TV – Old Platform New Media Ad Buy

Many customers have been asking me about TV lately. What’s interesting, is that there still seems to be a major disconnect between the actual barriers to entry and the perceived difficulty and cost of advertising on television. The buying advances in local, online video and cable television have changed tv from the old difficult and expensive to purchase platform, to one that is more akin to a new media ad buy.

Television is the ultimate platform to integrate media so it should never be viewed as a standalone purchase. Of course, integrating ideas and marketing concepts holds true in media advertising buys as well. So, there are many options to help you accomplish various things when it comes to television buying. The way I see it there are a number of different ways a small business can take advantage of television viewing time, with their advertisements.  Let’s explore some that may not be as difficult or expensive as you think, to help you reinforce your message on the main screen. First, there is traditional local tv buying direct from the cable provider; second is using online tv buying networks, like Google Display Network, Microsoft Exchange, Simulmedia to name a few; and lastly there’s Video On Demand/DVR ad buying.

Traditional Local Ad Buys

Local advertising is still the most often purchased television spot for small companies. Cable is to small business tv advertising what rubber is to tires. There’s some challenge to the business model, but the entrenchment of such an established process makes progress slow. If you’re interested in gaining some popularity with your local market then call a Comcast or Time Warner. They will set you up with some bundle of shows or day part schedule that will help you advertise within certain areas, based on old school methods of assessing audience size, location and reach.

While this is not the most sexy or new form of advertising, it has proven effective for many organizations’ recognition, recall and inquiry. The only problem with this medium is there is some monetary waste associated with it. The old axiom, “50% of our advertising dollars are wasted, we just don’t know which half,” is especially true here. The ad server, being the cable company, has little incentive to make your advertising sing. It represents less than 1% of their profits but they’ve introduced it as an additional revenue stream to create better relationships in the communities they serve. Dastardly, I know.

Television Ad Networks

Television ad networks are trying to take the online advertising model to the TV. Talk about being in bizarro world. One would think that the older more established entity would have figured out the best way to optimize media. Alas, we go back to the internet for all of our innovation. All of these companies have introduced some type of data application in to the buying process. This will affect small businesses, because they can only target a very granular and specific set of individuals so that their ads are only being served to their most perfect consumer.

How do these guys do it? Well, these companies have set up partnerships with 3rd party data providers on one hand, and the cable and satellite providers on the other. They take mountains of data from various sources and apply it against ad buys on the corresponding television supplying entities to which they have relationships. These companies can work with the big boys with huge budgets all the way down to the little guy just trying to “feed his family” like a professional athlete.

The drawbacks here are minimal since the networks are getting more set-top-box data and more 3rd party data than ever. The real problem is nascence. There are still some growing pains with regards to applying this data to television because the legacy business models and reluctance of old entities to cooperate with newer entities attempting to optimize the process. So, ask a lot of questions about audience and reach and geography to make sure you get what you’ve paid for with these types of tv ad buys. I’m not going to advocate this just search for “big data use in tv ad buy.” That will get you some companies that are helpful for this purpose, and you can call or email with questions. I say this, because there are multiple forms and there are better companies for different types of businesses.

Video On Demand/DVR Buying

Yet another relatively new form of buying media is through the Video on Demand or DVR model. Some of these televisions are even connected making them interactive, commonly known as iTV – and no it’s not an Apple product. Though, Apple does have an iTV product if you’re looking to confuse and confound yourself for the day. Regardless, this type of advertising is the ability to place ads in VoD content. The non-linear viewing of TV has driven cable and satellite reluctantly towards this. However, call and response ads and even traditional ads within the world of Video on Demand work pretty well.

The VoD seller will tell you, “while it’s true that some of these ads are forwarded through, the ones that catch the eye of your target consumer are very affective and engaging.” This is true, but make sure you negotiate the price for these ads because you may buy 5,000 VoD views and only have your ad actually viewed 250 times. Also, this changes depending on the type of VoD you buy – pre-roll, call-and-response, viewer control trigger, etc. In fact, there are more than a dozen types of VoD (DVR, Mobile TV and iTV) ads. I’ll probably do a separate blog post on this form of TV buying sometime soon.

Regardless of what type of buy works for your business, don’t assume you cannot make a TV ad buy because you don’t have the funds. TV is very engaging and still represents roughly 70% of all media spend for a reason. It works and allows a company to tell a story, rather than being worried about engagement.

Also, all of these forms of advertising are worthwhile for some businesses and not so much for others. So, if you’re interested in getting a free assessment, we would love to do so and potentially write out a strategy for you. Don’t you want to see your business on TV?

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About Therran Oliphant

I am a strong advocate for developing the academic and practical field of Integrated Marketing Communications. I was lucky enough to be a part of the third class of Master's Degree level students at Eastern Michigan University on the subject, and have been touting the need for businesses to methodically link all communications since learning the intricacies of how it works. Whether your business is yourself, a product, or a service the rule that the brand's messages and communications should be as coordinated as a beautiful sonata holds true. Effective business communication can mean the difference between failing, surviving and thriving - which do you want to be the reality of your business?