Advertising your business is more than selecting a network or radio station that you like. Actually, that’s not where you start at all.
Successful advertising campaigns start with research. I know, that’s not what you wanted to hear!
At the 50,000 foot level, buying media to advertise your business seems pretty simple. Find the outlet (like the show, program, newspaper, trade publication, or billboard location), buy ads that fit your budget, rake in the money!
If only it were that easy. But we find that most companies that buy their own media to advertise their business, do essentially that. The problem with this method is that the money will typically be flowing out, not in.
What Are Marketers to Do?
Placing advertising in the media has become such a complex activity that hiring a professional is often the smartest and most cost-effective route to take. It takes time to make media placement decisions, and an expert will know how to spend valuable marketing budget dollars judiciously. However, you can do it yourself if you’re willing to invest the time to familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of media placement. Here’s what you need to know when buying media or working with a media buyer.
Each advertising medium has a unique way of “proving” its worth. To make an “apples-to-apples” comparison of media effectiveness, you must look at what the industry calls reach and frequency.
Reach is the number of people an advertising message reaches. The more people who hear or see the message, the greater the reach and the higher the advertising rate will be. In the industry, reach is often expressed as a “rating.” The reach rating formula is:
number of people reached ÷ by population = reach rating
Reach should be as targeted as possible, both geographically and demographically. Your company’s size and location determines the geographic target. A demographic target is determined by identifying which customers or prospects would most likely buy your products.
Frequency is the number of times the targeted audience sees or hears your message, and is usually expressed as an average. An advertising message is normally placed more than once, which means, in any given audience, some people will see/hear the message only one time while others will see/hear it a number of times.
A few more definitions will also help in making better buying decisions.
Day Parts – dividing the day into meaningful buying parts. Examples: early fringe, late fringe, prime time
Avails – commercial inventory of ad slots available for sale
Drive Time – popular time of day for radio best audience. Ex: AM drive time is 6:00 AM to 10:00 AM, mid-day drive time is 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM, PM drive is 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM.
GRP’s – Gross Rating points measures total rating points during a campaign. It is calculated by multiplying Reach x Frequency.
Rtg – total amount of Households viewing a program during a specific day part
CPP – cost per point, used best for comparing rate averages after total buy computed
A common rule of thumb in advertising is that just about the time an advertiser can’t stand to hear his advertising message repeated, is when the audience is finally noticing it!
Audience Measurement Tools
Media outlets use a variety of means to monitor the size and characteristics of their audience. Here’s an overview of the most common measurement tools.
Broadcast Television. ACNielsen is the major research company for broadcast television audience measurement. It assembles a “representative” sample of viewers and asks them to keep a viewing diary. The company then extrapolates national data from the sample.
Radio. Measurement ratings for radio audiences are determined using the diary system much like those for local television stations. Arbitron is the industry leader in measuring radio station listenership.
Newspaper. Circulation is often cited as a means of calculating how many people read a particular newspaper. Keep in mind, however, that a delivered or purchased paper may or may not be read, or read entirely, and a single issue might be read by more than one person, all of which make it very difficult to determine exact readership numbers. The Audit Board of Circulation (ABC) is a national organization that verifies circulation figures.
Outdoor. Billboard companies estimate exposure based on traffic patterns. However, this measure doesn’t indicate how many drivers or their passengers actually read the billboard.
Media impact attempts to “weigh” the effectiveness of the advertising message and the medium. Some media vehicles have more impact than others.
A basic knowledge of reach and frequency — coupled with a hefty dose of common sense and the advice of a media buying professional — can help a marketer ask the right questions, and receive the right answers, when spending valuable media dollars.
Making the Right Media Choice
Before making any media decisions, spend time exploring your competition, your market, and your media options. The following three-step outline will help you gather the information you need to make the best decision for your institution.
Step One: Situation Analysis.
- Who is your competition?
- How do their products compare to yours?
- What makes your accounts and services stand out?
- Who is your target market?
- Where can you reach your target market?
Step Two: Advertising Analysis
- What results do you expect from your advertising efforts?
- What is your budget for the campaign?
- Do your ads clearly explain the main product benefits?
- Is the pricing clear, and does it meet regulations?
- Is your staff aware of the campaign?
Step Three: Evaluating Media Pros and Cons.
An overview of the unique qualities of each advertising medium follows:
While this advertising primer is far from complete, it does give marketers an good starting point for buying media or working with a media agency.
If you need help making effective media buys for your advertising campaigns, give us a call at Ad4! We’ve got decades of experience and lots of satisfied clients.
Connect with me on: