New to TV? Discover How Effective It Can Be.

In what ways does TV serve the bespoke needs of advertisers on small budgets? How should businesses new to TV advertising approach the planning process? What about the costs of advertising on TV? These are questions Thinkbox sought to address at its recent talk, ‘Starters to Step-Changers: TV for Newcomers’.

Under an overarching agenda focused on expounding the merits of TV advertising for businesses new to the market, a series of guest speakers endeavoured to debunk the myths around TV being a platform unavailable to smaller businesses seeking a more targeted platform. The underlying message? TV advertising can effectively cater for a business’s marketing objectives, regardless of size, sector and budget.

TV is a great medium for small businesses on tight budgets

The event revolved around three key areas of concern for companies considering TV, the first of which is the medium’s perceived status as a plaything for big businesses with big budgets. Matt Hill, research and planning director at Thinkbox, went straight for the jugular, demonstrating how 61% of TV advertisers spent less than £250,000 across 2015; in fact, just under 25% of the total number of businesses advertising on TV last year parted with less than £50,000. A mere 15% of advertisers spent in excess of £1 million on their TV advertising activity.

Hill rightly stressed the efficacy of TV as a platform that enables businesses to trial small, beta campaigns as a means of establishing the most cost-effective strategy for their bespoke needs, a point that John Collings, marketing director at Gtech, supported.

Collings explained how TV has been the catalyst in transforming the business from an obscure challenger brand into one of the UK’s foremost retailers of vacuum cleaners. Nobody, he said, had heard of Gtech prior to the company advertising on TV. Starting with a relatively small budget of £50,000 in 2012, Collings highlighted TV advertising’s scalability and accountability as key to the business achieving such rapid growth.

By being able to measure the performance of individual TV spots, TV granted Gtech the capacity to upscale their activity in line with its growth, whilst also enabling the company to identify areas of the campaign – initially launched as a regional strategy before being expanded – that were not delivering.

This is a feature of the evolving TV advertising market that Hill was keen to highlight, demonstrating how planning and buying agencies make budgets stretch further by concentrating efforts; focusing on specific regions, day-parts, times of year, ad time lengths and audience groups to improve efficiency.

TV is a great medium for reaching small audiences

Fittingly, the next area of conjecture for advertisers considering TV is its suitability for targeting specific audience groups. Hill again pulled no punches, dismantling the myth that younger television viewers are no longer watching any TV with research that reveals how live TV still accounts for 43.5% of the daily audio-visual content consumed by 16-24 year-olds. Incidentally, YouTube represents just 10.3% of daily content, whilst Subscription VOD services such as Netflix make up a mere 8.7%.

When retraining the focus to all media, TV accounts for almost a third of a 15-24 year-old’s media day; email, messaging and video calling is next in line with 19%, followed by social media on 18.4%. The fact is, despite calls to the contrary, TV viewing figures have remained stable over the past five years, with 94.3% of UK adults reached by the small screen every week compared to 95.3% in 2011.

Catherine Becker, CEO at VCCP Media, added further weight to the argument be explaining how the proliferation in digital channels – of which there are now over 300 – had ‘fragmented and atomised’ TV audiences, going on to say that TV advertising can effectively engage niche audience groups as a result of the huge selection in channel choice. This not only makes TV advertising a viable option for businesses on tight budgets, but – when factoring in the prestige and trust that TV engenders – the best option.

TV is a great medium for online businesses to utilise

The last of the big three concerns expressed by companies considering TV advertising for the first time is its effectiveness as a driver of growth for online businesses.

This apprehension is easily addressed with a series of statistics rooted in television’s efficiency as a catalyst for improving the performance of online marketing channels. In other words, if you take the indirect influence of TV out of the equation, the performance of paid search drops by 33%, affiliates referrals by 20%, Facebook by 33% and online display by 26%; from a direct perspective, web visits decrease by 29%, telephone calls by 29% and bricks & mortar visits by a huge 45%.

Thinkbox also demonstrates how the average UK adult spends 38 minutes a day on their mobile whilst watching TV, with additional research explicating how 74% of adults claim to research a brand online after seeing its TV advertisement. Ultimately, the multiscreening phenomenon is a huge boon for online businesses advertising on TV as it shortens the transaction journey; it has become the new point-of-sale medium, increasing branded search by up to 33% and driving both immediate and long-term response.

Worried about these multiscreeners ignoring or actively avoiding your TV spot? Contrary to what you may think, 57% of viewers engaging with more than one screen at a time claim to stay in the room and watch the ad break – compared to 49% of those just watching TV – whilst 35% find themselves ‘watching the adverts almost by accident’. This may be explained by TV’s propensity for initiating social media conversation; love them or hate them, we like to talk about ads, with a staggering 44% of all Facebook visits coming as a response to what’s being watched on telly.

The conventional wisdom that TV advertising is an unnecessary venture for online businesses is debunked once and for all by the fact that this ‘category’ now accounts for the second highest ad spend after food, and this figure is growing year-on-year.


There’s one conclusion here, and for smaller businesses with tighter budgets, it’s a happy one: the fame, emotional engagement, trust, scale, word-of-mouth coverage and brand amplification that TV advertising provides isn’t reserved exclusively for multinational conglomerates. It’s a medium that any enterprise of any size can benefit from. So, isn’t it time you advertised your business on TV?