Coordinating TV and online advertising makes sense

Published: 2013-11-20

Assistant Professor Mingyu (Max) Joo

The average American spends 29 minutes each day watching paid advertising on television, and uses online search engines like Google and Bing almost twice a day. Research by Fisher’s Mingyu (Max) Joo and colleagues from the University of California, San Diego, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Minnesota found that a brand’s TV advertising affects consumers’ online search behaviors, and that a cross-media strategy can be leveraged to improve a brand’s search engine optimization.

The analysis combined two comprehensive databases that, for over three months, tracked more than 58,000 TV advertisements for financial service brands and more than one billion searches for financial services keywords. Findings from the database analysis revealed that:

  • TV advertising increased the number of product-relevant online searches, thereby increasing the advertised brand’s share of keywords searched
  • The primary effect of a brand’s TV advertising expenditure is to “steal” online search share from rivals -- rather than increase the number of online searches in the product category

Coordinating TV and online advertising campaigns can help improve profit by forcing advertisers to reconsider their search engine marketing strategy. When TV advertising increases keyword choice, it can guide consumers away from generic keyword searches -- the results of which are often generated by paying top dollar for search engine optimization services -- and toward specifically branded, cheaper keywords. Recognizing this “push/pull” relationship between TV and online searches helps advertisers avoid under- or over-spending in one area.