Advertising media selection

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Advertising media selection is the process of choosing the most cost-effective media for advertising, to achieve the required coverage and number of exposures in a target audience.

Types of advertising[edit]

Main article: Advertising

Television advertising[edit]

Television advertising offers the benefit of reaching large numbers in a single exposure. Yet because it is a mass medium capable of being seen by nearly anyone, television lacks the ability to deliver an advertisement to highly targeted customers compared to other media outlets. Television networks are attempting to improve their targeting efforts. In particular, networks operating in the pay-to-access arena, such as those with channels on cable and satellite television, are introducing more narrowly themed programming (i.e., TV shows geared to specific interest groups) designed to appeal to selective audiences. However, television remains an option that is best for products that targeted to a broad market.

The geographic scope of television advertising ranges from advertising within a localized geographic area using fee-based services, such as cable and fiber optic services, to national coverage using broadcast programming.

Television advertising, once viewed as the pillar of advertising media outlets, is facing numerous challenges from alternative media (e.g., Internet) and the invasion of technology devices, such as digital video recorders (see more in the Advertising Trends section in the Advertising) tutorial, that have empowered customers to be more selective on the advertisements they view. Additionally, television lacks effective response tracking which has led many marketers to investigate other media that offer stronger tracking options.[citation needed]

Radio advertising[edit]

Promotion through radio has been a viable advertising option for over 80 years. Radio advertising is mostly local to the broadcast range of a radio station, however, at least three options exist that offer national and potentially international coverage. First, in many countries there are radio networks that use many geographically distinct stations to broadcast simultaneously. In the United States such networks as Disney (children’s programming) and ESPN (sports programming) broadcast nationally either through a group of company-owned stations or through a syndication arrangement (i.e., business agreement) with partner stations. Second, within the last few years the emergence of radio programming delivered via satellite has become an option for national advertising. Finally, the potential for national and international advertising may become more attractive as radio stations allow their signals to be broadcast over the Internet.

In many ways radio suffers the same problems as television, namely, a mass medium that is not highly targeted and offers little opportunity to track responses. But unlike television, radio presents the additional disadvantage of limiting advertisers to audio-only advertising. For some products advertising without visual support is not effective.[citation needed]

Print publications advertising[edit]

Print publications such as magazines, books, newspapers and Special Issue publications offer advertising opportunities at all geographic levels.

Magazines, especially those that target specific niche or specialized interest areas, are more narrowly targeted compared to broadcast media. Additionally, magazines offer the option of allowing marketers to present their message using high quality imagery (e.g., full color) and can also offer touch and scent experiences (e.g., perfume).

Newspapers have also incorporated color advertisements, though their main advantage rests with their ability to target local markets.

Special Issue publications can offer very selective targeting since these often focus on an extremely narrow topics (e.g., auto buying guide, tour guides, college and university ratings, etc.).[citation needed]

Internet advertising[edit]

The fastest growing media outlet for advertising is the Internet. Compared to spending in other media, the rate of spending for Internet advertising is experiencing tremendous growth and in the U.S. trails only newspaper and television advertising in terms of total spending. Internet advertising’s influence continues to expand and each year more major marketers shift a larger portion of their promotional budget to this medium. Two key reasons for this shift rest with the Internet’s ability to: 1) narrowly target an advertising message and, 2) track user response to the advertiser’s message.

The Internet offers many advertising options with messages delivered through websites or by email.

Website Advertising: Advertising tied to a user’s visit to a website accounts for the largest spending on Internet advertising. For marketers, website advertising offers many options in terms of creative types, size, placement, and delivery.

Email Advertising: Using email to deliver an advertisement affords marketers the advantage of low distribution cost and potentially high reach. In situations where the marketer possesses a highly targeted list, response rates to email advertisements may be quite high. This is especially true if those on the list have agreed to receive email, a process known as “opt-in” marketing. Email advertisement can take the form of a regular email message or be presented within the context of more detailed content, such as an electronic newsletter. Delivery to a user’s email address can be viewed as either plain text or can look more like a website using web coding (i.e., HTML). However, as most people are aware, there is significant downside to email advertising due to highly publicized issues related to abuse (i.e., spam).[citation needed]

Out-of-home media[edit]

The use of signs to communicate a marketer’s message places advertising in geographically identified areas in order to capture customer attention. The most obvious method of using signs is through billboards, which are generally located in high traffic areas. Outdoor billboards come in many sizes, though the most well-known are large structures located near transportation points intending to attract the interest of people traveling on roads or public transportation. Indoor billboards are often smaller than outdoor billboards and are designed to attract the attention of foot traffic (i.e., those moving past the sign). For example, smaller signage in airports, train terminals and large commercial office space fit this category.[citation needed]

While billboards are the most obvious example of signage advertising, there are many other forms of signage advertising include:

Sky writing where airplanes use special chemicals to form words Plane banners where large signs are pulled behind an airplane Mobile billboards where signs are placed on vehicles, such as buses and cars, or even carried by people Plastic bags used to protect newspapers delivered to homes Advertisements attached to grocery carts

Mobile device advertising[edit]

Handheld devices, such as cellphones, smartphones, portable computers and other wireless devices, make up the growing mobile device market. Such devices allow customers to stay informed, gather information and communicate with others without being tied to a physical location. While the mobile device market is only beginning to become a viable advertising medium, it may soon offer significant opportunity for marketers to reach customers at any time and anywhere.

Also, with geographic positioning features included in newer mobile devices, the medium has the potential to provide marketers with the ability to target customers based on their geographic location. Currently, the most popular advertising delivery method to mobile devices is through plain text messaging, however, over the next few years multimedia advertisements are expected to become the dominant message format.[citation needed]

Audience research[edit]

Main article: Audience measurement

Selecting the optimal media vehicles for a given campaign requires detailed research and analysis. Media planners need to match their target market with media audiences. [1]Identifying the audience for a magazine or newspaper, or determining who watches television at a given time, is a specialized form of market research, often conducted on behalf of media owners.

For press, two different measures of audience size are commonly used: circulation (the number of copies sold, which is mostly independently assessed via a circulation ) and readership (total number of people who have seen or looked into a current edition of the a publication, which is estimated via a survey). Circulation figures help to validate readership data. Readership data is especially valuable to prospective advertisers because it provides demographic and lifestyle analysis of readership, which can be used to tightly target specific audiences.[citation needed]

Audience research for broadcast media is provided to prospective advertisers via the networks or via a media buying group. A limited amount of basic audience data is available to the general public through statutory authorities or media organisations.

Links to Wikipedia Articles About Organisations that May Provide Sources of Broadcast Audience Data ( Main English speaking markets)
Country Radio Television
Australia GfK for Commercial Radio Australia[2] AGB Nielsen for OzTAM[3] and Regional TAM
Britain RAJAR Broadcasters' Audience Research Board
Canada Numeris Numeris
New Zealand GfK for the Radio Broadcasters Association[4] AGB Nielsen for Sky TV, TVNZ and TVWorks[5]
United States Nielsen Audio[6] Nielsen

Advertising media scheduling[edit]

Scheduling refers to the pattern of advertising timing, represented as plots on a calendar-type flowchart (as shown in the figure), typically for one year, but may be for a specific campaign of shorter duration. A media schedule typically contains specific detail including the media channels used, ... specifies insertion or broadcast dates, positions, and duration of the messages." [7]

These plots indicate the pattern of scheduled times advertising must appear to coincide with favorable selling periods. The classic scheduling models are: Blitzing; Continuity, Flighting and Pulsing.[8]

The media schedule includes specific detail such as dates, media, position, placement
Blitzing,continuity, flighting and pulsing are the main schedule patterns

A major consideration in constructing media schedules is timing. The advertiser's main aim should be to place the advertisement as close as practical to the point where consumers make their purchase decision.[9] For example, an advertiser who knows that a grocery buyer does a main shop on Saturday afternoons and a top-up shop on Wednesday nights, may consider using radio spots to reach the shopper while he or she is driving to the supermarket.


Blitzing consists of one concentrated burst of advertising normally during the initial period of the planning horizon. Blitzing is more likely to be used by new products attempting to penetrate the market or by dominant brands in competitive markets.[citation needed]


Continuity is a pattern of relatively constant levels throughout a given time period or campaign. This approach is primarily for staple, perishable products (i.e. non-seasonal products). Advertising runs steadily with little variation over the campaign period.

There may be short gaps at regular intervals and also long gaps—for instance, one ad every week for 52 weeks, and then a pause. This pattern of advertising is prevalent in service and packaged goods that require continuous reinforcement on the audience for top of mind recollection at point of purchase.[citation needed]


  • Works as a reminder
  • Covers the entire purchase cycle
  • Cost efficiencies in the form of large media discounts
  • Positioning advantages within media

Program or plan that identifies the media channels used in an advertising campaign, and specifies insertion or broadcast dates, positions, and duration of the messages.

Flighting (or "bursting")[edit]

In media scheduling for seasonal product categories, flighting involves intermittent and irregular periods of advertising (flights), alternating with shorter periods (hiatuses) of no advertising at all. For instance, all of 2000 Target Rating Pioneered in a single month, "going dark" for the rest of the year.[clarification needed] Halloween costumes are rarely purchased all year except during the months of September and October.

The advantage of the flighting technique is that it allows an advertiser who does not have funds for running spots continuously to conserve money and maximize the impact of the commercials by airing them at key strategic times.[citation needed]

Advertisers may employ less costly media such as radio or newspaper during a television flighting hiatus. This method of media planning allows the messages and themes of the advertising campaign to continue to reach consumers while conserving advertising funds. [10]


  • Advertisers buy heavier weight than competitors for a relatively shorter period of time
  • Little waste, since advertising concentrates on the best purchasing cycle period
  • Series of commercials appear as a unified campaign on different media vehicles


Pulsing combines flighting and continuous scheduling by using a low levels advertising of continuous advertising, followed by intermittent bursts of more intense advertising at predetermined times such as holidays, peak seasons. Product categories that are sold year round but experience a surge in sales at intermittent periods are good candidates for pulsing. For instance, under-arm deodorants, sell all year, but more in summer months. Pulsing is also used by market challengers who want to create an impression of a larger advertising budget.

Empirical support for the effectiveness of pulsing is relatively weak. However, research suggests that continuous schedules and flighted schedules generally result in strong levels of consumer recall.[11][12]


  • Covers different market situations
  • Advantages of both continuity and flighting possible

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Media Planning

Sources of Audience Research Data (for main English speaking markets)


  1. ^ Brierly, S., The Advertising Handbook, London, Routledge, 1995, p.101
  2. ^ "Surveys". Retrieved 11 January 2017. 
  3. ^ "About OzTAM". Retrieved 11 January 2017. 
  4. ^ ""Moving on: RBA ends its long-term relationship with TNS--UPDATED "". 23 July 2015. Retrieved 11 January 2017. 
  5. ^ Fahy, Ben (9 July 2010). "The eyes have it. Or do they?". Retrieved 11 January 2017. 
  6. ^ Albarran, Alan B. (2016). Management of Electronic and Digital Media. Cengage Learning. p. 148. Retrieved 11 January 2017. 
  7. ^ Business Dictionary,
  8. ^ Pickton, D. and Broderick, A., Integrated Marketing Communications, Prentice-Hall,2001. p. 671
  9. ^ Rossiter, J.R and Danaher, P.J., Advanced Media Planning, Volume 1, Kluwer Academic, 1998, p.8
  10. ^ Clow, Kenneth, Concise Encyclopedia of Advertising, Haworth, March 2005, ISBN 0-7890-2211-7, pp 83–86.
  11. ^ Vakratas, D. and Naik, P. "Essentials of Media Planning Schedules", in The SAGE Handbook of Advertising, Gerard J Tellis and Tim Ambler (eds), London, Sage, 2007, pp 333-348
  12. ^ Longman, K. A. "If not effective frequency, then what?" Journal of Advertising Research, July-Aug. 1997, p. 44