TV ads are not dead: It’s not the size of the screen, it’s how you use it!

This week saw the latest article entitled ‘Why TV is dead’, this time in Forbes: (http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevenrosenbaum/2014/01/28/why-television-is-dead/). Ironically, the death of TV as an ad medium has seen as much press as the zombie apocalypse this decade. Yet the undead TV is still walking. If TV advertising is really dead, why do dozens of companies pay ever-increasing prices ($ 4M in 2014) to broadcast their 30-second ad during the Superbowl ? Of course that does not mean all of these ads have a positive ROI, or that the traditional TV effectiveness metrics are still valid in the age of the connected consumer.

Successful TV ads nowadays create a measurable and sizeable wave in social media. The latest Marketing Science Institute Report ‘Beyond Tweets and Likes’ quantifies how TV and other offline media generate online buzz, which then translates into higher sales. These ‘indirect’ effects of paid media through social media and search are substantial, reflecting up to 68% of the full paid media impact. The report also shows how different paid media stimulate special social media topics, such as ‘love the ad’, ‘love the brand’ and ‘purchased the brand’. The latter category is the largest across analyzed brands, and is typically considered ‘neutral’ and thrown out of the analysis of positive versus negative sentiment. That is wrong: such neutral comments represent the ‘do-as-I-do’ (versus ‘do-as-I-say) side of word of mouth, and are very effective in stimulating further purchases. Check out MSI report at http://www.msi.org/reports/beyond-likes-and-tweets-marketing-social-media-content-and-store-performanc/or chapter 9 on combining offline and online metrics in my book “It’s not the Size of the Data- It’s How You Use it: Smarter Marketing wit Analytics and Dashboards”, available for preorder at  http://www.amazon.com/Its-Not-Size-Data-How/dp/0814433952

What can managers do with this information? First, make sure you (or your agency) keep the ‘neutral’ comments. Second, classify all relevant comments into managerially actionable buckets, based on the topic of conversation as well as the sentiment. Third, analyze which of your paid media drive specific social media conversation topics, and how these in turn translate into sales and/or brand equity metrics. Now you are in the position to stimulate the conversation topics with the highest performance conversion with the paid media actions that get you the highest return for your money. Easier said than done? Feel free to contact me for a consultation on analyzing your company’s data!

Greetings from a wonderful ski family holiday in Kayseri, Turkey,

Prof. Koen Pauwels

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