Why Facebook can’t match TV for reach

The enduring importance of TV in the marketing mix is shown by research done for Facebook by Nielsen. The study was ostensibly commissioned to show how Facebook delivers incremental reach of video content versus TV-only campaigns. However, a more interesting angle is the far superior reach of TV, especially for old farts like me, as Claudio Marcus pointed out here.

I share some below highlights form the research, that analysed the reach relationship between Facebook and TV on 25 campaigns across 2014 and 2015 that ran on both platforms.

1. Facebook has good reach for 18-34's, not 50+

The graph below shows the reach of Facebook alone by age. Not surprisingly, the data shows reach is highest with 18-24 and 25-34 year olds where the numbers are impressive. There is much lower reach of 13-17 year olds, who are not supposed to use Facebook, and who anyway think that Snapchat is cooler and 'more their media'. 

However, check out those lower figures for people aged 35-49 and especially 50+. Owing to the ageing population, this group account for  35% of the population, over 40% of consumer expenditure and a whacking great 75% of the wealth, according to this report. That means that Facebook can is NOT reaching 71% of the wealth in the country (75% of wealth from 50+ x 95% of 50+ not reached by Facebook) 

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2. TV's reach remains way bigger

Now, what happens when we look at the incremental effect of adding TV? The red bars below show dual reach of TV and Facebook; the green bars show the extra people that TV reaches; these people watch TV but don't use Facebook. TV increases reach by between +46% (for 18-24's) up to +1,520% for 50+. This shows that the predicted demise of TV as a channel is a long, long way off. Especially if you want to reach that 40% of expenditure and 75% of wealth the 50+ group account for.

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3. Digital as an amplifier, not a replacement
Social media like Facebook do have an increasingly important role to play in video content, especially as more of this is watched on mobile devices. However, despite the doomsayers, TV remains a key channel to get reach, especially for younger and older folk. As Facebook rightly say in the study, "The concept of separate TV and digital plans is no longer a logical approach to video campaigns. Instead, ‘digital’ should represent the opportunity to convey key messages to a greater number of people."
In conclusion, this study is another illustration that the challenge today is not digital marketing but  rather 'marketing in a digital world'.