Measuring TV Ad Effectiveness and Attribution

As the saying (often misattributed to business guru and educator Peter Drucker) goes, “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” Fortunately, marketers today have more ways than ever to measure TV advertising’s effectiveness, going way beyond traditional media metrics to help prove TV’s impact on business outcomes. This includes matching purchase data from either first or third-party data sets with viewing data that’s sourced from set top boxes, automatic content recognition (ACR), and even mobile usage.

For example, in addition to our native measurement capabilities, Simulmedia also partners closely with third parties such as TVSquared, iSpot, Data+Math, Nielsen Catalina (NCSolutions), IRI, and others to provide our clients with third-party measurement of TV advertising’s impact.

Simulmedia also partners with brand study partners like Kantar Millward Brown to help our customers measure the impact that TV drives on key brand metrics.

When it comes to optimized linear TV and CTV, it’s crucial to be able to access holistic measurement across channels and through the entire sales funnel. We help our clients measure incremental reach delivered across linear and CTV and cross-channel audience distribution across linear and CTV as well as lower funnel metrics like branded search queries, site visits, and digital conversions.

Regardless of how you tackle measuring tv ad effectiveness and attribution,, you’ll need to account for some core inputs first:

Establish a Baseline For Your TV Marketing Metrics

To ensure you have a confident read on the impact of your marketing, we recommend establishing a baseline that shows what “normal” looks like at any given point in time for whatever metric you use to track media performance. Baselines should include a confidence interval -- a statistical measure that indicates a range likely to encompass the true value. This will help you understand how many events are likely caused by random variation as opposed to something as potentially powerful as a TV campaign. For instance, by establishing a 68% confidence level, one can expect 32% of events will be outside of the range of confidence just by chance, meaning that they’re much more likely caused by something else, such as the media you’ve run.

If your brand is younger and in a high-growth stage, or if your brand is seasonal, a data analysis or data science team can help you identify baseline models to determine what “normal” traffic to a website or app looks like at any given point in time. Data scientists can help you understand trends, the impact of seasonality, and establish statistically significant baselines.

Prove TV’s Impact and Accountability

Today’s most innovative brand marketers are measuring TV advertisements in ways that prove TV’s impact and accountability. In addition to capturing changes in aided and unaided awareness, two metrics brand marketers have measured for decades, today’s brand-focused marketers also want to measure TV’s ability to drive customers to a website or application and understand the halo effect of TV on all of their other marketing channels.

Here’s an example that illustrates this approach in action. Imagine a TV campaign promoting a company’s Valentine’s Day products. Let’s say the creative for this fictitious campaign included a CTA to visit the company’s website in order to access a special offer. This advertiser reasonably would expect to see a spike in website visits that corresponds with the airing of the TV spot, followed by a return to the company’s normal baseline. The relationship between the ad campaign and website visits might look something like this:

Measuring tv ad impact on website visits

Similarly, this campaign also might impact organic search volume. Its chart could look a lot like the one showing website visits. We partner with companies like EDO to help brands understand how TV boosts organic search volume.

Investing in a top-of-funnel channel like television returns compound interest if your brand’s “conversion machine” is ready for it. There will be some number of purchasers that come to your site or app ready to buy as a result of seeing your TV ads. It’s important to make sure your brand is built to both take advantage of and reliably measure these ancillary benefits of TV’s top-of-funnel placement.

Measuring tv ad campaign impact on organic search volume

If you have a data science team, they should be able to help you develop a sophisticated method to gain an even deeper understanding of the impact of TV advertising on sales and the other channels you operate. They also can help you assess the impact of individual creatives, dayparts, networks and even programs on business metrics that matter to you. The key is to acquire sufficient volume of data over time to build and test a model, and then collect enough data to pave the way to optimization.

The good news is that most of the TV ecosystem is not a walled garden like the major digital marketing channels. With the right approach and enough data, though, you can learn a lot about TV’s impact on your business.

Download our Cross-Channel TV Playbook for a more detailed guide on how to unlock audiences on both linear and connected TV.

Want to learn more? Contact us or email us at advertise@simulmedia.com.