Why Are Digital Companies Advertising on TV?

28 May 2014 | Blog

Old-fashioned TVRosanna Pansino is on TV.

So are Michelle Phan and Bethany Mota, some of YouTube’s top content creators, in a series of television ads promoting YouTube.

But wait. You thought digital advertising was the future. So why is YouTube, along with Google, Amazon, and the other top internet players, advertising on TV?

A recent Bernstein Research report, “If Internet Advertising is Superior, Why Are All These Internet Companies Running TV Ads?”, tackles the question. They go through the earnings calls of major online companies such as TripAdvisor, Priceline, and Zillow, noting how much money is being poured into TV advertising and how well it’s paying off for them. They then go through a series of hypotheses, ranging from the need to reach prospects that can’t be reached through online advertising to a lack of online ad inventory, blowing holes in each one as they go. The only one they can’t dismantle—the one they conclude is most likely the truth—is the obvious: “Traditional TV advertising has a uniquely powerful impact on consumers.”

They’re not the only ones to reach that conclusion, either. A new report from Ebiquity came to the conclusion, after a “study of over 4,500 advertising campaigns from the last 7 years”, that “TV advertising remains the most effective form of advertising and creates the most profit for businesses”.

When TV offers the greatest reach and the highest ROI of any form of advertising, it makes sense. YouTube and Amazon may have enormous platforms and wide reaches, but they still can’t hold a candle to what TV can offer. While digital marketing is an immensely valuable tool, TV advertising isn’t going anywhere—even the biggest digital firms agree.