What % Does Creative Impact TV & Digital?

Creative in TV = 70% of impact. Creative in Digital = 35% of impact.

Creative = King in TV

David Poltrack, Chief Research Officer at CBS still holds the title for advertising’s best ad research ever.

In 2013, at the ARF he presented a comprehensive study concluding that 70% of TV advertising’s impact comes from creative.

Yes, creative.

  • If your ROI on TV is horrible, odds are 70% the reason = creative.
  • If your ROI on TV is amazing, odds are 70% the reason = creative.
  • If your TV’s not working…it’s not TV, it’s the creative.

“Poltrack’s study doesn’t get the credit it deserves,” said C3 Metrics advertising attribution measurement Chairman, Mark Hughes. “What you put in that 30, 60, or 120 second TV commercial makes all the difference. Poltrack quantified 70% of TV’s ROI comes from creative…which includes call to action, messaging, sight & sound. We see it every day with most clients running 6-7 TV creatives which we quantify down to the penny for ROI performance.”

But good creative is hard to find in TV.

The solution?

Test the living daylights out of many pieces of TV creative.

It’s like losing weight or building muscle: there is no shortcut.

To get fit in TV, you have to create new TV creative, iterate, and test. It’s the 70% key to TV success.

Creative = Half the Impact in TV

For digital display, the impact that creative contributes is half that of TV.

Several reasons:

  • Viewability (or lack thereof) in programmatic display.
  • Fraud (directly related to lack of viewability).
  • Infinite possibility of programmatic buying techniques in programmatic display versus TV (which has Nielsen and Rentrak data available to all media buyers with fixed inventory).

But perhaps Marc Pritchard (P &G’s CMO) knows this better than anyone because of his experience with digital display where 75% of all digital display ads never reach the consumer.

How does this affect creative’s most basic measurement metric in digital display?

CTR, creative’s staple in programmatic display is utter rubbish.

Here’s why:

CTR = Rubbish

It’s display’s formula of clicks divided by views

Click: Numerator

But clicks are massively overstated at least 50% because of botnet click fraud.

If the numerator (clicks) are wrong, CTR is wildly wrong (at least 2x wrong).

  • 100 clicks/10,000 views = 0.01
  • 50 clicks/10,000 views = 0.005

>> Actual CTR, because of numerator error, is 2x off.

That’s the numerator…

Impressions: Denominator

“Impressions” are not actually viewable…actual click-through-rate from a human, requires an impression to be viewable (how can a human click an ad that’s not viewable).

Impressions = auction wins (this is how the IAB defines an impression: when the auction is won and the vendor gets the right to serve a display ad).

In programmatic display, however, 51% of impressions are not viewable (C3 Metrics data).

Because impressions have to be viewable for a valid CTR, the denominator (views) is wildly off.

  • 100 clicks/10,000 impressions served = 0.01
  • 100 clicks/4,900 impressions viewable = 0.02

>> Actual CTR, because of denominator error, is off 2x.

Because both the numerator and the denominator are each off by 2x and 3x, CTR = utter rubbish.

The problem is, you don’t know if your clicks are wrong, or your views are wrong (and how much)

Programmatic CTR is equivalent to a pilot’s altimeter being off 2x, and GPS off by 3x.

Is the Solution VTR (No)

View-through-rate is the metric of last decade.

VTR is based on the “impression.”

But, again impressions are simply auction wins…nothing to do with actual viewability.

Simply search “nested iframe cookie” to get an in-depth explanation of how cookies are dropped without a display ad ever being displayed.

View-through-conversions are metrics for amateur marketers.


Yes, it’s self-serving.

But marketing attribution with built-in viewability at a user level, also adding fraud control, also removing false positives, and also fractionalizing all media (versus just one channel) in an AWACS-like platform is the answer.

One referee.

One referee that can actually provide the true signal on programmatic (tossing out ads which are not seen, removing fraud and allowing spend from other marketing channels into the equation).

  • A referee that cares about making the right call.
  • A referee that has instant replay.
  • A referee trusted by CFOs.
  • A referee relied upon by CMO’s.
  • A referee, that if used…delivers 15% ROI improvement in media, and enables 30% higher marketing spend a year after using the referee.

Are you ready for accountability + growth now?