In 2013, for the first time ever, Internet ad revenues surpassed those of broadcast television. While television as a whole still commands more eyeballs, this milestone marks a decisive shift in the realm of video advertising. The audience for online advertising is skyrocketing, with the amount of the U.S. population streaming their content up 58% from 38% five years ago (IAB/Nielsen).

“Leveraging the large reach of TV in combination with the standalone impact and amplifying effect of online video makes for a successful strategy.”

—Dave Kaplan, Senior Vice President, Product Leadership at Nielsen IAG

Since political campaigns traditionally rely heavily on television advertising, this shift also raises the question: could you be getting more bang for your buck with online video?

TV Costs Soar While Viewership Drops

As reported by Ad Age’s Jack Neff, television advertising’s “cost per gross rating point (GRP) to reach 18-to-49-year-olds has quadrupled in the past two decades, according to Horizon Media,” even as its reach has been “diluted by the proliferation of other media.” Just this past year, broadcast and cable television’s cost per milli (CPMs) were up 5% (AdWeek).

At the same time that TV’s cost has quadrupled, broadcast TV’s audience ratings have been cut in half in the past decade. According to RMG Networks, “The networks are in a viewership free fall, yet they’re charging marketers more than ever.”

Shifting Dollars to Digital Increases Reach, Decreases Spend

In an IAB study conducted by Nielsen, researchers measured what would happen when dollars were reallocated to digital. To benchmark how moving dollars from TV ad budgets would affect reach and costs, the study examined 18 real TV schedules across key
advertiser verticals. They found that a 15% budget shift increased reach by 6.2% while lowering costs by 6.8%.

Video ads tended to reach harder-to-hit verticals like adults age 18-34 and light TV viewers. Additionally, those who saw the ads on both platform were much more likely to respond, because…

People Remember Online Ads

In a joint study, Microsoft and Nielsen IAG conducted research to determine the effectiveness of ads based on four key brand impact metrics: ad recall, brand recall, message recall, and likeability. Astoundingly, the online video ads outperformed the TV ads on every single metric (Tweet this!).



They concluded that the online video viewers’ engagement could be attributed to their viewing environment; mainly, “the oft-required active mouse-clicking to initiate and continue content,” the “reduced ad clutter,” and the inability to easily skip content altogether (like you can do with a DVR).

Better Together: Online Ads Play Nice with TV Ads

The Microsoft/Nielsen IAG study didn’t end there. They also tested how using a dual-platform strategy affected the metrics—and found that a combined strategy amplified brand lift across every major metric:

The Future of Video

The younger generations continues to grow their digital consumption, pointing to a pattern that may hold for years to come. As a society, the ways we digest content are changing, and it’s important to change advertising tactics to keep up with this shift.

As online streaming grows, we’ll probably continue to see the viewership shift online. We want to know—will your campaign strategy shift with it? Let’s talk it out in the comments section.