5 Media Myths Advertisers Should Avoid

David Day

3 min read
When your advertising dollars are limited (and whose aren’t?), how do you decide on what station, publication, or digital service to buy when they are all “number one?”

There is a lot that goes into answering that question, but let’s start by knowing what NOT to do by looking at 5 common media myths:

Myth #1: The cheapest media buy is usually the best one.
This is almost never true. Very low rates almost always mean very low exposure. Plus most media systems bump (cancel) the spot with the lowest paying price when the time slot is in demand. No schedule is effective if it doesn’t run. Low cost media can be a good part of your media mix, but should not be the leading factor.

Myth #2 You should only buy the highest rated time slots. Sounds great, if your budget is hefty. It’s hard to buy affordable frequency when you only buy premium slots. The best buys are a combo of reach, (how many exposures) frequency (how many times) and consistency (length of schedule). Some of the lower rated slots are good too, as a part of a mix, because they drive your overall costs down while still reaching your target demo.

Myth #3 If I wait till the last minute I’ll get better rates. Yes and no. It’s all about supply and demand. Remnant inventory is great if there is any, but buying premium slots at the last minute sometimes means you’ll pay more, not less. If you are OK with some lower rated slots, then yes, you can wait till the last minute to place your buy. But the old adage “last in, first out” holds true—you may get bumped and the spots won’t run at all. Some tactics that make late-buy bargain hunting OK include campaigns that are less time sensitive, like branding and top of mind campaigns.

Myth #4: Media “packages” are a bargain. Usually not. Stations sometimes try to dump unsold inventory as part of a package. They will sell a couple of premium time slots in a package with several junk times just to fill the unsold inventory. The package looks good because it has high frequency, but in reality you’re still paying a premium for the audience you are getting.

Myth #5: “Buy it now because the price goes up tomorrow.” This one’s not really a myth, it’s just not a good idea. The price really might go up, but I never recommend buying anything under duress, except maybe box seats just before kickoff. There is almost always another way to buy those points. Somebody has inventory somewhere; you just have to be willing to do the work. Don’t ever buy media under pressure. You do, and you lose.

Media buying is both an art and a science, and we’re just scratching the surface here. To get the most out of your media dollar, consult a professional buyer. Our media specialists are ready to help.

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