TV Advertising - The process

Understanding the TV Advertising Campaign Process and Avoiding Common Mistakes

When planning a TV advertising campaign, it’s essential to understand the typical process involved. To start, you’ll need an advert, and it’s advisable to allocate 6-8 weeks for its creation, although it can be done in a shorter timeframe if necessary. However, for first-time advertisers, rushing the process is not recommended. The initial step in creating an advert is determining the creative aspect, which should include your desired outcome from the viewers.

A common mistake in TV advertising campaigns is creating an aesthetically pleasing advert without focusing on generating sales. Often, these adverts primarily discuss the brand, neglecting to give viewers a reason to respond by not including any offers. By making a few adjustments to the advert to make it more responsive and re-running the campaign, you can significantly improve its success.

Maximizing Your TV Advertising Campaign: Strategic Planning and Targeted Audience Selection


Ensuring the right messaging in your advert is crucial, but planning your TV campaign is equally important. It’s recommended to work with a specialist agency, as they possess extensive experience and knowledge in the field. Specialist agencies, like ours, receive the best pricing and deals, as 95% of business to broadcasters comes from such agencies. Our job is to provide you with options for your campaign. We start by identifying your campaign goals and target audience, which will further guide the selection of channels to advertise on.


Our approach typically involves conducting research on your target audience, and identifying top channels and programming that highly resonate with them. Based on whether your campaign focuses on brand strategy or direct response strategy, the choice of channels will differ. For direct response campaigns, it’s not always about finding the perfect audience-channel match; sometimes, it’s more cost-effective to purchase cheaper ads. For instance, buying 100 ads for less than £3 each may lead to a single response at a cost of £300. If your product is a car, this could result in a favorable cost per conversion. On the other hand, a single £300 advert with no response would not yield a desirable outcome.

When planning your campaign, consider whether it’s a brand or response-focused strategy, and identify the specific audience you’re targeting. Examples of target audiences include men ABC1, men 16-34, women 16-34, housewives with kids, or adults 45+. This information will help determine where you should advertise. For instance, if your target audience is men ABC1 or men 16-34, sports channels like Sky Sports or specific events like the Rugby World Cup on ITV may be relevant. Alternatively, if you’re targeting summer events, consider advertising during England games on Channel 4. Ultimately, understanding your target audience and campaign objectives will guide your advertising strategy.

Optimizing and Managing Your TV Ad Campaign: From Strategy to Post-Campaign Analysis


After identifying your target audience and the channels you want to work with, the next step is to optimize your budget and determine the optimal campaign weight. If your campaign is part of a long-term strategy, you might consider launching with a heavy presence and then scaling back to a more lightweight campaign. Alternatively, you can adopt a pulsing strategy, alternating between periods of active and inactive advertising (e.g., one week on and one week off, or two weeks on and two weeks off). This approach creates the impression of constant presence while allowing for heavier ad placements when active, resulting in greater impact while running with a smaller budget.


Once you’ve determined your strategy, chosen the channels, negotiated pricing and received a TV plan from your agency outlining the expected views, reach, and frequency of your campaign, it’s time to book the slots. However, the job doesn’t end there. The second stage involves managing the booking. Agencies should actively monitor clients’ schedules, analyze delivery, and make necessary changes or updates. By using tracking software and evaluating the performance of specific channels or strategies, you can make data-driven decisions to adjust your campaign. This may involve up-weighting successful channels or reallocating budget as needed to optimize results.

A crucial aspect of managing a TV advertising campaign is ensuring that the value you’ve planned for gets delivered. Campaign planning is based on estimated viewing figures, which can differ from the actual figures. For example, if you’ve estimated that 5 million people will watch a particular show, but only 4 million end up doing so, your agency must work to recoup that value by potentially booking more spots.

Unlike other media and digital platforms where you can claim money back for under-delivery, TV advertising involves a reconciliation process, more akin to a trading position. If a campaign’s delivery is short, it may result in a higher cost per thousand (CPM) than initially planned. The agency’s role is to manage this value position, ensuring that the delivered CPM stays as close as possible to the booked CPM without significant over- or under-delivery. This way, you can avoid losing money and achieve the desired results for your campaign.

If broadcasters over-deliver your campaign, you don’t have to pay for the extra value, but it impacts future bookings in a trading position. Broadcasters should adjust the value of your subsequent campaigns based on previous delivery performance. This process needs to be negotiated and managed with your agency on an ongoing basis.

Post-campaign analysis is essential to evaluate various KPIs, such as cost per acquisition, cost per new customer, Google search increases, and campaign targets. For new advertisers, it’s recommended to assess the campaign’s effectiveness over a couple of months rather than just the first month. TV advertising, like other forms, relies on building reach and frequency, so as more people see your ad, the response rate is likely to increase.

Compare the cost per acquisition at the end of the campaign to its beginning to gauge potential future performance. Additionally, you can optimize your campaign by focusing on channels or times of day that work best for your brand. By doing so, it’s possible to significantly reduce the cost per acquisition, even by as much as 50%. This overview provides insight into how a TV advertising campaign works and the steps involved in the process. If you have questions or want to discuss further, feel free to reach out.

If you’d like to know how much a Tv advertising campaign can cost click here to see some example costs!

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