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Where Does the Internet Go When It Wants…More?

What happens when the World Wide Web is not enough? Well, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, it moves up to television.

In the article (“Web Companies Embrace TV Ads”), TripAdvisor’s Vice President of Brand Strategy, Anne Bologna, was quoted as saying that TV is the best vehicle for engaging an audience and telling a story, and that “nothing has that broad reach or the ability to build a brand faster” than TV advertising.

Ms. Bologna has been doing her homework. According to the last Purchase Funnel study, television is far and away the primary driver of brand awareness – 64% of respondents cite TV as the most influential medium, versus 7% for the Internet. So when TripAdvisor wanted to step up their brand awareness, they invested 30 million dollars in television advertising.

And they weren’t the only one to do so. The article goes on to cite Shopstyle.com, Zillow, eHarmony, and Edmunds.com, among others, as making major investments in television advertising from the other side of the digital divide.

But there’s more. When Microsoft wanted to challenge Google’s search engine supremacy, they launched a massive TV campaign for “Bing it On!” Amazon, eBay, and even Yahoo! and Google have all spent considerable sums of money in TV advertising. For years. Is that the secret to their success? That depends upon how you look at it. If you define success as being a household name, then yes, advertising on television might just be these websites’ secret weapon.

Television holds a unique position within the digital world. The symbiotic relationship with the Internet is well-documented – 51% of people say a TV ad has prompted them to go online for more information.

TV content is everywhere online; local TV stations all have websites of their own. And according to our own proprietary research study, socially, television drives Cultural Currency . Look no further than the impact that television had on Twitter’s IPO. Before going public, the company made sure it had its TV partnership well established.

Most advertisers have leveraged the TV/Online dynamic, knowing their television ads drive consumers to the web like no other medium. Even those “pure play” digital natives themselves – the dot-coms – have come to realize that without the mass reach of television, consumers’ familiarity of a global village is just cyberspace. And it’s hard to build your brand when you’re lost in space.

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