October 16, 2014 by Bruce Mentzer
There are other relatively cost efficient options to get your message out and be heard in the waning days of the campaign. Take another look at the other media outlets and choices you may have passed by early on. They will likely have better inventory, and be priced more efficiently than broadcast TV at this late stage of the game.
RADIO. Always underutilized, every media plan should include a measure of radio to expand your message reach and frequency. It’s an excellent way to reach voters when they are out of their homes during the day or early evening, and the most common spot length (:60) gives you additional time for a more complex message. When reviewing stations, go deep. The stations with the best qualitative for your target may not be the largest audience stations, so put together your own unique combination to best reach your audience. The opponent and opposing groups may be on TV, but it’s not likely they are all on radio. Include Pandora in this review as well. In most markets, its audience would make it a top 3 station. And again, there will be less clutter, meaning the listener has a better chance of focusing on the message leading to better recall.
CABLE. You should already be on cable, but take a second look to see if there is quality additional time to be had at less than exorbitant prices. And again, go deep. Second or third tier networks have smaller audiences, but in many cases can have a higher composition of your desired audience than the overpriced larger networks. Today’s big media data has shown us that as long as they are priced according to their audience size, almost all networks have some measure of valuable audience. It’s not unusual to be 20-25 networks deep in a market. And, the deeper you go, the less clutter you will experience.
SATELLITE. Take another look if you didn’t include this in your original media plan. Yes, it looked expensive on first review (can be $ 80 cost-per-thousand for a semi-custom target audience), but now that TV is astronomical, DirecTV and Dish cable ads will now look much more affordable. And with some markets having satellite penetrations of 25% or more, it’s the only way to get on the cable networks in these homes. It’s unlikely that your opponents are all using this more recent satellite ad insertion opportunity for cable placement, so you may have less overwhelmed eyeballs viewing your ads.
SPORTS. Another great option which you should also have already included in your media plan is regional or statewide sports networks such as Fox Sports. These sports networks usually have the home teams, have guaranteed spot insertion within the games (not adjacent), and your spots appear in both cable and satellite households for a broader better coverage than just cable or satellite alone. In reviewing custom ratings produced by merging voter lists with set-top-box viewing data the final analysis shows sports are a great place to be to reach likely voters. These sports networks offer pod exclusivity for your ads and they control the inventory so running multiple spots, and finding late placement avails are usually no problem. And what could be better the final weekend of the election than to have a full strong sports schedule across the board.
DIGITAL. Again, this should already be a big part of your plan in regards to expanding the reach of your TV/cable ads. Due to finite inventory on the best quality venues, inventory here may be scarce and overpriced too. But it’s worth a second look to be sure. Buyer beware though, don’t just purchase video that runs when someone goes on or near a page, you want pre-roll video ads that air prior to someone watching desired content they selected.
PRINT & OUT-OF-HOME. It’s too late for billboard but almost never too late for newspaper. Include a solid full-page four color ad in the local daily newspaper the final Sunday 11/2. Yes, newspaper readership is way down (way way down with younger readers), but those over 50, and those over 65 do still read their local paper to some measure – and they are most likely to vote. Again, compare the cost against the late escalating cost of TV and it just might be worth having a large print presence the final weekend of the election. Think your opponent or opposing groups will run a print ad? You may have this one all to yourself.
It’s about cost-per-eyeball (or ear). So once TV inventory disappears or the cost becomes ridiculous –$50,000 for one spot in Wheel of Fortune in Little Rock for example – be sure to take a little time to examine the relative cost of remaining media options so that you spend that last minute media buying money as wisely as possible.
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