Why Ratings Are Not the Most Reliable Metric for Success

Patty Brekke

Patty Brekke About The Author

Sep 24, 2021 10:38:00 AM

 

Why Ratings Are Not the Most Reliable Metric for Success

The truth is, TV advertising is here to stay. The problem? Too many businesses are inadvertently tracking vanity metrics to measure the success of their campaigns (and prove ROI to their higher-ups). In most cases, this is because they're overconfident or following the status quo when in reality — ratings are not the most reliable TV metric for success. 

With a smaller audience to access and a lack of transparency around ratings, brands are shifting their ad spend. Digital analytics can be more easily tracked and measured than TV ratings, enabling brands to more clearly see ROI from a particular ad campaign. It also helps them to determine where money should be spent in the future.  

This trend supports the need for key metrics that can indicate TV advertising success besides ratings.  

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What are ratings, and why do people think they're key to success?  

TV ratings refer to the measurement of a given audience that can determine the success of a show to help brands make a more informed decision on the timing and location of their TV ad. For decades, this has been considered the key to success for many brands. More often than not, advertisers followed the status quo — and frankly, it was the best available metric before the rise in digital streaming.  

Despite its ongoing popularity, there are several issues with relying on measuring ratings for TV metric success.  

The main issue is that the formula makes a rather large assumption - that those viewers have actually watched the ad and formulated an opinion on it. There is no way of ensuring these factors are accurate, which makes it an unreliable metric for calculating the efficacy of an ad, especially in the world of TV.  

What other metrics show TV advertising success?  

Screen Shot 2021-09-22 at 11.36.50 AMRatings, of course, aren't the only metric you can track and measure to determine your TV advertising success. The following metrics can help your brand track ad success much better than ratings alone now that we have entered the digital age:  

  • Website/Landing page traffic — depending on the action you encourage your viewers to take, a noticeable increase in website or landing page traffic could say a lot about how successful your TV ad was. Websites are one of the most common 'online profiles' that consumers run to when they want to learn more about a company and its offers. Tracking their visits will allow you to evaluate their interest in your company. 
  • Foot Traffic — a noticeable increase of consumers coming to your store could be a major indicator of TV advertising success. This is especially true if you notice heavy foot traffic after delivering your TV ad when previous years showed less success at this time. 
  • Social followers — social media is another area of marketing that is often impacted by TV advertising since a significant portion of consumers also check out brand accounts to understand companies better. Adding your social account to your ad can contribute to an unimaginable spike, but even without a social shutout, you'll want to track traffic and communication to your social platforms.  
  • Increase in sales revenue — arguably one of the easiest metrics to track since it's so readily available to you, a change in your sales revenue can say a lot about the success of your TV advertising. After delivery, did you notice that more people are buying your products? This can be a sign of more brand awareness.  

Ultimately, it comes down to this question: Are you factoring in TV's impact and reach on your digital marketing or website traffic? If you aren't, chances are you're missing out on some key performance indicators (KPIs) that can give you more insight into the success of your TV ads. 

What data points should you include? 

Data points — measurements of observation often used to identify and evaluate TV campaigns — are very useful to have on hand when pinpointing the specifics of your TV ad's delivery, location, timing, and more. This information allows your team to make more reliable connections between marketing methods and platforms by simultaneously comparing ad delivery and increasing action.  

The following data points are important to include in your TV data: 

  • TV ad run date and time (hour) 
  • TV ad impressions 
  • Ad spend 
  • Ad creative 
  • TV ad run show 
  • TV ad run network 

It's also important to note that knowing the answer to these data points will make a significant difference when tracking digital traffic that your TV ad may impact. This is because it will give you specifics on your ad's delivery and results based on similar timelines and responses.  

Measuring the success of your TV ads through digital analytics  

Screen Shot 2021-09-22 at 11.36.50 AMAs most people turn to digital alternatives to consume content, integrating your TV and digital advertising has become more important than ever. This includes measuring the success of your TV ads through digital analytics — even if you haven't yet integrated the two. The truth is, there is an undeniable connection between the two advertising methods among most consumers. 

In fact, Forbes reports that you can't truly gauge your return-on-investment (ROI) without fully understanding the effect of your advertising. To gain this understanding, you have to measure your online impact following the delivery of your TV ad.   

Consider the following strategies for measuring success using digital analytics: 

  • Use free tools — this includes tools like Google Analytics that allow you to track and measure your website activity. Not only is it free, but it gives you more reliable cross-channel insight.  
  • Have multiple attribution models — not only should your attribution model be specific to the goal of your campaign, but having multiple models to compare can go a long way in giving you a more holistic look into the mind of your consumers and their roles in each channel.  
  • Compare markets with custom segments — running an ad in one segment and comparing it to a segmented area that hasn't received the TV ad can help a lot in terms of A/B testing the success of your TV ads.  
  • Measure digital demand with monitor search volume — measuring branded search traffic variances in markets that you're delivering your TV ad in against ones you're not can tell you a lot about your buyer's interests. It can also give you more insight into search keywords that your brand should be using.  

Meredith Gulf Coast: Your Key to TV Ad Success 

Screen Shot 2021-09-22 at 11.36.58 AMSure, ratings aren't bad to have around for reference, but they are becoming much less reliable now that the digital age has taken over. The increase in streaming and other digital video trends shows a need for more evolved tracking and measuring of TV metrics. With a media partner like Meredith Gulf Coast, you'll get the guidance, expertise, and knowledge you need to deliver the most optimal TV ads to your target market. 

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Topics: Marketing ROI