Tuning in to TV Attribution - How Does it Really Work? | DMA

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Tuning in to TV Attribution - How Does it Really Work?


What is TV Attribution?

In 2016, TV advertising spend topped £5bn for the first time (source: Thinkbox). That’s a significant investment to make in a single marketing channel and one you definitely want to measure the impact of in your wider marketing ecosystem. Enter TV Attribution.

If you’re one of the many brands using TV as a marketing channel, then you’ve no doubt encountered the question of how to measure the impact these TV ads are actually having on your audience. This is the question that TV Attribution will help you understand. It was launched by Google in 2016 in order to help businesses better understand and begin to quantify the effectiveness of their TV activity, by analysing Google Analytics data alongside TV spot times.

By accurately reporting on the impact your TV ads are having on your audience’s behaviour online, TV Attribution will provide insights that will enable you to optimise both your online and offline marketing campaigns and ensure you are getting the most out of your marketing investment. Anyone with a GA or GA360 account can use TV Attribution.

Why should I use TV Attribution?

Are you using TV as a marketing channel? Are you looking to measure the impact it’s having on your audience? Are you after data driven insight to optimise both your TV and online marketing? If your answer to those questions is ‘yes’, then TV Attribution is the tool for you.

Measuring the impact of TV on online marketing has historically been very limited. Certain companies have started to quantify this impact by installing meters within customer households or using site visits as a proxy for TV effectiveness. Perhaps you too have been using Direct, Organic and Branded site searches as a proxy for measuring the effectiveness of your TV ads, but how much of this activity was really prompted by TV? Online surveys asking visitors how they heard about your Brand might validate this assumption, but what of those users opt out of completing it? Which TV ads are the highest generators of Brand awareness? Which online campaigns are most effectively driving this newly acquired interest to your site? TV Attribution will help tackle all of these questions and enable you to action real-time insight in order to optimise your online and offline marketing campaigns. You also have the option of including spend figures, for an even more comprehensive picture.

How does it really work?

There is a complex algorithm that sits within the TV Attribution package but, simply put, it measures the baseline of your Google search queries and site visits minute-by-minute, tracks the spikes in site visits and searches when your TV ads air, and determines how much of this interest should be credited to TV. Not only does it take into account site visits via Paid Search, Organic Search and Direct Navigation, it also factors in search query information on your products and Brand on Google’s search engine, and soon YouTube. Search query information is exclusive to TV Attribution, with no other tool having access to this organic Google data, and allows for a fully comprehensive overview of your usual digital activity and true representation of the incremental impact of TV.

You need only provide your website data, search keywords organised into buckets (eg. Brand terms, product terms etc.) and your TV spots, and TV attribution will do the rest. You will gain insight into the TV-driven lift in both visits and searches, the cost efficiency of your TV ads and their respective response rates.

How can I use this insight to optimise my TV activity?

TV attribution will enable you to optimise your traditional media buys through smarter TV campaign planning informed by timely and comprehensive insight. You will have access to performance reports within weeks of your TV ads airing instead of having to wait months to draw actionable insight, as was traditionally the case.

The online impact of your TV ads is broken down by a variety of segments, enabling you to make data-driven decisions around your TV strategy: the time and place to advertise, the content to show your audience and who exactly this audience really is. Here are a few examples:


This will allow you to determine where you should be advertising, identifying waste in TV spend on underperforming Channels as well as opportunities in high performers that are underinvested in.


This will help inform decisions around the time at which to advertise in order to generate the highest impact.

Creative and duration

This will enable you to refine the content you show your audience, giving you deeper insight into the types of ads that resonate best with them as well as the optimal spot lengths.

Geo location

This will help you gain a better understanding of your most engaged audiences and optimise your targeting accordingly.

How can I optimise my digital campaigns?

Insight into TV-to-online behaviour also enables you to make smarter decisions around your online campaigns, helping you identify when, where and how to best capture this TV driven audience. TV Attribution will help you identify the keyword searches that are prompted by your TV ads so you can increase bidding on these terms during ad spot times, as well as the devices that are being used to carry out these searches, enabling you to structure your online campaigns to capture this interest. Aligning the creative messaging of your Display campaigns with your TV ads will also ensure you are fully maximising the online impact of your offline campaigns.

To read this blog written by Emily Tantot on the Periscopix website, please click here.

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