Contrary to popular belief, the death of traditional TV advertising has been highly exaggerated. It was going to be replaced by internet TV and we would all be moving to digital channels. Fact: Digital is growing fast & is creating new channels. Fact: TV is still standing strong and delivering impact.

Standing strong

TV ad revenue in the UK totaled £5.28 billion in 2016, up 0.2% from 2015. It’s a small increase, but this represents the seventh consecutive year that TV advertising revenue has grown in the UK. And according to PwC, TV ad revenues will grow from $73 billion in the US in 2016 to $81.7 billion in 2020. This is by no means a channel that is standing still.

Delivering impact

Data shows that TV advertising is still best-in-class for generating top-line growth with a 2.6% average market share point gained per year when using TV advertising.

Reach, another digital buzzword, is also something commercial TV does well: TV reaches 91.9% of the UK population every week and there are 17 million conversations about TV advertising every evening in the UK. Data shows people in the US watch 5 hours of TV on an average per day. Put that in your twitter pipe and smoke it.

This kind of data might indicate the ‘pivoting’ of some of the big advertisers. According to the Wall Street Journal, some advertisers who have made big bets on digital are coming back to TV because the ROI didn’t live up to their expectations. Concern about digital advertising issues including fake web traffic and the lack of consensus on measurement has been another issue.

Procter & Gamble, the nation’s biggest advertiser, is one of the marketers that has moved some money back into TV, according to the people familiar with the matter. P&G spent $1.4 billion on US TV ads in 2015, down 12% from 2014, estimated Kantar Media. The company’s TV ad spending, however, jumped 13% in January compared to a year ago, and preliminary data shows the trend continuing in February, said Jon Swallen, chief research officer of Kantar.

“For our everyday products, driving awareness is important, and while the mix may vary by brand, region and some other factors, we see TV and digital not as an ‘either or’ but an ‘and,’” said a spokeswoman for P&G.

No excuse for lowering standards

“All data and discussion on effectiveness aside, one thing is clear. No matter how effective the channel, the creative is key”.

Daren Poole, SVP, Global Brand Director, Creative Development, Kantar Millward Brown.

Bad ads or average ads are not effective; both are a waste of money. People will skip them, blank out and rant about how they hate commercial breaks during their favorite series. However, no one complains about good ads. Quite to the contrary, people love them, they share them, they talk about them.

Different digital channels now compete in the media mix with TV. This naturally results in challenges for the traditional creative development model of TV advertising. Digital media has the benefit of measurement in real time, allowing for spend adjustment of replacement to affect positive change to ROI. TV, on the other hand, does not have this ‘luxury’. Its ticket price is higher, its results are measured over a longer period of time and it’s hard to adjust the spend or creative during an ongoing campaign.

Testing the creative performance iteratively from inception to storyboard, to animatic, to first cut, and the final edit, can accurately predict market effectiveness and forecast the brand impact. Using tools that do this in hours, in bite-sized budgets, allow TV ads to be tested at the pace and agility of the mindset our digital world has put the marketers in.


Kantar Millward Brown, the world’s leading provider of ad testing solutions and brand consultancy has a tool on ZappiStore that addresses this need. LinkNow for TV leverages the validated Link™ ad testing solutions framework and benchmarks TV ads against a database of over 150,000 tests.

Daniel Evans

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Daniel Evans

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