How to Measure Success in TV Advertising

Posted on February 3, 2023 by Media Culture

Topics: Video

Diverse TV viewing habits make tracking activity across linear and streaming TV challenging. Therefore, before defining success in TV advertising, you need a customized strategy with well-established key performance indicators (KPIs) and a way to properly attribute consumer touchpoints. 

In addition, because your audience consumes television on multiple devices and platforms, it is vital that your messaging be consistent and persistent.


/// Before You Can Succeed, You Need a Strategy

Today’s consumers have nearly limitless entertainment options. Whether they choose to watch a television program, browse social media, read the latest news, or all the above simultaneously, understanding consumer preferences and motivations enables advertisers to reach those consumers more effectively. 

The Process of Media Buying

Decades ago, when “multichannel” meant TV, Radio, Print, and OOH, Direct Response Television advertising (DRTV) allowed brands to reach consumers at scale via efficient remnant media buys. Remnant media, so called because the inventory remained unsold after brand advertisers purchased premium placement, allowed advertisers focused on generating a return on investment (ROI) to purchase inventory at a discount and measure response to the advertisements via embedded phone numbers.

In those days, the process was as easy as identifying what stations and programming were relevant to the consumer and buying inventory on those stations. Once performance data (phone calls at a station level) was available, media buyers optimized their media mix to increase presence on responsive stations and optimize out of poor performers.

When access to the internet became widely available, that all changed. Suddenly, consumers had multiple ways of responding to a TV advertisement. No longer were they forced to call the 800-number on the TV screen to learn more. They could now visit the advertiser website, learn more about the product or service, and sign up or purchase then and there.

With increased response mechanisms also came additional marketing venues, like display, paid search, and paid social. These changes presented not only measurement challenges but strategic challenges as well, as advertisers and their agencies were now charged with identifying the most impactful marketing tactics and channels for their campaigns.

Today, successful DRTV agencies have evolved to focus on Brand Response. Whereas DRTV prioritized bottom-of-the-funnel demand capture, Brand Response considers the full consumer journey and recognizes that a consumer is likely to need multiple touchpoints prior to purchase. Similarly, the advent of Brand Response also acknowledges that consumers have countless options when it comes to media consumption, necessitating an omnichannel strategy to meet consumers wherever they may be.


/// Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in TV Advertising

Identifying and tracking KPIs is vital to the success of any media campaign. Whether digital or traditional, determining which metrics are most impactful to your business and continuously optimizing those metrics is essential to ensuring continued business growth. For most response-oriented advertisers, the most important KPI is return on ad spend (ROAS).

ROAS: What It Is, and How It’s Calculated

Return on ad spend (ROAS) is a marketing metric that helps advertisers understand which channels and tactics are most effective at driving conversions. ROAS compares the amount of revenue earned against the advertising spend.  Although ROAS can only be measured based on direct, attributable responses, it is a valuable optimization metric. However, it fails to account for the incremental, long-term contribution driven weeks or months after a TV spot airs. 

Platforms like Media Culture’s Abacus® Multichannel Measurement Suite enable the measurement of both short- and long-term KPIs. The reason it is important to measure both is that even advertisers looking to optimize towards short-term response can benefit from understanding the impact their lower-funnel campaigns have on upper-funnel brand awareness. This is often referred to as the “halo” impact of advertising.

Whereas this “halo” impact was once difficult to quantify, the Abacus® Suite helps brands properly value the impact of their media investment, regardless of funnel stage.

Last- vs. Multi-touch Attribution

How KPIs are measured is equally as important to campaign success as which KPIs are measured. An effective measurement methodology must be reflective of consumer behavior. For that reason, marketing platforms that focus on last-touch attribution present a limited view of performance.

For instance, a consumer that searches for your brand name on Google and converts on your website is going to be attributed to your Google campaign, even though the search was the last of multiple touchpoints that drove the consumer to take an action. If the consumer was exposed to a linear TV advertisement, followed by a streaming video ad, prior to the Google search, each platform is likely to attribute a single conversion.

In reality, each touchpoint had an incremental impact on the user behavior and, as such, should get fractional attribution for the conversion. The Abacus® Suite makes this approach possible, distributing conversion credit across multiple touchpoints in order to properly value the impact of each.


/// Creating a Multi-Channel Marketing Strategy

Although TV remains one of the most impactful advertising channels, it is part of a holistic, multichannel marketing strategy. Such a strategy requires consumer insights to drive media placement and buying, which in turn produce data that must be analyzed via customized attribution models. These models enable advertisers to understand the true impact, both short- and long-term, of their media spend. 

Media Culture Ensures Your Strategy Is Up to Date

Our clients entrust us to bring their stories to life across multiple platforms. Our flexible, customized approach puts your needs and objectives first. We work together with your team to develop a strategy that matches your vision, and we ensure that it is customized to your audience and your KPIs.  


/// Be Proactive to Achieve TV Advertising Success

To remain at the forefront of ever-changing consumer behaviors, your business must anticipate market changes and use strategic planning to reach the target consumer. Although TV advertising plays a vital role in generating brand response, a holistic strategy that allocates spend across multiple channels and tactics only augments the performance of TV campaigns. Contact us to learn how Media Culture will scale your business using both digital and traditional channels. 

Although TV remains one of the most impactful advertising channels, it is part of a holistic, multichannel marketing strategy.

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