Fast forward to July 2020. You’re a local business owner that sells a product or service to an extremely broad audience, and you’ve always bought TV, radio, and print advertising. Barring any absolutely game-changing occurrences, there’s a solid chance your advertising costs will absolutely skyrocket within the next three months, and come October, your spots and buys might not clear at all. Political spending will be massive, and local businesses like yours will need options.
Marketing in a political climate has always been tough. Candidates and campaigns can pour millions into the big three traditional mediums, bumping out your spot schedules and reducing your reach during critical points in the year. Sure, you could stick around for makegoods, but the holiday season’s higher rates loom large, with another possible month of lost opportunity.
Traditional media companies don’t care about who they get their money from, so long as they make forecast and hit sales goals. In data collected by MediaRadar, shared in Forbes, showed that 77 percent of ad dollars spent in the first two weeks of November were spent by the top 20 biggest retailers. We can’t blame them for being great businesspeople, but we also shouldn’t see local businesses lose out on fair marketing opportunity.
In the past ten years, businesses have flocked to platforms that can provide ancillary reach and fill the gaps when their traditional methods were paused. Delivering ads through digital means, by impressions (every time an ad is viewed on screen) and not by spots (or placements on print), has revolutionized how brands reach consumers. There’s competition for eyeballs, but costs are fair for everyone and often much lower. If politician A wants to spend big bucks, their targeted cost per thousand impressions (CPM) might cause other brands’ CPMs to rise, but it won’t price people out of a platform, much like the big three mediums previously mentioned.
On platforms like Facebook or Google, your inventory is pretty much infinite with a broad audience, meaning that everyone can serve ads at a fair cost and play in the same space. The only struggle for some is converting what they’ve always done (spots and print placements) for something a little different (impressions) but way more reliable.
As far as porting over to digital, the big three have caught up, and in big ways. Take TV for example. Like iPhones and tablets, cable and satellite set-top boxes are set up as digital devices, which can serve and track commercials programmatically in a brand safe environment. Streaming audio companies have enough data and insights to have crossed commercial delivery back over to broadcast, where advertisers can optimize by audience, and by impressions instead of spots.
Print brands are by far the most active of the big three on social media, and leverage their owned website platforms as a prime place to serve ads. Instead of relying on number of issues delivered, or estimated Nielsen ratings which could be thrown off if someone stops using their meter, these digital metrics are wholly owned first party data havens. There’s no more guessing or estimating. You can see and verify results. Instantly.
Failure to change is a failure to launch, and 2020 is the launching pad every business needs. Traditional media may change, but always for the better. As a smart businessperson, so should your marketing. Leave spots and dots in the past, and start thinking about impressions, verified delivery, audience segmentation, creative testing, and performance attribution. Start asking companies to show you how your marketing efforts are affecting your website and in-store business outcomes.
Don’t settle for makegoods when you can air your commercials regardless of how much politicians pour into media. If the 2020 projection of $6 billion holds true, businesses should be thinking now about reserving inventory and focusing on impressions.