Digital campaigns without TV's effect will underperform: Sam Balsara

Sam Balsara, Chairman & Managing Director, Madison, spoke about how TV adds to Digital ROI and hence needs to be part of performance campaigns too

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Feb 5, 2020 3:22 PM

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TV First

If you’ve been paying attention to the world of advertising for the past decade or so, you might have the impression that digital is where all the action is. In terms of buzz and trend fixation, that’s true. But when it comes to driving returns, the tried and true realm of television advertising still can’t be beaten. And rightly so, at the second edition of the e4m TV First Conference, Sam Balsara, Chairman & Managing Director, Madison, spoke of why brands cannot do without TV in a digital world.

 Balsara stated his position up-front. “I believe that television will continue to be not just the first medium but the dominant medium in adex for at least a few more years in India. Never mind that digital has crossed 50 per cent of global adex. The Pitch Madison’s revised estimate that we released in August 2019, television should have been 39% of adex with trailing with a 22% share.

 For those who have the task of building brands, TV will continue to be an indispensable part of their arsenal,” he asserted.

 He looked back at TV’s miraculous powers since the days of Mahabharata when Balsara launched the Cinthol line with just four double spots on four consecutive episodes of the serial on Sundays. Balsara noted that back then, the brand achieved a market share of 5.4% in the very first month of the launch in a very competitive premium soap market.

 He was quick to add, “Fragmentation and clutter have taken a toll on the advertiser’s ROI with the increased number of channels today. In today’s noisy world of advertising that TV wouldn’t be the only medium you use for brand-building but is certainly a dominant medium and the first medium for most consumer mass brands, given the way it impacts the consumer’s hearts. No other media matches television in its ability to evoke emotions,” Balsara remarked.                                               

 In terms of campaign effectiveness, he pointed out that emotional ads work the hardest in delivering profits over rational and combined ones. Emphasising on why ads on TV work a little better, Balsara recounted his recent conversation with Karen Nelson Field, a professor who has conducted research on the relative strengths of different media across 6-7 countries.

 Quoting from one of her studies, he read three interesting conclusions that she came up with. “TV commands the highest attention of media and gets an overall score of 58 points, YouTube comes next with 45 points followed by Facebook at 20 points. If you take active viewing the scores are far sharper with TV at 58, YouTube at 31 and Facebook at 4,” he read out.

 Another conclusion by the study indicates that sales is correlated directly to attention and that TV drives more attention and thereby better sales. “TV ads have the highest lingering effect. TV ad retention is so strong that it generates a greater impact at 28 days than Facebook and YouTube. Facebook decays 2.5x faster and YouTube 3x faster than TV,” Balsara read quoting Field’s report.       

 He highlighted the various attributes of television that help it garner this much attention.

Balsara revealed that visibility is affected by three factors - Coverage: the proportion of the screen that the ad covers; Clutter - What is going around the ad and pixels and Completeness - How much of the ad is on the screen at any time.

 “We all know that television here scores because it offers us 100% pixels, 100% coverage, 100% of the time.”

 Balsara further recalled the viewability factor of TV. “The viewability standards being applied to TV and digital are vastly different with television standards being far more stringent so ads on TV score high on viewability. Viewability affects audience attention and high attention helps convey the brand message which is necessary to impact sales,” he said.

 Posing the question of what should the advertiser hardpress to get a good return on his ad investments, he established that multimedia works better than single media.

 Quoting data he said, “TV alone can give you a return of 100, TV with digital can give you a return of 150. Television affects top-of-funnel metrics while digital wonderfully well for bottom-of-the-funnel.”

 Moreover, he suggested two ways in which we can use TV and digital to work synergistically. “Use digital video to add reach to TV campaigns efficiently. Use TV to increase search volume and other bottom of funnel metrics. Digital campaigns without the added effect of television would underperform by 7-21%,” Balsara said.

 He also made the point that TV will very well work in combination with Print, Outdoor, Radio or Cinema for brand-building as they offer less clutter and many brands are taking advantage of that.

 Furthermore, he advised, “TV adds to digital ROI and hence needs to be a part of even performance campaigns.” 

The e4m TV First Conference was supported by Zee TV.

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