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Combine TV and online to boost brand perception say trade bodies

Using TV and online combined delivers up to 50% increase in positive brand perception, as well as a significant increase in likelihood of purchase, according to the trade bodies Thinkbox and the IAB.

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Thinkbox and the IAB (the Internet Advertising Bureau) have released research which shows the power of using TV and online advertising together.

  • Using TV and online combined delivers up to 50% increase in positive brand perception, as well as a significant increase in likelihood of purchase
  • Results show 50% of the ‘tech-savvy’ population regularly go online while they are watching TV, enabling instant online response to TV ads

Thinkbox and (IAB) show that using TV and online together in advertising campaigns is significantly more effective for advertisers than using either in isolation. Their combined use produces major benefits for advertisers, including dramatically increased positive brand perception amongst consumers – some 50% higher – as well as significantly greater likelihood of purchase.

Conducted by Q Media Research, this is the first time the effectiveness of using TV and online in tandem has been examined in depth, the two trade bodies say.

The sample focused specifically on ‘digital consumers’; people who own a digital TV and use broadband internet, and are medium to heavy users of each.
Because the study focuses on the most ‘tech-savvy’ of the UK population – around 25% of its total – these results provide an indication of how future media consumption and consumer behaviour may develop. 
In terms of their precise media usage, 64% of the sample stated that they sometimes watch TV while using the internet, whilst  48% stated that they did this most days.  

Key findings from the study include:

• Using TV and online together results in 47% more positivity about a brand than using either in isolation
• The likelihood of buying or using a product increases by more than 50% when TV and online are used together
• 48% of the sample group watched broadcast TV while online (most days)
• Two thirds of this group have watched TV via online providers, primarily as a way to catch-up with broadcast TV and mainly from TV broadcasters’ websites
• Both TV and the internet are used for entertainment (TV, 80%; online 56%) and both have a significant influence on driving purchase (75% and 52%)
• The findings reinforce the need to  ensure creative synergy between TV and online advertising and identify best practice for better effectiveness, which requires more than simply putting TV ads online

The strengths of TV and online advertising

The research found that both TV and online have a clear influence on purchase and response, but are more influential when advertisers exploit their individual strengths together. For example, TV is stronger at telling people about a new brand they haven’t heard of before (74%), sparking interest in a brand (74%), providing new information about a brand people are already aware of (72%) and persuading people to try a brand or product (59%). Online advertising also has these effects but performs relatively better at helping people decide which brands are relevant (50%), causing a re-evaluation of a brand (41%) and giving enough information to make a purchase decision (41%).

Motivations in TV and online consumption

The research also identified the different motivations for watching TV and using the internet. Although there are overlaps in usage, some clear strengths emerged. The internet is used primarily for research/finding information (75%), communication (66%) and TV is mainly used for entertainment (80%) and relaxation (73%).

However, the internet is increasingly becoming a destination for entertainment and relaxation with 56% of people saying they sometimes use it for both of these reasons, most likely fuelled by faster, more reliable broadband and the increasing popularity of watching TV online. The internet becomes a destination for entertainment and relaxation particularly when it is used while watching TV.

The study shows how the internet is enabling people to watch more TV. It found that the main reason for watching TV online is to catch-up with broadcast TV programmes that have been missed (58%). Online TV is mainly a back-up to the broadcast schedule. Other reasons for watching TV online include catching up on missed series (28%), watching previews or trailers (25%), catching up on programmes that have been recommended (23%) and watching highlights of a programme (21%).

The research also illustrates the immediate take-up of broadcaster on-demand sites as well as high levels of experience of pre-roll advertising among the sample, which respondents were four times more likely to think of as ‘TV advertising’ rather than ‘online advertising’.

Tess Alps, Chief Executive of Thinkbox, said: This research shows that TV and online are perfect partners and I would urge advertisers to recognise the greater impact they can have if they use both together. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.  TV benefits from the way online offers a means of expressing and exploring the desires and motivation TV creates. Online usage is not displacing TV viewing and it is time to celebrate the complementarity of these two most powerful digital media.

Guy Phillipson, Chief Executive of the Internet Advertising Bureau, added: This important study delivers clear evidence of just how powerful and effective the TV and online combination is.  In all the categories we tested, the results were very positive for both ‘soft’ brand measures and ‘hard’ purchase intent scores.  Advertisers have been clamouring for more research about TV and online and, going forward, I’m certain these results will be highly influential to media planning.

Caroline Rushton, Director of Q Media, commented: This was a challenging and hugely insightful study that clearly demonstrates the synergistic benefits of using TV and online together. We noticed in this research that consumers were more aware of TV and online advertising and what they can do with it. It was clear that they appreciate the complete package that TV and online, when used together, offers them.


The research comprised both quantitative and qualitative stages to gain a holistic view of how both media work together in UK marketing campaigns. The quantitative stage used a demographically representative online sample of 3,000 respondents with digital TV and broadband internet access to gauge the effectiveness of TV and internet advertising combined and how this can be exploited by advertisers to greater effect. The qualitative element of the research featured engagement diaries in ten households, an online discussion forum and in-home observation of how people use and engage with TV and online in a natural context. The research featured advertising from three major brand categories: Automotive, FMCG and Finance.

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