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When Local Television Covers National Issues, Which Ads Work?

June 27th, 2017   ||    by Callie Wheeler   ||    No Comments

Media buyers frequently evaluate local television ad inventory when a brand wants to reach specific local markets. Although television is in many ways a reliable medium for reaching audiences, it has its potential pitfalls.

Buyers need to make sure they understand the programming—including the program’s audience and views—before buying. And when it comes to local TV covering national issues, it’s important to know which ads actually work.

The Boon of Local

Buyers can be prone to thinking, “We’ve been buying local TV inventory for years, so what’s there to worry about? Shouldn’t we be thinking about trickier inventory, like our digital spend?” However, there’s still a lot of strategy to local TV buying. According to a February 2017 report by media research company BIA/Kelsey, local video is seeing significant growth that’s split almost evenly between local television and digital.

Additionally, a June 2017 study released by Videa found that Americans trust their local news providers more than national news media, and nearly 60 percent of respondents reported watching local TV news somewhat or very often. This is good news for media provides, and it proves inventory during local news programming can be a good investment. But as with any news programming, it’s important to understand how a program addresses national issues.

Advertising Risks

Local inventory allows advertisers to reach regional audiences with unique messaging, but it also presents some of the same risks as any type of advertising. The context of the ad—especially during news programming—can carry over to the advertiser. This means media buyers must ensure that the content of any ad aligns with the brand.

The industry recently saw an example of a brand racing to avoid a bad media placement. When promotions for Megyn Kelly’s interview with Alex Jones aired, many viewers were angered that NBC was providing a platform for the controversial radio host. According to the Wall Street Journal, J.P. Morgan Chase decided to pull its local TV and digital ads from Kelly’s program—as well as all other news programs on the network.

Audience Appeal

It might seem obvious, but as the Houston Chronicle points out, media buyers need to ensure they’re purchasing ad inventory during programs that appeal to the advertiser’s target audience. This consideration is key to creating effective advertising that reaches the right people.

Also, take time to develop an understanding of how local news programs are covering national issues, including politics. An ad for a gun club, for instance, may not go over well during a news program that usually favors gun control. Keeping an eye on this coverage will ensure that the messaging always hits the mark.

As television continues to play an important role in brands’ media spend, local television inventory is becoming even more valuable. But to get the most out of television’s reach, media buyers need to make themselves familiar with regional programming in order to align messaging and ensure brand fit.

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