Programming Spotlight: Award Show Opportunities for Annual Ad Planning

10.18.2022 Jessica Sloan3 min

One-night-only televised events can be a prime advertising opportunity for small businesses. While this programming can draw massive audiences that turn them into major advertising events, cable TV broadcasts and dynamic ad insertion give businesses the power to purchase scalable ad spots that are cost-optimized and precisely targeted to a relevant audience.

Televised award shows fall into this category of attention-drawing programming that businesses should be planning around. Award shows offer a number of benefits to your company’s overall ad strategy, gathering a large audience around a shared interest, and creating expanded ad inventory to open up value-added opportunities for your brand.

The key to leveraging this opportunity? Understanding your audience, and planning ahead.

What is Award Show Season, and Why Does it Matter?

Award show programming encompasses a category of televised content that is built around annual events celebrating a single industry or area of interest. Music, film and television are among the most common focal points for these award shows, although some of these events cater more specifically to an audience: the BET Awards, for example, cater to a primarily African-American audience, while Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Awards are aimed at a teen and pre-teen demographic.

Regardless of the award show’s focus, all of these events have a few shared features. For one, they tend to draw a large TV audience far beyond the typical programming in its time slot. Awards Shows also draw a lot of celebrity attendees, which increases the attention they receive in popular culture, and can even inspire supplemental coverage such as ‘red carpet’ TV specials, as is the case for the Golden Globes and Grammy Awards in January, the Academy Awards in March, and the Billboard Music Awards in April.

The term ‘award show season’ is actually a bit of a misnomer, since various award shows are aired all throughout the calendar year. The MTV Music Video Awards, for example, is the only major award show scheduled for August, but it drew more than 3.9 million viewers across TV and digital earlier this year, and also saw a 79 percent jump in content consumed through social media.

Connecting With Your Target Audience Through Award Show Buys

If your business has a clear sense of its primary audience, award shows can help you focus your ad delivery through channels where that audience is concentrated.

Award shows like the BET Awards and Kids’ Choice Awards naturally cater to specific audiences and demographic groups, but other award show programming can draw audiences that skew toward certain audience profiles based on age, gender, and other demographic and behavioral information. A digital advertising partner can help you evaluate these audience profiles and identify the best fits for your ad strategy.

Dynamic ad insertion also makes it possible to reach a carefully defined audience within the scope of a larger event broadcast. Even if your business doesn’t want to pay for an entire ad spot during a televised award show, for example, you can reach a more select audience through audience filters that only deliver ads to the most relevant consumers.

The relatively large audience of the award show makes it easier to connect with even niche audiences through this programming.

Finding Value in Ad Inventory for Supplemental Coverage

Even when major award show events are televised on network channels, supplemental coverage creates hours of additional television programming and subsequent ad inventories.

The E! Network is a prime destination for this supplemental coverage, airing a number of red carpet specials for major award shows throughout the calendar year. Other networks may offer their own red carpet or post-show coverage: the Critics’ Choice Awards, for example, airs on the CW but offers supplemental coverage on TBS, while the CMT Music Awards air on CBS but air additional coverage on CMT.

When to Start Planning Your Award Show Campaigns

Your business probably won’t get much value from advertising across every award show broadcast. The best strategic approach is to sit down with your digital advertising partner to identify the best-fit award show broadcasts that will help you maximize engagement with your target audience.

Since award show events are televised year-round, it’s worth talking to your ad partner as soon as possible to identify the best advertising opportunities. The more lead time you have to plan out your campaigns, the more value you can find in available ad inventories, which will lead to higher ROI for your ad spending.

Ready to get started? Contact Cox Media today to see how we can help.

About the Author

Jessica Sloan

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