Social Media vs. TV: where to spend your media budget?

Social Media vs. TV: where to spend your media budget?

Door Maud Olieslagers
Of course, as a social agency, you’d think we would immediately go for “social”. But no, we are not like that and this question has more answers than the Dutch carnival has rules (if you don’t get the comparison, check this blog out). We’re not going to say TV is dead. We’re going to show you the value of both. This way, after reading this blog, you can determine for yourself which channels need to have a place in your advertising strategy.

Times are changing

As we said, TV isn’t dead. However, the way we consume video content has changed a lot over the last couple of years. Over time, traditional television has shown a slight, but structural decrease in the time people spend watching it. On top of that, in 2018, the number of subscriptions to video streaming services worldwide actually outnumbered the number of subscriptions to traditional cable television. So, with this in mind, is it still a good idea to spend most of your media budget on traditional TV?

News, diapers and expensive blenders?

Let’s take a look at the advertising possibilities of the different media. One could say that the advertising possibilities – and more specifically, the targeting options – on platforms such as Facebook and Youtube are better than on TV. With the latter, you would define your audiences based on the program that is playing at the time, but how accurate is this? How do you actually know that the audience a program is made for is not different from the audience actually watching it?

Personally, I watch the news every day, but all the commercials around this time involve children (I’m not the target audience for this – sorry, boyfriend, if you had any plans), families (again, not the target audience) or expensive household equipment (I’m already happy with the fact that I can keep my own room clean). To make my point: I’m not the target audience for any of these ads, but a lot of budgets went into me seeing these ads.

And there you go: TV does not give you any guarantee that it brings your message to the right audience. With on-demand TV, an advertiser already has more possibilities for specific targeting. Just like on-demand, with Facebook and YouTube, we can target someone based on their actual interests and demographics.

Getting the most out of your money

Besides considering your audience, ask yourself the question: “Do we want to create awareness, or do we actually want to be present in all the phases of the customer journey?” I’m assuming it’s the second one. A strategy we at Dorst & Lesser often follow is Google’s “See-Think-Do” framework. TV can play a huge roll in your awareness phase (“See”), because it gives you mass reach with impact. However, if you also want to get your audience to “Think” and “Do”, social media is your answer.

With social media, we can follow a person all the way from the “See” phase down to the “Do” phase. To illustrate this journey: if we want to sell a mascara, we first show our audience a hero video. This is an asset you can advertise on both social media like TV, as both are contributing to awareness. Of course, after this, we want to go to the “Think” phase – we want people to actually consider our product further until they eventually buy it. We show some more specifications of the product, for example how it gives your lashes great volume.

The great advantage of social media in this phase? We know exactly who saw the hero video and who is interested in this type of product. With this knowledge and this data, we can funnel the relevant audience into the “Do” phase, for example by sending them to the webshop, so they can directly buy the product.

Another advantage of social media advertising, compared to television, is that we can track sales and have a more accurate view of our return-on-ad spend. Of course, it’s not always the case that someone buys a product online, but at least we’re one step closer to reliable insights.

So, to come back to our main question: what’s the most effective way to spend your media budget? If we look at targeting options, social media wins. TV can still be very effective to generate awareness due to its massive reach. However, if you want to reach your target audience in the other phases of the customer journey as well, social media is indispensable in your media strategy.

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