About the Author

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Content Managerat| + posts

Sven Nossek is a Content Manager at UnitedAds, overseeing all aspects of content creation: from research and briefings to content plans and the final text. He has been involved with content management, SEO, content marketing, and artificial intelligence in marketing and content areas since 2019.

In addition to German, he speaks English, is learning Swedish, and knows a few words in Spanish. In his free time, he reads fantasy, science fiction, and historical novels, writes himself, cooks, and can be found at medieval markets where he combines his passion for history and archaeology with another hobby: brewing exquisite mead from regional ingredients.

TV advertising and SEO: rivals or a powerful team?

In many companies, marketing managers are faced with the question of which channels to invest their budget in. And decisions need to be made: Is it better to rely on TV advertising, or is SEO the more sensible channel?

TV advertising works.

As bold as that sounds, it’s true. Despite the shift in the media landscape away from traditional, linear television towards on-demand offerings, TV channels continue to reach an audience of millions.

So would the valuable marketing budget be better invested in TV advertising than in SEO? The answer is a clear “yes”.

In this article, we want to compare the two marketing channels and find out which one makes more sense for you and your company. And we will show you in the course of the article why the question is not: TV or SEO? but rather: How good will it be if we combine the two? (Small spoiler: It’s going to be really good!)

TV advertising 101

So let’s first look at TV advertising as a marketing channel. It has a long tradition – the first commercial was broadcast in Germany on November 3, 1956.

And even if consumer behavior and the media itself have changed considerably over the last 70 years, advertising on television has always remained present. So much so that today there are entire YouTube channels dedicated to preserving old commercials, while cartoonists and comedians parody current and older commercials.

Most of us can probably remember advertising from our childhood and youth: well-made advertising stays in the memory. And that brings us to the advantages and disadvantages of advertising.

Why TV advertising? A look at the advantages

Even if viewer numbers are declining: Depending on the channel and broadcasting time, you can reach thousands, perhaps even millions of potential customers via television. There are not many other channels where you can get such a wide reach.

What’s more, viewers are generally relaxed and ready to absorb content when watching TV – unlike online, where attention spans are notoriously short.

While we’re on the subject of attention: TV advertising is primarily a visual stimulus. It is well known that images can be particularly effective and are memorable. Advertising clips on television make targeted use of this effect, also in combination with audio information, in order to be as efficient as possible.

Television advertising therefore reaches many people and is memorable. And this creates an effect that is particularly valuable in marketing. It increases brand awareness immensely. Even if the specific product is not always remembered, you will recognize most brands (and their advertising style) after a few times at the latest.

The costs and complexities of TV advertising

The challenges of TV advertising can be divided into several aspects that you should consider.

  • High costs: The production and placement of advertising spots involves considerable financial expenditure. Prices for advertising space can rise significantly, especially during prime time. Advertisers must weigh up these costs against the expected benefits in order to make a cost-effective decision.

  • Limited targeting options: In contrast to digital platforms, TV advertising offers only limited options for directly addressing specific target groups. The broad distribution of advertising messages can lead to inefficient use of the advertising budget if you reach viewers who are outside the target group.

  • High competition: TV commercial breaks are often overcrowded with messages from competing brands. The challenge is to stand out from the crowd with your own advertising and leave a lasting impression on viewers.

  • Limited time: TV commercials are often limited to a few seconds. Within this limited time, a strong and memorable message must be conveyed in order to attract and hold the viewers’ attention.

  • Changes in viewer behavior: The increasing use of streaming services is reducing the reach of traditional TV advertising. Younger viewers in particular, who are increasingly using digital platforms, are more difficult to reach via traditional television.

  • Measurability and proof of ROI: Accurately measuring the effectiveness of TV advertising and proving the return on investment is more difficult compared to digital marketing channels, which offer more detailed data.

Due to these complex challenges, advertisers must carefully consider whether and how to integrate TV advertising into their marketing mix in order to achieve their goals effectively and efficiently.

SEO basics or how to be found online

Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most important disciplines in digital marketing.

Put simply, it’s about placing your own content (or, from the agency’s point of view, the content of your clients) as prominently as possible in the search results of Google, Bing and the like.

SEO has been around since the mid-1990s, when the first search engines like Yahoo became big. The discipline really took off in 1998, when Google revolutionized the search engine market. At the beginning, the focus was primarily on keywords. With increasingly complex and advanced algorithms, optimization has also become more complex, which is why well-trained specialists are now employed.

Like any other marketing strategy, search engine optimization has its strengths and weaknesses, which we will examine in more detail below.

Efficiency and sustainability in the focus of SEO

  • Targeted reach: By optimizing your website for specific search terms, you can reach exactly those people who are already interested in what you have to offer.

  • Cost efficiency: In contrast to paid advertising, which is often expensive and only effective for as long as you pay for it, SEO remains permanently active. Once set up correctly, it continuously attracts visitors without each click costing extra.

  • Measurability: With the right tools, you can see exactly how many visitors come via search engines, which pages they visit and how long they stay.

  • Lasting effect: While an advertising campaign ends as soon as the budget is used up, SEO builds long-term value. A well-optimized site can maintain top positions in search results for years and ensure you a steady stream of visitors.

In short, SEO helps you become visible to those who are looking for you, saves money compared to paid advertising strategies, provides valuable insights through data analysis and works in the long term.

SEO challenges

Unfortunately, SEO does not only have advantages.

One of the most important challenges is the time required. SEO does not usually work in the short term; it can take weeks or even months before the final results can be seen. For pages that are already highly visible and well-optimized, new content can also be created more quickly, but even this good starting position must be developed over a long period of time.

SEO is also a complex field today. Even experts often do not master all aspects, but specialize in certain areas. This is mainly due to the increasingly sophisticated search engine algorithms. Simple methods and tricks no longer really work.

Competition for the top positions in the search results is also very fierce. There are already established providers and content in most areas. It is difficult to get past them, even with good content. “Lighter” areas are rare and usually only have a low search volume.

The direct comparison

Comparison table of the characteristics of TV advertising and SEO

TV advertising and SEO combined means brand performance!

We have now compared both TV advertising and SEO in detail.

But who actually says that the decision has to be made in favor of one channel or the other? In marketing, it hardly ever makes sense to focus on just one measure. It is much more important to achieve the most efficient and successful mix possible.

The combination of digital and TV marketing may seem unusual at first. But if we take a closer look, we quickly realize that the two channels complement each other perfectly – and that we even have to clearly describe TV advertising as an SEO measure.

TV advertising as a turbo for your online brand awareness

As we have already highlighted, TV advertising increases brand awareness – very strongly and sustainably in the case of good commercials.

The result is that the search volume for the brand name increases because interested viewers want to know more about the brand, the company or the products and services.

When users search for products or services in your industry, they are more likely to search for your brand if they know it from advertising. This increases the number of relevant search queries and sends a strong signal to Google that your website is an important source of information in your industry.

A properly optimized website offers high-quality and appealing content with a great user experience. This leads to new visitors gaining a good overall impression of the brand and the company.

Screenshot of the Google Search Console showing the effect of TV advertising on SEO.

In this screenshot from the Google Search Console, you can see the effect that a TV campaign can have on SEO performance. While the campaign was running, our client saw an almost 1000% increase in impressions and clicks. The really exciting part: after the end of the campaign, the values fell again – but they stabilized at a higher level than before the campaign! The effect is therefore quite sustainable.

A highly visible online presence through TV advertising

A brand that is searched for a lot receives more visibility and is also potentially better positioned for other search terms. This is a well-known effect from search engine optimization, which can be increased by TV commercials.

However, TV advertising also directly influences the user signals that Google uses to evaluate websites. If users visit your website after seeing a TV ad, linger and perform certain actions (e.g. fill out a contact form, buy a product), Google sees this as a positive signal. This helps to improve the rankings of your website in the search results.

Our observations show that the TV ads also lead to longer dwell times, which is also an important user signal for search engines.

By broadcasting your commercials at times and on stations where your target group is sitting at their receivers, you increase their effectiveness even further. You will also reach many people who have similar interests to your focus target group. This is how you draw the attention of a new audience to your brand, your product or your service.

How television advertising improves the online image

TV is a medium with a comparatively high level of trust – especially among mainstream broadcasters and particularly among public broadcasters.

This is why broadcasting slots in their advertising blocks are particularly popular and contested.

The idea is that these channels don’t just show every commercial, but only companies and products with a basic level of seriousness end up there. This trust then also pays off in terms of your search engine performance.

People who have seen your TV ad are familiar with your brand and are therefore more likely to click on your organic search results, even if they don’t rank first. This increases the click-through rate (CTR) of your website, which in turn is a positive signal for Google and improves rankings.

TV and SEO: 4 tips for optimal impact

When implementing and budgeting for the combination of SEO and TV advertising, you should consider a few key aspects:

  • Planning and goal setting: Define clear marketing goals based on your business objectives and an analysis of your competition and the needs of your target group.

  • Budgeting: Draw up a comprehensive budget plan that takes into account all planned measures and the associated costs. Don’t forget to budget for both offline and online activities, including SEO.

  • Design and message: Make sure that your marketing messages are eye-catching, appropriate for your target group and easy to remember. The design should be consistent across all channels to ensure a uniform brand perception.

  • Analysis and optimization: Carry out regular analyses to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns. Adjust your strategy based on the results to achieve your goals more efficiently and make the best use of your budget

Channels and broadcasting times: Decisions that count

The selection of the right channels and broadcasting times as well as cost optimization strategies are crucial for the success of TV advertising campaigns. The efficient placement of advertising spots begins with careful target group analysis.

Understand your target group: Use market research data to get a clear picture of your target group’s demographics, interests and media consumption behavior. This helps you to recognize on which channels and at which times your advertising has the greatest impact.

Optimize the broadcast times: Placing your commercials at the times when your target audience is most likely to be watching TV is crucial. Prime-time slots are more expensive, but can be useful for products that appeal to a broad target group. For specific target groups, placement in niche programs at less frequented times may make more sense.

Test and adapt: Start with smaller test campaigns in different channels and at different times to measure effectiveness. Use the data obtained to adapt and optimize your strategy.

Negotiate package deals: Some broadcasters offer package deals for booking commercials on multiple channels or at different times. These enable considerable cost savings compared to booking individual spots.

This ensures that your TV advertising not only reaches your target group effectively, but also makes optimum use of your budget.

Customize SEO for TV viewers

In order to fully exploit the effects of your TV advertising online, targeted optimization for TV-induced search queries is essential.

Customize your content and landing pages precisely by integrating keywords and key messages from the TV spot. Ensure a consistent brand experience by aligning the design and style of your website with the commercial (or vice versa, align the commercial with your brand design).

Use content that responds directly to the interests aroused by the TV ad and use analysis tools to continuously check and optimize the effectiveness of your measures.

In short, make it easy for searchers to find you online and explore what you have to offer by seamlessly tying your digital presence to your TV advertising.

Summary: TV advertising and SEO – a dream team for brand building

In summary, TV advertising and SEO both have their advantages and disadvantages.

In part, they appeal to different target groups, but above all they serve two completely different media. In addition, the approach is different: where TV advertising focuses on a broad audience and short audiovisual messages, SEO tries to target the people for whose needs its own website offers the solution.

Where TV advertising is associated with high costs and usually only works as long as the campaign is running, SEO is known for its high cost efficiency and long-term, sustainable performance.

If both methods are combined, the effect goes beyond pure synergy. The result is a sustained increase in brand presence. TV advertising is therefore an active and valuable part of your SEO strategy. Use it wisely!

Due to the constantly changing media landscape, it is currently impossible to predict how long conventional (linear) television will continue to be a factor. But so far, viewer numbers are declining more slowly than predicted. Accordingly, TV advertising is still worth investing in today, especially if the target group watches a lot of television.

Draw attention to your offer with an appealing commercial and watch your brand gain visibility and traffic!

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