Television Advertising Campaign Planning : Part 3

Television Advertising Campaign Planning

In the first article of the series, we discussed some useful facts and figures about television viewership and advertising in India, curated from reports by leading bodies like BARC, TAM, and EY:

  1. Key facts about television viewership in India
  2. Growth of television viewership in 2019 based on
    1. Channel genre
    2. State
    3. Language
  3. TV viewership trends across geography
  4. TV advertising in India: Jan 2020 to Jun 2020

In the second article of the series, we discussed how TV programs and campaign viewership are measured in India and some relevant terms that can help advertisers know more about the TV viewership measurement.

The article also helped the readers understand the upcoming articles based on various reports that help television advertisers plan and evaluate TV advertising campaigns.

In the third article of the series, we would discuss the process of television advertising planning in brief and also explore how data obtained from authentic bodies like BARC can help us in making the right choice about television campaign planning.

To understand the entire process, let’s consider a dummy example. Consider a premium beauty brand called Aykka. Aykka wants to increase their brand awareness through television advertising. They don’t know where to start from.

Television Planning Example

Aykka hires The Media Ant to simplify television advertising for them. Following are the next steps that we would discuss to get an overview of TV campaign planning:

Tv Planning Process
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Step 1: Brand Brief

All marketing activities start with the brand sharing a brief description of the brand/product, the core target group, the target market, the message that they would like to convey and the campaign objective.

Core Target Group

Now that we know the objective of the campaign, we need to know the target audience. The target audience of a brand can be termed as a group of customers that can be defined based on some common characteristics in terms of demography, behavior, etc, and is the most likely customer/consumer for the brand products/services.

The more layers of characteristics we define, the smaller would be the target audience size and the higher would be the complexity of targeting the audience. The target audience can be defined across two parameters:

  • Demographic: Gender, Age, NCCS, Geography
  • Psychographic: Mindset, Affinity, Preferences

When talking about advertising on television, it is important to keep in mind that it is not possible to apply any sort of audience filters, unlike digital advertising. However, an analysis of past data can be obtained which would give the brands an idea about the viewership behavior of the target audience. In terms of TV viewership measurement, the audience can be segregated based on gender, age, and NCCS.

Let’s consider Aykka’s example. The following is the core target group of Aykka:

Tv Planning Example Target Group

Target Market

Which market to target for the campaign is a decision that would be driven by the brand’s strategy. There are many questions that need to be answered.
Where does your sales come from?

  • Which areas have the strongest distribution network?
  • Are there any regions that are naturally inclined towards your products?
  • Which are the markets where the product category is strong?
  • How is the competition in the market? Do we want to be a competitor?

In terms of television advertising, markets can be defined in terms of geography. Past data for the state, top 6 metro cities, and towns with 10L+ and 5L+ population are available and the advertiser can use them individually or combine them into clusters like South zone or Hindi Speaking Market. Within a state too, one can segregate the population into rural and urban.

After a thorough analysis of their sales and customer data, Aykka identified that their core market lies in the top 6 metro cities and they would like to target these markets.

Tv Planning Market

Campaign Objective and Message

Campaign objective refers to the reason why the current campaign is taking place. The campaign objective is usually aligned to the customer decision journey stage that the brand wants to target. Some of the most common campaign objectives that we see are:

Marketing Campaign Objective Types

The message refers to the creative, in this case, the video ads (or banners in some cases). The message is based on the campaign objective. Through the brand brief, the brand conveys the message that they want to share with the audience and the length of the ad.

Step 2: Competitor Analysis

If you remember from our last article, we discussed BARC and how it measures TV viewership data. This data is released on a weekly basis on the next Thursday. Although the reports obtained are past data, they are quite helpful in planning future campaigns. We will discuss it in this article.

In a number of scenarios, especially in the case of advertising on TV for the first time, brands do not have a clear idea of details like reach and frequency, etc. The media agency, in this case, can do a competitor analysis to find the following details about how other brands in the same categories advertise on TV:

  • SOE (Share of Expenditure): Brand spend in value as a percentage of the total adex of the category.
  • SOV (Share of Voice): The brand’s GRPs as a percentage of the total GRPs delivered by the category.
  • Channel mix: Which channels and genres did the brands select to run their ads
  • Scheduling: How were the spots distributed across the days and time bands
  • Time Band Mix: Distribution between Prime Time and Non-Prime Time Bands
  • Program Mix: The top programs included in the plan
  • Reach & Frequency: On average, what type of reach and frequency do the brands in the same category have achieved in the past campaigns
  • Campaign Objective and creative: What has been the most common campaign objective across brands and what message their creatives carry.

Consider the example of Aykka. This is what a competitor analysis can look like:

Tv Planning Competitor Analysis
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Step 3: Media Brief

Competitor Analysis provides a clear picture of the marketing campaign The media agency then can come up with a media brief that majorly contains the following:

  • Media goals to achieve the marketing objective: This would translate into expected reach and frequency for the campaign.
  • Campaign Approach: Now that we have the media goals, the accompanying question is what would be the campaign approach while selecting the right channel mix for the campaign. Few of the very popular campaign approach strategies are:
    • Maximize Reach
    • Minimize Spillage
    • Maximize Impact
    • Maximize Cost Efficiency
  • Recommended Budget: Based on the suggested media goal or competitor analysis.


Affinity can be defined as the ratio between the TG reach (of the channel) and Universe reach (of the channel). By comparing TG’s affinity towards the channels in question, we can find out which channels is the TG inclined towards.

Maximize Reach

To maximize the campaign reach, brands can advertise on the channels having the highest reach among the core target group.

Minimize Spillage

To minimize spillage, brands can advertise on the channels having the highest affinity among the core target group

Maximizing Reach vs Minimizing Spillage

Consider our example of Aykka. The core TG for the brand is Female 18-40 NCCS A. When the channels are sorted as per the reach, Star Plus comes above Star World. But if sorted based on affinity, Star World does better than Star Plus. In simpler terms, for example, Star Plus has a total viewership of 100 out of which 20 belong to Aykka’s TG. Star World has a total viewership of 20 out of which 10 belong to Aykka’s TG. If I buy a spot on Star Plus, I would reach 20 relevant audience and 80 less relevant people. If I buy a spot on Star World, I would reach only 10 relevant audience but only 10 less relevant people. If my aim is to maximize reach, I can opt for Star Plus. This would depend on the campaign objective. If the goal is awareness then mass genres like GEC/movies are preferred.. if the goal is to cater to limited audience to build consideration , niche or higher affinity channels are considered.

Maximize Impact

Impact content on TV mostly refer to content that have deep impact on the audience in terms of engagement, aspiration, emotional attachment etc. Popular sports events, World TV Premiere of movies and popular reality shows often have that kind of impact on the audience. The goal is to create the awareness immediately especially relevant for Sales. The efficiency would of course be lower compared to other approaches. Brands that want to push a big change like new launch, big sale event, change in behavior, repositioning etc can opt for maximizing the impact.

Maximizing Cost Efficiency

A large number of channels like music channels, catch up television, news channels etc often have a high reach but not a loyal and regular set of customers. Advertising on these channels is often very cost effective however, the audience engagement might not be as good as in the case of GECs and movies channels. The thing to be noted here is that any ideal plan needs to have a mix of quality as well as mass spots. skewing the plan towards cost efficient spots would result in losing out on reach as well as their capability to add newer audience or incremental reach would be limited.

Step 4: Media Planning

After a detailed discussion with the client and getting their approval, it’s time for the actual planning for the campaign. Here, the media agency would again take help of past data from BARC. Following steps would cover the entire process of media planning:

TV Channel Selection

When planning an advertising campaign, we often select multiple platforms to ensure higher reach and engagement. However, in this example, to simplify, we would focus on television only. There are hundreds of channels on television running thousands of programs. How does one identify which channels would be the best. Lets start with classifying the channels based on the following:

  • Genre: Genre defines the type of programs that run on a particular channel. Certain channel genres are preferred by a particular audience cohort. For example, news channels are majorly watched by male audiences, GEC channels by the female audiences, and Music channels by youth. Often there is an overlap of audience among channels of the same genre. Understanding this duplication of viewership can help advertisers decide whether to opt for more channels in the same genre or fewer channels in different genres based on their media objectives.
  • Language: Channel language plays a major role in deciding the channels for certain markets. India is a heterogeneous market where a number of languages are being spoken. While Hindi commands the major share of viewership, there are regional channels that cater to particular languages only.

In case the brand has a preference for a particular genre or language, the consideration set for selecting channels is a small one. If genre and language are not criteria then the entire set of channels can be considered.

Understanding Barc Tg And Market
Television Advertising Campaign Planning : Part 3 20

How to select the channels?

This is a very important section. In an ideal situation, we can go ahead with the top channels and schedule the campaign for the desired period to achieve the pre-determined reach and frequency.

However, in reality, this is not the case. Most companies have a limited advertising budget especially when it’s the first time brands are advertising on television.

Many times, avoiding advertising on top channels is the best strategy. We would discuss the various strategies in detail in our next articles but we would touch upon them in brief here.

To reiterate the definition of affinity, affinity can be defined as the ratio between the TG reach (of the channel) and Universe reaches (of the channel).

This is to be noted that the universe here doesn’t necessarily refer to the entire TV universe. This universe can be any superset of the TG. For example, if my TG is Female 18-40 NCCS A, the denominator can be any of the following: TV universe, India 18+ MF, Female 18-40 All NCCS, All-Female 18+, and so on.

By comparing TG’s affinity towards the channels in question, we can find out which channels is the TG inclined towards.

Tv Channels And Reach Example
Television Advertising Campaign Planning : Part 3 21

Another major factor that can help you decide which channel to choose is CPRP. CPRP stands for Cost Per Rating Point. It is the amount spent by an advertiser to achieve a TVR of 1 (Refer to our previous article to understand TVR). We would understand this through Aykka’s example.

Tv Planning Cprp Example
Television Advertising Campaign Planning : Part 3 22

Remember our conversation about affinity and the campaign approach? Now that we have understood the concept of affinity and CPRP, let’s discuss how it would translate to the selection of the channels.

Maximizing Reach

Based on the TG and market, we can pull out a channel share report which would have in detail, the share and reach of each channel in the selected TG and market. In case the selected approach is to maximize reach, brands can select the channels with maximum share.

Maximizing Cost Efficiency

To maximize cost efficiency, brands can select channels that yield the lowest CPRP.

Minimizing Spillage

Imagine a scenario where the reach and cost efficiency of channels are similar or in case of niche channels where the overall reach is too low, making a decision based on reach or CPRP is very difficult. In this scenario, channel affinity plays an important role.

Time Band/Program Selection

After the channels are selected, next step is to select the time band and program based on Time Band Report and Program Report. Following the above-mentioned approach, one can select the best time band/program based on highest reach or lowest cost or a combination of both.

These are some quantitative calculations. Apart from these, often brands have to take strategic call on selection of channels. Following are few of the questions that brands need to answer about the media mix on a day to day basis when selecting channels for advertising. We would discuss them in detail later.

  • Should I go for popular genres like GECs, Movies, and News or niche?
  • Should I rely on national channels only or include regional channels too for increasing my reach?
  • Should I opt for good quality channels like Star Plus, Colors, etc or channels like music channels, catch-up TV to achieve my objective?
  • Should I opt for regular programs or impact properties like the live match, new movie release, or reality shows?
  • Should I concentrate on high TRP programs only?
  • Should I only prefer Prime Time advertising?

The answer to these questions are never Yes or No but a mix of ratio. To reach this effective ratio, one needs experience and practice. This is where your media planning agency comes into picture.

Tv Planning Reports
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How to determine the target reach and frequency for the campaign?

Now that we have the answers to questions like who is our target audience, our target markets, the channels/programs and time band when we want to advertise, the major question that is in front of us is what percentage of the population should we reach to and how many times should we show them our ad?

In one of the previous sections, we spoke about competitor analysis. Through studying the campaigns run by our closest competitor or substitute, we can get a basic idea of reach and frequency.

At this point, it’s very important that we understand the relationship between reach, frequency, and campaign period. In our previous article, we mentioned the balance required between reach and frequency for a limited advertising budget.

On adding campaign duration too in the equation, we find that there is a triangle formed now. For a fixed advertising budget, some of the scenarios possible here are:

Reach Frequency Campaign Period Relationship
Television Advertising Campaign Planning : Part 3 24

One very important question to answer here is what is the ideal frequency for the campaign. When considering frequency, there are three main factors to consider:

  • Marketing Factors: This takes into consideration various aspects of the brand and the products like how well known the brand is, how long is the purchase and usage cycle, what is the brand’s market share and how many competitors it has, etc.
  • Media Factors: Media factors take into consideration the number and types of media vehicles used, campaign scheduling, type of audience, existing ad clutter, etc.
  • Creative Factors: Parameters related to the ad creative like complexity, uniqueness, variety of creatives, etc.
Tv Campaign Frequency Calculator
Television Advertising Campaign Planning : Part 3 25

We will discuss the various factors in detail in later articles. These factors hold different weights and the resultant frequency is the sum of the factors. There are tools available to calculate the frequency.

From our discussion in the previous sections we know that by increasing the budget, we can increase the GRPs. With an increase in GRPs, reach also tends to increase.

So, can we keep on increasing the GRP until we achieve 100% reach? Practically, it is impossible and brands having a limited budget, it is difficult to achieve. Also, the relationship between GRP and reach is not a straight line. Let’s see a simple example of a reach-GRP graph:

Effective Reach Vs Grp Curve
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If you see the reach per GRP curve, it is steep in the beginning which means as we keep on adding GRPs, the reach increases drastically for a given frequency.

After the point maximum efficiency is reached, it needs more GRPs to be added to achieve higher reach which ultimately would be heavier on the pocket. Sometimes, the budget doesn’t allow brands to buy GRPs enough to reach maximum efficiency. This is a call brands have to take.


Now that we have understood the reach and frequency, the next question is when should we run the campaign on the television. ROS stands for Run on Schedule.

ROS refers to the running of TV ads randomly distributed across the entire day. A lot of these end up running during non-prime time hours and late hours because of less demand.

Hence, most advertisers opt for RODP. RODP stands for Run on Day Parts. Daypart is nothing but a broadcast program term that refers to the division of the entire day in several parts. RODP refers to the running of TV ads during specific hours.

Pre Evaluation And Post Evaluation Report
Television Advertising Campaign Planning : Part 3 27
Tv Planning Media Plan
Television Advertising Campaign Planning : Part 3 28

Summarizing what we learnt in the article in terms of a flowchart

Tv Planning Process Flowchart
Television Advertising Campaign Planning : Part 3 29

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