Unless you’re an established marketer and have a full service advertising agency working on your advertising account, obtaining advertising rates (and making sense of them) can be a time-consuming, frustrating, daunting and often difficult process.
As someone who runs a small advertising agency in Johannesburg, I sense this on a daily basis as I’m often fielding calls or receiving emails from businesses requesting rates to advertise on television, radio, billboards, newspapers and magazines.
Unfortunately, many of these requests for rates are not easy to see to, for the simple reason that there are so many variables at play. With combination rates on offer and discounted advertising packages for first time advertisers, it’s no simple matter providing the information required in a way that would be understood by someone new to, or unfamiliar with, marketing.
Generalist requests for “the cost to advertise on television” or “the cost to advertise on radio for a six month period” are akin to asking “the price of a car”. What type of car? A new car? A second hand car? What model? Clearly the price of a 2013 Mercedes Benz would be different to that of a 2007 Toyota Corolla.
And so it is with advertising. There are just so many variables at play and so many considerations to take into account.
Take TV or radio advertising, where a fifteen second commercial on Soweto TV would cost far less to flight at six in the morning than a thirty second commercial would cost to flight on MNet during evening prime time, and a radio spot aired during morning or afternoon drive time on Highveld will be more expensive than one aired mid-morning or mid-afternoon on Kaya FM.
In newspaper or magazine advertising, a quarter page black and white advertisement hidden on page 23 in a Caxton newspaper will be much cheaper to flight than a full page full colour ad with a product sachet affixed to it in a glossy magazine like FHM.
And in outdoor advertising, where a small billboard in the back of beyond would cost a fraction of the price of a large billboard occupying pride of place on Johannesburg’s M1 motorway.
I’m stating the obvious of course but the point is that advertising rates vary enormously and that potential advertisers should be cognisant of this. What’s also important is to be as clear as possible in one’s request for information. A request for “Rates to advertise during etv’s 19h00 news bulletin on a Tuesday or Thursday evening” would be much easier to provide than “rates to advertise on TV”.
But who should you approach for advertising rates? Whilst there is nothing wrong with approaching a media owner directly (be it SABC, MNet, DSTV, etv, Soweto TV, Primedia, You or Huisgenoot magazines, Clear Channel, Highveld, 702, 5FM, Jacaranda, Metro FM or Kaya FM as examples) you will likely only be sent a rate card or a number of rate cards for you to make sense of. And unless you’re a seasoned marketer, you may find it difficult deciding which advertising package, radio station or TV time slot will be best to take advantage of so as to deliver the most bang for your buck.
Also, the media owner wants your advertising business so any notion of objectivity goes out the window. My advice to anyone interested in advertising a product or service would be to ask your marketing consultant (if you have one) to put you in touch with an experienced media buying and planning agency.
Because these agencies are independent and work with pretty much every media owner in the country, they’re objective and besides providing you with rates to advertise, can advise as to which advertising mediums will work best for you within the parameters of your marketing budget.
And because they earn their commissions irrespective of the advertising media booked, they will do their best for your brand regardless of whether TV advertising, radio advertising, outdoor advertising, cinema advertising, print advertising, online advertising – or any other form of advertising is put to you on a media schedule.
Best of all is that so long as they get to place your advertising, their services and expertise typically come to you at no cost.