Marketing today is more closely tied to business growth than ever before. Businesses demand a direct link between campaigns and new customers, increased orders and, of course, revenue growth. This accountable approach to marketing is buoyed by digital advertising’s ability to track vast amounts of data. How often is a display ad clicked? Which paid search keywords are driving the most traffic to your website? Answering these questions creates a sense of certainty around our efforts. We know what’s working. The proof is in the numbers.
But such data-based proof is also regularly found in favor of TV campaigns. The idea that traditional channels can’t drive accountable results is an unfortunate misconception. Performance marketers often find success on TV. And before you imagine a 1980s late-night infomercial, know that a well-designed campaign can benefit both your brand and business. However, developing such a campaign involves asking three important questions:
1. What does your commercial ask viewers to do?
Does your commercial ask viewers to act on the information you’ve given them? If an immediate response is a priority, your ad’s creative should include a call to action. Sure, a Coca-Cola ad may feature nothing but a polar bear and a jingle, but not every brand has Coca-Cola's long-standing reputation or ability to wait months, even years, to reap the rewards of their campaign.
To see an immediate return on your ad spend in the short term, be specific about what you’re asking consumers to do. Perhaps that means listing your website’s URL at the end of the ad or asking viewers to text a number to learn more. Think about your audience and offering. Does it make sense for viewers to call a 1-800 number or head straight to your website? Would a promo code help entice potential buyers? I recommend testing a few options to discover what works best. Something as small as the wording of an offer can dramatically affect campaign success.
2. How are you measuring response?
Begin measuring performance by tracking the most deterministic indicators of change. Are you seeing a higher number of calls or texts post-launch? Has your web traffic increased? TV attribution can get as granular as looking at web lift within the minutes immediately following a specific airing. And as technology advances, measuring TV is becoming even more like measuring digital, enabling brands to see responses from individual households. Automated Content Recognition (ACR) data can identify the type of viewing platform, location, viewer profiles and even viewing behavior, including ad consumption.
After a few weeks, you should also begin to see secondary effects. Your web traffic composition may shift to account for TV’s impact on paid search, direct and organic traffic. Because TV contributes to these sources (compared to sources like social media), they should account for a greater percentage of your total traffic. Your overall number of new customers should also increase, even as conversion rates improve. After all, a customer who visits your website after seeing a commercial on TV has already shown enough interest in your brand to intentionally respond. This means they are more likely to make a purchase.
3. How can you optimize your campaign for greater success?
An accountable campaign requires awareness both of what’s working and what’s not. Being able to directly track success means you also recognize and address failure. If a specific keyword isn’t driving responses, try something else.
The same should be true for TV. As your campaign airs, evaluate performance across different networks. Maybe you notice airings on one network experienced a strong response, but airings on another had little to no impact. Or perhaps airings during the evening perform better than those during the day. Adjust your campaign to account for these new insights. Lean into flexibility and continue to optimize performance throughout the duration of your campaign. If you’re taking time to invest in TV in the first place, it’s worth doing right.
Too often I’ve seen brands rule out TV advertising because they’re not sure how they’ll link it to clear business results. Answering the questions above can help reassess the viability of TV for your brand by rethinking the channel with accountability in mind. Over the years, I’ve seen TV campaigns drive accountable results for businesses of all types, including those that had previously focused on digital or had tried TV unsuccessfully using traditional strategies. With the right strategy, there’s so much opportunity to be found.