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5 Tips for Effective Advertising

Creating successful ads is easier than you think. Impress your target audience with 5 tips for building strong and effective TV ads.

Meredith Cunningham Published: May 11, 2023
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Creating an effective advertising plan is an important component in connecting with customers and prospects. However, with the influx of channels available and the disjointed media landscape, it can be difficult to assess where to begin.

However, television is considered one of the best advertising platforms for a reason. This medium makes it easy for consumers to visualize your product and leads to higher brand recall. Steve Chase, Director of Sales at KUSA in Denver, notes that TV advertising is more affordable than not adding TV to the marketing mix at all. Duane Charping, CEO of Roof Fix in San Antonio, also notes that TV advertising is “probably the smartest marketing strategy I’ve ever chosen because it’s by far the least expensive with the biggest turnaround.”

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Why is TV Advertising Important?

If you have a business, there’s no doubt you do some advertising. Not only is it a way to establish your brand in the local community and make connections with soon-to-be loyal customers, but it’s also a way to persuade consumers to buy what you’re selling or support your cause.

So why is TV advertising important?

We’ve crunched the numbers and found that Americans love watching TV. We consume an average of three hours of linear TV programming daily and another three hours watching digital or streaming content.

Because of this massive amount of time spent on big household screens, TVB finds that TV advertising is the top medium for influencing a consumer’s purchasing decisions, helping to make it the second-most profitable advertising medium in the United States.

Better yet, TV advertising is affordable. With the right creative message, TV campaigns will pay for themselves and then some. It’s the most economical way to reach thousands of the right customers.

But what makes a strong ad?

What are the Elements of a Successful Advertisement?

Measures of successful ad campaigns are unique, just as your brand is unique in itself. However, a few universal metrics are used across industries to measure the effectiveness of a TV and streaming ad campaign. Ten popular Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for broadcast and streaming campaigns include:

  1. Reach: The number of viewers in a target audience exposed to an ad.
  2. Frequency: The number of times a viewer in a target audience has seen an ad.
  3. Impressions: The number of times a target audience views an ad or the overall exposure to the ad.
  4. Website Visits: The number of visitors to a brand website due to viewing an ad.
  5. Brand Lift: A measure of the impact on top-of-funnel metrics, such as brand awareness and consideration. Learn more about Brand Lift here.
  6. Conversions: When a website visitor performs the desired action of the ad, someone purchasing through your website, filling out a form, or downloading a brochure. 
  7. Click-Through Rate (CTR): For streaming campaigns, this measures the number of ad viewers who click on an ad and visit the advertiser’s website.
  8. Video Completion Rate (VCR): Also measured in streaming campaigns, VCR is the percentage of ads viewed from beginning to end.  
  9. Return on Investment (ROI): According to LinkedIn, a good ROI for TV advertising is around 300 to 500%. This can be calculated by: ROI = campaign gain / overall campaign spend.
  10. Return on Ad Spend (ROAS): This metric breaks down ROI and measures the revenue earned from a specific campaign. To find ROAS, divide the income attributed to the ad campaign by the cost of that campaign.

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10 Ways to Create a Strong TV Ad

There are a lot of fun and creative ways to develop TV ads, and you can have different strategies for different audiences you’re trying to attract and other creative for additional products or services you’re selling. Here are five best practice tips for creating strong TV ads, regardless of your business.

1. Define Your Audience: Audiences are more diverse and unique than ever before. Millennials in Michigan and Gen X in San Diego are individuals. Creating marketing personas profiles is a great way to take a deep dive into their mindset and organize your research in a way that provides meaningful insights. Doing so will help inform your marketing campaigns and deliver good business outcomes.

2. Select the Right Channels: Persona profiles will help inform the proper channels for your ad campaign. Let’s say that through this research, you find your target audience is college-educated males. Aligning with sports content, such as March Madness, could be the slam dunk your brand is looking for.

No matter your target audience, however, trust is crucial for TV and advertising; local broadcast news tops the category. Among its findings, TVB found that local broadcast news is the most trusted platform for viewers – and that trust halo extends to brands that advertise alongside this trusted content. Additional studies have shown that consumers are more likely to trust – and buy from – brands that advertise alongside sources of information they trust.

3. Create a Strong Media Plan: The next step is to take the insights you just gathered and include them in a media plan – one of the most critical components of your marketing campaign. An effective media plan will outline the who, what, when, where, why, and how your brand intends to reach its target audience. It will also include your campaign goals and objectives, budget and timeline, frequency and reach, target audiences, and ideal advertising channels and platforms. By researching and mapping out these variables, your cohesive plan can help campaigns reach the right audience at the right time, improve the frequency and reach, and maximize your ROI.

4. Use Strong Creative: The most important piece of TV ads is creative, and we’ve found that audiences don’t always respond well to being told what to do, like “buy this product now.” Audiences resonate more with relatable and authentic storytelling, ads where they can imagine themselves in that particular situation, which may include using that advertised brand to solve a problem. In other words – don’t be overly sale-sy. It makes the difference between a forgettable ad and a memorable one, leaving a lasting impression on viewers.

  • Be Creative with Sight and Sound: By leveraging sound – a catchy jingle, a catchphrase, a song everyone loves – and enticing visuals, commercials make brands memorable, which improves brand awareness and increases ad recall.
  • Be Emotional: When audiences connect emotionally to an ad, it improves brand awareness, recall, and purchase intent. To tell a compelling story to increase brand loyalty, you can use The Farmer’s Dog and Google’s Loretta as examples using emotional storytelling.
  • Be Funny: Humor captures attention, makes audiences laugh, and humanizes your brand to improve recall. Oracle found that 91% of Americans prefer brands that use humor in advertising, especially Gen Z (94%) and Millennials (94%).

  • Highlight Competitive Edge: Did you know that less than half of patients understand the difference between their local hospitals? Use TV advertising to communicate what differentiates you from competitors and similar brands.
  • Utilize Testimonials: When telling your brand story, consider doing so through the lens of someone who has used and benefited from your product or service. In the digital world, 95% of consumers read online reviews, and in the TV world, testimonials can serve the same function as reviews to help boost credibility and trustworthiness.
  • Clear Call To Action: The ultimate goal of any ad is to encourage action: visit our website, call us, and see our store. Use language that makes your brand stick out: make a difference, let’s talk, and get peace of mind are three examples that use intriguing language to pique interest.

5. Use Data and Attribution Models for Optimizations: Practical TV ad measurement tools used to be what marketers dreamed of. Today, they are a reality. TEGNA Attribution, for example, collects real-time data to connect viewership to outcome metrics such as website visits and app downloads. This data can be used to prove the value of TV/streaming schedules to drive business results.

Let’s say the numbers show that your ad on Monday mornings isn’t generating any website traffic or bringing in any phone calls. However, that same ad generates much traffic on the evening news. You can then make the data-driven decision to adjust dayparts and programming to develop the best results and eliminate ad dollars that aren’t producing.

6. Combine Digital and TV Ads: Brands don’t need to choose between digital and TV ads. Instead, these ad formats can be combined to improve brand recall and awareness further. “Advertising is the insurance of the future,” says Steve Chase, Director of Sales at KUSA in Denver. “TV is the most economical way to reach thousands of the right customers. When coupled with a full campaign OTT and digital strategy, you will see the results in real-time.”

Digital ads should be used to reinforce the brand message and to drive more awareness across the advertising ecosystem. By combining the power of digital and TV, brands benefit from a more omnichannel experience for customers while improving brand awareness and driving sales.

Examples of Good Advertising

Penn Dixie Monster Uses Fun Creative to Create Memorable Ads

Why it Works: This funny ad uses relevant humor appropriately to create a memorable experience and entice visitors to see the “monsters” for themselves.  

The Farmer’s Dog Gets Emotional

Why it Works: The Farmer’s Dog scored the highest in the USA Today Ad Meter using the power of emotion and relatability. It is a perfect example of how consumers respond more to poignant and emotional storytelling than a CTA like “BUY THIS NOW!”

OnPoint Community Credit Union Leads the Race Against Climate Change

Why it Works: OnPoint Community Credit Union did the research and learned that its audience cares deeply about sustainability – and saving money. This ad communicates these value points while aligning with important figures in the community.

Sound Good? Partner with TEGNA for TV Advertising

TV advertising has driven tangible results for more than 17K of our advertising partners, helping to make TV the second-most profitable advertising medium in the United States. With the purpose of serving the greater good of our local communities, we want your brand not only to grow but thrive by aligning with trusted and impactful journalism – and a positive news halo that extends to your brand.

At TEGNA, we connect your business to the audiences that matter most via Broadcast TV, streaming Advertising, and Digital Solutions, including Targeted Display & Retargeting,​ as well as campaign measurement ​and optimization with ​TEGNA Attribution. Let’s get in touch.

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