Buying the Right TV Audience |

Buying the Right TV Audience

How TV Audiences are planned, bought and sold?

TV Advertising Audiences

TV advertising audiences are all measured; in fact, each TV station’s viewing is measured on an individual advertising spot basis. As a television advertising agency we have tools that can analyse all viewing on all channels. This helps us make the best decisions when it comes to planning and buying a TV campaign on behalf of our clients. But how does it all work?

At a glance

  • TV audiences are measured and tracked by BARB, the Broadcasters Audience Research Board
  • When planning a TV advertising campaign, likely audiences for both channels and shows are available
  • Planned TV audiences comprise of estimated volumes and gender, socio-demographic and other factors
  • Planned TV audiences comprise of estimated volumes and gender, socio-demographic and other factors
  • Broadcasters sell ‘trading audiences’; media buyers map the planned audience to the ‘trading audience’ to obtain the best results for the advertiser, both in terms of audience targeting and value for money

How are TV audiences measured?

The audience of 99% of all broadcast TV shows in the UK is measured by an industry standard measurement tool known as BARB, Broadcasters Audience Research Board. It is funded by all the major UK Broadcasters so there is a uniform measurement of the audiences. It is made up from a panel of households and it monitors what they watch and who in the household is watching.

There are 5,200 homes in the UK that have been selected to represent the UK population. This covers household type, geography , demographics and TV platforms. They have a piece of technology in the house which gathers information about who is watching at any given time and what they are watching.

The TV Channels have a hidden audio code which is only picked up by the device to monitor which channels are being watched. The data is collected each night and transferred into a central database for collation. This data is constantly monitored to make sure that anomalies are picked up and removed from the sample. This data is then extrapolated to create the audience figures for each spot for each channel. The UK broadcast market has the best measurement system in the world and gives advertisers and broadcasters the opportunity to deliver robust audience measurement to track TV investment.

What is a TV advertising audience?

A TV audience is the volume of people that watch each advert. This audience can be split out into measurable sections based against age and socio- demographic profile. These audience groupings can be broad demographics:

  • Men
  • Women
  • Children

Or sub demographics which take you to age levels, such as:

  • Men 16-34
  • Children 4-9
  • Women 35-55

You can do sub-demographic profiles based on socio- demographic splits, such as:

  • Abc1 Adults
  • Abc1 Men

There are over 100 combinations of audiences that can be measured.

These audience breakdowns can be used for planning channels and programmes which deliver the audience that an advertiser wants to reach. 

How do you plan to buy the correct target audience?

When planning a TV ad campaign we match your target audience with the advertising audiences made available by the TV channels.

We have tools that analyse all the TV viewing and can rank all the stations ability to deliver the target audience. There are over 200 channels all with different audiences  and there are over 100 BARB audiences we can use to plan the correct channels.

Here are a few audiences commonly used to plan campaigns:

  • Base
    • All Adults is the base audience
  • Gender
    • Men and Women
  • Age
    • 16-24, 25-34,35-44,45-54,55-64,65+
  • Socio-demographic profile
    • Abc1, c2de, AB, C1,C2, DE
  • Working status
    • Working full time
  • Family status
    • House person with Children aged 0-3,
    • House person with Children aged 4-9
    • House person with Children aged 10-15

These are just some of the ways we can plan with available data. There are several more options available but get in touch and we are happy to talk through options.

TV Advertising: buying the right audiences

Once we have planned the correct channels on which to advertise your brand, we then have to buy those relevant slots.

So how do we buy TV advertising?

TV Broadcasters sell what are called ‘trading audiences’. The main trading audiences that are available are as follows:

  • Adults – mainly only available to buy 0930-1730
  • Abc1 Ads , Abc1Men, Abc1Women
  • 16-34 Adults , 16-34 Men, 16 34 Women
  • House person with Children
  • Children
  • Men

A channel with a broad-based audience – say ITV – will sell multiple trading audiences; whereas a niche channel, such as MTV may only sell 16-34 trading audiences. Each channel will know the volume of its viewership against each ‘trading audience’ and will set the cost of each trading audience accordingly. So each ‘trading audience’ will have a different price point, and each channel may not sell all trading audiences. Typically, channels will only trade (ie sell) audiences that are to their advantage or are relevant to their viewership.

You’ll notice these ‘trading audiences’ are not the same as the ‘planned audiences’. So the job of the media buyer is to purchase from the broadcaster the most relevant ‘trading audience’ to obtain the optimum coverage of the ‘planned audience’ at the best price.

The cost of an advertising TV spot is generated by the volume of audience (in 000’s) delivered of the target market times by the cost per thousand of that target market. This means that ad slots in the same TV programme may be traded (ie sold) at different price points. For example:

  • Buying an ‘all adult’ traded audience – if an advertising spot delivers 100,000 adult views at a traded cost per thousand of £2.50 then the spot costs £250.
  • Buying an ‘adult male’ traded audience – If the same spot delivering 100,000 adult views and of which 60,000 are men the same spot traded at £6.00 Men cost per thousand would cost £360.
  • Buying an ‘adult female’ traded audience – The same spot again must deliver 40,000 women and if this was traded at £5 women cost per thousand it would only cost £200 

As you can see, buying broadcast TV advertising can become quite complex if you are buying audiences across multiple channels. Thankfully there are some tools at our disposal and we have many years of experience in planning and buying TV advertising, so we are able to help advertisers create a plan and buy an audience in a very efficient way.