TV and Search - Perfect Together
12 April 2018 • tvsquared
Jo Kinsella,

This article originally ran in on April 12, 2018:

For far too long, advertisers have put marketing activities into silos. You have your offline team and your online team, and they plan, measure and optimize initiatives within their own buckets. But this silo-ed approach to marketing simply doesn’t work anymore. Why? Because online and offline channels are deeply intertwined, impacting and interacting with each other throughout the customer journey. And there’s no better example of this than with TV and search.

The Relationship Between TV and Search

Think about the last time you watched TV. Did you have your phone in your hand or a laptop within reach? Today, close to 90% of TV viewers watch with second-screen devices in-hand or nearby. We’re living in the age of the “active-participation” viewer. When we see something that interests us on TV, we immediately engage with brands at the a swipe of a smartphone. In turn, this has led to TV becoming one of the primary drivers of search.

But don’t just take my word for it. Studies from MicrosoftGoogleARF, even the world of academia, have quantified just how significantly TV ads impact search. In my experience working with TV advertisers for the last six years, I’ve seen TV spots drive branded search activities by as much as 80%. And that’s just on a “regular” day. For live events, that number skyrockets. TVSquared’s annual Super Bowl analysis has found TV ads to increase search rates by 150x or more.

Capitalizing on High-Interest, TV-Driven Moments

We know TV drives search. We also know that the majority of TV-driven searches take place in the minutes after spots air. The five-minute window after a spot runs is when a consumer intent-to-buy/engage is at its highest. This is the time when having the top search position is crucial.

I can’t stress enough the importance of the top search spot. This position gives advertisers, by far, the highest click-through rates (CTRs). On Google, for example, brands in the top position get around 36% of the traffic, which is 83% higher than the second spot. So, while your TV ad may drive viewers to search, if you don’t have that top spot in those critical minutes, you risk losing potential customers.

But maintaining that top spot 24/7 is expensive and not in the realm of reality for most brands. That’s why I encourage advertisers to “sync” their TV spots with their paid search initiatives. This ensures they get the top search ranking only in the critical moments after spots air – maximizing TV’s response and optimizing search budgets for periods of high demand.

Real-World View

One Japanese car manufacturer synced its TV ads with search for a new-model launch last year. For the five minutes after a TV spot ran, the company secured the top search position on Google. This campaign resulted in a 43% higher CTR, a 30% increase in conversions (dealer-locator queries and brochure downloads) and 50% growth in mobile traffic.

A U.S. diet program did the same thing for a four-week campaign featuring a new celebrity spokesperson. Analysis showed a 19% increase in CTR, 34% increase in web pages visited and an 18% decrease in cost per conversions (registrations).

A growing North American pet retailer even used this strategy to capture TV-driven search away from its competitor. Whenever its competitor’s TV ads aired, the retailer bid for the top search spot – positioning itself as a viable alternative and diverting consumers to its own site. Pretty genius.

It’s time for brands to knock down those marketing silos and make TV and search work together. This not only maximizes the impact of TV, but it also ensures that you drive and capture high-consideration traffic into the digital funnel.