Reprogramming Your TV Ad Buys – Part 2
26 April 2019 • tvsquared
Marlessa Stivala,
Content Marketing Director 

In my previous post, I outlined some of the biggest trends advertisers need to consider when making TV ad buys, especially when dealing directly with networks. To make sure your buys are as efficient and effective as possible, let’s finish up the list of things to do or to keep in mind:

  1. Know What You Want and What You Don’t Want

In the world of TV buying, knowing what you don’t want is just as important as knowing what you do.

Make sure anyone involved in buying is provided with a “hit list” of everything you don’t want your ads to air during, including dayparts, genres and programs. This list should be a living, breathing document that’s kept as up to date, specific and succinct as possible.

Specificity is especially helpful when it comes to genres. Simply writing “avoid suggestive content” (a real example I have seen) is not helpful, as something like this is vague enough where it can easily mean a wide variety of shows, including some you may not want to avoid.

A caveat here, of course, is that TV schedules may change unexpectedly, so a certain level of flexibility is also important.

All of this starts with the level of research you’re willing to do. As mentioned earlier, understanding the networks and current state of programming is critical. If, for instance, your target demographic is women 25-54, make sure you fully know what this demo is actually watching and how they’re consuming it.

Never forget: just because a network, or even a specific program, has historically been a strong fit for your brand doesn’t mean it still is now.

  1. Risk vs. Reward

When buying TV spots, there’s always a certain level of risk vs. reward involved, which is to be expected in an industry consisting of so many moving pieces. This can be especially apparent when considering buying airtime during a network’s new, upcoming programs during Upfront season.

For a show like this, let’s first consider the potential for reward. During the Upfronts, it’s usually obvious which shows are the most hotly anticipated. These are the ones featuring top-tier talent onscreen and behind the scenes that can quickly generate a high-level of “industry buzz.”

While no amount of hype, glamour or even talent 100% guarantees a show will truly be successful, airing in such a program allows advertisers the potential “reward” of airing in prestige content that may very well continue to dominate headlines and award season in the coming year.

Meanwhile, a key risk factor is the simple fact that new shows don’t have any data to support whether or not they are truly valuable investments that can retain audiences beyond the series premiere.

And keep in mind how much of a risk the new show may be for the network itself. Is the network testing a new type of program that’s a departure from what’s previously worked well? Is it going “back to basics” and trying something that hasn’t been on the air in years?

Returning programs aren’t off the hook here either. Networks can claim how successful certain shows still are all they want, but always be willing and able to question these assertions and ask networks where their data is coming from and how current it is.

Understanding the current state of programming and the networks themselves remain important, but accurate data and proof of performance are also necessary to make the most out of your ad dollars – whether it’s Upfront season or not.