At a glance, media planning may appear to be an advertising function that you, the savvy business owner, can handle on your own. After all, there are reps walking in through your front door on a weekly basis, and it’s their job to make ad buying seem like it’s easy.
But don’t be deceived. As many companies quickly discover after attempting to handle their own media planning without professional guidance, it turns out that buying ad spots isn’t as straightforward as it might initially have seemed.
Decoding Rating Points
In addition to understanding basic media terminology, it’s also crucial that you understand what rating points mean and how they impact your campaigns. Rating points are often used in conjunction with reach and frequency metrics to define specific goals for a campaign.
Gross rating points are a general term that describes the total exposure an ad campaign or advertiser gets from a network. This figure is a number between 0 and 100 defining the percentage of the audience reached by a single spot; for example, a gross rating of 57 means 57 percent of households or listeners are tuning in to a network or channel during a program or daypart.
Don’t Compare Apples to Oranges
Because rating points are based on target demographics, ratings don’t mean the same thing for every channel or network. Different audiences, programming, consumer behavior, and other factors influence the specifics of an audience at different times.
Completely different demographics may comprise the audience of a network during different programs or dayparts. That means a rating of 52 on television broadcast A can’t be directly compared to a rating of 52 on radio channel B. Direct rating-to-rating comparisons are dangerous and often result in wasteful media spending.
Additionally, radio ratings are different from broadcast TV ratings. Because radio and television have different geographical distributions, the audience for a local television station is different from that of a local radio station. For this reason, rating points cannot be compared between mediums or even stations under the assumption that all is equal; it’s like comparing apples to oranges.
Media planners must always consider the context to understand the opportunities, which also enables them to carefully create ad campaigns capitalizing on the differences between mediums to achieve an optimized media mix, achieving a greater frequency with the target audience across multiple mediums for a bigger impact.
Strategically Planned Media Buys for Local Businesses
While many businesses try their hand at handling their own media planning, most quickly realize that the many metrics that media buying entails are sometimes difficult to decipher without a comprehensive understanding of media planning. Learning the ins and outs of media planning is certainly possible, albeit time-consuming, and most business owners realize that their time is better spent elsewhere.
The Mediagistic media buying team specializes in making strategically planned media buys on your company’s behalf. By focusing on ratings instead of spots, our campaigns are designed to get the maximum amount of exposure to the most relevant audience with a minimal amount of waste. Unlike reps, we work for you — this means our strategy is dictated only by what will get your business the best results.
Lisa Cronin is Mediagistic’s Vice President of Media Operations. She has dedicated years and a great deal of energy into designing our proprietary media buying system and building a buying team that could execute the Mediagistic strategy for bringing national buying power to local businesses.
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