Why TV advertising is effective: Revealing the true impact of TV ad frequency with Single-Source data

Author: andrew

Published: 19th May 2022


While it is common knowledge that the frequency of TV ad viewing impacts consumer response, most advertisers still use it as a blunt optimisation tool and play a guessing game as to how often and when they should be advertising. The problem with this is that without access to and analysis of granular data, they are unable to see the actual effect of campaign frequency on consumer behaviour.


The solution

This is now changing thanks to Single-Source data — the measurement of TV and other media exposure, purchase behaviour and location data over time for the same individual.


Single-Source data allows advertisers to see the full journey to purchase. This includes every touchpoint for thousands of consumers, providing a clear understanding of the effect of TV ad frequency on consumer behaviour and enabling brands to create the appropriate TV strategy for every campaign.

Case study: The car insurance sector

Through our Single-Source data we conducted a deep analysis into the touch points of thousands of consumers who were looking for car insurance as a result of being exposed to  a TV ad and the impact of frequency for Aviva, LV, Admiral and The AA.


We examined the steps of their journey, including visits to price comparison and insurance websites, searches, TV and online ad exposure, marketing emails and more.


The data below specifically looks at website visits and quote requests for consumers who were not exposed to the ad in question for a month before starting their journey and those who were not exposed for a week before starting their journey. It also shows those who saw 3+ or 7+ ads in the week before starting their journey.

The results

The results are very data heavy but have enormous impact on budgets and performance so bear with us, it is worth it!


Both Admiral and Aviva saw an increase in responses when people saw 7+ ads in the week before they started their journey – for these two brands, a straightforward strategy is the right one – the more people see their ads, the higher their response rate. They should aim for a weekly frequency of 7+ in order to maximise the effect of their TV campaign. The closer they get to that target, the stronger the campaign will be.


For LV, there is a big difference between no exposure and exposure to 3+ ads. However, diminishing returns mean that the additional step up to 7+ ads does not seem to be worth it, as the incremental response is minimal. Consequently, maximising the 3+ ads will yield greater returns than increasing the frequency.


For The AA the picture is very different — the gradual response from TV activity appears to be minuscule at both 3+ and 7+ exposures. We believe the reason for this is that The AA, which is one of the strongest brands in the UK, is not benefitting significantly from TV and can afford to reduce their budgets without harming their business.


Always-on or burst strategies?

By comparing the response rate of people who were not exposed to an ad a week before their journey versus people who were not exposed a month before their journey, we can draw conclusions as to whether the brand needs to maintain visibility on TV or if a quick  burst strategy will generate sufficient returns.


If the conversion rate of these 2 groups is very close, it means that not seeing the ad for a week has the same effect as not seeing the ad for a month. This means that these brands need to always be on TV as the effect of their campaign is short-lived. Stopping the campaign for even a few days will have the same effect as stopping it for a month.


The above data shows that Admiral needs to have an always-on strategy. For The AA the outputs are similar in the sense that the differences are small, but because we also do not see an uplift from viewing 3+ or 7+ ads, we cannot recommend them to continue with their always-on strategy.


On the other hand, Aviva and LV could afford a burst strategy and to stop their campaigns for a few weeks before conversion drops steeply. Of course, in order to get the full picture, brands need to add to this analysis the monetary value of each site visit, quote or purchase and factor it in to understand the optimal strategy.


Single-Source data solves the frequency conundrum.


Key learnings

There is no one-size-fits-all answer for determining the effect of TV ad frequency and each brand needs to take a different  strategy.


Through access to Single-Source data, brands can now advertise to their audiences the right number of times without wasting money on unnecessary ads while making solid, data-informed campaign decisions.



These findings are based on ViewersLogic Single-Source data which is derived from our consumer panel of 8000 people for which we can see their TV viewing, online behaviour, online and offline purchases as well as offline store visits. This unique opt-in database enables us to look into the journey to purchase for each and every brand and understand how media affects it.