Local TV Advertising: What Is It and How Does It Work?

Local TV Advertising: What Is It and How Does It Work?

8 Min Read

Local TV advertising revenue is expected to surpass $175 billion in 2024, which, for advertisers, means only one thing: opportunity. 

More local businesses are realizing that big companies with nationwide ads aren’t the only ones who can see a high return on their investment with TV. In fact, local TV ads provide many advantages, from better geographic positioning to highly improved cost-effectiveness. 

The key to nailing local TV advertising is understanding what works and, even more importantly, what doesn’t. By employing best practices and knowing what results to measure, you can reach the ideal audience for your brand. 

Here, we’ll explore the ins and outs of local TV advertising and how to create an ad that motivates your viewers to take action.

What Is Local TV Advertising?

Local TV advertising is the process of purchasing airtime on TV channels that cater to specific geographic areas.

On linear TV, these ads usually air during local news broadcasts, syndicated shows, or local sports programming. As 62% of Americans watch local news daily, these showings are prime ground for businesses hoping to score big views. 

What stands out about local TV advertising is the ability for businesses to connect with potential customers in their vicinity. As a result, they can tailor their messages to local demographics, interests, and preferences, making it a more personalized (and interesting) viewing experience. 

Cable TV Ads vs. Connected TV Ads

Cable TV ads are delivered over traditional TV networks, and they’re typically scheduled to appear during set time slots on specific channels.

On the other hand, Connected TV (CTV) ads are delivered over the internet via streaming services or apps on internet-connected devices, such as smart TVs, gaming consoles, and mobile devices. The advantage? Businesses can reach cord-cutters who no longer subscribe to traditional cable but still enjoy watching TV. 

Both cable TV ads and Connected TV ads can be local TV ads.

Pros and Cons of Local TV Advertising

Local TV advertising offers local businesses plenty of advantages, including: 

  • Hyper-targeted advertising: Perhaps the biggest benefit of local TV ads is the ability to target a very specific audience. There’s a greater opportunity to tailor your content to viewers’ needs, pain points, and interests on a personal level.
  • Higher credibility: Local advertising allows brands to establish familiarity with viewers and demonstrate their commitment to the community they serve. 
  • Better production value: As local TV ads tend to be more cost-effective than national ads, local businesses can spend more money on higher-quality productions. 

Of course, businesses must consider the potential challenges of local TV ads, as well, including:

  • Lack of flexibility: Local TV advertising typically requires more advanced planning, making it difficult to make last-minute adjustments to the commercial. As a result, it’s harder to adapt your ads to current customer trends or interests.
  • Ad avoidance: Modern tech gives audiences greater control over their viewing experience. Depending on where and how they’re watching, they might be able to fast-forward or skip ads, making capturing their attention from the get-go more essential.

How Do Local TV Ads Work? 

Now that you know the pros and cons of local television advertising, it’s time to dig into how it all works. 

1. Define Your Goals and Target Audience

The first step is clearly outlining your ad’s goals and identifying your target audience. Begin by asking yourself what you hope to see from your ad. Is it greater brand awareness? Driving up your website’s traffic? Boosting your sales? 

Once you’ve settled on your goals, research your ideal audience. Consider basic demographics, such as age, gender, income level, purchasing habits, and media consumption patterns. You can obtain this data through surveys, customer databases, competitor analysis, or website analytics. 

2. Create Compelling Ad Creatives

Investing in the creative aspect of your ad goes a long way toward making a lasting impact and communicating your message. Think about local TV ads that have captured your own attention in the past. Was it due to a catchy slogan or jingle? Compelling visuals? Or how about an engaging storyline? 

3. Leverage Geotargeting

Geotargeting is key to making sure your ad gets in front of the eyes of the right audience. MNTN Performance TV, for example, offers geotargeting capabilities that allow you to precisely target your audience, down to a single city, region, or even ZIP code — the perfect way to ensure relevance. 

4. Set Your Campaign Objectives and Budget Parameters

Next is setting up your campaign objectives and budget parameters. You must determine which key performance indicators (KPIs) will help you track your campaign. These can include impressions, conversion rates, and return on ad spend (ROAS). For your budget, you can allocate your resources based on factors like the cost of production, media buying and placement, and data analysis tools. Be realistic so you know you can achieve your desired outcome. 

5. Launch and Track Your Campaign

Last, it’s time to launch and track your campaign. Keep an eye on your KPIs and track your performance. For instance, MNTN’s reporting suite lets you measure your CTV ad results in real time, including your ROI and regional impact. Monitor and adjust your campaigns over time to ensure they’re performing how you need them to. 

Measuring a Local TV Ad’s Performance 

By measuring your ad’s performance, you’ll be able to understand its effectiveness and optimize your campaign. The key metrics to consider when analyzing your campaign’s performance include:

  • Impressions: Impressions measure the total number of times your ad was displayed on TV screens. They’ll help you better understand your ad’s visibility and reach.
  • View-through rate (VTR): Your VTR is the percentage of viewers who watched your ad to the very end after it was broadcast, demonstrating viewer retention. 
  • Click-through rate (CTR): CTR determines the percentage of viewers who clicked on your ad. It shows you the level of viewer engagement and interest in your ad’s content.
  • Conversion rate: Your conversion rate measures how many viewers took a desired action after seeing your ad. This could include making a purchase or visiting a website. It helps you assess your ad’s impact on driving your desired outcome.
  • Return On Ad Spend (ROAS): The classic way to measure your success is by looking at the number of sales you generate due to your advertising. This helps you understand your profitability and determine whether you’re making money from your efforts. 

Best Practices for Advertising on Local TV 

By following local TV ad best practices, you can create a more engaging viewing experience for your potential customers. 

Keep It Local

Local TV ads allow you to engage audiences in hyper-targeted regions, and it’s important to capitalize on that to make an effective ad. Try incorporating local references or landmarks that will connect with viewers on a personal level. 

Focus on Storytelling

Compelling storytelling will always be one of the most powerful ways to capture an audience’s attention, no matter the medium. Consider using customer testimonials, community events, or your own brand’s origin story to evoke emotion and leave a lasting impression. 

Include a Clear Call to Action

With any ad, you always want to have an easy way to motivate viewers to take further action. Make sure that your call to action (or CTA) is straightforward and easy to understand, whether it’s asking viewers to call your company’s phone number or encouraging them to visit your website. 

Keep It Short and Sweet

Thanks to people’s ability to access whatever content they desire at all times, attention spans are shorter than ever. Aim to keep your ad concise and to the point. Avoid including unnecessary information or drawn-out explanations. 

Be Consistent

Consistency is key to building brand awareness. Make sure your advertising campaigns maintain the same voice, visual identity, and messaging across all platforms. Building a cohesive story (and customer buying journey) will help maximize your effectiveness across all touchpoints

Local TV Advertising Costs, Explained

Costs for local TV advertising can vary widely depending on several factors, including market size, audience demographics, time of day, and whether you’re advertising on linear or Connected TV. However, some common elements will usually contribute to your overall expenses. These include production and airtime costs, ad placement and frequency, agency fees, media buying commissions, and taxes. By breaking down these costs, you can develop a more realistic budget, negotiate deals, and maximize your ROI. 

Local TV Ads With MNTN Performance TV

There’s a lot to figure out when it comes to making the perfect local TV ad. Fortunately, MNTN offers a solution with Performance TV, a CTV ad platform with a premium inventory, automation, and precise targeting

You can reach viewers by selecting precise areas and — even better — retargeting those who have engaged with your brand through website visits. It takes the guesswork out while helping you maximize your advertising ROI and deliver a personalized, engaging experience to local viewers.

Local Television Advertising: Final Thoughts

Local TV advertising offers incredible opportunities for nearby businesses. It’s a way not only to target local audiences for higher profits specifically but also to build your brand and connect with viewers on a more personal and engaging level. By understanding the nuances of local markets, employing best practices, and leveraging the power of CTV technology, you can create a local TV ad that drives growth and finds success in your community.