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Frequently Asked Questions
Cable advertising can be broken down into two categories: network and spot. Network cable refers to buying commercial time directly from a cable network to reach their entire national audience. Spot Cable refers to buying commercial time on various cable networks in a specific market(s) or geographic area(s).
Spot Cable is target ability at its best.
It's an acronym for Designated Market Area (DMA). DMAs are a way of designating particular geographic markets, and are often ranked by size of population. For example, New York City is the nation's largest DMA so its DMA ranking is 1.
A Zone is a local area or subset of a DMA.
An interconnect is simply a large group of cable systems within a DMA that are “connected” together. An interconnect gives advertisers the option to reach all cable households within a given market with one buy, one contact and one tape.
The key elements to a successful advertising campaign are the percentage of the market that viewed the commercial (reach) and the average number of times a typical consumer viewed a commercial (frequency).
There are many factors that need to be taken into account that will lead to the effectiveness of an advertising campaign. To learn more, read “How do I best allocate my GRPs?”
This graph illustrates the cost to deliver 1000 households or persons:
Advertising schedules come in all sizes. The purchase of gross rating points can be done in many ways.
- For a schedule that requires high reach: High number of networks and many time periods.
- For a schedule that requires high frequency: Low number of networks and few time periods.
Effective frequency is the number of times a potential consumer views an advertiser’s message to be motivated into action.
Generally, an effective frequency schedule will have an average frequency of at least three, meaning the potential customer will see the message at least three times.
Advertisers should ask four key questions to help in determining the best media plan for their business:
1. What type of advertising message am I conveying?
Examples of the types of message an advertiser may want to convey are:
- Attitude shift
- New product
- Market share
- Call to action (direct response)
2. What are the marketing factors?
Advertisers should consider several factors and how they apply to their brand or business, such as:
- Established name brand versus new name brand: Established brands already have high awareness and require less frequency, while new brands need to build awareness.
- Brand loyalty: The higher the loyalty factor, the lower the need for frequency.
- Brand dominance: A dominant brand needs lower frequency levels because of its high degree of awareness and acceptance.
- Purchase/usage cycle: The longer the product/service purchase/usage cycle, the less frequency required than those with shorter cycles. Shorter product/usage cycles have to use higher frequency levels to make greater impact on the marketplace.
- Competitive strategy: Higher frequency is recommended to beat the competition.
- Target group: Every group has a different threshold. Younger demos are generally less tolerant of repeated messages so a lower frequency may work best for messages designed for that audience while older demos will be more receptive to repetition.
3. What are the creative factors?
- Message complexity: The more simplistic the message, the lower frequency needed.
- Message uniqueness: A high level of creativity requires less frequency.
- New versus continued campaign: A repeated message requires lower frequency while a new message requires a higher frequency.
- Selling an “image” vs. a product: Image requires reinforcement (high frequency), while selling product requires greater reach.
- Message variation: The greater number of messages being used, the more frequency is required.
- Burnout: To lessen message “burnout”, advertisers should aim for greater reach with lesser frequency.
- Advertising units: Shorter messages (e.g. 10- and 15-second commercials) generally require higher frequency to be effective.
4. What are the media factors?
- Clutter level: The more cluttered the advertising environment, the more frequency necessary to maintain share of voice.
- Editorial environment: Programming that does not enhance the advertising message requires more frequency.
- Attentiveness: Programs that generally have a higher level of viewer engagement/attentiveness (e.g. dramas, sports and news) generally require a lower frequency for commercials to be effective.
- Continuous versus flighting: An ad schedule can be arranged as one long campaign that runs daily or weekly, or it can be scheduled in succinct flights, running for a specific period of time before going off-air for a week or two and then resuming. Flighting can help extend timing and ad dollars over a longer period, but tend to require more frequency than continuous advertising plans.
Advertising agencies and advertisers have recognized the value of qualitative research for many years. Increased fragmentation of viewing audiences (more people watching more channels) has made qualitative research extremely important in evaluating media choices.
Qualitative research offers data beyond simple sex/age or household demographics. It helps profile the socioeconomic and purchasing characteristics of a consumer group and helps identify potential customers of an advertiser’s products or services.
Comcast Spotlight clients can receive a number of informative research reports at no additional cost, including:
Viewers In Profile
DMA viewing estimates including household and demographic ratings and share information for time periods and programs.
Viewing estimates including household and demographic ratings and share information for time periods and programs for broadcast stations and cable channels that garner at least a 2.5% DMA cume rating for a given survey period.
Galaxy Overnight Ratings (Local, Navigator, National, “Explorer”)
Local quarter hour ratings, shares and HUTs reported in fifty-five (55) metered markets on a daily basis. Reports viewing for all broadcast and cable programming down to a fifteen (15) minute period. Reports can be either daily or multiple days plus rankers and episode tracks. The viewing estimates are available for the DMA households and or all DMA Cable Households.
Total Activity Report/Net Weekly Circulation
Viewing estimates for stations and networks, including audiences that do not meet the minimum criteria to be printed in the Viewers In Profile report. This report has no program detail and only viewing data for nine dayparts with no demographics. The total TV household cume ratings information for the Sunday – Saturday 7a.m. – 1a.m. time period is also reformatted for the Net Weekly Circulation report.
Reports broadcast station delivery in the DMA, cable households and non-cable households. Displays differences in broadcast station geographic delivery between cable and non-cable households compared to total DMA Ratings delivery. The viewing estimates are compiled from diaries and nine dayparts are reported.
Competitive Media Reporting
Advertisers can see how competitors are spending their ad dollars by requesting a report on local broadcast and newspaper advertising dollar expenditures and schedules on a yearly, quarterly, monthly or daily basis. Radio data is available on an aggregate basis in certain markets.
Comcast Spotlight subscribes to the most respected sources of syndicated data available, including Mediamark Research (MRI), Scarborough and R.L. Polk. Comcast Spotlight advertisers may request that Spotlight mine these data sources to help better understand target audiences and how to advertise to them.
Comcast Spotlight’s account executives can help clients answer questions like:
- Which demographic categories are using or buying a product the most
- How their audience’s demographics compare to those of the competition
- Which other products and services (e.g. cars, computers, food, etc.) the client’s audience purchases and uses
- What kinds of lifestyle choices the client’s audience makes
- Which TV shows the client’s audience like to watch
Audit Bureau of Circulation
- Newspaper circulation data segmented geographically.
Advertiser & Agency Red Books
- Clients can learn which advertising agencies are in their area and which agencies competitors are using.
Reference Volumes Upon Request
- Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook
- SQAD Newsletter
- Media Matters Newsletter
- MMR TV Datatrak
- MMR Snapshots-Multimedia Local Market Profiles
- Kagen’s Economics of Basic Cable
- Kagen’s Cable TV Financial Databook
- Kagen’s Broadband Advertising Newsletter
- NAB: The TV Industry
- Nielsen Zip Code By DMA
- Nielsen US Cities Book
- SRDS Lifestyle Market Analyst
- S&MM – The Survey of Buying Power
- Standard Directory of Advertisers
- Standard Directory of Advertising Agencies
- Television & Cable Fact Book
- TV Dimensions
- Consumer Dimensions
- Media VIP List
- Internet Dimensions
- Adweek Directories
- Research Alert Yearbook
Market Segmentation gives advertisers the ability to deliver customized advertising messages to specific Zones within a market.