Are All Mediums Equally Effective?

Posted by Gary Getto on Apr 13, 2016 10:23:30 AM
If you answered TV or digital, to the question above, you would be wrong.  In fact, if you chose any singular medium you would be incorrect. Truth is, all mediums deliver a strong ROI on your advertising investment depending on the specific needs of a campaign and the brilliance of the creative material. 

But if you chose TV or Free-Standing Inserts, you’d be partially right.  Average scores of all ads by media types (below) would suggest that Free-Standing-Inserts (FSIs) and Television are the most 'effective' mediums, with Online and Radio being the least.  But looking at Average scores only measures the success of the creative, not the mediums.


To determine which medium is best, we have to eliminate the creative factor.   If we look at only a subset of successful ads for each media type with ABX advertising effectiveness Index scores of +20% above average or higher, (pictured below), each media type performs in a nearly identical fashion. In other words, all mediums are equally capable of producing high-scoring, effective ads.



Another way to look at this is to tease out some of the major Key Performance Indicators behind each ad (Awareness, Message, Reputation, Any Action and Purchase).  

The chart below compares the high-performing creative from each medium to see where differences may lie.  Amazingly, they show similar patterns for Awareness, Messaging and Any Action. Online Video, TV and Radio score best in Reputation, but Outdoor has the biggest impact on Purchase! So, with the right creative, every medium can be highly effective. Radio, with its low production and media costs, may offer the greatest opportunity, if your creative team can generate quality creative.


As we evaluate tens of thousands of ads each year across every media type, we see highly effective ads and way too many underperforming ads regardless of medium.  There is no longer the excuse of cost or inadequate time to avoid making every ad count.  Today we can copy test any ad in 24 hours at a cost so low that it makes no sense to risk your brand reputation, not to mention your career, by putting out underperforming ads.  

And, don't forget to sign up for your free copy of our eBook below!

Are you satisfied with your current creative effectiveness?  Is it resonating through Awareness and Message, and having an impact on Reputation and Action?  ABX provides the largest normative database in the industry across all media types. On average you can improve your creative effectiveness by almost 20%

Free eBook - "Four Key Performance Indicators to Decrease Advertising Investment Risk & Build ROI"

Written by ABX President Gary Getto, this new eBook shares insights gained from the world’s largest database of benchmarked ads. You will learn the characteristics of powerful ads and how they can better drive results. 

Click for free eBook on advertising effectiveness

How the ABX Testing is Done

ABX provides ad effectiveness scores from human respondents against 14 variables and in all media types. ABX Index values are a comparison of the results of an ad versus the average of all ads in the ABX database (100,000+ ads). Click for more information about definitions and methodology.


Topics: Data-Driven Keys

Join the discussion on advertising effectiveness with insights from the world's largest normative database of measured ads:

  • Analysis of creative omnichannel 
  • What works or doesn't by industry 
  • Implications for marketing, creative and media planning
  • Consumer panel results, not just opinion
Subscribe to ABX Advisory Here