ARF’s AUDIENCExSCIENCE Delivers Insights on the Future of TV Advertising

How do you effectively measure the effects of TV advertising? This was one of the main topics of discussion at the ARF AUDIENCExSCIENCE conference. During the two-day event, speakers across the industry talked about new media currencies, ROI proof points, and the issue of privacy, among other topics.

Below is a quick recap of our biggest takeaways from the conference:

Takeaway #1: TV Advertising is still effective and necessary

NBCUniversal’s Linda Yaccarino kicked off the conference by talking about why brands must continue to advertise on TV. She claimed that “nothing fuels the purchase engine more than television or premium content.” Despite the ever-increasing growth of digital, Yaccarino believes that brands must advertise on TV, both to stay relevant and to reach new audiences that targeted digital advertising cannot. CBS’s Chief Research Officer, David F. Poltrack, supported this idea by citing that during the rise of digital advertising, programmatic buying was introduced and shifted the focus to cost efficiency. This caused reach to decrease, while frequency increased.

This idea expressed by Yaccarino is most clearly evident in the trend of new direct-to-consumer brands advertising on TV (VAB). Despite growing their companies solely on digital marketing, more and more medium-sized startups have shifted to TV, as they look to gain mass reach. The Video Advertising Bureau found that 50 “direct-disruptor” brands (i.e. Harry's Razors, Peloton, Untuckit, etc.) spent more than $1.3 billion combined on TV advertising in 2017, a 98% increase from the previous year. One speaker noted that they found customers’ perception of a brand began to change if they no longer saw TV ads for that brand, thinking that the company might be in financial trouble. Brands that contemplate lowering  their TV spend need to consider the impact on brand awareness before going off air.

Learning #2: Attention Matters

Just because something is viewable does not mean that it will be viewed. In other words, the opportunity for an ad to be seen does not guarantee that an impression will be made. The impact of measuring attention can be triggered by a series of events. Ad length, program genre, daypart, or commercial load can all determine how likely it is than an ad reaches consumers’ eyes. Specifically, six-second ads are currently being tested and evaluated for effectiveness and optimal placement.

Research presented by the ARF’s Paul Donato and TVision’s Dan Schiffman shed light onto how 6-second ads are being used and their effectiveness. The in-home study analyzed over 1,500 placements of six-second ads. The data provided insights on best pod structure, demographic differences, and a history of attention. The collective work showed there was a lift in attention for six-second ads across all age groups. The largest lift occurred in adults aged 35-54. More specifically, it was discovered that short form ads capture 8%-11% more attention per second when compared to 15 and 30 second ads across all age groups.


Learning #3: Importance of transparency on data collection matters

The shadow cast by recent GDPR regulations and the Cambridge Analytica scandal hovered over the entire conference, as everyone was cautious about user privacy. During the discussion  “Has Marketing Taken Targeting Too Far?,” the opposition argued that too much targeting is undermining brand equity and damaging ROI, while those in defense of targeting claimed that more precise targeting means more bang for the buck.

Today, it is more important than ever that a company achieve a sense of trust and transparency, while retaining its data-collecting privileges. As an example, TVision uses an opt-in panel to collect data safely.


After listening to a range of experts, one of the clearest takeaways was that TV advertising is alive and well. With over $71 billion spent each year on TV, it is still a top form of advertising and the most effective way to reach large audiences. In order to enhance the media buying process, new streams of data are necessary to understand shorter ad formats and a changing consumer base.

Interested in learning more about TVision? Please contact us.


Catch us at the following upcoming events:

  • Cynopsis Data & Measurement (August 2nd)
  • MediaPost Brand Marketers Insider Summit (August 19th-22nd)
  • ANA Data & Measurement (September 12th)Also attending? Contact us to schedule a meeting.
TV and CTV Attention Report
The TV and CTV Attention Report