TV Guide to Advertising
By Alysia Ehle

April 6, 2020

By Alysia Ehle

April 6, 2020

Is TV advertising right for your brand? It’s a question we can help you answer!

At Arm Candy, we craft intelligent media plans by asking the right questions before making a media recommendation. Understanding your business and what a successful campaign would look like will help determine what type of TV advertising is a good fit—or whether TV is a good media recommendation at all.

There are five different types of TV placements you can add to a media plan. They vary in targeting capability and cost, but also your key business demographic.


  • Broadcast
  • Cable
  • Network
  • Local TV
  • Direct Response TV


  • Addressable TV
  • Programmatic TV
  • Connected TV (CTV)
  • Over-the-top (OTT)
  • Full Episode Player (FEP)

While Digital TV seems to have taken a leg up on Traditional due to advanced audience targeting capabilities, at Arm Candy, we like traditional placements! When they make sense, that is. 

Traditional placements have high media efficiencies right now, with CPMs ranging between $3-12—which is the cost per thousand impressions based on Nielsen Ratings. With these rates, a traditional TV plan would have up to 10 times the impressions than Connected TV.

So the question is—when is traditional TV a good fit?

First, we need to determine if Local TV or National TV is the better play, as the audience base for each is drastically different.

We have found that Local TV viewers specifically are more susceptible to advertisements. These TV ads influence their behavior more than they would a younger demographic, who is becoming more blinded by digital ads splashed across their screens.

If audience demo is a fit for Local TV, you get media efficiencies and better engagements from those consumers who haven’t cut the cord.

We especially like Local TV when your product or service is useful to the masses. Is it something every household likely needs? Think household goods, tires, auto services—it is safe to assume that everyone needs these items. And if not everyone, there is very little media waste.

Local TV is also a great addition to a media mix when there is a high store location density in a specific market. This, combined with a product or service that is useful to all, leaves little required audience targeting to achieve successful campaign results.

Our other favorite traditional TV placement is Direct Response TV (DRTV). DRTV is any advertisement that has a direct call to action, which could include calling an 800 number, visiting a website, or sending a text message to initiate the sales process.

DRTV placements are 25-50% less expensive to the general market, and work best when looking to sell a product or service that, like Local TV, is of interest to the masses. Benefits to these placements include flexible run dates, as you can easily cancel them and be off network in 2-3 days if necessary.

In our opinion, DRTV could be considered the origin of biddable media, as these were the first types of placements to be optimized by daypart, network and creative, which are routine optimization methods in programmatic media today. Not only can these campaigns be optimized, but they are attributable. These placements are intended to drive sales, phone calls, etc. which can be measured through various attribution partners. Due to efficiencies and scale, DRTV spots can drive very significant results, coming in at $2-$15 cost-per-purchase (CPP).

Although DRTV can be a great solution for some advertisers, there are things to keep in mind. These spots can be bumped depending on general market activity, and they can be difficult to pace up and down, meaning placements can be unpredictable one week to the next.

If the above scenarios are not the case for your brand, then these types of traditional TV placements may not be a good option for you. Instead, we’d suggest you consider digital options with a more targeted TV element, like Connected TV (CTV)/Over-the-top (OTT).

Running media on CTV is not a direct response program—meaning it isn’t inherently tied to immediate sales. CTV will help you establish a media baseline, and is a great fit for many awareness and consideration campaigns.

Tires are a good example. Many people don’t know they need tires until they actually need tires. It’s a product that appeals to the masses, but consumers need a reminder. 

The benefit of CTV is that it is super targeted. Arm Candy has access to over 50 data partners to create an audience tailored to your brand, which will ensure you’re reaching the right people. If you can think of the audience, you can build the audience. For example, one of our automotive clients targets people who own specific make and model of vehicles that are over 5+ years old, layering on that they haven’t been to a tire repair or service center in the last 24 months. This audience can be applied to any digital ad format, including CTV!

We’re able to use your own customer database for targeting. This could work in three ways: existing customers, lapsed customers, or a look-a-like audience to your customer base. Each of these different audience types could be exclusively targeted. 

We love CTV for premium products and services—anything with an average order value of $100 can really benefit from CTV, and you’re likely to see the returns. 

CTV ads are high quality, drive strong engagement and can be extremely targeted, but you need a high price point to make sure you’re seeing returns, because CTV costs are expensive relative to other media types. Say you’re selling cars, plane tickets, travel packages, or anything with a more premium price point—CTV is fantastic! In addition, Arm Candy can connect online and offline sales to analyze trends and measure returns. We’re confident that a strategic campaign will see a return on investment over time.

An added benefit to CTV for awareness campaigns is cost per completed view (CPCV). While CPMs for CTV are more expensive, when you break it down to a CPCV, you’ll often see it range from $0.02 to $0.03, due to the nature of the placement. People are tuned into the programs they watch on digital TV, they can’t fast forward or skip them. To put those CPCVs in perspective, the equivalent cost on YouTube for a :30s spot is close to a $0.30 range and Facebook can range from $0.04 – $0.30 on videos of that length. CTV is a great channel to deliver quality video placements with high total view exposure—better than any other channel available.

We lean into Local TV and CTV quite often as a part of our media mix. If you want to learn more about other types of TV advertising opportunities, check out the cheat sheet below, or contact us to start a conversation!

TV Advertising Cheat Sheet Download (pdf)
Written By Alysia Ehle

Alysia is all about the data. She uses it for all things, primarily to help craft the media plans and strategies that are intended to drive our desired outcome. And when she’s not developing strategies, she’s either writing, parenting or on the Peloton.

Written By Alysia Ehle

Alysia is all about the data. She uses it for all things, primarily to help craft the media plans and strategies that are intended to drive our desired outcome. And when she’s not developing strategies, she’s either writing, parenting or on the Peloton.