TV advertising: the basics

Advertising on TV may be expensive but it's still effective

What it is

In terms of heightening awareness of your business or brand, television advertising is one of the most effective methods of marketing you can choose. Almost everyone is familiar with TV, and adverts can still reach a very significant and increasingly targeted audience. TV advertising is always going to be an expensive option, but it is becoming more accessible with the development of multi-platform viewing. For many small firms though, it will still be prohibitively expensive.

How it works

Television advertising is something you will certainly need specialist help from an advertising company to carry out. There’s a plethora of approved agencies that could help you, but choose carefully depending on your specific needs.

Firstly, you need to have a good idea of what your target audience is – where they live, their age, their interests, where they spend their money and so on. Talking about this with your advertising agency will mean they can help you decide on your buying strategy (when, where and how often your adverts will be shown) to reach as many of these target consumers as possible. There are so many options that you should be able to target quite a specific demographic.

You’ll also become familiar with television ratings or TVRs, which represent the percentage of the target audience who watch a particular show. When your advert is showing, your agency will monitor live figures to make sure that TVRs match those predicted. Monitoring the campaign is very important because you’ll be spending a significant amount of money, and keeping track of TVRs is the only way to ensure you’re getting value for money.

What it costs

Because there are so many options when creating a television advertising campaign, the cost of advertising on TV can vary greatly. Effectively, it depends on where and when you advertise and who you target. If your ambitions are relatively small, you’ll be looking at a low five-figure budget, but this could rocket quickly the more you want from your campaign.

The future

There have been hundreds of column inches written about the impact of technology on TV advertising campaigns, with many viewers now able to skip past adverts, and advertisers being lured instead by the internet. But you don’t have to look far to see that the time of advertising on television is far from over. Almost every home has at least one TV and millions of people are still exposed to TV commercials every day – and consumers are exposed to so many bad adverts, they tend to appreciate the good ones.


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