March 11, 2021 inMedia planning

TV Advertising 101: from Costs to Benefits

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TV advertising is taking on characteristics of digital marketing to deliver targeted ads with strong emotional cues.

TV advertising is a powerful weapon to have in your marketing arsenal. Many have been predicting the decline of TV advertising for years. But research shows it’s still thriving and even evolving in-line with the explosion in digital marketing. According to research by Thinkbox, 82% of video ads in the UK are viewed through live TV.



TV advertising casts a wide net that reaches millions of people. TV ads also have the power to drill down into specific market segments. What’s more, media and marketing software is now capable of integrating TV ads’ results with digital marketing data so you can accurately measure and optimize your campaigns.

Read on to discover the types of TV advertising, their advantages, costs, and how to accurately measure results.

What are the types of TV advertising?

We all know what a TV ad looks and sounds like, but what are the different kinds that marketers and advertisers can use to their advantage? The two types of TV advertising (excluding Internet and streaming services) are broadcast and satellite/ cable, and there’s a key difference between them you need to know.

Broadcast TV is free in most countries and it includes all the best-known local and national channels. Since broadcast TV is free and nationwide, your ads can potentially reach millions of viewers. However, they’re less targeted. If your goal is building brand awareness, broadcast is a good fit.

Cable/ satellite TV is a paid service. Its specific channels attract audiences you can carefully target. That said, its reach is limited. If you want to reach a specific demographic or you’re working with budget restrictions, a cable or satellite ad that specifically promotes your business within your local region, for example is probably your best choice.

TV advertising cost

TV advertising costs are based on several factors—such as TV spot, channel, and length—and these factors make the final bill vary considerably. A 30-second spot in this year’s Super Bowl will work wonders for your brand prestige with 100 million people viewing your ad, but it comes with a hefty price tag of $5.6m. At the other end of the spectrum, TV advertising rates on local and satellite channels can start as low as $5 to $20. Your audience will be vastly reduced, but potentially far more targeted.

Then there’s the production cost to throw in on top. The average TV advertising production cost sits between $1,500 to $20,000, although premium ads can cost upwards of $150,000. Some TV stations may even agree to produce your ad at no extra charge if you purchase a certain number of spots.

Advantages of TV advertising

A carefully designed and well-placed TV ad can generate positive engagement among viewers and greatly improve market awareness. Below are the main advantages of TV advertising.

Multi-sensory media: TV ads capture people’s attention with a powerful combination of sound and visual cues. Modern home entertainment systems that incorporate surround sound and a curved 4K screen give you the opportunity to connect with viewers through a highly engaging medium in their home.

Reach: Although TV reaches the majority of people, it’s not necessarily a good use of your budget to aim your message at every man, woman, and child. A great advantage of TV advertising is you can carefully select market segments by age, nationality, gender, and even personal interests by choosing the exact channels and spots where you want your ad to air.

The ad: TV advertising is an art and your creativity determines the success of your ad’s message. Apple’s now-famous 1984 ad used parallels with George Orwell’s classic dystopian novel to promote their original Macintosh computer. Customer numbers surged in stores the day after it aired and in the three months following consumers purchased $155m. of Apple products. The marketing team initially dismissed the ad thinking it would be ineffective, which suggests it’s often well worth taking that extra creative leap. Not to mention, the ad aired just once during the Super Bowl; now that’s ROI!

Disadvantages of TV advertising

Naturally there are a few drawbacks to TV advertising, the most common being budget constraints during production and campaigns. Most importantly, TV advertising is only as effective as the ad itself, so it is well worth doing your market research and getting creative to develop an ad that truly resonates with your target audience.

Viewer attention: it’s unavoidable that viewers lose interest and turn to their smartphone or change channel. There’s a lot to compete against nowadays and this is why it is absolutely vital to get your core message across as simply and quickly as possible. On top of that, your core message must be carefully thought out and refined to have the best chances of success.

Ineffective targeting: many TV ads are inefficient at engaging their intended audience or they fail to reach a defined number of viewers. Market research and media planning are essential to make sure your TV ad is tuned into your audience’s concerns and needs.

How to measure TV advertising results

Measuring the effectiveness of your TV ads is complex. Like other marketing channels, TV advertising is a slow burn that focuses on long-term gains. That said, measuring short-term results—such as reach and ratings—and viewing them in-line with your overall marketing strategy can provide valuable insights including budget allocation and where to optimize your campaigns.

The main ways to measure TV ads are:

Reach: this is the number of viewers watching TV. It can be broken down into demographics, gender, age, income, and even TV set top device for detailed viewer information.

Gross rating points (or target rating points): this is the reach combined with the frequency a viewer sees an ad. One rating point is one percent of the potential audience, meaning if a TV ad has a 30 percent reach and shows four times, the ad has 120 gross rating points.

Effective points: this tracks the percentage of the possible audience that views your ad and how often. This is useful to judge the exposure quality, for example, an ad viewed only once may not be effective and an ad viewed too many times will diminish its message.

Media planning software measures your TV advertising results

Using a media planning tool like Mediatool enables you to analyze your TV ads and weigh them against your other marketing activities. Once you’ve inputted your data, the data gets tagged and connected to your campaign so you can monitor in real time how your TV ads are impacting your other activities such as social media engagement, website traffic, and budget allocation.

Take a look at Mediatool’s extensive features including budget planning, customizable KPIs, and real time campaign monitoring to see how launching and tracking your next campaign can be so effective and efficient that your team will save hundreds of hours.



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