Five Mistakes Advertisers Make When Handling Their Own Media Buys

Advertising is an investment. Like any other type of investment, if you’re not doing it properly, you’re not going to get the best return. If you’ve been handling your own media buys, it’s likely you are making at least one of these five common mistakes.

Mistake #1: Not Planning Far Enough in Advance
Maybe you say to yourself, “I want to launch my campaign in January, so I’m not going to worry about advertising until December.” There are a few problems with this mindset. For one, many vendors require that ad space be booked three-to-four weeks in advance. Waiting until December to launch an ad campaign in January squeezes advertisers with very tight deadlines. Not only that, but, in addition to the three to four weeks required for booking, two to three weeks are needed for planning. Significant information needs to be gathered from vendors in order to develop a cost-effective media strategy. Gathering that information requires a lot of back and forth. Finally, the longer you wait to start planning your ad campaign, the more likely it will be that the opportunities that could have yielded the best return on your investment have already been booked by other advertisers. JS Media recommends that the planning process begin three to four months in advance, but two months is still doable.

Mistake #2: Not Considering All Your Options
Say you want to take out some billboards. Your next steps might be to Google companies in your area that sell billboards, call up the first one you find, and ask what the rates are. If you are happy with the rates, you book the ads. But if you settle on the first vendor you find, you’re missing out on an opportunity to explore other options that may yield a better return on your investment. Maybe other vendors offers the same opportunities at a lower price. Maybe another vendor offers billboards in locations that are better for reaching your target audience. Maybe train station ads are a better fit for you than billboards. If you’re busy managing the day-to-day operations of your business, you may not have time to research every opportunity that could be a good fit for you. That’s why you should invest in an agency like JS Media, which will do all that research for you.

Mistake #3: Not Minimizing Wasted Impressions
It’s impossible to avoid wasted impressions completely, but you should strive to get as few as you can. I recently heard a radio ad for a political candidate in Connecticut. I heard this ad in New Jersey and it was playing on a New York City station that covers the tri-state area. Had I been working with this candidate, I would have been able to tell him that by advertising on an NYC station, he’d mostly reach people who wouldn’t be able to vote for him no matter how much they agree with his politics. Too many wasted impressions=too many wasted advertising dollars.

Mistake #4: Only Advertising in the Town You Operate Your Business
This is not a one-size-fits-all rule because there are some advertisers for which exclusive home-town advertising does in fact  make the most sense. But if you're trying to bring in clientele from out of town, you need to reach out-of-town people. Take a bar in Hoboken, NJ, for example. Many of its late-night customers are people coming in from North Jersey suburbs. If this bar only advertises in Hoboken, it's not reaching a significant portion of potential new customers. You may ask, “Well, how do we know where are our out-of-town clients will be coming in from?” This is where JS Media comes in, because we look at zip code demographics to help you answer that very question.

Mistake #5: Not Giving Sufficient Time to Your Test Campaign
This happens when advertisers are trying a new form of advertising and don’t want to make a long-term commitment. While this is a smart way of thinking, no commitment should be too short. People need to continuously see your ads in order for your campaign to make the right impact. A few weeks or one month simply isn’t enough time. JS Media recommends that test campaigns run for three months but if you want to be extra cautious, a two-month test can still make an impact.