The success of your advertising often comes down to smart media buying. Choosing the right venues for your ads and getting the best prices can mean the difference between a ho-hum campaign and one that gets results. Too often, media buying is hit or miss.
Ads are placed simply because a salesperson calls. But without a plan, your efforts are likely to fail. Effective media buying requires that you develop a plan that's based on:
- The medium's target audience.
- The medium's reach.
- The timing of your ad placement.
- The frequency of your ads.
TelevisionTelevision is the No. 1 advertising medium in the nation. For the most economical and targeted media buys, try cable and local network affiliates.
NewspapersNewspapers are the primary advertising medium for businesses, such as retailers, that want to reach consumers in their local area.
RadioRadio spots can be an advantageous media buy for businesses that want to solicit an immediate response to their ads, prompting impulse buys or inquiries. Choosing the right station and the right time of day to reach your target audience is critical to a successful media buy.
MagazinesNational magazine rates can be prohibitively expensive for a small business, but local and regional magazines can be an ideal media buy. Ask for a magazine's media kit — which offers information about its circulation, readership and rates — and editorial calendar — which tells you what topics are going to be covered in each issue. These materials will help you target publications and specific issues that make the most sense for your business.
Out-of-homeIf you're hoping to build your brand, target consumers on the go or influence real-time buying decisions, out-of-home advertising could be the ticket. Out-of-home media includes billboards, airplane banners, vehicle signs and wrapping, bus benches and running ads in movie theaters or on interactive kiosks.
InternetOne of the keys to a successful Internet advertising campaign is buying ads on the right Web sites. Avoid buying ads on major search engines or general consumer Web sites. A better approach is to buy ad space on smaller sites with specialized content that's geared to your target market. Banner ads typically are sold in units of 1,000 visits. The size of both your ad and your audience can affect its price.
NontraditionalIn order to stand out from the crowd, many advertisers are turning to nontraditional media, including blogs, product placement, media-sponsored promotions.
Hire a media buyerAs a small advertiser, you don't carry much clout. If you're planning a multi-media advertising campaign and want to get the best rates, consider hiring a media buying firm. These companies boast established relationships with the media and wield serious negotiating power.
- The rule of thumb is that a print ad must run three times before it gets noticed.
- Radio advertising is most effective when run at certain times of the day or around certain programs.
- Remember that impact counts. Does the ad appeal to the senses? Does it look and sound good?