TaxSlayer Measures the Digital Impact of TV Ads; Makes Fast, Granular & Effective Optimizations

TaxSlayer Measures the Digital Impact of TV Ads; Makes Fast, Granular & Effective Optimizations

Marketing Channels



​As Ben Franklin once famously wrote, “In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Today, tax preparation is big business, and do-it-yourself taxpayers have more options than ever when it comes to filing their returns. To remain competitive in an industry dominated by giants, smaller tax preparation software providers like TaxSlayer have to find ways to make every marketing dollar go further and work harder. And since tax preparation is a seasonal service, they only have a short, 4-month window in which to do it.

For TaxSlayer, this means working diligently to ensure all of its marketing and advertising investments – including big-ticket items like athlete endorsements, college bowl sponsorships and TV advertising – are measured and optimized for impact and efficiency.


TaxSlayer dedicates a significant portion of its budget to branding campaigns designed to drive awareness and attract new customers. Outside of its annual TaxSlayer college bowl game, TV is by far its biggest investment. Much of this TV spend goes to direct response (DRTV) inventory, which enables the company to make quick optimizations during peak tax season in an effort to improve response. But with little to no tracking in place, the company wasn’t able to prove beyond ‘gut intuition’ that its TV investments were driving the online traffic and electronically filed tax returns (e-files) needed to justify the spend.

Looking for hard evidence to confirm their theories, the company turned to Visual IQ for a better way to measure the immediate impact of its TV advertising on site traffic and e-file activity, and identify where to make changes to increase conversions. They also created a hybrid, TV & SEM Manager role within their marketing organization to lead the initiative and provide the necessary balance of creative and analytical skills needed to champion change.


Understand TV’s impact on online e-files and take action to improve performance before and during tax season.


Visual IQ’s marketing intelligence platform provided TaxSlayer with a new, data-driven approach to TV measurement. Leveraging the platform’s TV Attribution capabilities, which pair and model TV impression data with corresponding digital response data, the company was able to quantify the true impact of its TV ads on e-files, and determine which elements of its TV spots drove the greatest response.

TaxSlayer was then able to use these granular TV insights to inform their planning decisions before the start of the 2017 tax season, and guide their optimizations mid-season. For instance, the company was able to:

  • Uncover and shift media dollars away from the three lowest-performing DRTV networks, including TrueTV, Adult Swim and Nick at Nite
  • Identify and purchase additional inventory in the top-performing networks, including Bravo, MTV2, USA, TNT and TBS
  • Discover that 15-second spots were as effective as 30-second spots on the top-performing networks
  • Adjust dayparts based on performance, shifting slightly away from early morning to late fringe, prime and prime access
  • Learn that their Dale Earnhardt, Jr. TV creative generated the highest conversion rates, even though the production value was far less than its other branded campaigns

Moreover, TaxSlayer was able to integrate its cost data directly into the platform to accurately calculate TV efficiency metrics, including cost per acquisition.


Using Visual IQ’s marketing intelligence platform to measure and optimize its 2017 tax season TV campaigns, TaxSlayer was able to significantly improve TV performance year-over-year – driving 29% more e-files than their original goal. Moreover, they did it at a significantly lower cost-per-e-file, making TV the most efficient of any paid media thus far.

“With so much competition and only a short window of opportunity, we knew we needed a TV strategy that was hyper-focused and effective. Leveraging the TV attribution capabilities in Visual IQ’s platform, we were able to pinpoint the right combinations of programs, networks and dayparts and make fast, effective and granular optimizations that drove more e-files with optimal efficiency. We’re thrilled with the results so far, and look forward to continuing our partnership with Visual IQ to achieve even greater efficiencies in our overall marketing and advertising spend going forward.”

Sabrina Dean, TV & SEM Manager, TaxSlayer

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