How to Measure the Impact of TV Advertising on Ecommerce

Last Updated
August 29, 2020

Affiliate commissions partially fund our unbiased reviews, at no extra cost to readers. Learn more

While many online retailers tend to focus attention on digital channels like search, PPC and email, TV advertising can still be an effective channel. 

These digital channels are (in theory at least) more measurable, but there are plenty of ways to track the effects of TV advertising on your online traffic and sales. 

With insight borrowed from Dan Barker on Twitter, we look at ways to measure and optimise TV ads. 

How to drive visits from TV ads

Some people will naturally visit the website of a brand that advertises on TV, but it can pay to encourage website visits more explicitly. 

This can be as simple as adding your site’s URL to the advert, perhaps showing it on screen throughout, or as a call to action at the end of the ad, as in this example from Sunlife. 

If you’re promoting a particular product or perhaps think that people won’t remember the URL, you can prompt people to use a particular search term to find you. For specific campaigns this can also help with measurement. 

If you do this, it’s important to ensure that, when people use the search term, they’ll find your site. So you need to be top of organic search for the term, or use PPC to be at the top of the page. 

So, SunLife has bought PPC related to the search phrase in the TV ad, though its competitors have too… 

How people visit sites after viewing TV ads

Viewers of TV ads usually visit via: 

  • Google brand ads – they’ll search for your brand name and see your ad on the top of the page, if you’ve bought the term. Of course, rivals can buy ads too and attempt to ‘steal’ your traffic. 
  • Type in your homepage URL. Here, it helps if your URL is simple and easy to remember. 
  • Organic search. If your brand is number one in Google, and there are no PPC ads.

In most cases, viewers of TV ads will arrive at your homepage, unless you’ve diverted them to a specific landing page from the suggested search term, or from the PPC ad. 

In these cases, it helps if part of your homepage follows through on the ad, perhaps repeating the ad theme, or showing some of the products highlighted in the ad. 

Why measure visits from TV ads? 

Measuring the number of visits and revenue generated from TV advertising helps you to:

  • Optimise the TV channels you advertise on. Response can be different across channels, and finding the best performer in this respect can help you to find the channels that your target customers are most likely to watch. 
  • Which ads you use. If you’re using a variety of ads, then you can identify the best performers from response. 
  • When you advertise. Timing can make a difference, though of course ad costs will vary according to the time they’re broadcast. 
  • Length of ads. For example, testing 30 second vs 20 second vs 10 second ads can help measure response, and save money if shorter ads are effective. TVSquared client stats suggest that 30 seconds works, but your own results might be different. 

Tools for measuring TV ads

You can measure TV ads in a number of ways, but broadly you’ll be looking to measure the rough number of visits and sales generated from TV ads. 

This can be done by correlation – does your traffic and revenue increase in the minutes/ hours/days after TV ads are broadcast? 

Traffic from keywords used in the ad. If you ask users to search for a specific term, you can measure the search traffic that reaches the specific landing page, or via the PPC ads you use. 

There are several tools that will calculate, albeit roughly, the number of visits and amount of revenue from individual TV ads. 

These tools include: 

Traffic and revenue is often by calculating the number of visits above you benchmark within a specific window (perhaps 5-7 minutes) and the resulting sales over the next few days / weeks.