TV & digital – allies in conversion

Posted: Friday 20th January 2012 in Paid Media, Retail Strategy, Thought Leadership.

TV advertising helps lead to brand activation online

Ever since digital marketing spend began challenging traditional budgets, it’s been pitted against more traditional forms of advertising as an adversary. However, research is showing that the old and the new make better allies than foes and that they shouldn’t be looked at unilaterally.

A report by the Internet Advertising Bureau tells us that 81 percent of Internet users watch TV while surfing the web. More to the point, 57 percent of users have been prompted to conduct a web search after seeing a TV advertisement and 66 percent believe that exposure to a TV ad makes online advertising more visible.

The Marketing Insights team at Summit decided to test the theory that TV advertising leads to brand activation online. We set about monitoring and documenting the impact, by looking at clients’ PPC clicks for key brand and generic terms as well as online sales before, during and after related TV campaigns.

We found a dramatic increase in both clicks and sales in direct correlation to the television advertising slots. Similarly, both clicks and sales dropped off sharply as TV ad campaigns ended, although they did maintain a higher level than they achieved before the TV activity. The durability of this uplift remains to be seen, and latency is the next stage we’re working to understand.

More interestingly, we discovered that television can have a marked effect on online conversions. One client reported a corresponding lift in conversions from approximately two percent to nine percent for everyday sales – and a staggering 13 percent during peak seasonal campaigns.

During these peak seasonal TV campaigns, uplift in both clicks and sales was immediately apparent; during more general trading periods, uplift required a more prolonged TV approach.

While PPC traffic from generic keywords increased, it was brand-related keywords that saw the most significant increase in activity following TV advertising slots.

From this insight, we compiled the following best practice guide for maximising online returns from TV advertising.




1. Schedule PPC campaigns around TV slots 
Take advantage of the 57 percent of Internet users who are influenced to conduct web searches following TV ads by building your PPC schedules around your expected TV slots.

2. Use creative messaging to map the journey between TV and your site 
Ensure your PPC and on-site creative treatments are linked directly to your TV messaging. For example, if you’re using TV to promote a seasonal sale, include this seasonal sales message in your text and any relevant landing pages. This consistent messaging will ensure visitors remain focused and reassure them that they’re dealing with the same reputable company they’ve just seen on TV.

3. More aggressive bidding strategy
Anticipate uplift and increase your PPC spend around expected TV slots. As television mainly influenced a significant uptick in brand-related searches, you should be more concerned about increasing available budget than specifically bidding-up on generic keywords. Always ensure PPC budget is available around your TV ad slots, or you could be sending traffic to competitors’ websites. We’ve seen clicks on PPC ads double during TV campaigns, so be prepared to free up significant budget to take advantage.

4. Support with YouTube
YouTube is an incredibly useful tool for increasing the reach of TV ads (particularly when designed to go viral). Make it easier for viewers to engage with your website immediately, by running overlay ads on your YouTube uploads. You should also consider ‘the making of’ videos, continuing series (episodes 2, 3 and so on), extended versions etc.

5. Optimise to forecast, test and learn
When breaking new ground, you’ll need to make some assumptions about how to best optimise your PPC campaigns and spend against TV. These assumptions should be based on forecast data as opposed to historical data. Always test, monitor, learn and be prepared to be agile. Reporting is key here and the more granular the better. Standard reporting in Google only breaks down impressions, clicks and sales by the hour. At Summit, we can deliver click and sales data by the minute – giving you greater insight into the performance of both your PPC and TV campaigns and helping you better plan future campaigns.




1. Digital Call To Action in ad 
With so many Internet users multi-tasking in front of the TV, it makes perfect sense to give them an immediate call to action (e.g. to hit your website or a search engine) while the message is at its freshest.

2. Supporting content 
Because TV is expensive, you should extend the duration and depth of your messaging by taking additional value-added content online. Highlight the availability of extended videos, customer reviews, testimonials, how-to guides, etc. throughout your TV slots

3. Consider purchase cycle for ad slots: week, day and duration 
Select appropriate slots to catch your demographic and take advantage of peak buying periods on your website. You can look to your website’s reporting tools to inform you about the best time of day or week to schedule TV advertising. Understanding your customers’ purchase cycle (i.e. the average length of time between the initial click and final purchase) will better inform your TV advertising buying habits.


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