Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
March 23, 2011 6:32 PM

What Type Of Advertising Has The Most Influence?

You would think that the shift is clear. That true influence when it comes to advertising comes from channels that are more personal or more interactive. You would be wrong.

MediaPost ran a news item today titled, TV Advertising Most Influential, that would make any Digital Marketing professional raise an eyebrow (or two). "According to Deloitte's fifth edition 'State of the Media Democracy' survey, 71% of Americans still rate watching TV on any device among their favorite media activities. In addition, 86% of Americans stated that TV advertising still has the most impact on their buying decisions. The survey indicates that the Internet, mobile and social media channels are enhancing the overall television viewer experience, driving people to watch first-run programs and live events during their initial broadcast. And, nearly three-quarters of American consumers are multitasking while watching TV. 42% are online, 29% are talking on cellphones or mobile devices, and 26% are sending instant messages or text messages. 61% of U.S. consumers now maintain a social networking site, where constant streams of updates and discussion forums have made delaying awareness of live TV outcomes a near impossibility."

Welcome to media purgatory.

While television maintains its pole position as the dominant power in advertising influence, it's still fascinating to see not only the multi-platform activities of consumers, but also how interactive those channels are when coupled together. And, if you think about it, does a survey like this take into account the type of marketing we see happening in places like Twitter or through the power of websites that allow their consumers to leave reviews and rate everything? Some of the thinking around television's stronghold has to do with the fact that the conversations about shows, entertainment and brands that are taking place while the television is on in the background helps to reinforce its power, rather than shift the influence to other channels that are disrupting the full attention that used to be given to watching television.

That's a pretty powerful testament to the strength of television advertising.

It also speaks to the many media pundits who extol the virtues of new media and the death of the 30-second spot without factoring in that we still have a global culture of people who much prefer to consume media than to create it (it's something that Clay Shirky explains so brilliantly in his second business book, Cognitive Surplus). The report sheds some light into how deep the chasm is between traditional advertising and the newer channels as well. The question posed is...

Which type of advertising has the most impact on buying decision? (the percentage of respondents said):

  • Television - 83%
  • Magazines - 50%
  • Online - 47%
  • Newspapers - 44%
  • Radio - 32%
  • Billboards/outdoor advertising - 13%

The gap between television and online is dramatic.

But consider how mature of an industry television advertising is when compared to online, and also consider the creative. Beyond that, it's amazing to see how much more influential online advertising is when compared to radio or out-of-home advertising. Yes, I'm going to defend online advertising and it's ability to deliver much more than a great advertising message (always remember: marketing is not advertising), but none of this is set is stone. The media landscape continues to fragment, change and act differently.

Just don't make the mistake of thinking that television is no longer powerful. It is.

By Mitch Joel