How is press planned and bought?

Planning and Buying



Planning and Buying With 20 national newspapers, 1,000 plus regional papers and over 3,000 consumer magazines available to advertise in in the UK, it is a good idea to have an expert planning and buying your print campaigns.

The role of the media planner is to understand the audience that the client is trying to reach, and to build a media plan with the most relevant press titles to hit that audience. The media planning process for press involves the following steps:

  • Having assessed the core objectives of the brief and pinpointed the key target audience, relevant titles are established for the campaign.
  • Media owners are contacted for opportunities within the titles, and costs are confirmed and negotiated by the media planner.
  • An initial press plan is sent to the client for approval
  • Once approved, the press plan is booked
  • Creative copy is sent to the titles, ahead of the campaign launch.
  • Once the campaign has run, a post-campaign analysis is completed.

Costs and Variables When booking advertising space in press titles, all titles will publish a rate-card cost, which is a standard cost for booking the space.

The press space itself is traded by single-column centimetres’ (known as SCC), more specifically in display and classified sections of newspapers, and in the classified section of magazines. Display pages in magazines are not traded by SCC, but by standard formats, i.e. full page, half page and so on.

Rate-card costs can vary hugely, and are normally an indication of how desirable the space is to advertisers. Titles with large readerships will cost a lot more as they reach so many more people. To put this into perspective, the Daily Telegraph is bought by over half a million people a day and the rate-card cost of a full page colour advert is £59,000. In comparison, the East Cumbrian Gazette is read by under 28,000, and the rate-card cost of a full page colour advert is £2,533. As you can see, the amount you pay will depend upon the size of the title you are buying and the number of people who are likely to see your advert.

However, it is quite rare to buy space at the quoted rate-card costs. The amount an advertiser pays for the space is negotiated by the buyer and can vary depending on a number of factors:

  • Volume - The more you commit to spending the lower your rates will be
  • Size - The larger the advert, the more you will pay for it
  • Colour - Booking a full colour advert will cost more than black and white (mono)
  • Position - The most read sections / pages will be charged at a premium. Typically the front half is charged at a higher rate, and inside front, inside back and back cover are the most expensive positions
  • Display v classified - Classified adverts are fractions of larger ad formats and so you get more to a page. The classified adverts have less stand out and tend to be in the back quarter of titles. Display rates tend to be higher, as they offer more standout for advertisers. Broadly speaking branding campaigns run in display and direct response in classified, but this is dependent on the objectives of your campaign.
  • Negotiation - The rates you pay depends on how good you or your agency are at negotiating. A rate-card is simply there to set a benchmark for reference. A skilled negotiator can achieve significant discounts off rate-card for their clients
  • Timing - If you have reserve marketing spend available at short-notice you may be able to negotiate very attractive rates when a title is trying to close (to go to print) and has late space available that it needs to fill.

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