Advertising on TV delivers double the perceived level of quality and popularity than advertising on social media, according to new research that also suggests TV triggers the strongest ‘signals’ across all categories and audiences.

The study, entitled Signalling Success, was conducted by research agency house51 on behalf of Thinkbox, the marketing body for the main commercial TV broadcasters in the UK.

Based on the academic theory of ‘signalling’, which suggests the perceived cost and scale of an advertising campaign translates to improved brand attributes, the research involved 3,600 UK consumers.

They were presented with a description of a fictionalised brand in one of four product categories alongside a brief outline of its launch advertising campaign.

Respondents were then asked to answer a series of perception statements in relation to this brand, based solely on its description and proposed launch campaign, with the only exception being the medium used in the campaign.

House51 split the perception statements into three groups based on the type of signal communicated. Firstly, ‘fitness’ signals related to perceived brand quality, the financial strength of the company and its confidence in the brand.

‘Social’ signals covered the brand’s perceived fame, popularity and success, while ‘trust’ referred to the perceived degree to which the brand will deliver against the promises it makes within its advertising.

The research found that half of the survey participants rated brands that advertised on TV as financially strong, followed by newspapers, magazines and radio (all at 32%). Meanwhile, 43% perceived brands advertising on TV as being high quality, compared to just 19% on social media and 22% on video-sharing sites.

As to whether TV advertising helps brands to be perceived as more popular and successful, 43% of respondents cited TV, closely followed by magazines at 41%, but social media (32%) and video-sharing sites (31%) lagged.

Half also perceived TV advertising showed that lots of people were buying the brand, compared with 24% for social media and 29% for video-sharing sites.

Brands advertising on TV, magazines and radio were also perceived as most trusted to deliver on promises made, with almost a third (30%) of consumers rating brands advertising on TV as trusted to deliver on promises made.

Magazines (29%) and radio (28%) followed close behind, but the survey suggested that advertising on video-sharing sites was least likely to deliver brand trust (19%), although younger consumers aged 16 to 34 were more likely to rate brands that advertise on social media as being popular.

Commenting on the findings, Catherine Heaney, co-founder and partner at house51, said: “Across 24 controlled experiments and 3,600 interviews, we only varied the proposed media channel.

“This allowed us to prove that ‘as seen on TV’ provides stronger signals of brand fitness, quality and trust and that the effect is consistent across product categories and audience demographics.”

Sourced from Thinkbox, house51