Why TV Advertising Is Vital For Online Businesses

In an increasingly virtual business environment, what role does TV advertising play in driving demand for online businesses? A key one, according to research presented to an audience of companies new to TV by Matt Hill at Thinkbox.


“There’s something TV offers that you can’t get from the online world. It’s the ability to generate demand, not just capture it. It’s about building brands in the long-term.”

Matt began by echoing the sentiment expressed by many online companies: “Why is TV relevant for online businesses? Why should I go offline and speak to people when they’re not necessarily online? Surely I’m better off staying in a space where I can capture people while they’re in an online environment?”

For Matt, the first response to this lies in the sheer amount of money online businesses are already spending on TV advertising: “If we take all of the different categories of advertisers and count up the amount of money they’re spending on TV, the biggest one is food. The second biggest category of TV advertisers last year was online businesses.”

Why is this? According to Matt, it’s because “they’ve recognised that there’s something TV offers that you can’t get from the online world. It’s the ability to generate demand, not just capture it. It’s about building brands in the long-term.”

And it’s a trend that is developing with haste. “In 2010,” says Matt, “as a category it was less than £200 million, so it’s a really rapidly growing market. If you looked at the new spenders to TV last year, the biggest was Facebook. So these brands that are selling online propositions also recognise the value in TV advertising.”

So, what’s behind TV advertising’s effectiveness as a tool for online businesses looking to generate demand? “TV can build a brand; it can drive activation; and it works incredibly well alongside search. There’s this growing relationship between how TV can work at activating a brand in an online world.

“The other area we’ve looked at in our research recently is understanding how TV drives response advertising. So last year we did a study just to start to break this down, and what we saw is that TV is driving an incredible effect through online channels that’s not necessarily going to be apparent in a lot of our online attribution modelling.”

So, what are these hidden effects? “It can be easy for us just to look at the final click in a purchase journey, where somebody’s clicked on an online display or Search Engine, and attribute all of the success of that sale to the last port of call.

“But when we start to break it down using econometric analysis, we can see that TV is playing a really big role in driving search; in driving online display; in driving other forms of advertising – because it’s this demand-generating medium.”

To find out more about advertising your business on TV, why not give our team a call on 0800 088 6789? Alternatively, complete our quick and painless TV planning form and we'll call you to discuss your objectives in greater detail.