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TV Ads vs. Digital Video Ads (What's the Cost?)

Updated: Feb 15

With so many marketing campaigns going digital, it's hard to price traditional marketing methods such as TV, magazine and radio advertising. The traditional methods are still relevant, it just depends on your business and who you're targeting. For example, if your target audience is Boomers living in more spread-out cities or rural areas (such as San Antonio or Austin, TX), TV ads are still valuable. If you want to reach Gen X, Z, or Millennials, however, you might steer clear of the traditional methods.


According to data findings, 61% of young adults in the United States say the primary way they watch TV is through streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and HBO Go. Just 5% of millennials watch TV through a digital antenna. Reaching a younger demographic will be best through social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.



How Much Does it Cost for a TV Ad?


For local television stations, advertisers can expect to pay a minimum of $5 per 1,000 viewers for a 30-second commercial. Based on data provided by Adage, a 30-second spot broadcast nationally averages around $115,000 in 2019. The average cost placements for 30-second Super Bowl ads can go for upward of $5.25 million.

A television commercial ad shown regionally or locally can cost an average of $58,000 for the production and spots for a few months. This TV commercial (NOT produced by us) cost the dealership appx. $58,000 for the shoot and about 4 mos. of airtime spots on a local TV station.


The leads of this particular TV ad spot were very hard to measure. The dealership claimed very little foot traffic and an inability to measure the results. The final feedback was "it was a waste." On a local scale, however, I believe it did create brand awareness, but perhaps very little leads. If the target objective was more sales, I think this ad strategy failed to deliver.


Digital Marketing Vs. TV Ads

The beauty and impact of digital marketing is being able to see the data and results of your marketing efforts. You can create specific campaigns that drive sales and leads. Commercials designed for brand awareness don't always convert.


Digital ads are also a lot more cost-effective with the ability to go viral. You don't have to rely on an ad agency or TV station to run your ads when and where they want. Take for example this short video we posted for the same dealership. It was a curated video of a landscaper who does things a little different in his day to day routine:


The result was 1.8 Million views, all free. The landscaper got credit and exposure, of course, but the trailer dealership was able to create local and worldwide brand awareness for free.


There is NO WAY a TV station could have given a client this kind of exposure for free, or even half the price of their regular advertising fees. We were able to do this -and see the metrics.


Creating Viral Videos is Key

Viral videos can be a unicorn, but it can be done often if you hire the right team. The key is creating a video that fits the platform and audience. With a viral video that has a clear Call to Action, you can earn leads and sales beyond your projections. (And for a $58,000 budget, you can create an entire series of videos for your company or brand) Most of our video ads cost appx. $500-$5000 each, depending on the production needs or length. We have even produced commercial ads for as low as $15, just to see if we could.


The Cost of a Digital Marketing Campaign

Digital marketing campaigns vary based on reach, target objectives and creative. A video creative can cost the most but it can get a far reach with positive results. And video can live on a variety of platforms (YouTube, Instagram Stories, IGTV and Facebook).

Ready to create a digital marketing campaign that gets results? Contact us today!

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