Five Media Buying Tips for 2016
Media buying continues to grow more and more complex. Forty years ago, advertisers only had to choose between print, television and radio programming. More than a decade ago, buying digital ads began to increase in popularity. Now, traditional ad platforms are offering integrated bundles. Marketers can purchase video views through most newspapers, while static banner ads are available from cable television outlets. Most marketing leaders rely on an agency to help them plan, negotiate, and place their media buys. Here are 5 media buying tips for 2016 to get the most out of your marketing budget:
Consider who else is advertising on the same platform.
It happens all the time with our clients- a sales rep drops off material and, because it’s the offer conveniently placed in their lap, they ask for a meeting with us to consider whether or not the buy is a wise one. One quick screening tip for marketing leaders is to ask who else is advertising on the same platform? For example, a product targeting men ages 35-54 who own homes is more likely to find success on a given media outlet if other products or brands targeting that same demographic are already investing their dollars there. If you don’t find any brands marketing to your brand’s target demographic on the channel, it’s probably wise to look elsewhere, no matter how great the deal is.
Negotiate better deals.
Too many media agencies operate on a straight-commission basis, which is a nightmare for their clients. Now, instead of worrying about securing the best deals for the clients, the agencies are concerned first and foremost with spending the entire budget, and then, after their check has been secured, they’ll go back and try to secure better placements or freebies- but never reduced rates. This is why Fidelitas operates on retainer and doesn’t take commission- it makes more sense for our clients and allows us to negotiate more aggressively on the client’s behalf.
Even if you’re not using an agency, you can still negotiate better deals. The first thing any marketing leader should do when reviewing a rate card is ask the sales rep if the rate card is net or gross. A rate card published with gross rates should immediately incur a 15% discount for a marketing leader buying direct on behalf of their brand. Sometimes media platforms will try to pocket the 15% difference between net and gross that is usually reserved for agencies operating on commission. Asking for the proper rates from the start of a sales conversation will make all the difference in future negotiations with that media outlet’s sales rep.
Sometimes the rates aren’t negotiable. But even then, marketing leaders and their agencies can secure better placements and bonus spots to get more value out of the buy. One of my favorite tricks is to negotiate a radio campaign around 7a-12a slots, only to negotiate some or all of the spots into drive times after frequency and price have been settled. Bumping your spots up to a better time slot is a great throw-in to close the deal, since it doesn’t cost the sales rep anything but a little inventory. The only time this won’t work is if the station is selling at capacity, which is rarely the case.
Compare apples to apples.
We recommend that marketing leaders buy ads based on a CPM (cost per thousand impressions) basis. Doing so allows all ads, both traditional and digital formats, to be held accountable to the same standards. Most of the time, media outlets can provide the data needed to make these conversions, but if not, this data is readily available through a number of media planning resources for most markets.
Track Results and KPIs.
Too many marketing leaders can’t answer honestly as to whether or not their ad campaigns are moving the needle for their brands. And while we like CPM as a measuring stick for media buying, it’s one of the least accurate barometers for the effectiveness of an ad campaign.
Instead, advertisers should focus on industry-specific KPIs and brand-specific goals when measuring the ROI of their advertising campaigns. For many marketing leaders, this metric will be cost-per-acquisition (CPA), which tracks how much money must be spent on a given platform to achieve a desired result- be it an online sale, an email sign up, or an inbound call for more information. While the goals of marketing campaigns vary from brand to brand, it’s important to decide which KPIs to measure ahead of time so that every campaign can be held accountable, regardless of the platform(s) utilized in the execution.
Place digital and traditional buys through the same agency.
Some marketing leaders may disagree here, but there’s something to be said for the left hand talking to the right hand throughout the process. At Fidelitas, we LOVE executing integrated campaigns that leverage digital and traditional channels together in order to get better results.
One example of integrating digital with traditional would be to run 15-second spots that end with a cliffhanger. If the spots are produced well and the creative is sound, these short spots can drive viewers online to find out more. Never underestimate the power of a great story to drive your target demographic from one platform to another- and closer to a direct purchase with your brand along the way.