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The factors that determine how much a TV ad costs involve two main expenses: production and distribution (which, in this case, is broadcasting). Production costs include creating the actual television commercial, such as hiring an ad agency and a professional production crew. Our article detailing how to get a commercial on TV offers more information about TV ad production.
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On the other hand, broadcasting or distribution costs are the prices you pay a TV network (whether regional or national) to air your commercial. More recently, advertising on streaming services has steadily become a more viable medium for advertisers to reach their audience.
The cost to broadcast a 30-second commercial on network television averages just under $105,000. These costs vary depending mostly on your chosen broadcast area (regional vs national), time slot (prime-time slots are more expensive), and the length of your commercial.
On the other hand, outsourcing to an ad agency for a professionally produced TV commercial will cost closer to $10,000 or $20,000, but it can be upward of $50,000. This cost can increase exponentially if, for instance, a celebrity is hired to appear in the ad, or if your video requires complex special effects requiring additional talent.
Keep in mind that the length of your commercial will influence both production and broadcasting costs. So a shorter commercial (e.g., 10 to 15 seconds) will naturally cost less to create and air than a longer commercial (e.g., 30 to 60 seconds).
For local television stations, advertisers can expect to pay between $5 and $100 per 1,000 viewers for a 30-second commercial. But when it comes to nationwide broadcasting, costs increase drastically.
Also, consider prioritizing reach over frequency of ad placements. Arthur Worsley, the founder of The Art of Living and a former McKinsey Associate who holds an MA in psychology from Oxford University, notes that the impact on conversion diminishes each time an individual views the same TV ad.
TV commercial costs vary depending on various factors: broadcast medium, TV show, viewer demographics, audience location, frequency and timing of ad placement, and more. Keeping all of these in mind will better prepare you to understand how much it costs to air commercials on television and how to get the most from your TV advertising dollars.
When weighing the cost-benefit of TV advertising, start with the pros and cons. Pros include the likelihood your TV ad will increase sales and viewer engagement, the credibility offered by the medium, and the ability to reach a broad and captivated audience. Downsides include limited targeting options and tracking data, the tendency for people to ignore or skip commercials, and the large upfront expense involved.
The best way to reach your target audience with TV advertising is through intensive research. Dig deep into the makeup of the audiences of networks (local or national) and TV shows to find the audience set that best matches your target market. Then, bid on the time slot when they will most likely be watching TV.
The length of the ad also influences the price. A quick, 10-to-15 second ad will be less expensive than a 30- or a 60-second ad. Most stations are offered shorter commercials to follow a faster-paced society with a greater number of ads during a show than were shown several decades ago.
Ads during the early evening run from around $200 to $2,000 per time. The price drops dramatically during the day to a low of $100 up to a few hundred. Airing during highly rated syndicated shows will put you at the higher end of the going rate.
If you are looking to invest in television advertising, then January is your time to do that. Stations are coming off of heavy holiday expenditures and they're hungry to generate revenue. Ask them to wheel and deal, and you can come away with a comparative bargain. Most stations offer three -, six-, and 12-month contracts, and they will discount you anywhere from 5 to 10 percent, if you sign with them during the rest of the year. So it is in your best interests to bargain for deeper discounts during the first part of any new year.
So how much does television advertising really cost? It depends on your markets, your airtimes, and your needs. It could be as inexpensive as $100 to up to a few thousand dollars. The great news is that stations are always ready and willing to work with your budget and your needs, so there is no reason not to market yourself fully.
Overall, the cost of producing a commercial can run from as little as $1,000 if you are using stock photography and a simple voice-over, to upwards of hundreds of thousands of dollars if you need to have multiple cameras, hire union actors and filmmakers and are looking for a final look that reflects high production value.
If you have a tighter budget, you can spend less on production and more on getting the message out via cable TV, or broadcast TV, as much as possible. (Common for some local TV advertisers). Conversely, you could spend a bigger chunk of the budget on the production of the commercial and spend more (or less) on broadcasting the message numerous times.
A local commercial on a local station at 2:00 am might run as cheap as $5 per 30 seconds. However, 2:00 in the morning may not be the best time to advertise your product or service, even though it can be inexpensive. (It can be good for selling pizza if there is someone watching!)
To throw out some ballpark numbers on the low side, which would pertain to many small- to mid-sized businesses, a 30-second time slot in a medium-sized market can be purchased for as little as $15-$25 per 1,000 viewers.
EXAMPLES: If you want your commercial seen by a broad local audience, then advertising on your local broadcast news station would be a good bet. If you have a home improvement product that can be sold to anyone in the country, you may want to consider advertising on a national cable TV show about home improvement.
Nowadays, you can get more bang for your ad dollars by simultaneously promoting your TV commercial(s) online. In fact, some advertisers will have a more sophisticated online ad campaign in conjunction with TV, because there is more flexibility with online video advertising.
Of course, the costs of producing and airing TV commercials are important to any business. However, in many cases, the TV ads would be best if they contain The Three Essential Ingredients for Successful TV Advertising.
Avid hiker, bicyclist, motorcyclist and long-time advertising pro. Founder of Skyworks Marketing, Nonprofit Fire and Our Ventura TV (cable TV). One career highlight was working on a small team that built a business from nothing to over $100 Million in 3 years. Skyworks Marketing provides lead generation and video advertising services. We create custom marketing funnels that provide the highest-quality leads and sales.
Television ad prices are based on a cost-per-thousand-people viewing a commercial, known as CPM or cost-per-mille. For instance, a network might require a $20 CPM rate to run your 60-second ad, in other words, $20 per thousand viewers.
Airtime costs vary widely between markets, and TV advertising can be local, regional or national. Costs are based, in large part, on the number of viewers who see your commercial. Specifically, showing your commercial to fewer viewers makes airtime cheaper, though these are often late-night time slots during weekdays.
Nationally televised commercials could work well if you run an ecommerce business without a localized brick-and-mortar presence, while using local TV ads to promote your business can expose you to new prospects in your area who may be ready to buy.
How Much Does a 30-Second Commercial Cost?A 30-second commercial run during an off-peak, local time slot on a local station could cost less than $100 for a viewership of several thousand. That said, budgeting for a couple hundred to a thousand dollars for a 30-second ad is more realistic for local TV.
In contrast, a 30-second commercial on national TV could cost several hundred thousand dollars. In fact, according to Statista, the average was $104,700 in 2019, while during the 2019-2020 season, a 30-second TV ad on Sunday Night Football had a cost of roughly $712,000.
TV advertising has typically been associated as expensive and cumbersome. However, times have since changed, with technology and solutions helping advertisers overcome these common challenges. This article will explore TV advertising costs, the difference between national and local TV commercials, and how these costs are determined.
TV advertising costs not only include the production itself, but also navigating the media minefield to make sure that your dollars spent are getting your commercials on air on the right network at the right time. Overall, your broadcast costs vary depending on the following factors:
The other big differentiator influencing TV advertising costs is the type of television format: linear TV, cable or streaming/Connected TV. Linear or broadcast TV has only gotten pricier, where 75% of the top network shows either rose in price or stayed the same for the 2020-2021 season. Meanwhile, advertising on cable TV comes in lower, usually 10 to 20% of the cost of regular broadcast time. Newer entrants to the space, like Connected TV, work with advertisers of all budgets to deliver optimized, targetable ads to in-market audiences.
Advertisers can run retargeting or prospecting ads on television the way they would do on any other digital advertising platform, like search or social. Unlike competing CTV platforms, MNTN makes TV advertising measurable from start to finish, via a customizable, real-time reporting dashboard, which reports on bottom-line metrics like revenue, ROAS and conversions.
TV advertising pricing depends on which network, the time of day, the frequency of ads, and if you purchase ads as a package or upfront. The cost can vary widely, all the way from multiple millions during the Super Bowl to much cheaper ads, running Wednesday morning on an obscure channel. 041b061a72