5 Reasons TV Advertising Failed and How to Fix Them

| October 18, 2017

TV can be highly effective for businesses of all sizes, with unbeatable audience reach and opportunities for compelling storytelling. Taking the time to understand why you may not have gotten the results you were expecting can help make sure you see a positive return from TV advertising the next time around.

If you’ve tried TV advertising in the past and experienced disappointing results, you might think it just doesn’t work. In reality, there are probably very specific (and addressable) reasons why your TV ad campaign went wrong.

TV can be highly effective for businesses of all sizes, with unbeatable audience reach and opportunities for compelling storytelling. Taking the time to understand why you may not have gotten the results you were expecting—as well as partnering with an experienced media expert—can help make sure you see a positive return from TV advertising the next time around.

5 Reasons your TV advertising didn’t deliver

Rather than write off TV altogether, let’s look at some scenarios that could have caused your TV advertising to miss the mark—and how to avoid them.

1. You didn’t target the right audience

One of the key advantages of TV is its mass reach, but not all of those people are your customers. Choosing the wrong station or the wrong programming can mean you’re showing your ad to the wrong people. It’s important to understand your target audience well enough that you can select the right daypart and frequency to achieve your marketing goals.

You may have opinions about where to reach your ideal customers, but that doesn’t mean they’re watching those programs. Always base decisions in data, not assumptions. Match up your target audience demographics with the demographics of both the TV station and the specific programs you’re interested in.

2. Your campaign creative flopped

A great TV commercial incorporates a variety of strategic elements, but some of the basics include a clear message and a solid story. Ensure that your commercial is audience-driven. It should appeal to their emotions and interests, and it should be both creative and memorable. Maybe your campaign was clever and captured attention, but lacked a connection to an audience need or pain point. You might have gotten people to talk about your ad, but not feel compelled to do anything (like get in touch or consider a purchase). On the other hand, maybe you have a clear, desirable offer, but your commercials lack the punch they need to be heard.

To avoid this in the future, keep a few things in mind:

  • No one likes a sales pitch. People like stories and content that educates, informs and inspires.
  • Authenticity is attractive. If you’re saying what everyone else is saying or what you think they want to hear, you’re missing opportunities to solidify your voice and build your brand.
  • Less is more. Many people may want to chime in on your TV creative, but too many cooks can spoil the soup. A professional media partner can deliver high-quality, ROI-driven creative designed to achieve your marketing goals.

3. You didn’t run enough spots

Reaching large numbers of your target audience is great, but failing to reach them with enough frequency to make your message stick can mean disappointing results.

Once you’ve chosen the right station and programming, determine the optimal frequency that will allow you to reach your goals. The right frequency for an awareness campaign is different than for a promotional campaign. For an integrated campaign, it’s important that your frequency aligns with any ads you use on other platforms.

4. You didn’t integrate TV with other marketing efforts

If you keep your TV and digital marketing separate, you’re missing out on many advantages. Integrating digital and TV provides opportunities to strengthen your brand while stretching your budget, allowing you to give your audience a consistent experience as you share your message in multiple places. Consumers who see one message on TV and a different message on digital ad platforms won’t necessarily make the connection, which dilutes memorability.

Target your audience across channels in a complementary way, so that the ad they see on TV correlates with what they see as they’re scrolling through their phone—often at the same time. Ensure that your social messaging supports your TV ad creative as well.

5. You gave it too little time

No marketing campaign is going to produce results overnight. Plus, the time it takes for a TV marketing campaign to be effective depends on your goals. A promotional campaign, for example, will use a higher frequency over a shorter period of time than an awareness campaign and should lead to more immediate spikes in sales or engagement. However, both promotional and awareness campaigns play important parts with effective year-round branding.

Always be very clear on the goals for your TV ad campaigns. By monitoring your results, you can make adjustments to frequency or campaign length. When a campaign is over, don’t move on to the next one without learning from what happened. Use data from previous efforts to improve the effectiveness of future marketing.

Final reminders (TV works!)

Here are three reminders about the effectiveness of TV and why it should be part of your marketing strategy.

  • Unparalleled Reach. TV outpaces all other media platforms, including social media, in audience reach. On average, American adults spend nearly five hours per day watching TV, more than any other platform.
  • Trust and Influence. The local broadcast news is the most trusted source for news, and TV is the leader in terms of influencing purchase decisions at all stages of the buyer’s funnel, ranking three times higher than newspapers and five times higher than email.
  • Low Cost Per Thousand. Because of TV’s massive reach, the cost per thousand is relatively low, which can help you make the most of your marketing budget.

Now that we’ve covered some of the reasons TV advertising may not have worked for your brand in the past, check out some quick tips to get started with a TV campaign that does work. And remember that the right media partner can guide you through the process to ensure you get the best results.

Check out some of our Marketing Success Stories to see how brands in your industry are improving their marketing results.

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