The first television ad ran more than 80 years ago. It was a simple watch commercial that aired during a Dodgers game. The cost of the ad was nine dollars. Now, TV ads are anything but simple and are much more prolific (and a heck of a lot more expensive).
Despite this, companies are still heavily invested in television advertising. This investment persists despite there being other options for reaching potential customers.
Clearly, TV still works. Let’s explore why that is and how television advertising has evolved to remain relevant.
Why Do Companies Still Invest in TV Ads?
Google makes millions of dollars each year selling online ads. Yet, when it comes to spending their own advertising budget, they include television. This spending includes advertising during the Super Bowl. Other decidedly online brands, including Booking.com and Meta, also rely on TV to reach their audience.
So why are brands still investing in television ads? The short and simple answer is that it works. Here’s a bit more detail explaining why that is:
Television Has a Broad Reach
More than 80% of the households in the United States have at least one internet-capable TV set. While traditional, paid television adoption is down, streaming continues to grow. Clearly, people are watching television.
Additionally, the television audience is quite varied. This variety makes advertising on TV a worthwhile investment for virtually any brand, regardless of its target audience.
Audiences See a Value in TV Advertising
While most people might not say they enjoy watching television commercials, many see the value in it. They connect the ads they see with the TV content that they value.
In addition to this, the medium of television lends itself to ads that are more engaging and more memorable. Because of this, audiences often connect with TV ads in ways they don’t connect with other forms of advertising.
Need proof? Just think of the anticipation that builds as people wait to see the ads that debut during the Super Bowl.
What about the TV ads that become pop-culture memes? Just recently, viewers have obsessed over the “Cheryl’s She Shed” and “Drake” ads from State Farm. That’s in addition to classics like the AB-InBev Clydesdales or the famous Coca-Cola Christmas Polar Bears.
Some of this engagement can be credited to the superior video production values that are often associated with TV ads. Additionally, people who are watching television may simply be more focused on what they are doing and less likely to be distracted.
With television, there tends to be one thing on the screen at once. That’s unlike computer screens or mobile devices where the viewer may be bombarded with multiple forms of advertising as well as having other tabs to navigate to rather than watching an ad.
Television Ads Create Legitimacy
Advertising on TV isn’t cheap. There’s the cost of producing ads for television and the cost of having that ad broadcast to your audience. Primetime commercial placements cost even more. However, many brands choose this form of advertising because of its proven ROI.
There’s also another benefit — television advertising helps companies establish a sense of legitimacy. If a business can afford to invest in producing and airing TV commercials, the chances are it’s stable and here for the long term.
Now, contrast this with online advertising that can be accomplished with just a few dollars each day.
There’s Less Feedback
When people tout the benefits of marketing and advertising on social media platforms, they often mention engagement. That’s a valid selling point in many ways.
People see sponsored ads, including video content, on various social and video channels and can interact with that content right away. They are able to share, comment, or simply like and dislike what they see with just a click.
All that engagement can draw attention to online ads and make them go viral. At the same time, there are also risks involved.
Engagement can also be disruptive. Trolls and spammers can quickly derail a brand’s intended message. Even when it isn’t intentional, these online conversations can shift the focus from the product or service to something irrelevant.
It Complements Other Forms of Advertising
Many businesses that invest in TV ads don’t do it to replace other forms of advertising. Instead, they incorporate a TV into a holistic strategy that includes social media, content marketing, PPC (pay per click), and other forms of OTT advertising.
They do this because they understand that television is one more valuable channel through which they can reach their target audience. This inclusion allows them to create an even more robust omnichannel advertising strategy.