How TV Advertising is Taking on Adwords, and Winning.

Upon its inception in 2000, Google Adwords was heralded as a game-changer for businesses wading into the fledging digital age. Yet, fast-forward 14-years, and the reality of the PPC landscape now carries a markedly more hostile complexion for companies operating at the smaller end of the scale.

Conversely, since the turn of the millennium TV advertising has gradually evolved into a marketing outlet that effectively caters for businesses reliant upon a targeted, cost-efficient approach to securing response, brand visibility and sales. On one hand, Google has become a victim of its own success, rising to a level of popularity that in turn has triggered a rise in the cost-per-clicks advertisers are having to pay for, while on the other hand, demands made on the market by an under-performing national economy have seen the TV industry seek innovative new ways to make the medium more accessible for advertisers.

The Rising Cost of Adwords

Gone are the days when a small to medium-sized business could spend pennies bidding on keywords that will boost search visibility and, though hardly guaranteed, a rise in conversions. Now, following years when more and more companies of larger and larger sizes have turned to Google’s PPC model with budgets that could buy a two-bedroom house outside of London, smaller advertisers are finding themselves priced out of the party. In short, Adwords can no longer be described as a cost-effective solution.

To demonstrate just how expensive PPC advertising through Google Adwords has become, below is a list of the most expensive keywords, as of 2014:

· Insurance

£33.92

· Mortgage

£29.11

· Claim

£28.12

· Loan

£27.36

· Credit

£22.28

No, you haven’t been sat in front of the computer screen for too long. For businesses within the insurance sector, PPC advertisers can expect to shell out a monumental £33.92 just for one browser to click on your ad. Whether or not said click will convert into a sale depends partly on the quality of your landing page in correlation with the ad, and partly on Google’s seemingly ever-changing algorithms – which seem to redefine the parameters of what’s acceptable practice on a monthly basis.

Whilst Guerillascope extracts considerable value from the likes of YouTube, Google+ and Analytics (which we’ll come back to later); we have found from personal experience that Adwords no longer supplies the cost-efficiency required for a business operating within a competitive market against larger rivals. How can a smaller, up-and-coming company expect to compete with advertisers that allocate £250,000+ a month to Google PPC? It’s like investing the time to build a sandcastle and watching on helplessly as it becomes subsumed by the relentless tide.

The Evolving Benefits of TV Advertising

The answer for these businesses is a simple one: Advertise on TV. We have divulged on more than one occasion how, with the proliferation in channel choice and rise of niche audience groups, the ability to target only the viewers of relevance to a specific product or service has become a fixture in the independent TV advertising arena.

Wastage is fast becoming a footnote in the history of the market with the advent of analytical systems – such as the bespoke software used here at Guerillascope – as planners and buyers are granted with the constantly-evolving ability to pinpoint TV channels, programming, day parts and times of the year most closely linked with the viewing habits of a desired target audience – regardless of its granularity.

Moreover, TV advertising now rivals – or perhaps to be more accurate, expands – the optimisation available to Adwords users. Guerillascope uses cutting-edge technology to reduce the Cost Per Lead and Cost Per Acquisition cultivated through TV advertising activity by correlating web traffic with individual TV spots. Our team can measure campaign performance on a minute-by-minute basis, a capability that allows us to identify areas of underperformance, address any issues contributing to a rise in costs and, often, tweaking campaigns to maximise the effectiveness of particularly well-performing areas.

Of course, Google Analytics used in conjunction with Adwords can deliver a similar service, but the accuracy and depth of  – as well as the ease of gathering – data related to and used for the enhancement of TV advertising efficiency is unprecedented in the media industry. It’s an exciting time be advertising on the small screen from a measurement point-of-view.

TV: A Brand’s Best Friend

So, we’ve demonstrated how TV advertising is superseding Adwords as THE targetable, measurable and cost-efficient marketing outlet of choice for SMEs, but what about branding? Well, here’s the real Pièce de résistance: we already know how indomitable TV is in terms of brand coverage, but did you know that for as little £3, a business can now reach 1,000 viewers instantly; £3,000 will deliver an audience of 1 million. Couple this with the considerable exposure and targeting capabilities synonymous with the market and the penny begins to drop – this is a serious opportunity for both advertisers previously priced out, and brands with an established TV presence.

At the same time, a branding campaign through Adwords is tantamount to scribbling your URL on the corner of a giant billboard, and using a very expensive pen to do it. Google has made attempts to assuage this with its display ads, yet factoring in the same problem of escalating costs, online PPC simply pales in significance to the branding opportunities afforded through TV.

A Fresh Strategy

All points discussed above are considerations Guerillascope has been toying with for some time. The concurrent paths each platform has taken over the past several years has ultimately led us to reducing our monthly PPC budget to approximately 1/5 of the spend allocated to Adwords this time last year, with every single penny of surplus being injected into TV. The results have been illuminating; so do make sure you keep an eye open for next week’s blog post, where we’ll be evaluating our new approach to client acquisition.