What’s the True Cost of TV Advertising Today?

05.05.2022 Sara Brasfield3 min

When Super Bowl ads are sold at a massive price of $6.5 million per 30-second slot, it’s easy for TV advertising to gain a reputation as being too expensive for many businesses to consider. This is particularly true for small, local businesses, which often write off TV ad options based on the assumption that this ad channel won’t fit into limited advertising budgets.

In addition to these allegedly high prices, many businesses worry that TV ads are too broadly focused to deliver ROI comparable to targeted campaigns across other ad channels. Why advertise to an entire region—or even your entire city—when most of your customers live within three miles of your business? Why pay a premium for TV ads when social media ad campaigns can be launched and funded with just a few dollars at a time?

While these assumptions about cost and audience can be true in some cases—especially broadcast TV advertising—the truth about TV advertising costs is often far different from perception. Between cable TV inventories and digital TV advertising options, small businesses can create cost-effective, scalable TV ad campaigns that fit modest advertising budgets while focusing ads on a relevant audience.

Whether you’ve turned down TV ad options in the past—or even if you’ve never allowed yourself to consider the potential value of TV commercials—it’s time to approach TV with an open mind about how this advertising channel can be made both affordable and effective for your business.

The Cost of a TV Ad: Making it Work for Your Budget

If your business is determined to spend a small fortune on TV advertising, it’s easy to find ad spots that will eat up your budget quickly. But if you’re looking for value and lower price-points, a little digging can deliver a big payoff.

With cable TV ad inventory, the cost can be controlled by using media targeting tools to focus your ads on a specific audience based on their TV viewing habits, geographic location, demographic data, and other relevant behavioral information. The key to building an affordable TV ad strategy is knowing how to search available TV inventories for cost-effective ad spots that offer relevance and value for your business. This is where a media partner can be an asset for your advertising strategy: while many business leaders are overworked and inexperienced when researching TV inventories, a media partner can do this heavy lifting for you, and present TV advertising options that fit your budget and your business goals.

Targeting Your Audience to Control Costs and Improve ROI

If you’re new to TV advertising—or even small business advertising in general—you might assume that lower costs lead to declining performance results. While that may be true in many aspects of life, cost controls in TV advertising can actually have a reserve effect, delivering even better value and return on investment relative to your advertising goals.

This value is created through strategic targeting of your ads to a relevant TV-viewing audience. As targeting filters narrow the available TV-viewing audience to a select group of individuals whose profiles align with your customer base, the total cost of reaching this audience goes down. At the same time, a better-defined audience can help you identify ad inventories that reach this group while charging a lower rate due to reduced demand.

If your business is a local home and garden company, for example, you can target consumers through TV shows related to this topic—which will likely attract a smaller but more relevant audience than broadcast and other cable TV programming. By restricting TV ad delivery to specific geographic areas, you can further reduce the total cost of reaching this audience, and thin out market competition for the same ad space.

Meanwhile, your business is cutting out TV ad spending that would have been used on ad deliveries to consumers who aren’t as likely to become customers of your business—in this case, because they may live too far away, or they don’t have any interest in home and garden products and services.

Even though TV, as a whole, still reaches a massive audience, your business is only paying for one small part of this total reach—and this strategic spending can help you build local brand awareness and convert new customers.

What About the Cost of Production?

TV ad spending is one thing. But what about the cost of producing those TV commercials? Once again, new tools and advertising strategies can dramatically reduce the cost of production, making it more accessible to your local business.

Digital video production has become much more affordable in recent years, making this ad content widely available to businesses of any size. Meanwhile, the rise of social media, YouTube, and other digital video channels has increased consumer demand for branded video. If your business is serious about minimizing costs and maximizing ROI, you can work with a media partner that can help you shoot and edit video with a goal of repurposing this content to create multiple types of ads for multiple digital advertising channels.

TV ads themselves can also be repurposed across social media and other channels, spreading out those production costs and increasing the value of TV ad production. When you work with a media partner, you can also collaborate on content creation to leverage their expertise and production resources, pushing these costs even lower.

Thanks to new advantages in digital TV advertising and production, the cost of creating your own TV commercial is more affordable than ever before. At Cox Media, we specialize in helping businesses create high-performing TV ad campaigns to fit any budget. Contact us today to see how we can help.

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About the Author

Sara Brasfield

Sara is the Content Marketing Manager for Cox Media’s corporate team in Atlanta, with a passion for writing and delivering relevant insights for advertisers. With more than seven years of experience in B2B marketing, Sara aims to help Cox Media’s current and future clients connect with their customers find new and unique ways to grow their business. Outside of the (now virtual!) office, Sara loves spending time running, reading and supporting her favorite teams (Go Braves & Gamecocks!).

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