liberty Mutual Sucks” along with a Twitter hashtag. In fact, searching “Liberty Mutual sucks” yields a lot of people who have major beef with the company.

It all comes down to one amazing fact “consumers have become smarter than marketers” and awareness alone isn’t going to lead to sales. If your TV ads aren’t directly driving sales you’re wasting money but hey, at least your agency gets paid.

About richmeyer

Rich is a passionate marketer who is able to quickly understand what turns a prospect into a customer. He challenges the status quo and always asks "what can we do better"? He knows how to take analytics and turn them into opportunities and he is a great communicator.

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