Ambition unchained: it’s time to ditch TV advertising’s biggest myth

A common misconception among business owners, entrepreneurs and marketing managers is that advertising on TV remains beyond the budgets of all but the biggest, most established brands.

However, with the continued broadening of channel choice, the evolution of audience targeting capabilities and development of sophisticated campaign optimisation software, the truth is television is geared for delivering the efficiency and flexibility businesses of all sizes crave. Matt Hill, research and planning director at Thinkbox, joined us at our recent event, the Power of TV, to share the facts.

Addressing an audience spanning a wide array of sectors, Hill said: “The perception is that TV is purely a medium for big brands: for the P&Gs; the L’Oreals; the BTs, spending millions and millions of pounds. Yet the reality is, if you look at all the advertisers who used TV across 2016, what you see is that, actually, 60% of advertisers spent less than £250,000 [across the year].

This is a stat that may surprise many, but the shift in who’s using TV advertising and how they’re using it is a real one, propelled by the forces of technological advancement, dual-screen viewing habits and an altering industry emphasis.

Media agencies are becoming better equipped to meet the fast-changing needs of challenger brands manoeuvring inside increasingly cluttered marketplaces. The rise of independent, smaller and specialised planning teams has in turn driven an ability to be both proactive and reactive in flexibly refining TV strategies.

The result for advertisers themselves is the capacity to latch on to new opportunities with stealth-like speed, whilst concurrently reducing Cost Per Leads, Sales and Responses through constant campaign enhancement and robust cross-platform tracking software.

According to Hill, this ability to test, learn and scale with swiftness and agility is transforming how smaller companies regard TV advertising: “we’re talking about over a thousand small businesses, or growing businesses, who are taking advantage and using TV as a way of step-changing their company. In fact, there’s only eight or so advertisers who are spending £50 million plus.

“Yes, they do account for a big bulk of the overall spend, but the reality is many, many businesses of all shapes and sizes can take advantage of how TV can drive effectiveness.

So, what’s still holding many more business owners back when it comes to taking the plunge with television? Hill asserts that the major hurdle remains fallacies about the cost of entry: “I think one of the other reasons TV is seen as being just for big brands is it’s often perceived to be expensive. It’s not.

“It costs on average half a penny for one person to watch one ad – and that is one full ad. We’re not talking about one start of an ad that could be on a mobile screen without any sound. We’re talking about one full view of your creative, generally watched on a big 50” TV screen, pretty much always watched with the sound on. So it’s incredibly cost-effective.”