Always evaluate a ONE WEEK schedule and then buy it for as many consecutive weeks as you can fund. Preferably, you want to be on the air 52 weeks a year.
Look at an Arbitron TAPSCAN Reach and Frequency Analysis. Ask the station reps to print it out for you.
DON’T look at “rankers” or consider “shares.” A share is 1 percent of the radios that are turned on in the area. In other words, if only 10 people have their radios on and 7 of them are tuned to KWAV, they’d have a 70 share.
Shares are very deceptive. Don’ think about them, look at them, or allow a conversation to drift toward “shares.”
If you look at any length of schedule other than 1 week, you’re very likely to be fooled. We usually look at the demo of 18+. Everyone counts. No one is ignored over the age of 18. You can look at a second report that is 18-34, but only to give you a sense of how the audience is split age-wise. In the end, we’re paying to reach everyone the station has listening, so let’s see how many people that really is. So 18+ is your demo.
The goal is to have “Effective Reach” as high as possible with a frequency of 3 or more. Effective Reach is also known as “Net Reach” and will be measured in “Persons” AND as a percentage of the population. In other words, the 1-week schedule might have a net reach of 47,323 persons which is 8.3 percent of the total population 18+. (I just made those numbers up. The real numbers will be based on the combined populations of Salinas-Monterrey-Santa Cruz.)
Look at a 1-week schedule that gives you at least a 3-frequency. This means that each person in the “Net Reach” will hear the ad an average of 3 times each week. If you have to settle for a frequency of 2.5 or 2.6, okay. But it will take a little longer for that schedule to gain traction and begin paying off.
If you buy a 1-week schedule with a 3-frequency 52 weeks a year, your cost should be less than 1 dollar per person per year for each person in your Net Reach.
In other words, make sure you get a 3-frequency on your 1-week schedule. Look at your Net Reach on that same 1-week schedule. Your cost to buy that schedule 52 weeks a year should be LESS than one dollar per person.
A really good deal is in the 50 to 70 cent per person/per year range. The best deal I’ve seen in recent years was 17 cents per person per year, but that was a real fluke. Usually, if we see something below 40 cents we’re dancing in the street.
This per person/per year calculation is one that YOU are going to have to make. The sales rep will never have heard of any such thing. DON’T try to educate them. Just quietly compare your Net Reach to your net cost for the 52-week schedule.
If your best deal in the market in 53 cents per person/per year, the second best might be 67 cents. Third best might be 78 cents, etc. You can’t use the best deal as a benchmark for the others. It’s tempting to try, I know, but NEVER tell a sales rep what you were offered by another station. Trust me on this.
FINAL EXAMPLE: Remember that 1-week schedule with a 3.0 frequency (18+) that had a Net Reach of 47,323 ? Our goal is to buy that 1-week schedule 52 weeks a year for LESS than $47, 323. If we could buy it for $23,600, that would be great since it would be about 50 cents per person per year. I expect your best deal in the market to be in that range. Others will probably be higher.
SHORTCUT: If we think of a year as just 50 weeks, then a dollar for each person in the Net Reach would be 2 cents per person for each WEEK you’re on the air. Consequently, by moving the decimal two positions to the left on your Net Reach number, you’re looking at 50 cents per person/per year, an EXCELLENT buy. So if I’m looking at a 1-week schedule with a 3-frequency that gives me a WEEKLY NET REACH of 47,323 persons, then $473 per week would be 50 cents per person per year. ($473 x 50 weeks = $23,650/year) Ten percent more money than that (per week) would yield an annualized cost of 55 cents per person/per year.
Putting a 1-year commitment on the table will always get you much better rates and RIGHT NOW is when you’ll have the most credibility. Christmas and Valentines Day are behind us, so the stations will know you’re serious about advertising year-round.
Please don’t share this information with anyone. NO ONE outside my office knows how we calculate whether or not a schedule is a good deal. If stations knew our methods, we’d never again see those 17-cent and 23-cent and 32-cent per person/per year deals. Don’t hold your breath for one of those, but should you see one, snap it up quickly.
If you use the method outlined above, the only way to get fooled is to look at a schedule that includes a broad rotator, such as 6AM to Midnight. Even worse would be a schedule where they “bonus” you some 24-hour rotators. You’d get fooled because the computer is going to assume that 1 in every 18 of those 6A to Midnight ads is going to air 7A to 8A. It’s going to assume another one is going to air 8A to 9A and so on. This means your schedule will show you HUGE reach numbers that are NOT ring to be delivered because you and I both know all those “6A to midnight” ads are going to air 7P to Midnight when only about 30 percent as many people are listening. It’s okay to buy 6A to 7P because there is no dramatic fluctuation during those hours. (See page 106 of the attached PDF) It’s also okay to buy 7P to Midnight for the same reason. But you would NOT want to buy a schedule that shows any ads – even if they’re running for FREE – that are scheduled as broad rotators, such as 6A to 10P. If they slip broad rotators into the schedule, the numbers are no longer true. The sales reps will DEFINITELY try to do this if you let them.
Never, ever, ever, ever look at Gross Rating Points (GRPs) “Cost Per Point” is how Bernie Madoff would have sold advertising. Sadly, it is also the standard language of the advertising industry. Gross Rating Point calculations are the reason so many ad campaigns fail.
Here is a link to something I wrote recently that is really in-depth, but I think you’ll understand it.
Jon, you’re going to do great. Read this email several times until it soaks in. But never share it, okay?