5 Unique Calls to Action to Maximize TV Ad Performance

October 7th

TV ads work. In fact, Google found that TV ads drove an increase in product discovery across all 98 campaigns it evaluated in a study on consumer responses to advertising. While product discovery and brand awareness are always valuable, brands can gain much more from their ads. Adding a strong call to action (CTA) that tells viewers exactly what they need to do next can deliver impressive results.


Why Use CTAs?

According to the same Google study, adding a custom end tag prompting viewers to search, can drive a significant lift in search volume. For example, TV ads with end tags generated 1.27x more searches for JBL Xtreme and 1.4x more searches for Dyson compared to control ads. Those results demonstrate how CTAs help amplify ad impact and drive engagement for brands.
Moreover, having a direct response CTA in TV ads makes it much easier to clarify the impact of advertising spend. With measurable results, brands can make informed decisions on necessary adjustments and improvements to their advertising portfolios. The right call to action can also be a great way to guide consumers down the sales funnel and get them closer to making a purchase.
On that note, here are five unique calls to action that will help to maximize the impact of your TV ads:


1: Promo Codes

If the campaign’s goal is to drive more sales, a CTA with a promo code might be the perfect solution. Include a promo code at the end of the ad and invite viewers to use it to obtain an exclusive offer. This approach creates a sense of urgency, and a unique code will help you attribute sales back to the specific ad.
In fact, 48% of consumers are more likely to purchase sooner, and 41% are more likely to look for something to buy, if they have a promo code, according to a study from Kelton and SheerID. Moreover, that research found 38% of people would buy something they don’t need if they can use a coupon for their purchase.


2: QR Codes

A QR (quick response) code is an excellent way to share a hyperlink with TV viewers and deliver them directly to where they can take a desired action. When they scan the code using their phones, it will take them to a page where they can buy products, download an app, watch a video, enter a sweepstake, follow a brand’s socials, and more.
In other words, it shortens the consumer journey and makes it easier for them to take action or access more information. For example, Univision launched the “Vota Conmigo” (vote with me) campaign to promote voter engagement. Through a CTV (connected TV) ad campaign, they shared a QR code that viewers could scan to learn more about voter registration. In the last year, QR code adoption has increased significantly in part due to the pandemic.


3: SMS Text Messaging

One of the best ways to capture leads from TV ads is using short message service (SMS) text message CTAs. This involves getting people to send an SMS message to a dedicated number, turning them into leads. Use this type of CTA to get people to opt-in to text message blasts or request more info. It also works for brands that want people to participate in a contest or sweepstake, donate money, and pursue other actions.
Since the CTA will appear on screen for a short time, keep it clear and concise, so viewers know exactly what message to send and to what number. For example, “Text ‘PIZZA’ to 41411 and claim your prize” is an effective SMS CTA.


4: Drive to a Website

Online search and display ads aren’t the only way to attract website traffic. TV advertising has also been shown to have a positive impact on site traffic. According to the Video Advertising Bureau, brands that increase their TV ad spending by 22% saw their unique visitors increase by 24%. Another study from Sementis measured visits to select brands’ websites in the 10 minutes immediately following a TV advertisement. Overall, visits per minute increased 34% after an ad, with visits per minute surging 84% at night.
So, if the main goal of the campaign is to get more website visitors, make sure the CTA tells viewers exactly what they need to do – “Visit abc.com to learn more.” This is great for brand awareness campaigns that don’t require people to take any specific action beyond exploring a website. However, brands can also use this approach to guide viewers to a landing page to complete an action or make a purchase.


5: Telephone Number

Another excellent tactic is to use phone number CTAs for TV ads. This is great to get people to phone in and learn more about products/services/rates, purchase a product or service, donate money, cast a vote, and so on. For better media analysis utilize a unique number for each source.
Telephone number CTAs are particularly useful for reaching older audiences as well as for products or services that require more human interaction to migrate prospects through the purchase funnel.


Get More Out of TV Ads with Powerful CTAs

There are plenty of unique calls to action that will amplify the impact of TV ads, with each option serving specific goals.


• A promo code in the CTA can drive more sales
• QR codes can simplify the consumer journey and serve various types of campaigns
• SMS text message CTAs are a great way to capture mobile leads
• Website links can draw visitors and generate brand awareness
• Phone number CTAs are great for products or services that require more human interaction


Brands should decide on their campaign goal and then choose a CTA approach that works for them.