TV Seen as Most Influential-Is the Internet Really That Powerful?


I was listening to a “Social Media Today” podcast where guest participants addressed the wonders of social media and all things internet. It was a love fest about the power and impact of social and internet use.

While I share their enthusiasm about the “potential” of social, we still have a long way to go as to influence and changing behavior.

The quote below comes from MarketingCharts.Com and it illustrates the power of traditional media:

“When it comes to the advertising medium they find most influential in making a purchase decision, American adults are far more likely to point to TV (37.2%) than any other, including newspapers (10.6%), the internet (5.6%), and magazines (4.4%), per results from a TVB study released in June 2012. This result aligns with April research from ExactTarget, which analyzed the attitudes of online consumers to various advertising media, finding 53% reporting that a TV ad had influenced them to purchase a product or service in the past 12 months, a far larger proportion than could say the same about newspaper ads (32%) and magazine ads (30%).”

Per Pew Internet, television and newspapers far outrank the internet for local news coverage. One begins to wonder if the power of the internet is overblown for local issues or purchase decisions?

Pew states that local and national television still rule when it comes to national news with on-line news coming in third (mostly by consuming traditional news sources). Even the combined local and national newspaper score outranks the internet.

No one argues that the internet and social media has changed our world for the better; the impact’s profound. The future of communication will be increasingly social and mobile. Our world has changed forever and there is no turning back.

But communicators need to recognize that traditional media is currently king in many ways (such as time spent with content). Add e-mail and the internet plus social media becomes add-on’s, not primary communication strategies.


Best, Len.





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Andrew Krzmarzick

I don’t think it’s an either / or proposition. As with anything, you want to use a blended approach proportionate to where your target audience is spending their time. One part traditional, one part social. 🙂

Henry Brown

Perhaps a more “telling” number (Per the TVB report, 51% of adults say a TV ad has prompted them to go online to find out more.) …

Am not overly surprised about the low rate of purchase decisions being based on social networking communications…IMO social networking is about where the Internet was 5 or 6 years ago…

Would offer that because of the audience detailed local information is probably not as available on news media internet sources for numerous reasons, which means that if one wants to stay aware of local issues one must use the local newspaper as the primary source of information. IMO one can get some amplifying information from SOME social networks but, at least in my experience, the social network source has not yet proven to be an impartial source…

Leonard Sipes

Hi Henry and Andrew: I guess we need to be cautious regarding marketing numbers and possibly a bit more respectful of the power of traditional media. I keep hearing that traditional media is dead; not sure that this is correct. Best, Len.