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TV Remains Top of the Consumer Influence Funnel

July 15th, 2019   ||    by Brooke Phillips

The media-consuming public, which let’s face it – is basically all of us – is bombarded by advertising across channels in a variety of formats multiple times a day. We see ads on our mobile devices, laptops, televisions, connected tv’s, billboards as we drive down the highway and scrolling through our social media feeds.

But say you’re considering buying a new car next year – which of these advertising platforms has the most influence on you when it becomes time to purchase?

TVB recently released results from their 2019 Purchase Funnel study (independently conducted by GfK) which answers that question.

And the short answer is, good old-fashioned traditional television still retains the greatest level of influence among consumers. Yes, even amidst all of the new formats with which we consistently view advertising – TV still packs a considerable punch.

Let’s break it down further. The study examined data collected from over 3,000 interviews focused on all five phases of the consumer awareness index or purchase funnel – Awareness, Interest, Visit, Consideration and Purchase.

The purpose of the study was to determine how much influence each media platform — TV (includes broadcast, cable, and on-demand), radio, direct mail, outdoor (billboards, etc.), print (newspapers and magazines), and digital (includes streaming TV, banner ads, social and email) — has on a consumer during the purchasing decision process within the following categories: automotive, banking services, legal, QSR (quick service restaurants/casual dining), travel, medical, furniture.

Within the media industry, it’s common knowledge that TV still leads digital in terms of driving overall consumer awareness, and this study found that to be true as well – with 56% of respondents ranking TV as “most important for awareness” above the other categories.

Continuing that trend, of those that cited TV as the most important in the Awareness phase, 7 out of 10 chose broadcast TV over cable as being more influential.

Perhaps most interestingly, when asked, “In the past two months, did you see, hear or read any advertisement in any of these media/digital internet media?”, 77% of survey respondents identified TV over the other mediums. In contrast, social media reaches 26% of respondents, but only 5% deem it most important.

And when it comes to driving consideration and then decision to purchase, television also comes out ahead – with 45% and 43% of consumers, respectively listing TV as the most important influence out of all the advertising channels.

TV and Online Behavior – Which Leads the Other?

Since we all know that more of us spend more and more time online, it should come as no surprise that there is, indeed, a relationship between TV viewing and online searches. It turns out that our online behavior, at least when it comes to searching, is heavily influenced by what we see on TV.  According to the study, 85% of those who do online searches, said TV ads influenced those searches. (Just imagine the day when marketers and advertisers can actually prove and measure consumer behavior across platforms, for one campaign!)

Even Silicon Valley-backed start-ups have demonstrated that they understand the power and influence of television to drive consumer awareness and engagement. Granted, they may choose to build followers or gain “likes” on social media, but there comes a tipping point where successful brands feel ready to go to TV.  As co-founder of the agency Bullish, Mike Duda said, “TV works. That’s why you see companies that reach a certain size go to TV; it’s like some sort of validation that this [is] a real company. TV is a storefront for companies that may not have one.”

TV is Where the Trust Is

We also know this: consumers trust TV – a lot. Echoing the very similar findings of Videa’s 2017 study which demonstrated that local TV is most trusted among viewers, TVB’s study also found that local broadcast TV news trumps social, with 83% of consumers saying they trust local news, compared to 45% saying they prefer social media. So, as much as everyone seems to be engaging with Facebook and Instagram, not everyone is believing everything that they see or read.

And, even among “opinion leaders,” local TV wields considerable influence. TVB’s study found that 92% of opinion leaders reported that local TV ads influence their online search selections.

All of these survey results and findings imply that there remains of great deal of consumer awareness and behavior that is driven by television, and that behavior is created because viewers trust the content they see on their televisions as well as the delivery medium itself, despite many other competing venues for consumer attention.

For insight into what media buyers and executives from the advertising side think, tune into Videa’s “Join the Movement” study.

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