Online Businesses Fuel TV Advertising ‘Tipping Point’


According to an analysis conducted by Thinkbox, an explosion in e-commerce offers huge benefits to traditional TV ad spending, with an influx of businesses born online.

The UK commercial television marketer calculates that £ 559.9million was invested in television advertising by online businesses between January and July 2021, a 37% increase over the equivalent period in 2019. This upward trend is widespread with virtually every sector of business fueling demand, putting the prospect of crossing the £ 1billion per year threshold within reach.

The big increases include online used car services, which are up 235% from 2019, while online food delivery services are north at 194%. Other generous spenders include social media companies, which spent £ 10.6million on TV ads for the period for nothing in 2019.

The numbers are particularly impressive because Thinkbox only counts companies born online, those companies that trade digitally and with no previous brick-and-mortar experience in its numbers. Together, this group constitutes the largest category of TV advertisers this year, accounting for 20% of all linear TV advertising spend throughout the period of the survey.

By comparison, the second closest sector, food, languished at 10.1%, with finance and entertainment and leisure trailing behind with 8.5% and 7.2% respectively.

Matt Hill, Director of Research and Planning at Thinkbox, commented: “Businesses born online using television have been a hallmark of advertising investments in recent years. But what we’re seeing is a sea change in momentum, a tipping point.

“There are clear reasons behind this boom. Businesses born online must use television as a showcase for their products and services. They also benefit from the signaling strengths of television, which conveys confidence, quality and credibility – essential attributes to the virtual. And the easing of reservation deadlines for television has undoubtedly helped too. But most of all, businesses born online value the traffic generation ability of TV, something they experience in real time and can easily observe through Google Analytics. “

Extrapolating these trends to the end of the year, TV ad spend could close 2021 ahead of time by up to 18% from 2020, more than offsetting the 11% pandemic-related drop, with ITV becoming the primary beneficiary.

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Think tank

Thinkbox is the marketer for commercial television in the UK in all its forms. He works with the marketing community with one ambition: to help advertisers get the most out of today’s television.

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