Attribution Proves You Were Right to Buy TV

Businesses have been investing in TV as the backbone of their marketing budgets for 70 years. Until recently, it was challenging to tell if this investment was justified – but not anymore, says Jessica Daigle, VP of Sales Intelligence, TEGNA.  

The advent of smart TVs, automated content recognition (ACR) datasets and streaming TV have changed the game for TV advertising. Today, ACR datasets coming from TV manufacturers like LG, Inscape/Vizio, Samsung or set-top-box data like Comscore’s panel, allow TV viewership measurement based on a large, reliable panel (measuring from 9-40 million TV homes depending on the panel and tied to a household’s IP address). Paneled viewers’ behaviors after exposure can be tracked using a similar, deterministic methodology we’re accustomed to seeing from digital advertising. Streaming TV/CTV/OTT doesn’t require a panel-based viewership measurement because ads are digitally served and IP-level household viewership information is captured at the point of exposure.

Advanced household viewership metrics can now unlock data that was until recently used only to measure digital performance measurement. Yet with advances in attribution and measurement, TV can now be graded against metrics like post-exposure website visitation, location visitation and overlap with other media. Savvy marketers are measuring true sales performance, through integrations with vertical-specific third-party data partners, data onboarders and first party CRM data. As attribution capabilities for linear, CTV and OTT continue to strengthen, marketers are finding that assumptions about the power of TV are proving to be right. TV is not only a branding powerhouse but can compete on an efficiency basis with performance marketing tactics like paid search and social.

Across TEGNA’s portfolio of 64 local TV stations and Premion, our CTV/OTT division, we have been measuring TV outcomes for advertisers since 2018. Last year alone we measured 7,000 attribution campaigns, 17 billion impressions, 19 million website visits and 11 million location visits. This year we’re launching the next generation of TEGNA Attribution, partnering with industry-specific third-party data solutions to measure sales lift, starting with Arrivalist for travel/tourism and Polk Automotive Solutions for car dealers.

 The data and insights we have amassed for our clients proves TV is effective in driving results in every major vertical. Here are some examples we have achieved for our advertisers:

  • 11:1 estimated ROI for New/Used Car sales
  • $33 cost per Furniture showroom visit
  • $2 cost per website visit and $4 cost per location visit for a popular online marketplace
  • $20 per app download for an online lottery gaming app, with 30% of those new app installers purchasing a lottery ticket
  • 5:1 ROI for destination marketing organization in a top 10 US market
  • $85 per completed credit application for an online retailer of large goods

Armed with rich data sets and deeper insights, marketers can continue investing in television as the workhorse of their advertising campaigns, with the knowledge that the TV medium can provide value and ROI for both branding and performance marketing efforts.

As attribution technology and capabilities continue to evolve, measurement challenges that currently exist in TV are being addressed, and we expect a lot of growth in this area. The biggest difference between TV and digital media is that TV is a household viewing, non-clickable experience. We measure performance with an attribution or conversion window, giving people time to act based on seeing an ad. Another nuance is that device graphs must be used to tie TV viewership data to location visitation, since people don’t usually take their TVs with them shopping or on vacation. Fortunately, there are solutions for each of these challenges, but they can be complex depending on a campaign’s goals. It is critical for marketers to select partners with the right technology and expertise in providing tailored solutions. As a media company and a provider of attribution, our single biggest challenge is to make those results transparent, accessible and actionable.

For marketers, at the end of the day, the one and only metric that matters is: did their business grow? Until today there was a lot more art than science in determining the answer and understanding why and how, and in optimizing that growth.

With recent advances in TV attribution solutions that offer elegant, simple to understand reporting that is on a par with digital measurement, TV remains a critical driver of sales growth.  When combined with cutting-edge targeting and planning, it’s an unstoppable combination that makes TV a must buy.






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