How can you measure the impact of TV spot views on your website and conversions?

Edwin Dewez

If online attribution has become a hot topic in the past few years, TV attribution is now even more an area that advertisers are trying to tackle, with varying success.

While online tracking is relatively easy thanks to the use of tracking pixels, establishing a link between a TV spot being aired and a subsequent site visit is far more difficult. There is no link between your TV and the handheld device you are using to browse online. So how is this technologically possible and why does it matter?

Why does it matter?

Let's address the easy question first: being able to identify that a user came to your site thanks to a TV ad you aired allows you to answer the quintessential question for every marketing executive: "does my marketing work"? Beyond that, there are additional benefits to understanding this link, such as:

  • Which share of my online conversions should be attributed to TV ?
  • Is TV achieving its ROI goals if you take their online impact into account?
  • How does TV impact the decision cycle of internet users?
  • Which TV channel performs best for online and why ?
  • What is the best time of day / day of the week to air TV ads and what is the ideal frequency?

Another huge benefit of understanding which site visitors are "TV spot viewers" is to allow to customize your online message more specifically to this audience and continue to tell the "TV story" online.

How does it work?

There are a number of vendors that specialize in identifying "TV spot viewers" amongst your online traffic. Approaches vary, but many of them use a methodology which involves putting the date stamp of TV spots side by side with the website traffic of the TV advertiser. Very simply put, any abnormal peaks of traffic that correlate with a TV spot date stamp can be associated by the TV commercial being aired.

The underlying premise of this approach is that most of us have a second screen (usually a smartphone or tablet) in hand while watching TV. According to Nielsen, in 2018, 88% of Americans admitted to be using a second screen while watching TV. If the TV commercial catches our interest, we are likely to take action in the minutes, if not seconds following the commercial. A number of vendors have been put to the test and proved to be highly accurate in their assumptions of which online visitors were TV spot viewers.Associating traffic spikes with TV spot views

How can I take TV spot views into account in my attribution model?

It is technologically speaking relatively easy to put a cookie matching mechanism in place between the TV attribution vendor's pixel and your attribution partner. At Wizaly, once we know that one of our cookies is actually someone who saw a TV ad previously, we add a "TV view" in the user journey with the time stamp of the TV ad as provided by our partner.

Inclusion of TV spots in the user journeyOnce the user journey has been completed with the missing TV spot view, our algorithm recalculates how much credit each touchpoint deserves based on this new user journey.  

Interested to know more? Don't hesitate to get in touch!