How brands can survive the decline of the TV ad business

In an age where media-consumption habits are always changing, advertisers have to find creative ways to get in front of the consumer.

Television has been the holy grail of advertising for decades. But with DVRs allowing viewers to skip past commercials and other media stealing the viewers’ attention during commercials that aren’t skipped, it has become harder and harder for advertisers to reach their audience on TV.

This year, the TV ad industry is on pace to have its first down year since the recession in 2009. Back then, the decline could be explained away by the state of the economy. But this year’s decline doesn’t have that excuse. People just don’t watch commercials at the level they used to.

A recent study suggests that Facebook usage skyrockets during commercials. The study, which examined the Facebook activity of 537 respondents before, during, and after the season premier of a big TV show, revealed what you already knew: People check their phones during commercials. But what may be surprising is these respondents spent significantly more time on Facebook during commercials than they did before and after the program.

But there is still hope for the TV ad business. As long as live sports, breaking news, and politics exist, so will an audience that can’t skip past a commercial break. Even if the audience isn’t locked into the TV screen during the break, there are still ways for advertisers to stay in front of the viewer.

The study clearly suggests that if brands want to better ensure their ads are being seen by TV viewers, they need to find a way to sync their TV ads with digital and social media. Not only would this increase the likelihood of ads being seen by the viewer, but it opens up an opportunity for ads to become far more engaging and interactive than traditional TV ads.


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