TV, Radio, Print, Outdoor
When buying TV, we not only look at the cost-per-point, but also the cost-per-thousand so we can compare with digital channel options. One of the great benefits of TV is the medium itself, video. It’s also great for local real-time information (sports, news, weather). Before digital, this was the only way to get video to your audience. When we are building out plans, we know that we need to consider the fact that some video may be used on traditional TV and some might be used online. We estimate the type of spots needed for these channels up front so we don’t have to go back to the production team later and ask for additional editing. (It’s much cheaper to be proactive and get the long-term needs defined up front.)
This channel is commonly referred to as a “frequency” channel because you can buy a lot more of these for a lesser amount than TV. That said, radio is audio only (no visuals like TV), so you have to note the impact. Even though you don’t get to show images or people on radio, you can still show personality and connect by being selective voice over and script choices. And again, you can ramp up the frequency. The production costs for radio are also lower than TV, but you need to choose the right stations, the right voice, the right message, and the right time. When buying multiple mediums, it’s important to use the same brand elements. For example, use the same voice you have in your TV spots in your radio spots. Another thing to consider is not spreading your budget too thin. If you have a very limited budget, do not spread it across multiple channels or you risk having enough frequency in either one to have any impact at all.
There are many different types of print. We are referring to print as in “print ads” that would run in the local publications (magazines or newspapers). Print is another medium that can reach local audiences, but it’s fighting an uphill battle when it comes to the ways people get their news. It used to be all print, then it went online, and now it’s social. The most important aspect of buying print is being sure to get the actual circulation count. (Do not go just by “readership” since that is calculated differently by media outlet. Readership is an estimate of how many people read the publication, while circulation is actually the count of distribution.)
When targeting rural areas, print can be very effective. We look at a cost-per-thousand vs the cost per column inch (which doesn’t tell us anything about the audience). Color can really drive up the cost with print as well, so we recommend negotiating a “plan” vs a one-time buy. Verification of print is done via tear-sheets. Tear-sheets are images of the actual ads to show you the quality of the final ad after production. If it came of the press wrong and the quality of your ad was poor, you can get all or part of your investment back, depending on the print problem.
Outdoor billboards are used in many cities yet, primarily for branding. Options for these boards now include digital which can be used for general awareness and event-related campaigns. To evaluate the cost, you need to know the traffic count of the street the board is on and who travels on it. Billboards on highways can be very expensive and you need a one-year contract (at a minimum). Usually, that one-year contract for a traditional board will include production for artwork, but only the first one. If you want to change the creative on the board mid-year, you will be charged for creative production and installation, in addition to your monthly media space fee.
When buying electronic billboards, the contracts are different, especially if they are on a “network”. If you buy electronic billboards in a network, your ad will rotate from one board to another board. The network board model is great for the media outlet because they get several advertisers within the rotation and claim your board will be seen every minute. The reality is your ad will be seen every minute, but not in the same location–so if you buy into a specific location, expect your ad to not be seen every minute in that specific location (it will be multiple minutes before your ad rotates back to each board).