TV Advertising in Today’s Digital World

/ October 7, 2019 | 6 Mins Read

TV Advertising in Today’s Digital World

Traditional TV can offer advertisers a fragment of its original reach and appeal. As more advertisers and agencies start to establish programmatic TV into their strategies, the challenges currently bothering the industry will fade away, and opportunities will turn up.

The TV advertising industry is still a giant industry, valued at $70.22 billion in 2017. However, since digital marketing entered the scene, there has been a dramatic shift in consumers’ behavior and preferences. Statistics suggest that the TV advertising expenditure will decline by 2020, at $69.52 billion.

In this world where consumers greatly depend on the internet to search for products and services, is TV advertising still worth the price?

The television is perhaps one of the most groundbreaking technologies of all time. 96.7% of American households have at least one television. This just goes to show that despite the growing use devices like mobile phones, computers, laptops, and tablets, the television remains to be our major source of news and entertainment.

The television has also been a staple in the world of advertising. As the audience tune in to their favorite TV shows and programs, advertisers attempt to capture their attention and influence their buying decisions.

Figures show that digital advertising through Facebook and Google will be bigger in the U.S. this year than traditional advertising like TV, newspaper, and radio.

In 2018, businesses, on average, allocated 42% of their marketing budget online. And by 2020, it is expected to grow to 45%. And by 2021, online advertising will account for about half of the advertising budgets of companies. 

So, what future awaits the TV advertising in today’s digital age?

1. TV Advertising – Pros & Cons 

Since the television was introduced in 1939, it has become a major advertising medium. Since almost every household has a TV set, it is easy for a business to reach a large audience at the same time.

TV advertising, for decades, has helped companies gain brand recognition, promote their products or services, and grow their business.

TV ads are convenient and flexible.

Among the most notable advantages of TV advertising are convenience and flexibility. Your ad can reach local and national levels. In addition to commercials, you can advertise your products or services in collaboration with certain TV shows, by hiring celebrity endorsers, or sponsoring an event (e.g. Super Bowl). You can use a number of approaches to reach your audience. 

2. They are strong-impact.

Needless to say, TV commercials are easy to recall. TV advertising combines audio and visual effects to create a message that is persuasive and strong. 

Mass coverage.

Another major advantage of TV advertising is that it allows you to reach as much audience as possible. Almost every household has a TV set. It has become extremely easy for marketers to circulate their message to a large audience.

TV advertising is costly.

Perhaps the biggest drawback of TV advertising is its cost. Every marketer understands that TV advertising is costly. This is a huge disadvantage for small businesses and marketers who don’t have enough money to spare. A short TV ad can be three times more expensive as an online banner ad.

TV commercials can be intrusive.

Another disadvantage of TV marketing is being intrusive in nature. Consumers don’t have options to quit or pause the commercial shown on TV.

3. Online Marketing – Pros & Cons

Online marketing is a fairly new form of advertising but has already taken over the traditional forms of marketing because of its many advantages.


Compared to TV advertising, digital advertising is inexpensive. It’s something that even the smallest retailers can afford, thanks to free advertising offered by social media networking sites like Facebook and Instagram, you can create your own business page without spending anything (although you would have a wider reach if you choose paid ads).

Extensive reach.

Online marketing has the ability to cover a larger number of audiences without costing as much as TV advertising. While you can reach people all over your country through TV ads, you can reach potential customers from all over the world with an online ad. This is great news for businesses in the food and hospitality industries.

Can be personalized.

When you run a TV ad, you are making it available to everyone – regardless of whether or not they suit your customer avatars. With online ads, however, you get to ‘segment’ your ads to reach your desired audience (or those who will have a great interest in your business). This means that every dollar you spend on marketing is well-spent.

Large-capacity of information.

Lastly, businesses have virtually limitless ability to provide information. Whether they want a 30-second video clip or a 10-page blog post featuring a product, they are free to do whatever they want. There is no restriction as to the amount of information you can provide.

Of course, online marketing has disadvantages too. One of which is the fierce competition. Two-thirds of businesses use online advertising. This means that the level of competition is really high.

Another thing, online marketing is more complicated than TV advertising. A single mistake can cost you money and ruin your reputation. Making use of an all-in-one marketing platform takes away the complexity of online advertising, thus, lowering the possibility of costly mistakes.

4. What can TV advertisers do to survive in today’s digital world?

With more and more brands investing in online marketing, does it mean that TV advertising is dead?

The quick answer is NO. It is, in fact, evolving.

Consumers still find TV advertisements more relevant to them, according to a report. In another study, TV commanded more attention with 15 times the active viewing of Facebook and twice the active viewing of YouTube.

In another study, which surveyed 1,000 U.S. TV buyers, TV advertising still ranks higher than digital marketing in terms of the “ability to build a connection with a brand”.

The challenge, however, is that TV viewing is not splintered across so many devices, including androids or smartphones. This can lead to problems reaching the right audience or bombarding consumers with too many ads.

How do we address these challenges?

Behavior Targeting

Marketing experts say the answer is targeting ads in a more granular, addressable level. Also called “behavioral targeting” involves gathering data on consumers’ TV viewing activities and aligning the ads to it. This process is widely used in online marketing and is also known as ‘segmenting’.

While smartphones have become our tech buddy, the fact remains that we still like watching TV. Even if mobile devices have TV-viewing and streaming capabilities, most people still prefer watching their favorite series, movies, or programs in their television sets. But just like computers, televisions keep on evolving. 

Today, we see TV models that feature streaming and over-the-top (OTT) distribution capabilities. From traditional TV, we now have ‘smart’ TV and the more modern – advanced TV.

Advanced TV

Such innovations are what marketers have been waiting for. Advanced TV enables them to combine the full-screen captive experience of traditional television with the targeting power of digital platforms. This means that they can now make TV advertisements that are more targeted and effective. 

Marketers can now personalize their contents to create a stronger impact. For example, advanced TV lets them trigger campaigns that match local events and weather conditions. They can even deliver ads based on first-party data, and get real-time information about consumer viewing habits.

Even the households that make use of linear TVs can still be covered with targeted TV campaigns, thanks to cable and satellite providers that make such households directly addressable.

Advanced TVs can gather data through ad units such as first impression units (FIUs) on connected TVs. FIUs integrates TV advertising with digital marketing by enabling post-click actions like click-to-website, click-to-app, and click-to-video. 

74% of American households have at least one connected TV and it continues to increase, according to research. Nonetheless, there’s still a lot of work to be done. Not all advanced TV models are set up to extract data necessary for behavioral targeting.

Furthermore, TV advertisers should also include other metrics in measuring the success of their ads, apart from sales. They should also look at factors like brand recall, store visits, and more. 

Combined Efforts

The good news is that TV advertising and digital marketing can be utilized together to achieve great results. Remember, the best marketing campaigns use a combination of vehicles.

Digital campaigns are perfect for targeting a narrow audience while TV ads can be used to capture a big audience and influence consumer’s behavior. 

TV is a huge driver for online campaigns. You can create campaigns that trigger viewers to take actions, such as visiting your website, download your app, or order online.

Television ads add credibility to your online ads and allow you to convey your message to a broad audience. Furthermore, TV ads help drive social and digital campaigns. 

Some marketers think that TV advertising is too traditional that it doesn’t have a place anymore in the digital world. But the truth is: TV advertising is not yet over. It is evolving. 

With the onset of connected TVs, incorporating data analysis with TV advertising has become possible and enabled marketers to make targeted campaigns. When integrated with online marketing strategies, it can help you reach a bigger audience, gain brand recognition, and significantly increase your revenue.

Mike Austin is a marketing and creative content specialist at and working in the Digital Marketing industry since 2009. As a conversion-driven marketer, he is passionate about helping businesses expand their online visibility and reach their goals.

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