EXPERT Insight

From TV to Web: Content Strategies for Ads That Drive Online Sales Premium

Media Multitasking

Teixeira, Thales S.

Date: Fourth Quarter 2014

Tags: TV advertising, multitasking, infotainment, television, prime time

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Consumers have become avid media multitaskers, moving seamlessly between their TVs and digital devices. Shorter TV commercials have reduced both the quantity and quality of consumer attention during prime-time viewing hours. In this new media environment, can TV advertising remain an effective means of promoting and selling products and services? In this article, the author draws upon his research to argue that TV advertising remains a powerful vehicle for capturing people's attention, persuading them to purchase products and services, and building brands. He describes four different ad types and explains how each can influence multitasking consumers. To create an effective media mix, he recommends that companies take advantage of lean advertising principles and adopt a sequential approach to capture customer attention, which he calls the "ladder of engagement."

Tools and Frameworks:
> Analyzes ad content and links website traffic and actual sales patterns to four specific categories of TV commercials, with examples provided of each.
> Outlines the Attention-Contingent Advertising Strategy (ACAS).
> Recommends a "ladder of engagement," creating threads of communication to deliver the story of your product or service in small chapters.
> Includes the sidebar "A New Golden Age of Television" with takeaways from the Media and Entertainment Industry Forum hosted at IESE's New York Center in July 2014 on the topic of "New Dynamics: Audiences & Advertisers," featuring Jeff Bewkes (CEO, Time Warner), Tom Rogers (CEO, TiVo), David Poltrack (Chief Research Officer, CBS) and Paul Marcum (Global Head of Digital Video, Bloomberg).

Examples Cited:
Target, Apple, L'Oréal,, eYeka, Tongal, Unruly, Mekanism, Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, Ford, Facebook

Research Basis:
Based on the author's study of 100,000 households in the United States that looked at website visitation rates minute-by-minute before and after an ad appeared on national television. The dataset involved $3.4 billion in advertising expenditures by 20 brands, covering pizza, travel, telecom, retail and dating sectors, which together account for 70 percent of online sales.

About the Author:
Thales S. Teixeira is an assistant professor of Business Administration in the Marketing Unit of Harvard Business School.


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