The Benchmark Series: Decay

01 November 2021

In “Advertising Effectiveness: The Long and the Short of it”, Les Binet and Peter Field showed that advertising works in two ways; in the short term to drive sales amongst those already in the market and also in the long term, by creating memories that drive customers to choose one brand over another at a later time.



after the ad was shown on TV, sales were still being positively impacted.



after the ad was shown on YouTube, the effect on sales tapered off.



after the ad was shown on Facebook, the effect on sales tapered off.

Marketers know the feeling of holding their breath when a new campaign goes to air, knowing that the shape of the sales curve could well shape the next career step. So the short-term sales impact is important because it is personal. And we know which video media platform works best to drive an immediate sales spike thanks to the work of Professor Karen Nelson Field. The Benchmark Series showed that in the short term, visibility and attention drive sales irrespective of the video platform.

See how TV, YouTube and Facebook compare in regards to advertising effectiveness.

We know that the truly great campaigns drive a strong sales spike initially, but then keep working for the brand in the longer term to raise the baseline. So, in this tranche, Professor Nelson-Field re-tested how these platforms perform over a longer time period. And what did she find?

Ads watched in a TV content feed, viewed on any screen, not only generated a greater immediate sales impact than ads watched on Youtube or Facebook, but they also continued to generate a greater sales impact long after Facebook and YouTube advertising memories had completely faded. The Professor found that following one execution, TV advertising keeps working to drive a sales impact for 109 days, compared with YouTube at eight days and Facebook at six days.

So, not only does TV advertising generate a greater sales impact in the short term, it sustains this sales effect by remaining in consumer’s memories for longer. TV advertising is so powerful in fact, that the residual impact from an ad exposure in a TV content feed on mobile after 28 days is still at around the same level that online platforms deliver at their peak, immediately after the exposure.

TV advertising works best in the short term and the long term. Why? Viewability!

The reason for TV’s superior sales impact in the short and longer term? Viewability. TV commercials play full screen, are 100% viewable and do not suffer from playing ‘below the fold’ or scrolling. So TV wins in two ways. The sales impact of TV is highest up-front and it is sustained far longer as TV advertising keeps on working in consumer’s memories.

Read the full report on TV effectiveness and the effects of decay here.

Deacay: Not All Reach is Equal