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TV vs Digital Advertising: Creating the Right Marketing Mix

Choosing between digital and TV advertising? Don’t. Successful advertising campaigns utilize a multi-channel approach to maximize ROI. Learn more.

Meredith Cunningham Published: May 24, 2023
TV vs Digital Advertising: Creating the Right Marketing Mix image

With the mass amounts of advertising options available to marketers today, choosing the best option for your business can be overwhelming. You desire the best bang for your buck, but you also need to see a return on your investment. For many advertisers, it comes down to decisions like choosing between broadcast TV and digital … but who’s to say that you have to choose one over the other?

A “one or the other” mindset might not offer the best return or success. In fact, we’ll tell you exactly why you should aim for using both digital and TV advertising together instead of choosing just one.

What’s the Difference Between TV and Digital?

TV ads and digital ads are delivered on different mediums and offer different benefits. Consider the below.

  • Visual Medium: Television is a more visual medium, making it easy for viewers to picture your brand or service. As a result, these kinds of ads often have a higher brand recall, when compared to digital advertising ads.
  • Various Channels: TV ads are exclusively on TV, while digital ads are seen across various digital channels. Digital advertising features a wide spectrum of advertising, including social media, websites, and paid search.
  • Targeting Capabilities: Subsequently, TV and digital ads reach different audiences. TV ads reach a broad audience across various geographic locations, while digital ads have more targeting capabilities for optimized messaging. However, by measuring a television program across a media index, you can still ensure your television ads are reaching the right consumers without spending extra media dollars. 

Why TV Matters

The numbers show that TV is as important and valued as ever before because of its consistency and effectiveness in delivering ROI to advertisers. According to a report from CNBC’s Catalyst, “Google, Facebook, and Netflix spent 60% of their marketing budgets on TV ads in the UK.” This same trend holds true in the U.S. and other countries around the world. If these heavy hitters that represent the digital world we live in are heavily investing in TV advertising, it’s a good indication that others should continue to do so, too. TV advertising can:

  • Drive Sales: Other research has found a direct correlation between a decrease in TV ad spend and a decrease in sales. TV advertising continues to be an effective medium for brands looking to increase awareness and drive sales.
  • Build Brand Authority: TV ads imply to the viewer that a brand has a large presence and customer base. Brands can capitalize on this assumption to build brand awareness and trust.
  • Reach a Wide Audience: Broadcast TV advertising reaches viewers on a massive scale. With large-scale exposure, brands can generate awareness and build credibility among a population that might not use other digital channels. 

But, just because there’s strong evidence for TV advertising ROI, that doesn’t mean it can’t be enhanced by expanding your campaigns into other channels.

Why Digital is a Must-Have

We live in a digital society, no doubt about it. People are glued to their devices for both work and play, and there’s no mistaking the power of digital advertising. As a marketer, if you are not implementing digital advertising into your marketing mix, you’re missing an incredible opportunity.

Numbers from eMarketer show that digital ad spend in 2018 is expected to reach $93.18 billion, with that number swelling to $113.18 billion in 2020. This isn’t just a trend — these numbers are growing because, when done right, digital advertising can be incredibly effective for businesses large and small. A few digital advertising benefits include:

  • Flexibility: Digital ads are viewable on any device with internet access. When compared to TV ads which are limited to TVs, digital ads provide targeting flexibility for advertisers. Additionally, digital ads are easier to adjust and optimize based on performance.
  • Retargeting: If a viewer shows interest in a brand’s digital ad, the brand is able to go back and re-engage the user with the brand. Retargeting capabilities of digital campaigns increase engagement and conversions. 

Using These Strategies Together

As digital continues to prove its effectiveness and TV remains an advertising staple, weaving these strategies together into a multi-channel marketing program is a powerful way to improve your marketing results.

What does this look like? Cross-promotion, engagement, and branding are key focus areas:

  • Cross-Promote: Digital and TV advertising can offer a mutually beneficial relationship that will directly impact your bottom line. A study by the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) shows that brands, on average, can increase return on investment by 19% by increasing from one media platform to two. That same study found that using a budget with 78% spending on traditional media to 22% digital worked best for audiences as a whole.We suggest using digital channels to promote your TV content. Why? Think about it this way. People interested in what you promote via TV will search for more information on social media or an online search engine. Further driving home why cross-promoting is your best bet, the ARF’s “How Advertising Works” study found that “across categories, the addition of digital to a TV campaign introduces a lift in ROI three times as great as the addition of either radio or print.”
  • Create Shareable Content: TV advertising can increase engagement with your creative and the shareability of your content on digital channels. A strong call-to-action that captures the target audience’s attention and drives traffic to the shareable content on your digital channels can help promote these efforts. For example, if you are currently airing an ad on TV, think about adding it to your YouTube Channel, Facebook, or other social sites. Having easily shareable content will encourage people to interact with it more.
  • Be Consistent with Your Branding and Messaging: The importance of a consistent message with creativity that’s produced specifically for the advertising channel can’t be stressed enough. If your message is not consistent, your target audience might miss it. They might come across your ad multiple times and not recall or retain it because it was unfamiliar and they didn’t recognize it. A study by the Advertising Research Foundation found that a campaign’s unified creative strategy across platforms is key to the return on the investment. Still, each creative element should be tailored to fit the platform to ensure optimal engagement.
  • Create an Omnichannel Experience: According to one study, about 3 out every 4 retail shoppers are using multiple channels when making a purchase. As a result, an omnichannel strategy is more important than ever. Marketers must reach customers on the channels they are engaging with, so a brand’s message must be promoted across a wide variety of channels.

What You Can Expect from TV + Digital Advertising

The Advertising Research Foundation studied 5,000 global ad campaigns and digested 12 years of data to find that the more platforms your business utilizes in its advertising strategy, the higher ROI it can expect. In fact, “it’s the combination of TV and digital that’s the most powerful of them all with 60% greater ROI.”

We know the importance of delivering ROI with your marketing campaigns and choosing to utilize both TV and digital advertising together can prove beneficial. Don’t waste time trying to decide on one or the other. Marry these strategies to reach your marketing goals faster and smarter.

Advertise Your Brand on TV and Digital with TEGNA

TEGNA delivers proven results with a multi-channel approach that utilizes both TV and digital advertising. Contact us to learn how we can support your brand’s advertising goals.  

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