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Is TV Advertising Too Expensive?

April 1, 2017 Advertising Questions

When planning their advertising and media budgets for the year, many companies completely ignore television advertising. Why? Because they think it will blow their budgets, leaving them nothing left to spend on other channels. But are these companies missing an opportunity? The answer is most likely yes.

Fine Tune your Focus

The big misconception in television advertising is the thought that companies need to run their ads during peak viewership times to be successful. The key, says Laura Gonzales of Raven Marketing, a Portland-area advertising agency specializing in television advertising, is to zero in on specific programs with the right audience demographics, rather than trying to get in front of the most people. By focusing on viewers that are a good fit with your business, you’ll get the most bang for your buck.

“Companies think they have to advertise during the highest rated shows. This couldn’t be farther from the truth,” says Gonzales. “While we don’t completely disregard ratings, we really focus in on the other factors—the age, ethnicity, and socio-economics of the viewers, as well the subject matter of the show. We find the right program that fits with client’s customer base, and run their ads during this period.”

Repeat After Me

Gonzales went on to say that another key is repetition. She said that the best successes occur when a client runs their ads on a regular basis over a three-month period.

Seasonality & Timing

Other factors that contribute to the success of your television ad are things like the season and even the day of the week. If you’ve got a product or service that lends itself to a particular season, be sure to advertise during that time. If you sell products that are typically shopped for on weekends, such as furniture or cars, make sure that is when your ads are running.

spoon balancing on calculatorOther Budget-Stretching Ideas

For businesses that need to stretch their advertising dollar, looking for discounts of any kind can be invaluable. By using these tools, you might be able save even more.

 Pre-Pay for Your Ads

Television stations are much like other businesses in that they like to be paid ahead of time for the service they provide. When you pay upfront for your ad slots, you tend to get better service and fewer preemptions.

Agree to Longer Ad Schedule

Stations and cable companies offer the best deals on packages that run 10 to13 weeks. Once you’ve decided on the program or programs that you want your ad to run during, committing to a campaign of this length helps the station manage their inventory and in the process, lower the buy rates for each slot.

Remnants & Auctions

Stations often have advertising slots that they are unable to sell. In the industry, this is called remnant or remainder advertising.  By setting aside a small part of the advertising budget for this “fire-sale” type of advertising, you may be able to get a much-reduced rate for shows that fit your advertising profile.

Advertising auctions can also be a place to get a bargain on ad slots. The important factors to note here are that you must pay upfront without knowing what time slots you’ll get. While you wouldn’t want to base your entire ad plan on auctions, it can be an effective addition to your planned spend.


By letting go of the notion that television advertising costs too much, you may find that it may just be the advertising channel that drives the best ROI for you or your client. To learn how to advertise effectively yet efficiently to people in Portland, contact Raven Marketing at 503-954-1473.

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Derek Hines: