What I Learned from Spending $100,000 on TV Ads

For the past month (4 weeks) I’ve been running TV ads for my business, NP Digital, on CNBC and Bloomberg in the United States.

If you are not familiar with those channels, they are stock channels. And to be more specific, my ads run during the hours when the stock market is open, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

Now my ads occasionally show a little before the market opens and even a little after… but that’s about the time the ads air. And they only air Monday through Friday, the days when the stock market is open.

Before I get into how the ads performed, let me give you some background first…

My Theory Behind Displaying TV Ads

Online advertising is getting more expensive. Just look at Facebook and Google, it now costs more to place an ad than it did a year ago.

  • Google and YouTube increased by 108%
  • facebook had an 89% increase, while the average CPM was $11
  • TikTok with an increase of 92% and
  • Snapchat with “the lowest” at a 64% increase

So why not try something different…

In the world of ad agencies, people run ads for their clients, but no one puts ads on TV for themselves (at least in the United States as far as I know).

So our team decided to take the plunge and give it a shot.

We also felt that it could yield ROI because as an advertising agency we see a lot of data. And for many of our customers, we see TV ads where the cost to acquire a customer is slightly more expensive than Facebook ads, and slightly less expensive than Google ads.

Plus, we thought it would bring credibility. Because even though we have 450 employees worldwide and we operate worldwide… being four years old hurts. Especially from the point of view of bigger brands working with bigger companies.

And however we have big brands with our advertising agency such as Adobe or Western Union or Sofi… and we have won dozens of marketing awards for our work, we are still small compared to agencies like WPP generating approximately $12 billion a year in revenue.

There’s a saying in the business world, you will not be fired for hiring IBM. The same goes for hiring a big holding company like WPP, Dentsu or Omnicom in the marketing world.

It’s slowly changing, though, as people care more about results than anything else. Especially with marketing.

So my thought was that it would be great to run TV commercials for NP Digital if it could generate leads PLUS help build our brand. Ultimately, I want people to say “you don’t get fired if you hire NP Digital”.

the commercials

We made 3 commercials.

The commercials were shown randomly on those 3 channels and had almost an even rotation over the course of the 4 weeks.

By having our URL at the end, we hoped for more website traffic and leads, as well as branding.

Personally, I thought the ads were smart and funny and the quality made us look like one big agency.

One thing to note with the ads is that not everyone was bald. We had a woman who wore one bald hat and we had a couple of men who also wore bald caps. So that everyone could be a little bit like me.

The results

Here’s an example from one of the weeks:

My cost per visit was about $69.11, which is expensive.

The number of leads we were able to get from the TV commercial was a whopping 0.

But we did see that our brand demands went up.

Essentially they worked from that end where people would watch the commercial and then search for “NP Digital” on Google and go to our site.

But again, still 0 leads from what we could see, but again the tracking was not perfect.

On a better note, although many of my friends messaged me that they had seen my commercial.

We even had someone send us an email saying “damn awesome commercial”. They weren’t interested in our services, but it was nice to at least get that email.

Would I run TV ads again?

TV ads work for many businesses, especially DTC e-commerce companies.

However, for us it was not the most effective.

But here’s what’s funny. I’m still going to run them. I want to try it for another 11 months and see what happens.

I am a big believer in branding.

Just think about shoes… you don’t wear Nike because of a Google search, you only know their brand.

The same goes for Visa, BMW, Louis Vuitton and even Lululemon.

Branding is invaluable and if you want to be a big company, you have to invest in it.

Here’s a quick stat for you, did you know that more people in the United States search for “Nike” on Google than the word “shoes”? That is the power of branding.

My goal, or more “hope” is that after a year of burning $1.2 million more people will recognize us and see us as a serious contender. And it will help with the rule of 7In which when companies see or interact with your brand 7 times, they are more likely to evangelize it and sign up as a customer.

Another thing I’m going to try is adjusting the hours the ad shows and maybe even the channels.

Eventually I’ll tweak the creative and try new ones, but I’ll keep using the 3 above for at least another quarter or two.

Conclusion

If you want to be a big company, you have to build a brand.

Brands are priceless. Your brand will bring you more business in the long run.

That doesn’t mean you have to run TV commercials like me to build a brand, you can use any channel you want. From SEO to social media to TV… the possibilities are endless. Even building a great product or providing a great service helps build brands.

Next time you buy something, ask yourself why. Chances are you are familiar with the company’s brand.

59% of consumers prefer to buy new products from brands they know.

Don’t take branding for granted.

And of course, if you need help with your branding, go to my desk. ?

What do you think of my TV commercials?

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