According to a recent study by Ball State University on the media consumption habits of average Americans, despite the Internet’s steady rise in popularity over the last few years, television remains the dominant medium in most U.S. households. On average, the general population spends over four and a half hours a day in front of the tube, making TV watching one of the most common modern leisure activities. Is it any wonder then that television advertising is also the most powerful form of advertising?
Advertising on television allows you to show and tell a wide audience your business, product, or service. It allows you to actually demonstrate the benefits of ownership. You can show how your product or service works and how it’s packaged so prospective customers will know what to look for at the point of sale. In advertising, it often takes multiple touch points to effectively influence consumers’ purchasing behavior.
Television advertising has been a popular medium for large retailers ever since the TV first began to appear in living rooms. With the arrival of cable television came lowered production costs and the opportunity to reach smaller, more targeted markets, making it a viable option for small to medium-size businesses as well.
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To create an effective television ad, it’s first necessary to have a good script that highlights a strong offer. Ads must also be effectively produced, and it’s for this reason that it’s often better to enlist the services of an advertising agency, which can help you create an entire campaign.
Some of the advantages to advertising your small business on television include the following:
- TV reaches a much larger audience than local newspapers and radio stations, and it does so during a short period of time.
- It reaches viewers when they’re the most attentive.
- It allows you to convey your message with sight, sound, and motion, which can give your business, product, or service instant credibility.
- It gives you an opportunity to be creative and attach a personality to your business, which can be particularly effective for small businesses that rely on repeat customers.
Some Disadvantages to TV Advertising
For all its advantages, advertising your business on TV does have some disadvantages. Barring late night spots on your local cable television network, no other advertising medium is as likely to eat up your budget as quickly as TV will. Producing the ad, which can include hiring script writers, actors, film editors, or an advertising agency, is only the first step. You must also pay for air time, and because studies have shown that TV ads are most effective with repetition, you’ll almost certainly want to run your piece a number of times. Because of this, most television stations structure their pricing to make it more attractive for you to purchase advertising in chunks.
Another disadvantage is how difficult it can be to make changes. Whereas with newspaper advertising, updating sale pricing or a special offer is often as simple as swapping out a coupon, with television advertising it means updating your script and reshooting the entire ad, which costs additional money.
It can also be difficult to effectively target your core audience with television advertising, although there are a few best practices that can help. For starters, consider who your audience is before structuring your ad and purchasing airtime. Is a large portion of your clientele Spanish speaking? If so, you’d do well to purchase airtime on a Spanish-language station such as Telemundo. And if you’re in the baby stroller business, you’re probably better off purchasing time slots during the day when stay-at-home moms are most likely to see your ad.