Here are a few things you should know before getting started:
1) Focus on Gross Rating Points, not number of spots
Experienced buyers don’t focus on how many spots they can buy. Instead, they concentrate on market exposure – measured by the number of gross rating points (GRPs) a media schedule delivers to the target demographic. What use is a boatload of commercials, if nobody’s watching?
2) Don’t Pay too Much
Most professional buyers consider cost efficiency their highest goal. Their focus is simple: reach the most people in their target with the greatest frequency possible at the lowest cost – all while staying on budget. In order to do this, they must master cost per point negotiations, which varies by market. If you’re new to cost per point buying, the SQAD Media Market Guide is a good place to start. This quarterly publication provides media buyers with average cost per point estimates for all 210 DMAs (designated market areas) in the U.S.
3) Understand Reach and Frequency
It’s important to get a handle on acceptable reach and frequency numbers for your industry. In other words, how many people in your target audience will see your commercial (reach), and how many times will they see it (frequency). If your weekly reach and frequency numbers are inadequate then results will suffer. Generally speaking, retailers should aim for a minimum 60% reach and 2.0X frequency.
4) Think Demographics and Psychographics
Few products appeal to everyone. Smart media buyers zero in on target audiences who are most likely to buy their product. They consider age, sex and lifestyle habits and then carefully select programs that attract the right consumer. In the age of 400+ television stations, knowing what your customer is watching is vital to your success. Both Scarborough and Media Audit are good resources that will help you zero in on your customers’ media consumption habits.
One final note: think twice before handing over your media buying to an administrative assistant. Either hire an in-house professional media buyer or an ad agency. Media buying requires a skill set that requires years of experience to do right. And a very short time to do wrong.