TV ads far more influential than online ads, survey says

Deloitte | paidContent | MarketingWeek | comScore | MarketingVox | TwistImage

An online survey of British adults finds 57 percent say TV is the most-effective advertising medium, followed by newspapers (15 percent) and magazines (13 percent). Online sources such as search, banner ads or video ads were picked as most-effective by only 3 or 4 percent each.

Paul Lee, the Deloitte research director behind the study, says that "the traditional TV advertising model is neither broken nor breaking. It has, for the fourth year running, maintained its ranking as the advertising medium with the greatest impact and by a clear margin."

The study does not address the threat to TV in the emerging era of cord-cutting and Internet streaming video. While TV may be a superior delivery mechanism for advertisers, that value disappears if audiences cancel cable and satellite subscriptions en masse.

Meanwhile, a new whitepaper from comScore attempts to explain the relative ineffectiveness of online advertising. MarketingVox sums it up:

comScore President and CEO Magid Abraham believes that two "unfortunate byproducts" of aggressive innovation in the online ad ecosystem have been 1) to increase in the complexity of campaign delivery and 2) a virtually unlimited supply of inventory, both of which create significant waste in the buying and selling processes.

ComScore argues the industry needs "validated impressions" for online ads -- in which ad impressions would only be counted from real people (no bots) within a relevant geographic area and on quality content pages. Basically, it's an effort to create some scarce premium inventory that rises above the endless commodity inventory elsewhere on the Web.

But digital marketing expert Mitch Joel writes that validated impressions aren't the whole solution. It might be that the Web just isn't as good for advertising.

There is still a vast majority of brands that are either copying their traditional advertising and pasting it into digital media or the adaptation is simply not performing within the new media channel. The macro issue still remains: is it at all possible that these new, digital media channels simply don't compliment the type of advertising we have traditionally seen in the more traditional media channels? ... Ultimately, if it turns out that new media is not the best fit for advertising (as we have seen to date), this begs the question: now what?

Note that both pieces of research, while useful, are also somewhat self-serving -- the Deloitte study was commissioned by a TV industry group, and comScore is selling a service that verifies ad campaign metrics.

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    Jeff Sonderman

    Jeff Sonderman is the deputy director of the American Press Institute, helping to lead its use of research, tools, events, and strategic insights to advance and sustain journalism.


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