Good practices

Buying TV ad space

  • Home
  • »
  • Buying TV ad space

Buying TV ad space is not that complex, but advertisers must know the basics first. Here are some of them you need to keep in mind before launching a TV campaign.


What are you looking to do?

This is the first and most important question to be asked. What is it you want to do by buying TV advertising? What are the KPIs you need to reach? What are the performances you want to achieve? Basically, we could say you would be motivated by 2 different objectives: one would be driven by your brand image, the other by your performances.

Regarding your brand, a TV campaign could help you when you are launching your brand, with a campaign dedicated to presenting a new product or the new features of an existing one. Don’t forget, TV is the most powerful media, and it is one of the only ones that can touch such a big audience in such little time. You would also want to reposition your brand – tough job – and lead customers to think differently about your brand; think about sponsorship, which are very effective for repositionning a brand. Another example would be you needing to link your brand to a story-telling, establishing trust and confidence with the TV-viewers.

If you are more perf-led, TV could help you generate direct response to your website, app or even store. For example, you could want to push your application and increase the volume of app installs. Also, a TV ad could help you multiply the volume of traffic on your website and, therefore, generate more leads. Your TV campaign could also permit you trigger calls to you call center, and motivate TV viewers to know more about you and your services/products.

In other words, every advertiser has different objectives, and, therefore, different KPIs.

Who are you trying to reach?

Deciding what you want to do is tightly linked to knowing who you want to target on TV. Who is watching TV at the time your ad is broadcasted is essential: you want to reach the right audience! Once you’ve selected your audience – 16-34 women, men who love to cook, parents with kids – you (or your agency) will be able to select the TV programs that are the most relevant.

An to do so, you should definitively know some key words.


The reach is the number of people who have seen your ad, at least once. But if someone saw your ad twice in a defined relevant period, it is still counted as one.


It shows the average number of how many times a person has seen your ad, in a defined relevant period of time.

Frequency = Total duplicated audience


The percentage of the target audience reached. And the target audience would be the audience you’ve selected, as the one who would be the more responsive to your ad, because it concerns it, your products/services are made for them.


The Television Viewer Ratings, known in other countries as the GRP, the Gross Rating Point, is actually how you buy TV – kind of a currency. It is the percentage of potential TV viewers at a given time. It is very simple to calculate: you need to compare the number of your target audience and the total of the audience, and 1 TVR = 1% of a target audience.

When should you advertise?

Your audience isn’t the same in March and in July, on a Monday or a Thursday, at 8am or 5pm. That’s why you need to know which programs are broadcasted throughout the year, the week and the day.

The seasonality

Of course, seasonality. If you advertise for school supplies, August and September would be your preferred months. You want to present your new sunscreens? Think June to August. But if you advertise cars or hair products, seasonality would less impact you.

Prices are driven by supply and demand, and some months are more expensive than others. For example, January, July or August would be the least expensive, and April, May, September, October or November would be the most expensive.

Day of the week

Same here, with the days of the week. Your audience may be watching TV on certain days of the week but not others. A difference could be made between “need” and “want” products, as Thinkbox did in its study: TV Response new rules, new roles, 2015. For example, TV viewers would be more likely to respond well to products they want during the week, as they would be watching TV after a day of work, and just wanting to relax. However, on weekends, especially Sunday, they would want to get this done before the weekend is over, and therefore interested in “need” products.

The dayparts

The hour of the day plays an important part when looking to buy ad space on TV. The TVR is at its highest during Peak, because that’s when viewing is the most important. The most profitable time is definitively during early peak and late peak, mostly from 1730 to 2259, and even post peak, from 2300 to 2429. Breakfast time is also worthwhile, from 0600 to 0859.

On the contrary, daytime are pretty calm, from 0900 to 1729, with most of the audience having the most purchasing power being at work or at school.


How much does it cost?

A very interesting article was presented by TheDrum, where the media gave estimated costs of advertising in TV on the most popular TV channels in the UK. Those prices correspond to a 30-second slot.


Daypart Price (in £)
Breakfast Between 3,000 and 4,000
Daytime Between 3,500 and 4,500
Peak Between 10,000 and 30,000

Channel 4

Daypart Price (in £)
Daytime Between 1,000 and 2,000
Peak Between 10,000 and 20,000

Channel 5

Daypart Price (in £)
Daytime Between 800 and 1,600
Peak Between 2,500 and 4,500


Sky 1

Daypart Price (in £)
Daytime Between 150 and 250
Peak Between 650 and 1,150

Source: How much does it cost to advertise on UK TV? The Drum





Mots clés : Good practices