Advertising on TV is Obsolete

Published July 2023 by Houla Hound Creative 

You might as well just throw your money out the window if you are wasting it on television ads. I am serious, stop it! I am not just talking about cable TV either, this includes streaming services as well. Look inwardly: when was the last time you bought a Coke because you saw their Super Bowl ad? Okay, maybe you are the anomaly, but seriously, how often in the last six months have you made a purchase based on a television ad?
I'll wait...

Having an ad during the Super Bowl these days is nothing more than a flex. Its bragging rights, and is it just me or would you agree that the ads aren't anywhere as good as they were ten years ago? Maybe this is just a sign that I am getting old, but I digress. Television ads these days aren't converting like they once did. It's not all that surprising really. Before television advertising, newspaper ads were the way brands got their sales. Would you put a large amount of your advertising budget into newspaper ads today? I really hope you answered 'no' to that question; the return just isn't there. The same is happening with television, so why are you still stuck on wanting to be in that space? Maybe you aren't sure where to go next and that is okay, I can clear that up for you. 

Online. Specifically social platforms. I can list statistic after statistic to support this but I'll just give you a few so you can see where I am coming from on this: 

Is it sinking in yet? I sure hope so.  Half that battle is fought just by reaching your customers where they are - which is on their handheld-social-media-accessors, more commonly known as cell phones. I wish it were just as easy as "okay, post your ads online, sit back, and relax" but there is a bit more to it. 

The first challenge is type of advertising - the flashy Super Bowl production just isn't cutting it anymore because consumers see it as just that: a production. What is showing to be the most effective in the ad space these days is advertising that is real and authentic and made by peers. It's called user-generated-content (UGC) and it massively outperforms brand-generated-content over and over again. Only 13% of consumers see brand content as impactful, yet 79% state that UGC has influenced their purchasing decisions. Brand engagement has been seen to increase by 28% when incorporating both brand-curated marketing content and UGC. Lastly, UGC has shown a 29% increase in conversion rates as compared to campaigns without UGC.

Okay easy, UGC online, maybe mix in some of our own content too. That's all we have to do? No.  

Next is where the challenge comes in, attention spans. See, unlike on TV, where viewers cannot choose to move on to another ad or fast forward through and are forced to absorb your message, online they can blow right past you without second thought.  So if your ad doesn't interest them within 3 seconds, you're not getting heard and they will never know what they were missing. This why it is so important that you catch their attention immediately. The average human attention span is 8.25 seconds,  a 25% decrease from the 12 seconds in 2000.  Goldfish are rumored to have an attention span of 9 seconds, which would mean that on average, human attention spans are less! Kinda scary right? Your ads can easily be scrolled past if they aren't capturing and holding the attention of your viewer. There are some important factors that make an ad a "scroll stopper" and if you don't have them your ad won't be fit for its purpose. 

Here are the top 3 secrets to success for UGC:

Still not convinced you want to move away from television ads completely? That's okay- why not try using UGC as a television ad. It's been done, I have seen it myself. Dip your toe in and test the waters. Put some UGC on TV, put some online. Compare the UGC to your traditional advertising. Track it and see where you get the largest return. Let us know what you learn from it!


“Average Human Attention Span by Age: 47 Statistics.” Life-Changing ABA Therapy - Cross River Therapy, Accessed 10 June 2023.

 “41 User-Generated Content Statistics.” EmbedSocial, 29 Apr. 2022,

Kunsman, Todd. “36 User-Generated Content Statistics That You Can’t Ignore.” EveryoneSocial, 2 Dec. 2022,

Miller, Jessica. “12 Reasons Your Brand Should Be Using User-Generated Content (UGC) Infographic.” ShortStack, 10 May 2022,

“New Research: Understanding Consumer Behaviors during TV Commercial Breaks.” Sharethrough,,79%25%20of%20TV%20watchers%20usually%20take%20out%20their%20phone,another%20device%20during%20commercial%20breaks. Accessed 15 June 2023.