The Surprising Effects of TV Advertising on Consumer Behavior

The rumors are true: TV advertisements are just as effective as you’ve heard. But why? How can a single medium be so influential toward consumer behavior?

In this article, we’ll explain the effects of TV advertising on consumer behavior and why we think it’s so effective.

What Are TV Ads?

We all know what a TV ad is: those persuasive videos with compelling visuals that air during your favorite shows. But a quality TV ad isn’t just about what you try to promote or how you try to sell it—it also matters when you place it. 

Difference Between Placing Cable TV and Streaming TV Service Ads

In the current state of TV viewership, where streaming reigns supreme, advertisers have had to shift their tactics to stay connected with their audience. Here’s a quick rundown on how traditional TV advertising differs from streaming TV advertising.

Traditional TV Advertising

Traditional TV advertising is based on hypotheses—guessing who is watching a certain channel and program at a given time. If that demographic matches your audience, then you order your TV ad to be placed in that time slot. 

This is how TV advertising has worked since its inception, so the algorithms used to predict viewership are well-developed and trustworthy.

Streaming (Programmatic) TV Advertising

Since everything is on-demand in the streaming world, it’s nearly impossible to predict who will watch which show or when they will watch it. So, streaming TV advertising employs a programmatic approach.

Programmatic advertising uses the viewer’s internet history and behavior to determine which ads to show. For example, say the viewer shopped online for a new pair of running shoes. When they’re watching a video later in the day, they see an ad about running shoes. This is programmatic advertising in action.

The process to place programmatic ads is incredibly intuitive. All you need is programmatic ad software that automatically places your ads based on the parameters you establish.

Who Is Watching?

Almost everyone watches TV in some form or another. But who watches the most television?

While traditional TV does capture a large audience, it is mostly the older population. Statistica found that adults 65 and older watch an average of 7 hours and 14 minutes of traditional TV per day. Compare that to the youngest generation of adults aged 18–34 who only watch an average of 1 hour and 37 minutes.

Why does the older generation watch more TV? Well, they have more time on their hands. Many are retired and no longer have kids at home, so they spend more time in front of the TV screen. Still, across all age demographics, adults average around 4 hours and 16 minutes watching traditional TV per day. 

Is TV Advertising Effective?

Yes, TV advertising is incredibly effective. Many studies show TV advertisements can directly affect consumer buying behaviors. Let’s take a look at how TV advertising affected buying decisions in 2019:

  • 96% of in-market consumers became aware of a product through media advertising. 
  • 85% said the ad influenced their purchasing decision.
  • 56% of those consumers said TV ads were the most important driver in their awareness about the product or service, which is more than all other media advertising combined (40%).

But how do the effects of TV advertising on consumer behavior compare to other forms of advertising? While there aren’t any current statistics for the U.S., 70 percent of 18-34 year olds in Canada name tv the most trusted form of video advertising (compared to only 12 percent for online video). 

With these factors in mind, it’s no wonder TV remains the second most profitable medium for advertising, behind the internet. And the growth continues—TV advertising continues to grow in revenue, reaching 242 billion US dollars in 2021 (a 6.2% increase over 2020).

Why Do TV Ads Work?

Now to the important question—how is TV advertising so effective? Why do TV advertisements work? A lot of studies have tried to crack this code. Here are five of the best theories that highlight the benefits of TV advertising.

1. TV Ads Entertain

While not every TV commercial can be called “entertaining,” every commercial should be memorable. Whether they provide a thrill, a laugh, or a sense of awe, TV ads can leave a lasting impression on the viewer. And that lasting impression can then inspire the viewer to take action, whether it’s to buy your product or to join your cause.

2. TV Ads Breed Brand Familiarity

The more encounters a lead has with your brand, the more familiar they become with you and what you offer. As a result, the more likely they are to buy something from you. By placing a commercial during their regular media consumption, you can help these leads quickly become familiar with everything you have to offer.

3. TV Ads Influence Our Perception of Reality

Commercials tell us a story. They’re all about our ideal life, a problem that gets in the way, and a solution to solve that problem. More often than not, we humans believe the stories we are told. This leads us to believe we need a certain product or that a particular brand is objectively better than the competition (even if it’s the same exact quality).

4. TV Ads Reach a Lot of People

TV ads can reach more people because more people tune into TV programs than read a print magazine or newspaper. The Nielsen Total Audience Report found the following about where adults over 18 go to consume media:

  • Radio: 88%
  • App or website on a smartphone: 85%
  • Live and time-shifted TV (traditional): 80%
  • TV-connected devices (Amazon Fire, Roku, Xbox, etc.): 56%
  • Internet on a computer: 52%
  • App or website on a tablet: 45%

Even though it looks like radio wins this battle, we also have to consider how long people are spending on each medium. 

Nielsen found that radio listeners spend an average of 12 hours and 11 minutes listening every week. Compare that to live/time-shifted TV watchers, who spend an average of over 30 hours in front of the screen each week. 

Even connected TV devices give radio a run for its money, averaging 12 hours and 35 minutes of viewership each week.

5. TV Ads Incentivize Viewership

It’s easy to skip a YouTube commercial or flip past an advert-covered page of a magazine. But TV commercials maintain a captive audience. And there’s actually a reward for watching the commercial: getting to watch the rest of your video content. More people will stick around through your commercial just so they can continue their show—this gives you plenty of time to make your pitch.

Why TV Advertising Should Be a Part of Your Marketing Strategy

There’s that old, famous saying, “Never put all your eggs in one basket.” That ideology can be directly applied to your marketing strategy; if you focus too heavily on a single medium for your promotions, like only doing social media or digital marketing, it can spell “danger” for your company. Plus, it limits the reach and effectiveness of your marketing messages.

Adopting TV advertising as a strategy is a great way to expand that reach. And not only will more people see your commercials, you can expose your leads to your messages more often and, therefore, make them more familiar with your brand.

But don’t focus so heavily on TV advertising that you neglect your other marketing channels. Remember, TV ads are just one part of getting your messages across. Make sure you have equally strong strategies for:

  • Digital marketing
  • Search engine marketing
  • Social media marketing

Try TV Advertising Today

Ready to bring TV advertising into the fold? You can do so easily and with low risk when you use Brandzooka’s programmatic TV management software. We offer an intuitive design that lets you choose your creative material and apply it to a programmatic TV campaign, getting your ads integrated into your leads’ favorite shows.

Ready to give it a try? Schedule a demo today and talk to our experts about how you can use Brandzooka to its full potential.

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