Video Marketing

What is Media Buying for TV Commercials?

Media buying is the process of buying TVRs (television ratings) that have the most advantageous spaces and time-slots for your TV commercial.

researchCustomer behaviours research

Once you have had your TV advert produced the first step to getting it on air is to research who your target audience is. Hopefully you will have completed some research before producing your TV commercial so now it is a case of researching the behaviours of your chosen market demographic. The questions you want to answer should include the following –

  • When does your audience watch TV – this is key so you can ensure you buy the right TVRs.
  • What programmes do they choose to watch – Once you have researched this you can try and place your TV advert within the ad break during these shows.
  • What channels are these programmes on – These three points go hand in hand as once you research one the other two should follow on quite easily.

During this stage you need to have an idea of your budget and an outline of some rough TVR costs. There’s little point deciding to place your ad in between an episode of X Factor on a Saturday night if you don’t have the budget for it.

Competitor research

If you are a new product to the market you are unlikely to have loads of data about your ideal customer base. They say that nothing beats experience so why not reach what your competitors are doing. they will have most likely have been in marketplace for some time, they will know thier target audience and they will have made mistakes. All this is fantastic research that you can learn from and it will also save you time.

Distributing your TVRs

The next step is to work out how to spend your advertising budget wisely and how to distribute your TVRs across the weeks of a year. There are three methods that are commonly used: burst, drip and pulse. The product or service you are advertising and the budget you have available will have a strong bearing on the method you choose.

Here are more details on each of the three –


// Burst

A burst campaign is the more expensive option as it involves flooding the TV advertising space with your advert. These are ideal for seasonal goods and for new product launches where you want to hit a large number of viewers. If you are a supermarket selling food for Christmas you will want to use a burst campaign as you only have a short window to sell the goods and you are operating in a very competitive market. For a burst strategy to work you would buy something like 400 TVRsåÊand then play 100 per week for one month.

Once a burst campaign has come to an end and the product isn’t seasonal they usually move on to a drip campaign so that the product/service is kept in front of the audience.

// Drip

dripA drip campaign is used when you want your advert to appear on TV for an extended period of time. Due to the low frequency of TVRs per week, anything from 40-50, this type of campaign could run for a long time as it doesn’t sap the budget like a burst campaign would. These are particularly good when you want your advert to be consistently played in front of people. Non-seasonal adverts and low-interest products and services such as insurance are perfectly suited to this type of campaign.

The consistency of these adverts and the extended air time allow active and in-active customers to become aware of the brand, this is especially important for insurance companies because you only renew your policy once a year so it’s important to have that continual air time over a long period of time.

pulse// Pulse

A pulse campaign is ideal or low to moderate budget campaigns or if your advert is extremely memorable and likely to stick in people minds for an extended period of time. Because this campaign is run infrequently compared to a burst campaign research is very important for this type of strategy to succeed as you need to know exactly when your target audience is watching TV and what they are watching. Generally a pulse strategy will have a week on, week off schedule to help prolong how long the advert is on air for.

Finding a Media Buyer

With all this research you can then approach a media buyer. It’s important to hire an experienced agency as the relationships they have with channel owners could make or break a campaign. A good media buyer will nurture relationships with channels because there is a limited amount of advertising time available, so it pays to know the right people. We have media buying partners we work with because we understand how important this stage is. A good media buyer should also have good negotiation skills so they can get you the best deal possible.

Never stop learning

Once your TV commercial has gone live there is no time to sit back and watch the sales come in. Once your advert is playing on TV and people are seeing it, it is the only time you will be able to learn about how it is working for you and how it is being received by the audience. These learnings will make any future TV advertising campaigns you do a lot more effective. If something isn’t working as you had expected it to don’t be afraid to make a changes.

Media buying and campaign management are both very important and very interesting parts of a TV commercial campaign. If you have invested considerable amounts of money into a fantastic TV advert you are going to want people to see it.

If you are looking to have a DRTV or BRTV commercial produced we’d love to hear from you, contact us here or give Andy and Will a call onåÊ 01273 911345.


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