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How PPC Marketing Has Been Influenced By Traditional TV Advertising


Apple-tv-commercial For some PPC Professionals, after a long day of work analyzing Click-thru Rates, Keyword Matching options, Text Ads, Conversion Reports, etc… watching some TV at night with a glass of a 2005 Australian Shiraz to wind down from the day can sometimes open your eyes and force you to think about the differences and similarities of TV advertising vs. PPC Advertising. Considering this cannot be classified and any type of an epiphany, it does beg to question what makes TV advertising different and what can we learn from it. It also made me think of a few questions. Let's discuss….

First of all, what hit me square in the face was the question: Search Marketing is roughly a $40 billion dollar a year industry right? So, then why the hell are there so few companies (other than Bing) using TV to help persuade more small businesses to go online and using PPC Marketing? Maybe the answer is "SMALL BUSINESS". But why not throw some persuasive statistics to the masses and reach some of those small businesses who have not yet migrated to the web. Just a thought…

1st-tv-commercial-1941-bulo When did Television Advertising Start?

According to a few online resources, TV Advertising was first launched on July 1st, 1941 where the watchmaker Bulova paid a whopping $9 bucks for a 10-second spot on New York station WNBT. The commercial displayed a picture of a clock superimposed on a map of the United
States, accompanied by the voice-over "America runs on Bulova time." before a baseball game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies. Pretty cool huh? Well, as it is in all advertising media, once it progresses from Infant Stage to Mature Stage, many changes would have taken place to best accommodate the heartbeat and trend of the current times. The same can be said for all of Search Marketing in general. (aka Social Media????) With that said, the second question I asked myself was "What have PPC Marketers learned from TV Advertising?" It's sounds like a pretty vague question, but if you dig a little deeper, you will notice striking similarities.

What can PPC Marketers learn from TV Advertising

Well, there are a few blogs out there provide some interesting viewpoints on the same issue of how Search Marketers can learning from TV Commercials. For example, SEOmoz in their article 3 Things Internet Marketers Can Learn From TV Commercials, they focus their attention on the fact that (1) Attention Spans Are Short, (2) End with a Call To Action and (3) Branding is Extremely Important. However, I am going to tackle this topic with a different perspective on how we can learn from traditional TV Advertising.

Food-network-commercials TV Advertising = Google Content Network

I know this sounds like a stretch and your saying to yourself "how can this guy suggest that the Content Network is the same as TV Advertising, especially when its been known in PPC world be the bastardized step-child of search due to it's historically bad CTR%, Clickfraud, etc…. However, if we were to take into consideration the revised algorithm of the Google Content Network, which is based on creating "Themes" (which if broken down is the complete opposite of the Search Network Quality Score), you will begin to see the similarities. For example, if you watch the Food Network Channel you will notice the genre of commercials will most likely be about food, travel or other related topics. With Cable Television and all of its highly targeted programs, TV advertisers can make better decisions on where to find the best targeted audience for their respected TV commercial.

Ok, so what are the similarities?

Nfl-tv-commercials THEMES = TV shows Genre
All TV Shows have their own defined themes based on their target audience. For example, different types of audiences watch these events on TV. (Ever wonder why there are so many beer commercials during a televised Football, Baseball, Hockey or Basketball game? Because there is proven data (I mean c'mon, we don;t need data to tell us this right?) that advertisers are given that suggests people who watch or attend sporting events are more likely to be beer drinkers and vice versa.

Both utilize Geo Targeting

Both Network and Local stations air different commercials at different times during different programs based on a Geographic location. This would relate to the difference in Ad prices according to time of the day/night as well as the volume of the  audience. In both TV and PPC, we can easily create tests of certain products during specific times of the year based on Geo Location.

Both utilize Behavioral Advertising

There are many strategies that TV Advertisers take advantage of to maximize the reach and frequency of their TV Ad. In particular, ROAD-BLOCKING is a good one to mention. Road-Blocking is when a typical viewer (with remote in hand) notices a commercial, then switches over to another channel to find the same commercial airing. (Advertisers are forcing you to watch their commercials)

With regard to Internet Advertising, we have been using Behavioral Advertising for a while now, where as many of us PPC Geeks already know, is cookie-based data collecting on an internet user's behaviors. (ie. browsing habits, search queries, and history). The information is then collected, entered into different Ad networks and then the behavioral data is then used to serve more targeted advertisements to the user. Don't both sound a little similar?

Both utilize Day-Parting

Political Advertising, (during political seasons) are televised during specific times of the day and during specific types of shows. For example, regardless of political party, Ads will run in the morning as we get ready for work and gets the kids out of the door. They will appear sometimes during specific talks shows or cable news and re-appear during the evening news and select shows. As election day get's closer, the ads run more frequently and you will see more Prime Time Ads showing up.

Both have specific CTA (Call To Action)
In TV Ads, we are seeing phone numbers, website urls (sometimes specific urls for tracking purposes) and even Social Media (follow us on Twitter & Facebook). In PPC, we have the same CTA options at our disposal

EyeBalls = Impressions
As far as I know, there is no Quality Score for TV Advertisers, however for many professionals who are living in the world of TV Advertising often relate circulation rate (ie Eyeballs of a typical viewer) to that of an Impression or set of impressions in Search Marketing. Are they identical comparisons. NO. But they are close enough to validate spending money in PPC based on this relationship.

What are the Key Differences?

Web Analytics is Simply More Powerful:

The true benefit of Internet Advertising is the ability to track every little aspect of each and every click. This is not the case in TV Advertising because they have more of a "holistic and generalized view." I am not saying TV Advertising Stats are not effective, I am just saying that the Internet has the ability to track deeper levels of visitor interaction on a much more microscopic level. Even though TV has pioneered many of the Online Advertising Strategies we see today, we must admit that the Internet has brought these proven techniques to a higher and more robust level of understanding how everyone lives and researches online.

Different Viewer Intents:

On Television, many of us have a specific show being aired on a specific day or night of the week that we reserve for our entertainment. Whether it's Family Guy on Sunday Nights on FOX, or Grey's Anatomy on Thursday night on ABC, our brains are wired to know exactly when and where to find wht we want to watch. In addition, the TV advertisers know of this trend and have strategies in place to meet that audience. However, the Internet is not so predictable. When we hear breaking news, we will go online, then watch TV. When we want to find out something, we migrate to the Internet to find what we want. Even is we missed a TV show, the networks will air the show on their website almost immediately following the episode on TV. The commonality however, is that TV Networks have been offering viewers to watch the shows on the web and still air commercials before, during and after the shows. So instead of TV trying to beat 'em, they have decided to join 'em and the viewer winds up being the winner. 

I must also mention a few other blogs who have discussed the same topic:

Here are just a few.

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One Response to "How PPC Marketing Has Been Influenced By Traditional TV Advertising"

  1. Ha, isn’t that photo from the first Apple commercial or something? Very informative. Thanks

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