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The Pros And Cons Of Television Advertising

Posted by on 4:18 pm

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Are you thinking about advertising on television, wondering if it makes sense for your business?

It’s a fair question. After all, TV ad campaigns can be expensive. Depending on your market size, a 30 second spot can range from hundreds, to thousands and even millions of dollars (think Super Bowl). But small-to-medium sized businesses have found ways to make TV an effective advertising medium. If you are thinking about investing in it for your company, let me save you some time and money by laying out the real pros and cons of television advertising.


TV is still the biggest and loudest bullhorn.

In the world of traditional (not digital) advertising, TV is the boss. All media – newspapers and radio stations included – have their advantages and disadvantages, but despite all of the competition, television still delivers the biggest and broadest audiences. Sports and news programming in particular offer a captive audience, since people are less likely to watch them on a DVR. Many viewers are still glued to their TV sets during prime time as well. They want to be the first to know who got kicked off Survivor as it airs…even after all these seasons. According to the Nielsen ratings, people still spend more than four hours a day in front of the tube.

Television advertising is emotional.

Part of the allure of TV advertising is that it delights you with sights, sounds, and movement. It’s a seductive medium that can tell your brand story and touch not only the minds of your customers but also their hearts. Remember Budweiser’s “Lost Dog” ad that started airing during Super Bowl XLIX? It was a heart-wrenching story that delivered like an emotional punch to the gut. Watch it again and try not to cry. I dare you.

People might forget what you said in your ad, but if you do it right, they will remember how you made them feel. TV does that very well. It brings all the feels.


Millennials are tough to reach.

Younger viewers are turning to alternative sources for viewing their favorite shows. With the advent of WiFi in every home, viewers watch programming through apps on Roku and other devices instead of traditional cable, which makes them harder to reach with locally inserted ads. Some advertisers are overcoming the challenge by targeting this age group with digital marketing campaigns along with broadcast advertising. YouTube now features an ad format designed to augment broadcast and cable TV advertising campaigns.


Another challenge is the avoidance of commercial breaks. People get up and throw laundry in the dryer or get a snack when the ads are running, returning just in time for the break to end, or they simply record their shows on a DVR and skip over the commercials as they watch.

TV advertising can be expensive.

As mentioned earlier, TV has a reputation for being expensive. First you have to get an ad produced – and if you want it to look professional we recommend hiring a creative agency, although local TV stations have commercial production departments as well – then you’ve got to pay for the airtime.

Most ads are 30 seconds long, which is not a lot of time. You’ll need to craft a succinct, memorable message and pay to have it broadcasted over and over again. This is why it’s important to hire a professional ad producer who knows how to boil a message down to a 30 second spot. Tell them what you want to say and then let them do their jobs.

Despite the costs, there are ways you can make TV advertising affordable. First, you don’t have to run in the most expensive time slots for your campaign to work. Local morning news is a great place to get traction and in many small markets you can run an ad for $150 or less.

Many business owners also make the huge mistake of buying shows they like personally, assuming their customers love them too. This is a fundamental error that costs local companies tons of money every year. Ad schedules should be based on the experience of the media buyer and by ratings data – nothing else. Work with a professional, either the station sales rep or an agency, and describe your target customer. A good media planner will recommend an efficient schedule that reaches your customers with plenty of frequency.

You can also save money and a lot of time by hiring an advertising agency to buy your media for you. Agencies provide experienced buyers who not only negotiate advertising rates directly with the stations, but also receive commissions from the stations. Using an ad agency does not increase your bills from the stations. They also make sure your ads run as ordered and ensure the station compensates you for any mistakes made during your schedule.

Even with the internet invasion, TV sets are still center stage in almost every room of every home, making them a great place to find targeted audiences. Even very small businesses can achieve a high ROI through careful planning, budgeting and execution. And when you’re doing it right, you’ll feel it right in the cash register.

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Topic: Advertising ,TV advertising

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