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Advantages and Disadvantages of TV Advertising

For decades, it’s been widely accepted that television advertising is an effective way to get your company’s message across to the masses, but what are the other advantages of television advertising? In addition to this, television advertising isn’t always the best way to promote your business. We take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of TV adverts. 

Advantages of Television Advertising

National Coverage

A big advantage of television advertising is of course the opportunity to gain national coverage of your TV advert. Provided that a viewer is watching the TV channel at the time of your advertising slot, they’ll be able to see your TV advert no matter their age, gender or location in the country. This can be a big advantage if your company appeals to a mass market, with television advertising being one of the easiest ways to reach a wide audience quickly. 

Full Attention

Unlike alternatives such as social media advertising, magazines and advertising on search engines, when your advertisement is on TV, you have the viewer’s full attention. You’re not competing with other advertisements at the same time, and in a lot of cases, you’re on a very large screen in the main room of the house. If the viewer is waiting for their programme to start or continue, they’re very likely to be giving your advertisement their full attention. 

Brand Awareness

Sometimes with other methods of advertising, with less advertising space and the need to make an instant impact, a company may need to choose between displaying key selling points to boost sales, or showcasing their brand via a brand awareness campaign. With a lengthy 30 second TV advertising slot, companies can combine the two, demonstrating the benefits of a particular product or service, as well as showing their brand identity, logo and colours. 

Building Trust

When a company has enough advertising budget to advertise on national television, there is the assumption that they are the real deal. Whilst viewers may not be aware of this, there are a number of approval stages and barriers involved to getting your advertisement shown on television, so, with the exception of rare cases, only genuine businesses who can deliver on what they’re promoting are allowed to buy a TV advertising slot. With all this in mind, being able to advertise on television is a trust signal, and may result in a viewer using that company instead of competitors who do not have that television presence. 

Monitor Impact

A benefit of television advertising is that you can, to some extent, monitor the impact of the adverts on sales and brand awareness. Companies such as TVSquared can help businesses to analyse and monitor subsequent commercial performance as a result of the advert being shown. Television advertising is highly likely to result in dramatic increases in online searches for the brand, so it’ll be pretty easy in programmes such as Google Analytics to see the surge in traffic to a company’s website at the same time an advertisement is shown. 

A newer feature on television adverts is to include QR codes for users to scan and use, this can also easily be used to track users who have visited the website from viewing the advert. 

More accessibility for smaller businesses

Think that television advertising is just for the large companies? Think again. With companies such as Sky Adsmart emerging, it’s becoming easier for smaller sized businesses to advertise on television. Of course, you perhaps wouldn’t be able to get a prime time nationwide television slot, but you could get coverage for specific areas, demographics and interests. Thanks to Sky’s data collection from Sky boxes, they can provide much more precise targeting for television adverts. Theoretically, this form of television advertising could therefore be cheaper and more effective. 

Creating a long-lasting impression

With famous television advertising slogans staying with viewers’ minds for decades, and television advertising transforming a business from local to international, television adverts can definitely give a long lasting impression. Whilst possible, it would be unlikely for a magazine advert or email newsletter to provide the same impact, making this a key benefit of television advertisements. 


Disadvantages of Television Advertising


Television advertising is one of the most expensive forms of advertising available. Looking at TV advertising costs, a prime time slot on ITV can cost up to £30,000, and that’s just for one showing. Whilst as previously mentioned, companies such as Sky Adsmart can offer cheaper alternatives, but this still doesn’t include production costs, hiring well-known faces and/or actors to promote the brand onscreen. Also, if you don’t have a good idea for an advert, and no idea how to put one together, you’re going to need to pay a specialised agency to do this for you. 

Difficult to accurately monitor results

Whilst monitoring the impact of television advertising has improved, including the use of specialised analytics software, QR codes and other forms of tracking. It may not be possible to have a completely accurate account of who has visited your website or purchased a product from being shown the television advert. This isn’t the only method of advertising that has this issue of course, as you could not know for sure who saw a magazine advert or heard a radio broadcast, but when television advertising is as expensive as it is, you are to some extent blind about the impact of your campaign. 

Advertising approval

It’s not enough to have the funds to purchase TV advertising slots, the TV advert produced needs to adhere to a lot of guidelines in order to appear on television. This includes technical requirements such as quality and aspect ratio, and legal guidelines to make sure the advert does not put forward false claims or offend. Even when this is done, there is still a risk of adverts receiving complaints and getting banned. 

Risk of harming the brand image

An advert broadcasted on television doesn’t necessarily mean that your business is guaranteed to encounter success. If your desired audiences don’t like your advert, find them offensive, or if your advert simply doesn’t impress, then you can risk that becoming a long-lasting impression. 

Skipping Ads

When a company has spent so much time and money on a television advertising campaign, do viewers actually want to see it? With the rise of on-demand TV services such as Netflix and AppleTV, and options to pay a little extra to skip ads, it seems that what viewers of television really want is to skip ads altogether. Whilst no one really wants to be sucked in by advertising to buy products they don’t need, it might become increasingly difficult in future years to reach anyone at all by the once wide-spread advertising tactic.  


Final thoughts

Whilst businesses seem to be paying more attention to social media advertising, influencers and CSR as a means of advertising, the power of the television advert still remains. The advantages and disadvantages of TV advertising highly depend on what a company needs to get out of it. The main question must be, will television advertising remain as powerful, or will the surge of on-demand television reduce its influence on the mass market? 


What are your thoughts on television advertising? Let us know in the comments.

One thought on “Advantages and Disadvantages of TV Advertising

  1. It’s great that you talked about how television advertising could give the opportunity to gain national coverage of the TV advert. I went to an advertising convention last weekend and one of the booths there was all about TV advertising. From what I’ve heard, it seems there are companies that offer targeted TV advertising services now too.

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