5 Tips for Measuring TV Performance

Let’s not sugarcoat it: measuring TV advertising performance is tough. As much as we may wish otherwise, there is no single measurement solution, model, or tool guaranteed to work for every campaign. But that doesn’t mean TV attribution is impossible. 

As technology evolves, our understanding of TV’s effects also improves. Think about the ACR data that can be collected from smart TVs, improving knowledge of who’s watching what—and even how they’re responding offline. But even the value of ACR data is limited. 

Successful TV attribution requires the right strategy, partner, and mindset about TV’s short- and long-term effects. Because while measuring TV performance isn’t easy, there are many partial solutions that can piece together TV’s full impact on your business. Here are a few of them: 


1. Start small with micro impacts. 

Starting small means getting as granular as evaluating the response within minutes after each airing. Evaluate in-market creative performance by tracking response through calls, text, or web lift immediately following the campaign launch. Such definitive numbers provide an early gauge for how people are viewing and receiving your ad. But while this initial response serves as an indicator of success, it isn't the complete picture. 


2. Don’t ignore secondary, macro impacts. 

How do you account for someone who sees your ad today but won't place an order for a couple weeks? They’re still influenced by your TV campaign but won’t show up in your analysis immediately following the campaign launch. 

Depending on your budget and measurement strategy, you can start to see broader effects within a few weeks to a couple of months after launching. Your total number of new customers may increase, driven to your brand by TV’s broad reach. Your web traffic composition most likely will shift as TV drives consumers to search for your brand. These are all signs of TV’s power at work. You can also consider adding a survey to your website asking visitors how they learned about your brand to gain another data point on TV’s reach within your customer base. 


3. Think about big-picturebusiness impacts. 

But even the secondary impacts of TV are relatively short-term when considering everything TV can accomplish. At a certain point, the impact of TV begins to move beyond performance and into lasting brand effects.

Conduct surveys to look for changes in brand recall or the way people think about your brand. Increased pricing power or greater opportunities for valuable partnerships also tend to point towards TV’s big-picture impact on your brand. And, of course, revenue growth is the greatest indicator of success of all. You should always ask how TV impacts your bottom line. 


4. Push for transparency. 

A growing challenge to measuring TV performance is the lack of transparency that unfortunately still plagues the industry. In fact, on the streaming side of the media marketplace, many companies act as walled gardens, making it difficult to evaluate both opportunity and performance.

Look for a partner who will give you full access to the performance data they collect. And whenever possible, run your own analysis alongside your agency’s work. Free tools like Google Analytics can provide an incredible amount of data that will help you verify results. Anyone who also uses a third-party auditor gets bonus points! 


5. Optimize based on performance. 

If you launched TV a month ago and haven’t seen improvement in any of the areas discussed here, that doesn’t necessarily mean TV doesn’t work for your brand. It could be a problem with the creative or the media networks on which the campaign aired. That’s why, throughout the duration of your campaign, measure performance and continually adjust to improve performance. Test a different creative offer. Try optimizing your media plan by reallocating dollars from networks where response is low to networks where response is high. Optimizing the campaign while it runs will give you more confidence in your results—good or bad—after it ends. You'll know you gave TV the full consideration the channel deserves.  


None of the above suggestions could suffice as a measurement approach for TV on their own. It’s only by thinking about TV’s effects on multiple sides of the business will you get that big-picture perspective—which is exactly why we’re such fans of measuring performance with multiple models.


Learn more about TV attribution. 

Listen to VP of Analytics Matt Hultgren explain the importance of multiple models when measuring TV's impact on your business.