What’s the Secret to TV Advertising…70% Is

At this week’s Advertising Research Foundation #ARF2017AM, @JoshChasin and @BillHarvey are imparting golden nuggets: the cleaning of big data will be foundational to analysis and modeling.

But some of the most ground-breaking studies in advertising at the ARF continue to come from the Chief Research Officer at CBS Television, David Poltrack.

For advertising research Ph.D.’s and research wonks, he may be the most interesting man in the world.

In 2013, his study presented at the ARF concluded that 70% of TV advertising’s impact comes from creative. Yes, creative. If your ROI on TV stinks, the odds are 70% it’s the creative. If the ROI on TV is amazing, the odds are 70% it’s the creative. In other words, if your TV’s not working…it’s the creative, not the TV.

In 2017, Poltrack’s doing it again: from his study of 863 cross-media TV + digital campaigns, for the top 60% of campaigns, TV = 70% reach and Digital = 6% reach (an 11.7X difference).

“2013’s study from Poltrack doesn’t get the credit it deserves,” said C3 Metrics advertising attribution measurement CEO, Mark Hughes. “When you think about it, what you put in front of people in that 30, 60, or 120 second TV commerical makes all the difference in the world. 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 can quantify down to the penny for ROI performance.”

With Poltrack’s 2017 ARF study, it’s no wonder that Facebook is now spending nearly 2/3 of its own advertising dollars on TV, according to Craig Jaffe and Kantar Media.

Add to this, a long list of pure play Internet retailers spending the lion’s share of their ad dollars on TV: Zulilly, Amazon, AdoreMe, TripAdvisor, Ancestry.com, EHarmony, Esurance, Overstock.com, Angieslist, Priceline, Legalzoom.com, FreeCreditScore.Com. The list goes on.

A short while ago, we may have predicted the death of TV, but 90% of video viewing is still happens on linear TV. comScore’s June 2017 study indicates that cord cutters are watching far less video in general and tend to be lower income.

“With modern measurement, the pendulum is swinging back for TV with an 11.7x reach advantage. But because TV’s ultimate success or failure rests on creative which can now be measured to the penny, advertisers should be producing far more creative executions than imagined because that’s where the ROI is,” said Mark Hughes of C3 Metrics.