Monday, March 30, 2015

What does trade mean in media terms?

In media terms, what does trade mean? It can be a really useful way to mutually benefit a client and a media vendor. How does that work?

For the client side, sometimes advertising budgets are very tight and may not allow for a strong buy on media like radio, television, print, outdoor, online, etc. Some clients, usually restaurants or attractions, have an allotment of tickets/coupons, etc. in a trade budget that they can utilize as “payment” instead of real cash. By giving trade tickets to media vendors, the client in return will receive anything like  on-air mentions, an on-air schedule, billboards, ad space, etc. Trade allows clients to stretch the media dollars to really boost the existing cash campaign.

On the media vendor side, trade can be used as incentives for employees, gifts for clients, free lunches for clients, or prizes for listeners/viewers/readers/users, etc. Trade can be viewed as a form of gift card for media vendors.

For media buyers/planners, trade is a different beast than a traditional cash schedule. It’s really important that schedules are separated into different buys, invoices are properly labeled, and trade schedules are tracked to insure that all ran according to the agreement. Another good tip is to always make a contract agreement with trade. That way, both sides understand the expectations. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

How does a media buyer verify that a schedule actually ran?

As a media buyer, there is a lot of interaction between the media vendor and buyer; likewise, the media buyer interacts a lot with his/her client. Part of the job is following up with vendors to verify that the advertising placed actually did run. This is the backend paperwork that is necessary in order to avoid accounting errors and to keep clients updated. Below are a few questions that most media buyers/planners must address for each campaign and define expectations for the client.

How often should I receive online summary reports from my vendor? Some media experts say that monthly reports should be enough to watch online trends. While others, I fall into this category, prefer to see a report every two weeks. That way, if a negative trend is caught, it can hopefully be reversed prior to the end of the month. A buyer should speak to the vendor and client and agree upon a summary report schedule prior to running a campaign.

What should I expect for a proof of posting for an out-of-home campaign? For outdoor billboards, bus signs, train signs, and any signage out-of-home, a proof of posting should be sent to the media buyer. The proof of posting should be a time stamped photograph that verifies the location, panel number, date and time creative was installed. Historically, hard copy pictures were requested; however, nowadays, a .jpg photo is typically fine.

How many tearsheets should I request from the print vendor? Before a campaign starts to run, ask your client if they would like tearsheets of their upcoming ads. If not, request two copies, one for accounting and one for your files. If your client does want a copy, verify how many are needed and notify the vendor. eTearsheets are becoming more and more common place. These are a viable option; however, it is a good idea to let the client know that’s how the tearsheet will be sent.

What is the best way to verify that my spots ran on a broadcast schedule? When a cable, television, or radio schedule runs, a spot log is created. Basically, this is just a listing of each time an ad runs. The report should include the time, date, length, cost, and creative title. A buyer can request this at any time, but it’s typically evaluated when an invoice is submitted by a station.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

How do college students get product information?

For advertisers that have a target demographic that skews to younger adults, more than likely, these advertisers are interested in the millennial generation. Approximately 19 million+ of them are college students in the United States. The potential of this population’s spending power is highly attractive.

eMarketer reports on a survey produced by the Student Monitor in fall of 2014. One of the questions inquired how students like to receive information on a product or service. The top five methods were:

Word-of-mouth: 48%

Ad on the internet: 39%

Ad on TV: 31%

Free samples in a store: 29%

Information on the internet: 21%

From reviewing the responses, an advertiser can glean that college students trust peers, the ability to see the product and try it out prior to purchasing, and will notice details in Television and internet ads in addition to websites.

Try working a marketing plan based on those parameters and see if there is a measurable difference between previous campaigns and the current plan. If it helps improve the return on investment (ROI), continue. If it doesn’t, re-evaluate to see what the least effective component to the plan is likely and remove it.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Average Click Thru Rates (CTR) for digital media

What is the average click thru rate (CTR) for a digital campaign? Advertisers want to stay well-versed in regards to tracking the effectiveness of various campaigns. Digitally, one of the parameters used is the click thru rate, which is the percentage of clicks compared to the amount of impressions delivered. Knowing the industry standard can help when gauging how well a digital campaign is performing. Below is a grid based on industry standards and historical data of common CTRs to expect with different forms of digital media:

Average Click Thru Rates
Advertising Unit
Click Thru Rate (CTR)
Run of Site (ROS) Display
.02% - .05%
Targeting Display
Rich Media
.02% - .1%
Video (Pre-Roll)
Search Engine Marketing
Search Engine Marketing Display

While these are standards, it is important to remember that each campaign may perform differently. A lot of variables are put into place like messaging, rotation, targeting, etc. A campaign with a 1.5% CTR could actually be performing badly in terms of sales, etc., while a campaign with an average .02% could be exceeding expectations. It’s critical for the advertiser and the digital vendor to outline campaign goals and track those throughout the flight.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Evaluating vendor promotions for your client

And, this is a good promotion because? Sometimes clients will come to a media buyer/planner and ask if a vendor promotion is a good deal. It becomes the buyer’s responsibility to look at the promotion and evaluate it to see if it makes sense financially. In addition, it needs to serve a purpose for the client’s audience.

First, it helps to research to make sure that the investment spend is worth the estimated exposure. For example, a vendor may say that a client will receive 20x mentions weekly that are :30 seconds in length. They may run this for three weeks and give the client a value of exposure at $5,000 gross. This breaks down to $83.33 per mention for the full three week run. As a buyer, you know that :30 inventory is actually valued at $50 per spot with this vendor. This equates to a buyer not recommending the promotion. However, the :30 inventory could be valued at $100 per spot, and this opportunity is a good value.

A buyer will also check ratings or impressions on the opportunity by putting together a dummy schedule within the same parameters. That way, a buyer can really see if there is value.

Now, a buyer has to look at exposure in a creative way. Does it make sense for the client to give out coupons on-air in exchange for on-air and online mentions? Is this vendor a major media source for the client’s target audience? Can the client allow winners to stay the night at the place of business? Will the client provide airfare to send winners to a grand prize vacation? There are a lot of details that need to be discussed between the buyer, client and vendor.

It’s key to make sure all parties are aware of his/her responsibilities for a promotion. At the conclusion of the event, it is highly recommended to track the success with pictures, air-checks, enter-to-win databases, and increase in sales and foot traffic during the specified timeframe. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Teens listen to music more on online streaming than radio

How do US teenagers primarily listen to music? Radio? Streaming? Owned music? For advertisers, it can be extremely important in knowing how a target audience seeks out media and entertainment. eMarketer recently reported on a fall 2014 study conducted by Edison Research. The focus was discovering how teens listen to music.

The study considered teenagers to be people between the ages of 13 and 17. As of fall 2014, online streaming platforms like Spotify and Pandora are ranked with more time spent listening than terrestrial radio. Teens spend about 64 minutes per day listening to online streaming and spend about 53 minutes a day with radio. In most other age categories, radio outperforms online streaming. In addition, teens have access to music through downloaded/owned music, etc.

With teenagers having a relatively easier access to computers, tablets, smartphones, and MP3 players that have Wi-Fi than traditional radios, it’s not surprising that there is a shift in listenership. Think about a bus commute, the time going to and from school on a bus could be new time spent listening to music.

It will be interesting to see if the gap between the time spent listening between radio and streaming will broaden over time as this age group matures out. The introduction of driving on a more regular basis where traditional radio is readily available may play a factor overall. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Research ranks top favorite TV shows currently running

If you ask any group of people what TV show they like to watch the most, more than likely, you will get quite a few shows mentioned. Harris Poll recently surveyed a little over 2,000 American adults to see which television show earned the top spot.

MediaPost reports that after all responses were tallied, current favorite TV programs ranked as follows:
1.      “NCIS”: CBS-TV
2.      “Big Bang Theory”: CBS-TV
3.      “The Walking Dead”: AMC
4.      “Scandal”: ABC-TV
5.      “Game of Thrones”: HBO
6t.     “The Good Wife”: CBS-TV
6t.     “The Blacklist”: NBC-TV
8.      “Modern Family”: ABC-TV
9.      “Blue Bloods”: CBS-TV
10.    “Criminal Minds”: CBS-TV

Not surprising is the fact that the three top favorite current TV shows are also heavily re-run in syndication.

Also, the poll does relatively reflect standard Nielsen TV ratings. For example, “NCIS” had a reported 19.8 million average viewers during original episodes airing. So, the high Nielsen ratings are pretty much corroborated with the general TV viewing public.