Get With the Programme – TV Advertising

With content consumption evolving all the time, it’s easy to get sucked in by big headlines that make sweeping statements about TV advertising. But when it comes to the future of advertising on the small screen, we can’t make any predictions without looking at the statistics that reflect the current market.

Thinkbox, the marketing body for commercial TV in the UK, releases monthly, up-to-the-minute statistics on how adults and children across the UK are watching television. In its latest report for February 2018, we learned that people watched an average of two hours and 23 minutes of commercial, linear, in-home TV set viewing every day in January. Despite this being a decrease of six minutes year on year, this still represents 14.9% of our waking hours (assuming the average person sleeps for eight hours a night).

Averages can be misleading, of course. So, to put this into context, we’re looking at a 92.1% reach for individuals across the UK.

However, this differs wildly from demographic to demographic. Children and young adults under the age of 35 have very different viewing habits to the older generations. This alone is enough to stress the importance of researching a business’ actual and intended audiences before the ideation stage of advert creation.

In fact, when it comes to creating TV adverts, Alan Wolk from Forbes thinks that advertisers should look to digital advertising for inspiration. Exploring the market, he notes that digital advertising spend doesn’t necessarily reflect its reach, when comparing it to television advertising. This is down to the simplicity of metrics. With digital advertising, it is easy to see who has seen what advert, what compelled them to click and whether they went on to purchase. With the advent of digital television, we could be about to see another seismic shift back towards TV advertising – if the metrics are trackable.

No matter what media you leverage in your marketing campaign, its success comes down to being able to target and track tightly defined demographics. Digital TV advertising will take everything we’ve learned from digital advertising and apply it to the medium that compels audiences for 14.9% of its waking hours.