The 3 Main Differences Between TV and Online Video

stir agency milwaukee

STIR Staff

Feb 9

“But what about online?” has been a common question from clients in the past couple of years. The concern over how to position a company in the digital space has been and will continue to be met with trepidation.

I encourage clients not to think of it as a concern at all. Yes, it may be unfamiliar, but it doesn’t need to be scary or intimidating. There is an opportunity with the digital space that is still untapped by brands.

The range of options hiding behind the walls of a browser are massive, so let’s break it down to one medium in particular that has been booming in the last six months: video. Traditional television commercials are familiar, comfortable and understood by most. They set the tone for a campaign. So, what is the appeal of online videos, and how should they be used for support? What are differentiators?


Television commercials require a larger budget because they must meet the expectations large media buys command. This means only a select few ideas make their way through production and on to TV. Alternatively, online viewers are watching on a smaller screen and prefer a shorter length video – and online media costs are much less than those of TV. Therefore, more videos can be created with an online budget and then placed in a library of sorts to pull from for various targets.


Reporting and analytics are broader and less informative in the TV video realm. Agencies need to request data or rely on the stations to provide that data periodically.

This means that assumptions and insights gained from that data can only happen as fast as they’re received. Online videos, on the other hand, are a constant source of data. We can take a look at any time to see what’s working best and push additional resources that way.


Television commercials set the tone for campaigns, and with great responsibility comes traditional lead times. If an ad needs to be pulled or replaced, it takes more than the push of a button to do so. But, that button does exist for agencies in the online world. Videos can be turned off and on as we see fit and pulled offline if necessary. This is a strong benefit when performing A/B testing because it’s important to consistently optimize what’s running.

Making sure everyone understands the differences between TV and online videos can help steer the discussion about your company’s video goals and needs.

Check out STIR’s television and online videos to see how we’ve treated them in the past and give us a ring to learn how you can build your brand using the grand combination of TV and online videos.

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