How to Get the Most From Cable TV Advertising

There are dozens of ways your small business can advertise—but for many consumers, television still holds the most sway. In fact, a recent survey reports TV ads are more trusted and more likely to influence purchases than any other advertising medium.

The poll of more than 1, 000 consumers nationwide found that 60 percent are likely to make purchases after seeing or hearing an advertisement on TV. By comparison, 45 percent are likely to make a purchase after seeing a print advertisement, 43 percent after seeing an online ad and 42 percent after seeing advertising on social media.

And if you think seniors are the most likely to buy something because of a television commercial, think again: Some 65 percent of millennials, compared to just 51 percent of boomers, say they’re likely to be influenced by TV advertising.

In addition, 61 percent trust TV advertising, making it the most trusted advertising channel (tied with print). Consumers trust online advertising and social media less, the study reports, because these advertising channels are less regulated and more affordable. In contrast, because TV has a higher bar and higher cost, consumers feel that companies willing to invest time and money in TV advertising must be serious about winning their business.

But TV advertising doesn’t have to cost you a lot—not when you choose cable. Here’s what you need to know about cable TV advertising and how to get the most for your money.

  • Take full advantage of the visual power of TV. Television advertising can combine voice, music and images in a way that has more impact than watching a video on a smartphone. Make sure that you craft your commercials to fully exploit all of these elements and make an emotional connection with viewers.
  • Combine cable television, online advertising and social media. A whopping 87 percent of people use a second screen (like a tablet or smart phone) while they’re watching TV, so take advantage of that fact to engage them with your website or social media accounts. Display your website URL on screen during your cable commercial and urge viewers to check it out. If you’re promoting a special offer, create a landing page for that and share the URL. Encourage viewers to visit you on Facebook to get special offers; one study found people who see both Facebook and TV ads from a business are 29 percent more likely to make a purchase.
  • Make the most of cable-television commercial footage. Your local cable company can create a commercial for you that conveys your marketing message. Ask them about making your commercial as multipurpose as possible. For instance, you can create versions of different lengths to fit different commercial slots, or air the short version as a TV commercial and a longer version online on YouTube, social media and your website.
  • Tap into TV targeting. As cable television has become more niche and cable companies’ ability to collect data about their customers has expanded, you can expect TV advertising to target viewers almost as narrowly as online ads. In other words, if you're looking for an audience of newlyweds in your local area interested in decorating their first home together, your cable company can help you reach them down to the neighborhood level. They can also target demographic and behavioral characteristics.

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