TV and Online Commercials: The 3 Main Differences

In the world of business, advertising plays an important part in the building of a brand’s customer base. It’s not enough to rely on people to tell their friends and family about an establishment’s products or services. That’s why companies big and small set aside a certain amount to pay for advertising, both in print and on television.

With the Internet playing as big a part as it does in people’s daily lives, though, now even the traditional forms of advertising aren’t enough; now, entrepreneurs, business owners, and the like have to include online video production and other forms of online advertising in their plans. Surely that doesn’t involve any extra work, right? After all, you can simply edit the content of a TV commercial for an online video.

If you think that’s all it takes when it comes to online video production, you’d be wrong. As it turns out, these two forms are similar in that they include visuals, and there’s an element of uncertainty because you’re not sure the ad reached your intended audience, no matter how well you plan for it. However, they’re different in more ways than they are similar. Here’s a brief overview of these differences.

  1. TV commercials are shown to a wide audience. In order to air their TV ads, companies buy airtime with a certain TV station, and they will air whether the viewer wants them to or not. Meanwhile, online video commercials are micro-targeted, meaning they only show to Internet users who fall under a certain category based on their browser history.

TV commercials use this targeting strategy to a certain extent – for instance, finding out when their target audience is likely to be watching television and buying airtime to coincide with that – but they still have less control compared to online ones.

  1. TV commercials are longer. While it’s true that viewers can simply switch to a different channel during a commercial break, they could still catch the tail end of a commercial spot since such commercials are typically 20 to 30 seconds long. Online video production, however, usually entails finding a way to deliver the ad’s message in 10 seconds or less, because Internet users can more quickly visit a different page.
  1. TV commercials cost more. Even though both mass media and online marketing should be included in a business’s budget, it typically costs less to get started with online marketing, and that’s why small businesses turn to the Web to spread the word about its products or services. When you take into account how online ads are easier to track when it comes to return on investment, or ROI, it’s easy to see why this mode of advertising would be preferred.

All this doesn’t mean that TV commercials are an obsolete form, however; you have to take into account the kind of product or service you’re offering. If it targets a wide audience, TV commercials will work better; otherwise, online video ads are the better choice.