Ratings 101: Everything You Need to Know About Them

Rob Luciano

Rob Luciano About The Author

Sep 23, 2020 11:45:00 AM

Ratings 101- Everything You Need to Know About Them

Although ratings have been around for decades, an increasing number of marketers are moving to the ratings model and using it to measure the success of their campaigns. Ratings aren't just for television shows anymore! By using this model, you can get a better idea of how many people view your television ad and what percentage of your target audience you can reach using this model.

Follow these steps to create a commercial that gets results

What are Ratings?

Ratings tell advertisers who was exposed to a specific type of content. They provide information about who viewed the ad and what percentage of your target audience you reached through that ad, based on when and where it appeared, and the frequency of which it appeared. Ratings measure the number of impressions, not necessarily the number of people who took action after viewing an ad.

Imagine, for example, that you are an athletic store and have put together an ad designed to target gym-going individuals who are interested in athletic shoes. Your target audience might be people in their twenties and thirties who have a strong interest in health and fitness.

While you may cast a wide net through your TV ads, which could also bring in older consumers who are interested in a great athletic shoe and younger consumers who may be choosing running shoes for the first time, you want to know who you are actually reaching with that ad. 

After looking at your ratings, you might discover that you aired your TV ad at the wrong time: the majority of the people who saw the ad were seniors, and you reached only a small percentage of your actual target audience. As a result, you might want to shift your advertising efforts to get your ad in front of the people that you really want to see it, increasing the return on your advertising investment. 

Why are They Important?

Ratings provide an important unit of measure that allows you to assess the reach and overall success of your ad campaign. Then, you can adapt it for your future needs. Ratings break down important questions like:

  • Who viewed your ad? 
  • What percentage of your target audience were you able to reach through that specific ad? As you work closely with your media partner, you can learn more about how that percentage relates to your advertising budget and your overall needs. 
  • What device did consumers use to watch your content? 
  • Were most consumers watching from the TV, or were they watching from a smaller screen, including a phone or tablet?
  • When did consumers view your ad? In some cases, consumers may view ads at a later time, when they consume recorded content from a DVR. 

A ratings-based system provides you with more information about your reach and how you can adapt your advertising efforts in order to expand it. With that enhanced data, you can then increase your ability to provide exactly the types of ads consumers need. 

What They Mean For Advertising

The ratings model can go a long way toward enhancing your overall advertising success. You want a measurement model that will give you a solid idea of exactly who has viewed your ads and how much of your target audience you have been able to reach.

Consider how many people there are within your target audience throughout Connecticut. Depending on the type of business you run, you may have a large target audience. A used car dealership, for example, might focus on targeting anyone in Connecticut who is interested in buying a car. On the other hand, a smaller or specialty dealership might have a more specific demographic: people looking for quality family vehicles for a reasonable price, or individuals looking for luxury vehicles. In either case, you might want to narrow your target audience by their income or family size. 

A ratings-based system allows you to see how many of those individuals viewed your ad, based on the overall reach and viewing of a specific piece of content. You can then adapt your ads, such as shifting air times and frequency. 

As you understand your reach, you may also choose to adapt the content of the ads you're creating. For example, you may notice an increased response to specific types of ads, or find that you get more leads when you highlight particular products and services. 

Increasingly, advertisers and media consultants are moving to a ratings-based system that can make it easier to understand the impact of your ads and how they're performing. You do not just want to cast your ads out there and hope for the best. Instead, you want to create high-quality ads that are ideally positioned to reach your target audience. As you work within that ratings-based system, you'll find that you are better prepared to refine your advertising techniques to meet that goal.

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