The selection of a media is very important. It will influence the impact and cost of advertising. The target audience should also be identified.

An advertising campaign cannot contribute to success unless the target audience is exposed to it.The purpose of media selection is to transmit the message of adver­tising to the target audience effectively and economically.

The selection of media involves the selection of a particular source or vehicle of advertise­ment and its utilisation over a period of time.

Medium or media selection is a unique decision to be made by the advertiser.There is no one medium that is best for all business units and what is best depends on the unique individual situation of the business unit.

Advertising Media Selection: Factors, Characteristics, Strategies, Approaches, Elements and Other Details

Advertising Media Selection – With Factors and Characteristics

Factors Influencing Media Selection:

In making media selection, we have to consider the following factors:


(i) The financial allocation for advertising.

(ii) The nature of the product and the demand for it.

(iii) The type of prospects, their location and other characteristics,


(iv) The nature of competition and the extent of coverage required,

(v) Cost of media, co-operation and promotional aids offered by media, media circulation.

Right media of advertising will enable the advertiser to deliver the message effectively to the intended markets or prospects.

Media choice is determined by a number of factors such as—Number of viewers, readers, listeners, characteristics of audience-education, sex, income, family size, relative cost of various media. Media selection helps the advertiser to find out which type of media to be used.



1. Displays, shows, exhibitions, trade fairs, point of purchase materials are normally included in sales promotion devices.

2. Advertising specialties such as calendars, diaries, blotters, pen stands, ball pens, pencils, key rings, and many other novelties are partly for advertising and partly for sales promotion. These are business gifts and means of publicity and patronage.

Media of Advertising:


(i) Print Media – Newspapers, Magazines, Trade Journal and Periodicals.

(ii) Direct Mail – Catalogues, Leaflets, Pamphlets, Brochures, Price Lists, Sales Letters/Circulars.

(iii) Transit Advertising – Railways, Buses, Aeroplanes, Trams, Taxis, Auto Rickshaws, Cars.

(iv) Broadcast Media – Radio, T.V., Film, Screen Slides, Internet.


(v) Out-Door or Mural – Posters, Hoardings, Sky advertising, Electrical

(vi) Other Forms – Window displays, point of purchase, Exhibitions, Directives, Showrooms, Trade fairs, Advertising specialities such as calendars, diaries, pen-stands, ball-pens Key-rings etc.

Characteristics of Important Media:

1. Mural Advertising:

Mural or outdoor advertising has long life. It has a general and wide appeal. It can attract attention of numerous people; it is good to remind prospects. An advertiser has ample scope to use his skill and art in advertising.


However, outdoor advertising has certain limitations. It cannot .have a long message. It is not useful in selective advertising or for specialised products. It has a low retention value. Its effectiveness cannot be accurately measured and it may lead to considerable wastage also. Bill boards and hoarding are not welcome today on the highways due to adverse public opinion. (They spoil the natural beauty and environment).

2. Press Advertising:

Newspapers have a general and wide appeal. It is very common method of publicity. Newspapers are flexible and timely. Repeat advertising is possible. Periodical change in size and contents is also easy. Selective advertising to some extent is available. Effectiveness of advertising can be estimated by having keyed advertisements. Newspapers offer promotional assistance. They cure the best source of market information.

Newspapers are truly a way of life to most of the literate people. They have short closing times. Closing times refer to the period before publication when the copy must be submitted. For newspapers, this period is only 24 hours. The adage ‘seeing is believing’ is applicable to press advertisements. It offers greater prestige and believability.


However, newspapers have short span of life. We cannot have coloured and attractive advertisements. Waste in advertising is considerable. Illiteracy affects its utility. Magazines and trade journals are other means of press publicity. They are best for coloured and attractive advertisements.

They have longer life, greater retentive value as well as reference value. Selective appeal is possible. We can approach particular, market segment only. Waste can be reduced. However, they need advanced planning, do not facilitate repetitive advertisements. They have limited circulation; they have higher unit cost per contact.

3. Film Advertising:

It has a wide appeal. It can overcome language barriers. Audio-visual (sound and sight) technique has maximum impact on audience. Sound and sight both are employed for communicating our message. Repeat advertising is possible. However, both cost of production as well as cost of distribution of slides and films are quite high. Selective advertising is not possible. Effectiveness cannot be measured. Waste in film publicity can be considerable.

4. Radio Advertisements:

Of all the media, radio has the shortest closing times. Radio uses only an audio (sound) signal, the copy can be submitted up to air time. Announcements can be made very quickly. It can secure dealer support. It has a very wide appeal. It is suitable even for illiterate people. Repeat message is quite common. Spoken word has greater impact than written word.


However, radio cannot permit selective advertising. It cannot give detailed information. It has low memory value. People remember far more of what they see than of what they hear. Its cost is high. It may not be very effective as listeners may not like it. Many a time, they are bored by repeat messages. The length of time media is momentary. The message may be lost, if the radio is not tuned.

5. Television Advertisement:

Television uses both video (sight) and audio (sound) signals. Television has all the advantages of radio, namely, sound and explanation, plus the additional advantage of sight. It can appeal through ear as well as eye. Products can be demonstrated with explanation. Television reaches the audience almost like personal face-to-face contact. To that extent it is just like personal salesmanship.

Full opportunity exists for product demonstration and amplification of selling points with audio presentation. It is really a wonderful means of mass communication for creating market. Television combines all of the elements of communication- (1) Illustration; (2) Music; (3) Spoken words; (4) written words. We can have short commercials as well as sponsored programmes combining entertainment with advertisement. It represents typical combination of salesmanship and advertising.

However, television has limited market coverage. Advertising on TV is expensive. In addition to time costs, the costs of producing TV shows are considerable. Both radio and TV messages have no life span like the messages in printed form. TV cannot have a long advertising copy.

6. Transit Advertising:


Transit advertising consists of car-card advertising, which is located within buses, subways, railways, and outside displays, which appear on the fronts, sides, and backs of buses or other public transport and at transportation terminals. Transit advertising is the lowest-cost media.

It gives geographic selectivity and seasonal selectivity. It has high readership. It can reach pedestrians and travelling public. However, non-riders are not exposed to car-cards located inside the vehicle. Car-cards have small size and they can carry only short copy. Transit advertising is limited in quantity by the number of public vehicles in operation.

7. Direct Mail:

Direct mail is any advertising sent by mail (postal transmission) including sales letters, folders, pamphlets, booklets, catalogues, and the like. Direct mail is the most personal and selective media. It reaches only the desired prospects. It has minimum waste in circulation. The advertising copy can be very flexible. It has maximum possible personal features even without personal contact.

It can provide detailed information about the product or service, creating lasting impression. Its effectiveness is measurable. It can be timed at persuasion advertiser’s will. It has maximum personal appeal. It can take any size, shape or form permitted by the post office. It is not in direct competition with the rival’s matter. Extensive testing can be done on the product, price, appeal or other factors before the entire mailing is sent out.

The results of direct mail advertising can be checked by means of an offer incorporated in the mailing list. However, direct mail is costly. We may not have proper mailing list. Receiver may consider it as junk mail as it may not have entertainment value. It is not a good means of mass communication.


8. Advertising Specialties:

These include a wide variety of items, such as calendars, books, matches, pens, pencils, knives, key rings, diaries, memo pads, cigarette lighters, blotters, paper weights, purses, rain-hats and so on. They are given to advertising targets without cost or obligation. Advertiser’s name, address, phone number, and a short sales message are imprinted on the item.

The advertiser can choose from among 5,000 specialties in the market. Advertising specialties are reminder type of promotion. It is hoped that they will lead to customer’s orders and re-orders. However, they have limited space available for sales message. They are also costly.

9. Point-of-Purchase Advertising:

It really represents sales promotion devices. It covers the display material used in advertising programme. Such point-of-purchase material may include advertising on the package, window banners, shelf-talkers, merchandise tags, package stutters, information folders and booklets and such other displaying materials.

Advertising Media Selection – Major Factors to be Considered for the Selection of a Particular Media

The selection of a media is very important. It will influence the impact and cost of advertising. The questions like- (a) what to communicate (b) to whom to communicate and (c) how to communicate should be answered properly. The object of advertising is to increase the volume of sales and establishment of a brand name. Creating goodwill for the manufacturer may be the other objective.


The target audience should also be identified. The buying preferences of buyers, when and from where do they purchase, the strengths and weaknesses of products as compared to those of competitors should also be considered while selecting the audience to be approached. After selecting the message and the audience, efforts should be made to adjust these variables in such a way that it makes the greatest possible impact.

There are various media available.

Which particular media should be selected will depend upon the following factors:

(i) Coverage – What is the coverage of the media? To how many people it reaches? If the target audience is clear then the media covering will be easily selected.

(ii) Flexibility – The flexibility in a media will allow the advertiser a freedom to adjust as per his requirements. The coverage may gradually be increased on the response of the audience.

(iii) Frequency – The media should allow the adjustment of frequency of advertisement. If there is a good response from the audience then the frequency may be increased. If the media does not provide any readjustment in frequency, then it may pose some problems later.


(iv) Selectivity – The media may be tilted towards a particular segment of audience. Some magazines may be more preferred by women readers while some others may be liked more by professionals. The type of audience or viewership of the media should be considered before taking a decision.

(v) Creative Scope – Does the media allow a creative scope for the message or visual. It may allow the depiction of various colours in an advertisement. It should be the message which be developed as fully as possible.

(vi) Cost – The cost of undertaking various forms of advertising should be assessed properly. The cost cannot be ascertained by calculating the amount spent upon it but by the response it has received. If a TV advertisement is telecasted at such a time that it goes unnoticed by many people then the cost will be high even though the money spent is less.

On the other hand if the amount paid for a shot is more but it is viewed by all members of family then the cost will be low. So, cost should be decided in relation to the response of the advertisement.

Advertising Media Selection – Important Strategies: With Approaches

An advertising campaign cannot contribute to success unless the target audience is exposed to it. Each advertising medium has different characteristics and is seen or heard by different segments of the population; no one is superior to the others. A particular medium is more suitable for a specific purpose.

For some purposes, one medium may be superior, for other purposes, the same medium may be unsatisfactory and unproduc­tive. The selection of a medium requires a large number of considerations, such as – media strategy, the use of the print media, television and radio media, and other advertising media and approaches to media selection.

Important Strategies:

1. Media Strategy:

An effective media strategy is based on sound and precise marketing direction and marketing considerations. It is a well-known fact that media strategy is marketing strategy and a media problem is a marketing problem. The media strategy is developed within the framework of the marketing strategy.

The two strategies are compatible at the end of the process. Marketing objectives are attained with the use of media strategy. The marketing strategy plays a definitive role to achieve marketing objectives, while the media strategy spells out what role and how the media plan will assist in the accomplishment of marketing strategies.

Media strategy is developed on the basis of the marketing strategy. The marketing com­ponent strategies are unified and organised by marketing strategies. The media strategy is directly concerned with the attainment of media objec­tives. The developing and determining of media strategy involves a con­sideration of media objectives, the factors affecting media use, the form of the strategy, the determination of media strategy, the use of computers and models in media strategy.

i. Media Objectives:

Developing media objectives is the initial step in developing a strategy. The media objectives are the goals to be reached through a proper use of media resources. A media strategy indicates how media charac­teristics or tools will attain those goals. Media objectives are developed within the limits of the marketing objectives. This is the reason why media objectives are formulated only after the marketing objectives have been determined by management.

The basic media objective is to introduce a new product, build a high level of product awareness, and promote a trial use of it among the primary target audience. The media sustain the continuity of the impressions developed by innovators and opinion leaders. They stimulate trial and repur­chase. The media objective varies with the life cycle of the product.

In the initial stage of the product life cycle, the objective is to maximise the awareness of it by consumers. At the maturity stage, continuity of pur­chase becomes the main objective. During the declining stages of product use, the media remind the consumers that the products shall retain their appealing attributes.

The media objectives are reach, frequency and con­tinuity respectively for the early, maturity and declining stages of the product life cycle. The advertising or media objective is analysed in the light of constraints and components.

ii. Factors Affecting Media Use:

In developing a media strategy, the factors affecting the use of media should be considered.

The important factors are:

a. The product,

b. Market,

c. Channel,

d. Message,

e. Media, and

f. Budget.

iii. Form of Media Strategy:

The media strategy has been formulated in the light of different considerations-exposure, segmentation effect, media option, source effect and repetition.

iv. Determining Media Strategy:

A media strategy is determined in the light of marketing strategies, viz., new product strategies, market share strategies, brand image strategies, corporate image strategies, sales promotion strategies, test marketing strategies, product cycle strategies, competition strategies and advertising budget strategies.

The media strategy is a supportive strategy of all these strategies. Advertising is the dominant function of the marketing function. Therefore, the media or advertising strategy may play a significant role in the formulation of marketing strategies. The media strategy may be deter­mined, keeping in view these strategies.

Product life cycle, competition and budgets-these are the important determinants of a media strategy. In the beginning of the marketing of new products, the pull strategy is used. In a competitive situation, the push strategy may be more useful. The budget is the main constraint of these strategies. The market and products positions are also considered when determining the media strategy.

The media strategy includes:

a. Media mix,

b. Media scheduling, and

c. Media planning.

v. Use of Computers and Models:

The use of computers and models in determining media strategy is increasing as a result of the increased size and complexities of media schedules. The computer has been used since the late fifties. Market segmentation, product positioning, media complex, media agency etc., are easily decided by computers.

The media models are linear programming models, heuristic models, simulation models. The prospective customers, along with the alternative media schedules, are placed in the computer and each schedule is evaluated in terms of its reach to the potential customers.

2. Print Media:

The print media have their own charm and effectiveness. It provides detailed advertising information. They reach quality audience in terms of income, occupation and education. The print media use printed letters and words, typed letters, cyclostyled circulars. They are also known as publication media. The degree of readers’ interest in the advertising con­tent depends on the vehicle.

The print media charge for advertising space, depending on the column required and the page number. The advertiser performs the job of checking, processing, printing and distributing. The print media have been divided into newspapers, magazines and direct mail advertising. The newspaper covers multiple types of news. Magazines are qualitative and serve the special interests of people. The direct mail serves as a specific support of advertising.

i. Newspaper:

The newspaper is a local advertising medium. It has local coverage in the sense that it reaches almost all homes within the given area of its circulation. Newspapers are generally published on a daily basis. Very few are published as weeklies. It has been observed in India that about 40 per cent of families living in urban areas read some sort of a newspaper.

Generally speaking, vernacular newspapers are very common in semi-urban areas. There are many national newspapers, some state level newspapers and some local newspapers. Newspapers depend on their circulation and select news, features and editorial subjects to meet the needs and require­ments of their readers.

The Hindustan Times, The Times of India and The Statesman are important national newspapers in India, while the Pioneer, Nav Bharat Times, The Hindu are prominent regional newspapers. There are thousands of local newspapers in India. The Weeklies, such as – The Illustrated Weekly of India, Link, Blitz, are extensively read in metropolitan cities.

Their circulation has been increasing as a result of increasing reader­ship. Advertising costs vary in different newspapers, depending on their circulation and specialities. Newspapers have been analysed under clas­sification, advantages, and disadvantages, types of advertising, rate structure and exposure to customers.

ii. Magazines:

The second form of print media is the magazine. It offers specialised information to a special audience. Newspapers appeal to people in a particular locality; but magazines reach special types of people in all localities. Magazines are subscribed to by those people who have certain tastes; they may be interested in movies, households, sports, politics, and industry.

These magazines are specialised publications. Filmfare gives inter­esting stories on many films, actors and actresses. Cosmetic products, dress and jewellery can be advertised in this magazine. Similarly, Business Today, Business World, etc., carry information pertaining to industry and business.

Industrial goods, raw materials, machines etc., can be advertised through these magazines. Thus, qualitative audiences are approached by the magazines and quantitative success is possible through newspapers.

Magazines were not very popular up to the seventies in India. But, recently, with the expansion of education and standard of living, some magazines have become regular habits of some families. A particular magazine is read for weeks, months and so on. The magazines can be evaluated on the basis of classification, advantages, and disadvantages, types of advertising, rate structure and exposure.

iii. Direct Mail:

The person-to-person communication by advertisers or producers with the prospects has become a very effective tool of advertising. Direct mail may be considered as a mass medium, because the same information is sent to a large number of persons. The direct mail is next in importance to television and newspaper in terms of quantity, quality and cost.

The success of mail advertising depends on the content and postal efficiency. The brochure distributed from house to house by a sales person is direct advertising and not direct mail. In “direct mail” advertising, the brochure is sent through the mail.

If the product is promoted through advertising and ordered by the customer through the mail, it is known as mail order advertising. The term “direct mail” refers to an advertising medium. Direct mail may be analysed under types of direct mail, preparation of direct mail, its advantages and disadvantages.

3. Broadcasting Media:

The broadcasting media have the distinctive features of immediacy and ubiquity. The owner of a television or radio can view or listen to the advertising programmes at a fixed time anywhere within the range of their frequencies. No purchasing and reading efforts are involved. These two media have been considered the most personal of the mass media.

Broadcasting provides a more efficient and effective medium of communication than the print media. In a particular city, only a few magazines and newspapers may be popular; but the radio and television channels may be very common in more than one city and place. The broadcasting media reach the interior places where the newspapers and magazines cannot enter. Radio and television, the two important media of broadcasting, have their distinctive advantages and disadvantages.

i. Radio:

The radio became an established medium of advertising in 1920. Radio advertising increased continuously. The number of radio sets has increased to many lakhs. Television, too, has become very popular; but it has not retarded the popularity of the radio. Radio commercials or advertising have adopted new techniques of advertising by broadcasting music, songs and other entertaining programmes. Frequency modulation (FM) and amplitude modulation (AM) have extended its operations to a larger section of the population.

An analysis of radio advertising involves the structure and types of advertising, its advantages, disadvantages, its rate structure and audience exposure.

ii. Television:

Television has become an important medium of advertising. It has been functioning since 1950. In many countries, the expenditure on television advertisement has increased tremendously. In India, very high frequency channels and very low frequency channels have started relaying advertise­ment programmes.

All television stations have two signals, i.e., video via Amplitude Modulation (AM) and audio via Frequency Modulation (FM). Television advertisements are carefully and judiciously selected to avoid wastage and high cost because a television programme, set once, cannot be discontinued easily. Television advertisements can be analysed under struc­ture, types of advertising, advantages, disadvantages, kinds of user, rate structure and audience exposure.

Approaches to Media Selection:

The purpose of media selection is to transmit the message of adver­tising to the target audience effectively and economically. The selection of media involves the selection of a particular source or vehicle of advertise­ment and its utilisation over a period of time. The constraints in the media selection are the requirements of a suitable message, the nature of the audience and the budget.

Therefore, the media planner should consider them seriously and purposively. The effectiveness of an advertising message and medium depends on the class of medium, media vehicles and uses of the media over a time. The number of vehicles, the quality of the vehicle and scheduling are important considerations in media selection.

The ex­posure, audience composition, coverage, penetration, reach, frequency, continuity, qualitative considerations and several other factors are borne in mind at the time of media selection. The print media have several ex­posures at different times. On the other hand, the broadcasting media have a short life, because people forget after listening to the ad message.

The term audience composition refers to the characteristics of the people in the target audience. Some media have greater impact on the target audience while others have less impact on them. Audience composition is used as the primary means of comparison between the media alternatives.

The term audience coverage refers to the capacity of the media to reach a large audience within a particular range. Coverage can be extended by adding new media to the schedule because their delivery potentials are increased by such ac­tivities. The term reach is applied to the overall media plan.

It is a measure of the total number of unduplicated homes, families and individuals reached by an ad. During a particular period, the number of individuals watching or listening to an advertisement for the first time is known as reach. Penetra­tion is a measure of the share of the target market.

Frequency refers to the number of different times the same person is exposed to the advertising message during a particular period. Continuity is a function of the media schedule and is a measure of the regularity of the advertising effort. The term qualitative aspect of media selection refers to the receptive frame of mind of the audience to act upon the advertisement message.

All these factors are considered for media selection, which covers:

i. The main approaches, and

ii. Media scheduling.

i. Main Approaches:

The main approach to media selection is made in the light of:

a. The maximum exposure desired,

b. The cost per thousand audiences,

c. Computerised approaches,

d. Optimising approaches, and

e. Non-optimising approaches.

ii. Media Scheduling:

Media scheduling involves the micro scheduling problem and the macro scheduling problem. Micro scheduling is done when demand is even throughout the year. It can be done by dividing the whole programme and budget by twelve to get one month’s schedule of media and budget. But the sale of many products is subject to seasonal variations.

The ad­vertisers have to consider the seasonal demand and the effects of the previous advertising on the present demand. Competitive advertising and delayed effects of advertising are also determined when scheduling the media. Advertising has a lagged effect on the awareness of consumers, and on factory sales.

After coming to a decision about the macro scheduling of funds, the media planner then considers how best to allocate expenditure within each monthly period. Micro scheduling patterns are classified on the basis of concentration, continuity and intermittently-phased out ads throughout the year.

The advertising objectives, type of product, nature of the market, distribution channels, repetitiveness, etc., are used when coming to a decision on micro scheduling. It has been observed that the greater the frequency or repetition, the greater will be the retention power in respect of the advertised products.

Advertising Media Selection – 4 Elements to Consider

In selecting media, adver­tisers should consider four elements:

(i) The advertising objectives;

(ii) The circulation of the media;

(iii) The cost of the media;

(iv) The nature of the message.

A smart move by an organization in media selection can be essential for advertising success. Advertisers ideally match consumer preferences with media attributes. Each of the mass media has specific characteristics, potentials, and liabilities that must be taken into consideration when selecting a medium for advertising effort.

Media selection involves a basic understanding of the capabilities and costs of the major advertising media. In media selection, a target audience is pinpointed, and media are chosen to reach that segment of the population.There are six elements of a successful media proposal.

These are:

(i) The Communication Requirement:

If a visual demons­tration of a product seems necessary, the advertiser may turn to TV. If a musical mood is desired, the radio may be favoured. If a detailed discussion of sales points is required, the print media may be most useful.

(ii) Emphasis on the Prime Prospect:

The media expert must have a precise picture of the target audience for the product. Daytime TV serials tend to reach housewives while quiz shows in the evening reach the young student community.

(iii) Geographic Sales Analysis:

Will the campaign be national or regional? Will it aim at major TV stations of the country?

(iv) Efficiency Effectiveness Balance:

The media vary in their efficiency as measured in cost per reaching a thousand viewers or readers or listeners. They also vary in their effectiveness in communicating the message. Advertising choices often represent a balance of these factors.

(v) Pressure of Competition:

Advertising decisions are often made with an eye on the opposition. An organization may not want to abandon a key market to competitors.

(vi) The Budget:

Most budgets for advertising do not come up to the most desirable level of expenditure. Priorities must be determined for the allocation of the money that is available.

One of the most vital decisions in developing an advertising strategy is the selection of the media to be employed. A mistake at this point may cost the company literally thousands of rupees in ineffectual advertising. Media strategy must achieve the communi­cation goals.

Research should identify the market target to determine its size and characteristics, and then match the target with the audience and the effectiveness of the available media. The objective is to achieve adequate media coverage without advertising beyond the identifiable limits of the potential market. Finally, alternative costs are compared to determine the best possible media purchase.

Selecting Major Media Types:

The first step in media strategy is to select the general types of media that will be used in the campaign e.g. newspapers, ladies magazines, sports magazines, general magazines, TV, radio, outdoor, etc. One factor that should be considered is that target market segment.

The objective is to select those media that reach customers in the target segment with the minimum waste (minimum coverage of people or organizations not in the target market segment).

If visual demonstration is required, then the print media or TV may be preferable. If the objective is to maintain a high level of awareness, the radio may be appropriate.

Distribution is another consideration. If the product is avail­able in local or regional areas, the media with national coverage will ordinarily not be used, unless the company plans to expand distri­bution.

The need for seeing and flexibility should be determined. The media vary in terms of how far in advance advertisements must be submitted. Newspapers and radio usually have the shortest closing period; so, if the creative approach uses current events, these media are preferable (unless arrangements can be made with other media).

The advertising budget should also be considered, particularly, when it is relatively small. The cost of one advertisement on TV or in national magazines may exceed thousands of rupees. With a budget of Rs.-100, 000 or less, these costs become a major consideration, because the success of the entire campaign becomes dependent on a few advertisements.

Legal and ethical considerations may be important. For example, it may be illegal to advertise liquor or cigarettes on TV. Commonly accepted standards of taste may also influence media choice.

Finally, the media that competitors are using should be consi­dered. The usual tendency is to duplicate the media choices of others. However, in some situations, companies have achieved notable success by an innovative medium and by using the strategy that allowed them to dominate product-category advertising in a medium.

Selecting Media Vehicles (Factors):

The next step in media strategy is to select specific vehicles within each medium. For example, if magazines and TV are chosen- as media, it is necessary to select specific magazines and TV pro­gramme timings.

One factor to consider in selecting a specific vehicle is the role it plays in the lives of its audience the needs it fills and the audience attitudes toward it. The objective is to select vehicles that have an image and a mood that enhances, or at least is compatible with, the product or service that is to be advertised.

The amount and type of assistance needed from a vehicle is another consideration. For example, the availability of special editions of national magazines that reach only certain geographic areas or demographic groups is often important. Another type of service is the “split run,” presenting different versions of the same advertisement to match groups so that advertising effectiveness can be measured.

Also important is the availability of research on the character­istics of the vehicles audience. When these types of services are desired, they are an important consideration in selecting media vehicles. Another consideration is the ability of the vehicle to reach the target market segment with a minimum of waste coverage.

Some vehicles may provide these data, others do not. In the latter case, it may be necessary to purchase audience characteristics data from agencies.

Many sophisticated advertisers select vehicles on the basis of their efficient coverage of heavy users of the product category, because heavy users may constitute only 20 per cent of the market but account for 80 per cent of the total volume.

Since one heavy user buys as much as eight regular users, vehicles that reach a higher proportion of these heavy users are usually more efficient. Generally, socio-economic characteristics are poor predictors of heavy users.

Therefore, it is more efficient to first identify heavy users and then determine which vehicles are seen or heard by them. Often, this -approach dramatically increases the efficiency of a media plan.

Space and time costs are often the most important factor in “vehicle selection. These costs may be obtained in standard rate and data volumes- although, for some vehicles, particularly TV, these amounts are often misleading, because the final cost is determined through negotiation.

Except for advertisers with small budgets, absolute costs are not an appropriate measure. The most commonly used criterion relates cost to exposure in terms of cost per thousand readers for print media, cost per thousand homes for TV, and com­parable measures for other media. The cost-per-thousand (CPM) rates are used to compare and select specific vehicles.

There is, however, a growing discontent with the CPM criterion, for various vehicles have to be evaluated in terms of their qualitative characteristics and the services they provide. Moreover, the denomi­nator of the CPM formula is circulation, readership or viewing audience, all of which include members and non-members of the target market.

Consequently, many advertisers compare vehicles on such bases as cost per thousand prospects reached, or cost per thousand heavy buyers reached. These qualified measures are more precise and are preferable when the data required for their calculation can be obtained at a reasonable cost.

The following factors should be considered in the selection of media:

(i) Advertising Objectives:

The most important consideration in choosing media is the objective or the objectives of advertising. The objectives include a specification of the target consumer and the intended effect of the message upon him.

Assume, for instance, that the objective is to make teenagers aware of a new disco club. If this is the case, commer­cials on TV and radio would be most appropriate. On the other hand, the objective may be to induce industrial buyers to purchase a newly developed anti-pollution air scrubber. Here, trade magazines would toe a likely choice.

(ii) Media Circulation:

A desirable medium is one whose listeners, viewers or readers are target consumers of the marketer. Media circulation must match the distribution patterns of the product. Consequently, the geographic scope of the market will considerably influence the choice of media. Furthermore, those media should be selected which will reach the desired type of market with a minimum of waste circulation.

A firm manufacturing shotguns, for example, will advertise in a magazine which appeals primarily to hunters. The media used to reach the teenage market will be different from those used to reach married women with small children.

(iii) Cost of the Media:

The cost of the advertising media should be considered in rela­tion to:

(a) The amount of funds available; and

(b) The circulation of the media.

In the first instance, the amount of funds available may rule out TV as a choice. On second count, the advertiser should try to develop some relationships between the cost of the medium and its circulation.

An important selection criterion is cost, both total and per contact. The management, of course, must rule out the media whose total cost exceeds its budget levels.

The cost per contact is the total cost divided by the number of readers, viewers or listeners. (Many advertisers express cost in terms of cost per thousand, the cost per contact, multiplied by 1,000.

The cost per thousand then indicates the cost of exposing 1,000 consumers to the advertisement.) Generally, direct mail has a high cost per contact, and newspapers a low cost per contact.

(iv) Nature of the Message:

The preferred media should be compatible with the advertising; message. The management should consider the media which are most .suitable for the presentation of the message to the market. Floor coverings and apparel are ordinarily best presented in a pictorial form.

The radio is not a good medium for these lines. If a product, such as insurance, calls for a lengthy message, outdoor advertising should not be chosen. If the advertiser can use a very brief message, as in the case of beer, the billboards may be the best choice. If the marketer desires to create excitement and interest in new product, TV may be prefer­able, since its combination of visual and auditory cues is useful for this purpose.

(v) Time and Location of Buying Decision:

The advertiser should select the medium which will reach the prospective customer at or near the time he makes his buying decision and the place where he makes it. For this reason, outdoor advertising, is often good for petroleum products. Grocery store ads may be placed on Friday in anticipation of heavy weekend buying.

(vi) Co-Operation and Promotional Aids Offered by Media:

A manufacturer may want to tie in his advertising with that of his dealers. Consequently, he will look favourably upon those media which offer reprints for use in counter or window displays. Another firm may want some research done on local markets. The manage­ment may select the individual medium which can provide this service.

Advertising Media Selection – Media Choices as per Market Preference

Media selection is a highly involved task for a marketer. The major reason for this involvement is that there could be no single best media strategy that would apply to different involvement is that there could be no best media strategy that would apply to different situations. This attempt is therefore, to identify a fit between media choice and market preferences.

1. Newspapers:

Daily appearance, localised coverage, mass audience appeal, short lead times, poor reproduction quality, short life span. However can be referred to as often as one wishes to. best for launch announcements. Generally the advertising is hurriedly glanced through. Research has shown that readers stay loyal to their newspaper and consider it as the most authoritative medium. Large detailed copy can be placed in it, useful, when advertising for technological products or processes as well as when a new complex concept has to be explained.

2. Magazines:

Magazines can segment audiences according to their field of interest-film, finance, tourism or sports, or covering different industries such as cement, steel, construction, etc. There are however also general interest magazines. Magazines have a long life span and pass along readership. Reproduction is better than in newspapers but because of its periodicity (weekly, fortnightly, monthly) the impact of advertising is deferred. Also, there are long lead times.

Readers look up magazines in a more leisurely fashion. Most magazines are bought at a newsstand and therefore the lead story and contents on the cover determine the extent of readership of a particular issue.

3. Television:

Television allows for sight, sound and motion to be combined with dramatisation. Can convey emotion as well as offers product demonstration. Colour can enhance appetite appeal or useful for products that depend on colour such as paints, colour cosmetics etc. Television however because of multiplicity of channels (satellite + cable) has led to media fragmentation.

It is found that zapping of commercials during the commercial break more often takes place. A mass medium, television can attract audiences of every age and income. An expensive medium both in terms of cost of production and cost of exposure. The higher the ratings, the higher the cost to the advertiser. These ratings are tracked by INTAM and TAM through Peoplemeters.

4. Radio:

The message is fleeting and serves as a good reminder medium. Radio is a very personalised medium. The radio commercial must create a picture in the mind (since there are no visuals), therefore complicated messages or vivid demonstrations are not possible. Being a mobile medium the message can be transmitted almost anywhere. In India the advertising is carried by Vividh Bharati and the primary channel of All India Radio, and now also transmitted through the FM Channels.

5. Cinema:

Cinema lost out to television but it is staging a comeback with the building of multiplexes in the urban cities. Visiting the cinema is seen as a social outing. The Big Picture effect of a cinema screen is an added attraction. Cinema viewing is very popular in the South and the smaller towns. In India we have special category of touring cinemas, defence cinemas and cinemas at tea gardens. Rates are negotiated based on total amount spent and the class of cinema as well as on the market profile of the town.

6. Outdoor:

Consists of hoardings (painted by sign painters), posters(large sized posters pasted on the board) and electronic hoardings. Other forms of outdoor are transit and transportation sites-such as bus stops, electric poles, buses, trains, taxies, rickshaws. Minimum copy, as the massage has to be taken in at a glance. Location of the site is most important. Geographically selective medium. Often used in India by smaller advertisers who cannot afford the cost of print and television. Messages need to be changed frequently.

Other peripheral media are neon signs, baggage tags, match box covers, specialty advertising. We may also have non-conventional media such as wall paintings, kirtanas, tamashas, special stalls at haats and shandies in rural markets.

Advertising Media Selection – With Difficulties in Selection

No one medium type is superior to all the others; each has its merits and its handicaps. The profitability of any one type varies from manufacturer to manufacturer even within a single product classification, and may vary from year to year for a single manufac­turer. Changes and shifts are about the only rule, making generaliza­tions dangerous and any scientific selection of media types impossible.

The advertiser approaches the selection of media types by defining the typical buyer he intends to influence through his advertising. These buyers constitute his market; they are to receive his advertising message from and through the media he selects. The concept of coverage consists of the advertiser’s reaching the maximum number of these buyers his current and prospective customers.

Coverage, then, is limited to users of the advertiser’s product and to persons who do not use it but should; it does not imply the maximum number of all the consumers. Having defined his buyer, the advertiser then determines how many there are and where they are.

The remainder of the selection process involves how to send an effective advertising message economically to the group of buyers that has been defined. A major consideration here is the nature of the message.

Another is how often it needs to be delivered; still another involves the length of the campaign period. The advertiser must deliver this effective message at a cost which he can afford at a figure which will make the advertising effort profitable.

Difficulties in Selecting of Media Types:

(i) Audience Measurement:

The media sell circulation or the opportunity to develop circulation. There is a gross aspect to circulation (how many copies of the Fermina were bought last month) and a net aspect (how many of those purchasers are prospects for the product); or, refined further; how many prospects for the product saw the advertisement last month in the Femina. Audience measurement in the broadcast media is not as precise as advertisers would prefer.

(ii) Difficulty of Cost Comparisons:

There is a cost per thousand concept in every medium type but the basic unit varies, sometimes being cost per thousand homes or thousand viewers, sometimes being cost per thousand passersby, sometimes being cost per page per thousand copies sold.

There is no sound meaningful way of comparing the value of a thousand pages in a publication with a thousand members of a broadcast audience.

Just how does the reaction of a thousand housewives, who read a food advertisement about Magi noodles, compare with that of a different thousand housewives who watch the same on TV?

(iii) The Reliance a Manufacturer Should Place on a Particular Type of Medium:

How much of his promotion effort should a food manufacturer place in magazines and how much on TV how much, if any, in outdoor or point of purchase? Which type should be dominant and which ones supple­mentary?

Media costs, the costs of space and time, are the largest single expense item in most advertising budgets. The selection of media types to be used in an undertaking deserves, even demands, the very best thought and judgement of on the part of the top management.

The matters should get attention are:

(i) Availability:

Regional markets may be so limited that national circulation of magazines should not be used. A product may have so slight a market that a medium such as the radio would not be indicated for use.

(ii) Selectivity:

Some big sales ideas demand visual presen­tation others demand oral presentation. The radio cannot accommodate stories requiring a physical form, and outdoor advertising cannot accommodate long stories. The copy aiming at direct action is different from the copy seeking indirect action.

(iii) Competition:

Competiton is a matter which the advertiser does not ignore. A company may select media types not used by its competitors, counting on distinctiveness and domination to justify this choice.

Selection of Individual Media:

Having finally decided to use magazines, the advertiser’s next job is to select which magazines should carry his advertising.

The points to be considered for this purpose are:

(i) Circulation:

What advertisers buy from media is circulation. Continuing our magazine example, the advertiser searches for those magazines whose quality and quantity of circulation fit his needs.

When the typical reader of a certain magazine and the typical prospect of a certain manufacturer are the same individual, the quality of circulation is excellent. The circulation of medium in those markets where the manufacturer does not have distribution facilities reduces the quality of the medium for that manufacturer.

The quality and quantity of a medium’s circulation are meaningful only in terms of the medium’s rates. When the magazine starts selling more to advertisers, it charges them more; and when its costs continue to rise, it must raise its rates.

(ii) Prestige:

Prestige is an intangible. Excellence in putting together the editorial features which go into an issue contribute to a magazine’s prestige; outstanding physical appearance makes a similar contribution. The magazine’s advertising standards and the patronage of a group of respected advertisers are evidence of prestige.

(iii) Influence:

This, too, is an intangible. Some magazines as carriers of advertising undoubtedly enjoy greater influence with retailers and with consumers than do other magazines.

(iv) Readership:

How thoroughly is the magazine read? What is the intensity and the intentness of this reading? How much reader loyalty and reader confidence in the authority of the magazine are present in this reading?

Advertising Media Selection – 7 Main Factors Influencing Media Selection

Medium or media selection is a unique decision to be made by the advertiser. This depends on factors like the specific situation or circumstances under which he is carrying on business, the market conditions, marketing programme and the peculiarities of each medium of advertising. There is no one medium that is best for all business units and what is best depends on the unique individual situation of the business Unit.

While choosing the appropriate media for advertising, the following factors should be considered:

1. Nature of the Product:

The product to be advertised is the main determinant of the advertising medium. Consumer products such as soap, paste, tooth brushes, cold drinks, beauty aids, etc. are meant for the masses and therefore should be advertised through newspapers, radio, films and outdoor displays, which have a general and wide-spread appeal.

But consumer durables need demonstration and so they can be advertised on television. Industrial goods like raw materials, tools, machinery, etc. can be advertised better in specialised trade, technical and professional journals. Accordingly, the advertising planner has to select the media which matches the product and its nature.

2. Potential Market:

The characteristic of a potential market for the company’s products will determine the exact choice of the media. The aim of every advertising effort is to carry on the advertising message to prospective customers, economically and effectively. This depends on identifying the potential market for the product, in terms of number of customers, their geographic Spread, their income level, their age group, their tastes, their likes, dislikes, etc. Market research can give valuable information in this regard.

If the message is to reach moderately rich people, then magazines are the best medium. If a local area is to be covered, newspaper and outdoor advertising media are helpful. If the idea is to reach illiterate people, then radio, television and film media are best suited. So, the media must match the demographic features of the market for the products.

3. The Type of the Distribution Strategy:

The medium or the media should be one that goes in line with the company’s distribution strategy, there is no point in advertising a product, if it is not available in retail outlets. Similarly, the advertiser need not use a national media, if he does not have a national distribution system or network.

4. The Advertising Objective:

The objective of advertising has a significant role to play in deciding the medium of advertising. If the objective is to introduce a new product, or to fight the competition, a combination of various media may be used. Prize contests will help to build up the goodwill of the firm and may increase sales also. If the firm wants national coverage, it can go for newspapers, magazines, radio, television, etc. If the firm wants worldwide publicity, it can go for advertising.

5. The Finance Available:

Funds at the disposal of the advertiser have a direct bearing on media selection. A manufacturer may have a deep desire to go for costly media, but funds may not be sufficient for this. So, the advertiser must go in for that medium or media, where he gets the maximum participation, or schedule of insertions, to achieve an effective advertising programme.

6. Media Used by Competitors:

The success of the advertising programme and strategy also depends on the media used by competitors. So, the advertiser should study the moves of his competitors carefully and make his plans accordingly. Usually, the majority of advertisers follow what their industry follows, or what the competitors follow.

7. Characteristics of Media:

Media characteristics differ widely and this factor affects the choice of media.

These characteristics are:

a. Coverage,

b. Reach,

c. Relative Cost,

d. Frequency.

a. Coverage:

This refers to the circulation or the speed of the message provided by the media. The larger the coverage, the greater are the chances of message exposure to the public. So, advertisers usually prefer media with larger coverage or circulation. In this context, newspapers, magazines, radio, television and cinema are known for mass coverage. On the other hand, direct advertising and outdoor advertising media are known for local and regional coverage.

b. Reach:

This is a better measure to evaluate the effectiveness of the advertisement, because it indicates the actual potential audience exposed to the advertisement. We can measure the reach with readership in case of press media, listenership in case of radio and viewership in case of television. This data is most important to evaluate the actual and potential reach of the advertisement.

c. Relative Cost:

This refers to the amount of money spent on a particular advertisement. The amount of funds available for advertising should cover its cost. Now, newspapers have reduced advertising rates considerably and so it is cheaper and more popular as compared to television advertising.

d. Frequency:

This refers to the number of times the advertising impression reaches the target audience. In this context, newspapers, television, radio and outdoor media are known for the highest degree of frequency. So, if the advertiser wants to get the best results for the money spent and efforts made, he should consider the factors mentioned above while selecting the media.

Advertising Media Selection – Criteria for Media Selection

After the general media strategy is determined, the planners select and choose particular media vehicles for communicating with their audience. The value of each medium is calculated by the planner on a set of specific criteria.

Criteria for Selecting a Particular Medium:

When evaluating a specific media vehicle, the planner has to consider some factors which are crucial for the campaign’s success. These are the overall campaign objectives and strategy, size and characteristics of each medium’s audience, exposure of the medium, cost efficiency of the medium and motivation value of each medium. All these criteria are integral to the media plan. Without using these criteria it is difficult for the client and agency management to analyse the logic and consistency of the recommended media schedule.

1. Overall Campaign Objectives and Strategy:

The first job of any planner is to study and review nature of product or service, the intended objectives of the strategies, the primary and secondary market of the product or service, and audiences. Often the nature of product would suggest the media choice. A product with a distinct personality or image such as an expensive Swiss wrist watch Omega or Tessiot might be advertised through media that reinforce this image. The media planner has to consider how consumers regard various magazines and TV program- feminine or masculine, serious or frivolous and decide whether they are appropriate for the brand.

The content and editors policy of the media and its compatibility with the product are important considerations. Sports world magazine may be a poor vehicle for cigarette ads even though its demographic profile and image matches the desired target audience. Consumers choose a particular media vehicle because they gain some reward i.e., self-improvement, financial advice, career guidance or some entertainment with news. Advertising is most effective when it positions a product as a part of the solution that customer seek.

When the planner’s objective is to distribute the product more widely, he should use the media which influences potential dealers. If the planner’s aim is to increase the national sales for their product, they choose a media that penetrates the local, regional and national markets. The price of the product also influence media choice as the premium priced goods should always be advertised through prestigious or classy media to support its market image.

2. Characteristics of Media Audiences:

Audiences means the number of population or households which are exposed to the medium. The planner should understand how closely the medium’s audience matches the profile of the target market and how interested the prospective consumers are in the magazine, publication or a program. A product intended for sports men will most likely be advertised in sports magazines or sports programs.

Demographic and psychographic data on product usage of customers should be generated by market research so as to decide the media vehicle for different age groups or different ethnics groups. The content of the medium usually determines the type of people in the audience.

Some Radio programs specialize in news or sports while others feature music and other entertaining programs. Each type of program attracts different audience. The older generation is more inclined to hear news whereas the youngsters, listen to jazz music more. So the products for older generation should be advertised during or before news and for the younger generation’s products, music programs are the best choice.

3. Exposure, Attention and Motivation Value of Media:

Exposure can be understood as the number of people in the audience an ad will see. How many of a newspapers three million readers will actually see the advertisement. Just because someone reads or buys a magazine does not mean they the sees the ads. Some people read the articles they want to and leave the magazine on the desk. Many people change their channel while a commercial break is coming and do not get exposed to the ads. Comparing the exposure value of different media vehicles is very complex. Without statistic, media planners have to use their best judgment based on experience.

There are some factors which affect the probability of ad exposure:

i. The senses used to perceive message from medium e.g., scratch and sniff ads improve the exposure of magazines.

ii. High involvement with the medium gets greater exposure.

iii. If the medium is information source e.g., Radio, it has greater exposure.

iv. When the medium aims at specialized audience rather than general audience, exposure is more with specialized audience.

v. Exposure is more when placement of the ad in a magazine, news or broadcast is on front cover page or in between a program which is broadcasted.

Attention concerns the advertising messages and copy, as well as medium. Special interest media offers greater value e.g., an engineering magazine is very fondly read by all engineers in the country.

Five factors are known to increase attention:

i. Motivation is affected by the same factors. Audience involvement with program material or with editorial content.

ii. Specialization of audience interest.

iii. Timeliness of advertisements.

iv. The number of advertisers e.g., the lesser the number of advertisers the better for the planner.

v. Audience familiarity with advertiser’s campaign.

Motivation is affected by the same factors. Familiarity with ad writer’s campaign may affect interest of the audience significantly but there is very little motivation. The attention factors of quality reproduction and timeliness do motivate people to a considerable extent. Media planers analyse these values by assigning them numerical ratings for their judgments of a medium’s strengths and weaknesses. This enables the planner’s to evaluate media vehicles by using the weighing formula and taking decisions about media selection likewise.

Cost Efficiency of Media:

Media planners analyse the cost efficiency of each medium. A common term used by planner when buying it is cost per thousand (CPM). Means thousands in Roman numerals. If daily newspaper has 5, 00,000 subscribers and changes Rs. 5,000 for a full page ad, the cost per thousand is the cost divided by the number of people in the audience. Since there are 500,000 subscribers, you divide Rs. 5000 by 5, 00,000

The media planners are also concerned about cost efficiency i.e., cost of exposing ad to maximum target audience rather than to total circulation. Comparing different media by CPM’s is important but does not take into account each medium’s other advantages and disadvantages. The media planner must evaluate all the criteria to determine how well each media offers attention, exposure and motivation. Secondly, he should see how each medium is satisfying the objectives and strategy and finally how much of each medium’s audience matches the target audience.

Reasons for Using Mixed Media:

When the planner combines all the media for his campaign it is called mixed-media approach.

There are many reasons for using mixed-media approach by media planners:

a. To reach the audience this is unavailable through only one medium.

b. Providing repeat exposure in a less expensive secondary medium after attaining optimum reach in the first medium.

c. To use the intrinsic value of an additional medium to extend the creative effectiveness of the ad campaign.

d. Giving out coupons in print media when the primary media vehicle is broadcasted.

e. To deliver synergy, where the total effect is greater than the sum of its parts.

The planner can start with using newspaper as media when introducing a new product and give immediate information to audience about the product through the message. Later on, there can be a follow up for general detail, image enhancement, and longevity and memory improvement. By using an integrated, mixed-media approach, and the campaigns can create unprecedented consumer awareness and dealer support. Mixed-media approach, therefore, is highly creative for the planners.