I am involved with the Marketing Accountability Standards Board (MASB). An aim of this organization is to bring more rigor to marketing measurement. Top members of MASB took a lead in examining the effectiveness and efficiency of TV advertising. Their conclusion, TV still matters.
Following Up On Past Research
The authors followed up on prior research considering advertising effectiveness. Much of this had been done by MASB stalwarts, e.g., Meg Blair and Dave Stewart. Having the prior work was a great advantage as they could speak to the effectiveness of TV advertising over time. A reasonable concern might be that the power of the media had faded. After all, we have many more ways to access entertainment nowadays. Still, the reports of the death of TV seem to have been exaggerated. More like a minor cold than rigor mortis. Quoting Lynch (2018) from Adweek the authors note the percentage of U.S. households with televisions has declined from a high of 98.9%. The new 2018 number being 95.9%. That is still pretty impressive. The average household even has 2.3 sets. I slightly raise that figure but not by much. (Does a projector count?)
Analyzing TV’s Power
They were able to look at MSW Research’s database of more than 23,000 advertisement measurements. They looked at only 30-second ads aired in the US from 1980 to 2014. How did such adverts impact product choice?
Television still has the power to move markets and remains an extraordinarily efficient medium for reaching large audiences at a time when other media are increasing in cost even as they reach smaller audiences.Findley, Johnson, Crang, and Stewart, 2020, page 361
They could also look at wear out of ads. Which is how quickly the effectiveness of an advertisement declines. It now takes a little longer for an ad to wear out. This is actually not good — it suggests the message is taking longer to breakthrough. But the change is still not dramatic and is not too worrying, especially given the increasing numbers of the US population that can be spoken to by any ad.
TV Still Matters
As someone who watches more than my fair share of television, it is good to hear that something that funds some of the programs I watch is still alive and kicking.
Read: Frank Findley, Kelly Johnson, Douglas Crang, and David W. Stewart (2020) Effectiveness and Efficiency of TV’s Brand-Building Power: A Historical Review
Why the Persuasion Rating Point (PRP) Is a More Accurate Metric than the GRP, December 2020, Journal of Advertising Research, pages 361-369, DOI: 10.2501/JAR-2020-011