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Buying Media for Next Year? Get Started Now.

Have you begun your media planning yet for next year? If not, delaying could cost you premium advertising and more money.

SRDS released a study earlier this year that found that advertisers are buying media more sporadically instead of in advance of the new year. While the “sporadic” approach can be effective in certain circumstances, media outlets prefer to have their slots filled so that they can secure the revenue that they need.

It’s no secret that these companies are heavily reliant on advertiser dollars. Last year, for example, nearly two-thirds of U.S. news revenue came from advertising. As a result, media companies will incentivize advertisers to make earlier buys with perks, including but not limited to:

  • Value add.
  • Higher exposure, premium placements.
  • Discounted rates.

This means that the time to start planning is now. Not only will this help you take advantage of these perks, it can save you on other significant advertising costs and expand the options available to you. Read on to learn more about the benefits starting sooner can give your brand.

Buying Media Early Offers CPM Guarantees

Perhaps the biggest benefit of buying early is the ability to get the equivalent of an “insurance policy” in the form of a cost per impression (CPM) guarantee.

Buys made early often come with an agreement stating how many people will watch the show, listen to the radio, visit the site, etc. If for some reason the guarantee is not met, advertisers can receive a make-good or replacement ad to make up for the shortfall. This is usually not available on last-minute buys. As a result of this insurance policy, advertisers have more opportunities for reaching their audience if a specific buy doesn’t yield the results they are expecting.

Get Better Rates by Committing Sooner

During the spring and summer upfronts, networks offer placements at a lower cost to advertisers that are buying media in advance. Advertising for those same programs purchased in the scatter market, or after the upfronts, can cost as much 20%-30% more.

The considerable difference in ad rates occurs most often in television media buying. Networks can offer and usually get advertiser buy-in on this kind of price inflation because TV remains the most effective, and as a result the most expensive, medium for reaching a mass audience.

Buying Media Increases Ad Inventory Availability

Some ad platforms are more flexible with deadlines than others because they can increase their inventory more easily. Print publications, for example, can grow the number of pages in their editions.

However, TV, radio, cable, and some outdoor advertising all come with a limited number of open spots for advertising. This is especially true if the goal is to advertise on a popular show or in a popular daypart.

Digital is a little different. Pricing and ad availability depends on the type of digital ad and where it is placed. Some websites allow the digital ads to rotate between advertisers, adding more impressions. But, if you are looking to secure placement on a homepage, in a video, or in a popular newsletter, space can be limited. Securing advertising early decreases the chances spots will sell out before you or your media buying company can purchase them.

When to Buy Specific Media

To get you started, here are some general recommendations by platform of the best time for buying media, from longest recommended purchase time to shortest:

  • Print: Purchase 3-5 months in advance depending on the publication’s deadlines. Magazine advertising in particular requires prior planning, as deadlines may be 2 months out or longer.
  • TV: At least 3 months in advance.
  • Radio: At least 3 months on the top stations. National buys are usually non-cancellable, but regional buys can be cancelled within two weeks if necessary.
  • Cable: At least 2 months in advance (this varies between national and local markets.)
  • Digital: Buys can be made days before for general audience content and run of site, not including homepages, videos, or specialty newsletters.

To get the advantages of buying media in advance, we recommend scheduling at least one media planning strategy session early in the fourth quarter. Consider working with an agency like Capitol Media Solutions for guidance on making the most effective advertising placements.

Planning your 2015 media campaign? Have Capitol Media Solutions craft a custom strategy for your business. Contact us to learn more.

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