For its 2nd Brain & Breakfast event which took place on 29 November, ComNext covered the theme of the advertising message from the perspective of:

Media buying:
buy smart!

For its 2nd Brain & Breakfast event which took place on 29 November, ComNext covered the theme of the advertising message from the perspective of: Media buying: buy smart! The subject attracted over thirty advertisers from all sectors of our economy and both large corporations and small organisations. As proof, the variety of sectors represented in the audience included agri-food, cosmetology, non-profit, property, entertainment, IT, culture & heritage, telecoms, car hire and even training. ComNext presented this conference with the participation of the advertising departments of TF1, Radio Classique, Les Echos/Le Parisien/l’Equipe as well as a customer testimony from Green Acres, an online property advertising website. The various speakers followed on from each other to explain how to access the mainstream media intelligently and cost-effectively:
  • Why and how to communicate in the mainstream media;
  • What are the tips and solutions to stand out on these mediums;
  • How to be smart and take advantage of the best offers and pay less than your competitors.
Here is a summary of their speeches.
Managing Director
ComNext Agency

A few proven recipes

Media advertising is often a source of pride but when choosing a media and a format, don’t let yourself be carried away by your enthusiasm without checking your basics.
Ask the right questions:
What is the maturity level of your market in terms of advertising?
• What are your competitors doing?

Research the relevance of the media in relation to a target and an objective:
• Sales objective and communication objective

Research the relevance of a format in relation to the message:
• What do you want to say to your target audience to achieve your objectives?
• Is the size of the format compatible?

Be pragmatic:
• Be aware of the positioning and price with regards a target audience and an objective to be achieved.
• Opt for quality because a media’s power is only valuable in relation to a target.

Don’t forget advertising creation:
• Define a communication concept that can be spread across all media and non-media formats.
The ingredients of a successful ad:
• a strong impact,
• a simple scenario conveying a clear message,
• a unique and original context,
• a brand-specific universe,
• frequent reminders of the brand and its contact point (website).

Making choices

When you have few resources, you have to make choices and therefore concessions. Here are three key criteria that you need to define before launching any media plan.
Coverage vs. repetition
When making a decision, it is often preferable to reach fewer people more often, with an optimised repetition so that the message gets through. How can you assess the best plan, the level of pressure in relation to coverage? Since every problem is different, only Test & Learn can help you answer this question.

Budget concentration vs dilution
Putting all your eggs in one basket may lead to an important contract but sometimes you need to open up the plan slightly to reach the target audience through different formats. There is therefore a choice to be made at this stage.

Power vs affinity
Limiting loss as far as possible in the format scheduling. It is better to reach a smaller target audience without loss through a segmented format or content, rather than a larger target audience (general format/content) where there will be greater loss. The cost/contact will be improved and the plan will be more effective. Other strategies that play on maximum power can be winning ones.

Some practical recommendations

Draw coverage to you
Today, advertising companies talk a lot about the notion of coverage on one contact, i.e. the number of people reached at least once by the campaign. Fifteen years ago, the media were talking about coverage on three contacts or more and even coverage on between 3 and 7 contacts. Proposed media plans attempted to optimise this coverage requirement. However, a high coverage of 1 contact and more may be focused on 1 or just 2 occasions to see or listen and will certainly lack effectiveness. Conversely, on radio (which as we have said is a repetitive media), avoid plans of 15 contacts and more as you risk causing an overdose and a mass rejection of your campaign. Be careful, ask your contacts to provide you with coverage figures for a minimum of 3 contacts and more, for the proposed media plans.

Beware of distribution figures
• Only ACPM (French media and press figures) (e.g. OJD) certified distributions are reliable
• A format’s performance is analysed with regards one target, not absolutely!

Be careful of formats that do not match your strategy.

Walk away from overly aggressive deals
Some low distribution formats sell their entire offer last minute to give the advertiser the impression that they’re getting a good deal. This is rarely the case.

Carry out a campaign assessment
Pay particular attention to the actual distribution of your adverts/billboards and carry out a campaign assessment. You have to be sure that your purchases actually correspond to the reality of what has been distributed (locations, distribution dates, number of publications, etc.).

Buying smart in television

Group Director - Sales Development
TF1 Advertising
The first thing to say about TV is that there is a myth to be dispelled here; TV is no longer inaccessible! The market has become highly competitive and prices are therefore much more competitive.

TV, an increasingly attractive media

Together with digital, TV is the leading media in which brands invest*. It has created (and continues to do so) a strong appetite with an increasing number of advertisers (+19% between 2012 and 2015**). Television now offers a real wealth in its advertising spaces, it is dynamic and constantly evolving.
Sources :
* IREP net revenue 2015 - Excluding Search
** Kantar Media: TV sponsorship investments from 2012 to 2015 inclusive.

Advertisers addicted to its visibility...

Advertisers look to television for an immediacy, it is a mass media (in the same way as billboards or radio) that reaches 82% of the population every day. Its consumption is dynamic and continues to grow. Indeed, on average French people spend 3 hours and 50 minutes per day watching their favourite channels.
One element to be noted is the decline in traditional TV consumption among young people, which is replaced by their growing consumption of catch-up TV, way ahead of YouTube usage.

When we talk about TV today, it is now a question of broadcasting content, live or on catch-up. its effectiveness on image and sales.

Obviously, it is a branding media, but it can also generate performance. This is evidenced by the number of Pure Players advertising on television, which has tripled in 5 years! Of course, they are present to work their brand but also to generate immediate website traffic. The key of Drive to Web is less engaging content that resonates with the target audience, promoting multi-screen activities. The way in which metrics can easily be exploited to assess the impact of communication on web visitors has helped to accelerate this investment by Pure Players in so-called traditional media. And television is particularly effective for recruitment. So, it’s perfect for boosting a strategy to conquer new markets or launch a new offering.
TV helps to boost sales
TV can be tackled in several different ways. TV advertising will influence your brand capital and your brand recognition rate enabling you to use more tactical communications.
TV can help to advance the perception of your brand
It all depends on the type of plan implemented and the message conveyed. In traditional advertising as in sponsorship, the content with which the advertiser is associated must match their objectives: the less engaging the content, the more it is Drive to Web and conversely, the more engaging it is, the more it is a branding generator. The ideal way to find the most effective plan when you are a first-time media buyer is to start with Test & Learn campaigns.

For information, the average advertising period (all formats) on television is three weeks. Any less and there is not enough repetition for the campaign to be effective. It is important to remember that in addition to broadcasting an advert, it is the creation that makes the plan effective. Not only must the message be right but you must also remember the basics such as reminders of the brand or the website URL.
It is possible to buy smart in television!
Focus on TV sponsorship
Although sponsorship is much less flexible than advertising in terms of the message broadcast, it is a very effective and safe corporate branding tool. Indeed, the investment is made in a programme, the values of which are shared by the brand. This format is all the more interesting because there will be a significant change in the rules in 2017 which should see advertisers given the opportunity to show the product and broadcast their claim. If the draft law is passed, sponsorship will be the smart TV investment in 2017, offering advertising at lower rates than traditional advertising slots.

Buying smart in radio

Vincent BUFFIN
President of Ketil Media
Advertising Company of Radio Classique
Radio is interesting in the context of buying smart because, just like television, it is a very powerful media. 80% of French people aged 15 and above listen to the radio at least once a day.

A highly targeted media

Radio is even more highly segmented than television and through this marked segmentation, advertisers can easily reach their target markets. There are general-interest radio stations, where the contents are segmented within the programme, but also comedy, traffic or news radio shows. The most discriminating targeting is found in musical radio where the specialisation by musical genre is combined with those of age and socioprofessional category.
Classical radio is a good example of targeting. Advertising Company of Radio Classique
It offers two content categories aimed at upper level socioprofessional categories (senior executives and company directors): classical music (with a specialised schedule) and news (general and economic). This two-tier approach is divided according to when its priority targets listen: news in the morning, music during the day and news again in the early evening.

An economical media that favours repetition

Radio is a very economical media, to broadcast an advert over the airwaves costs just a few hundred euros. This low unit cost allows the message’s repetition at target periods to be increased, essential since radio is a prime example of repetition media.

Buying smart on radio depending on your objectives

Objectives of pure notoriety
If you have image objectives, sponsoring a section is the perfect format. The programme’s image influences your brand and you benefit from the repetition of the promotional messages on the section throughout the week, in addition to the start and end billboards during the broadcast of the sponsored programme.

A premium context to convince
If you need to promote the brand further and explain your offer, many channels can propose a meeting (often lasting one minute) on a stand-alone screen. The benefit of a stand-alone screen is that your feature takes place during the programme and outside an advertising tunnel. Furthermore, the format which seems more informative than advertising, helps to associate your brand with a quality editorial programme.

Editorial content working for the brand
Like certain short television programmes, or advertorials in the press, radio can work hand in hand with advertisers to create bespoke features, around an editorial content in keeping with the sponsor’s brand. Furthermore, in the same way as traditional sponsorship, the advertiser has the repetition power of the promotional messages in the feature. These plans have average prices of around thirty thousand euros for a month-long campaign and can be combined with an associated plan using specific targeting and the strong power of repetition.

Buying smart in the press

Deputy Managing Director of Team Media
Advertising Company of Les Echos, Le Parisien and l'équipe
Not all media offer the same degree of affinity and targeting for their audience. This is highest in the press.
Let’s take the example of the target market of top earners (upper socioprofessional category).

In television, they represent approximately 12 to 13 million people while in the press this figure falls to 7 million. This highlights the fact that both media do not reach the same categories of people. You will reach more intermediate professions through television and more senior managers through the press. A study of the press readership goes even further. In the press for example, you can reach CEOs/MDs of major companies (approximately 28,000 people in France). In addition to its general/specialist segmentation, the press works on different timescales (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.) and a national or regional distribution. The wealth of its offer allows it to be correlated very closely to a target audience. Regardless of the formats selected, buying smart is also possible in the press if you follow a few rules.

Think outside the box!

Build on the news
This is much easier in the daily press. In relation to the message to be conveyed, is there some material in the news (politics, economy, culture, sport) on which you can comment intelligently? Linking to a news item, even in a small format or through more editorial content enables you to think outside the box and be visible at less cost.

Optimise formats
Small formats can be repeated more often, which is one of the keys to effective advertising, regardless of the media. The press, offering a wealth of formats, facilitates this repetition in different formats for every publication if you wish. It is better to be distributed in a small format several times, than just once on a full page. Use so-called unusual formats, such as a page banner which ultimately have more impact than conventional insets. Also, dare to ask for special formats, such as a cover wrap or advertising insert in the centre page, this will also give you greater impact.

Take advantage of repetition
The press and especially the daily press, allow you to play the repetition card through small formats (identical or varied), which is the key to smart investment in the press. You can also opt for a repetition in the same format in a specific section (travel, technology, culture, finance, etc.). This establishes an appointment, a close relationship with the readers. Choose the right format and the right section with regards your target audience to optimise your budget.

Use successive adverts
When you have several messages to convey, at the same time and in the same time span, successive adverts are a good solution. If you are on a B2B2C market for example, you can publish a press advert in the same publication dedicated to each of your targets.

Establish a different business relationship!

Absolutely no pressure on the business relationship!
With a modest budget, avoid the “I want and I demand” approach. You probably have very specific objectives and a certain number of choices to make. Different materials can be an innovative way of meeting your objectives, using devices you may not have considered. Being open to ideas and saying “Yes, why not” will enable you to establish a win/win relationship and gain additional negotiating leverage. You can also define a fixed part to your media plan together, that the advertising company will be responsible for implementing as it is and give it free reign over a percentage of the budget.

Dare to use floating! Smart buying in the press too.

The concept of floating exists in all media, except in the press. Use it to talk to the titles in which you wish to advertise. What is floating? It is agreeing to a purchasing budget for a firm number of spaces, against certain distribution criteria (repetition, positioning, campaign period, etc...) with a media and giving it free reign to do the media planning itself: publication date within a defined period, formats, etc.

Green-Acres Customer testimonial

Benoît GALY
Manager of
Property advertising website
The company’s manager shared his experience as a purchaser, on the other side of the fence.
The company
Green-Acres is an online property advertising portal, positioned on an extremely competitive market. The company, created in 2004, is now the leader for foreign customers buying property in France. The website generates significant traffic (15 million pages viewed) which places it ahead of Explorimmo and just behind À Vendre À Louer. However, in terms of traffic generated by the website, its reputation is very weak. Estate agents working with a national customer base are only vaguely aware of the company.

In order to address this problem, the company was a pioneer in investing in keywords (Google Adwords) and remarketing (Criteo) to boost its unique visitors.

Today, the company generates 3 million euros in turnover excluding tax and invests 33% of this in marketing and communication (across all channels), including €100 to €150,000 annually for media buying. .

Its media buying problem
Faced with much larger competitors (Le Bon Coin, Se Loger, LogicImmo… with advertising budgets of several tens of millions of euros per year) how could Green-Acres develop its visibility and reputation with a smaller budget?

A relationship of trust
The first real difficulty was that of trust. Who to approach, who to believe? When you are a VSE/SME, you want to contact an expert, a consultancy in communication and media buying. You have to work with confidence in your agency, be agile, test and learn, keep what works and start again.

Green-Acres’ buying experience
The first operation was a cover wrap of Le Point on a property special. A first visibility action on a highly visible media, but which, as a one-shot operation had no impact.

Faced with this failure and its issue of pure branding, Green-Acres shifted to television, sponsoring the traffic news on BFM. Initial feedback began to become apparent, while remaining quite feeble.

Then, Green-Acres tested a more general media with TF1, but in a more targeted way, by sponsoring “Nos Chers Voisins” a couple of times.

The fact that a small brand can buy visibility on TF1 had an important WOW effect, both with the customers (estate agents) and the general public, but also internally. The reassuring effect of being “seen on the telly” is very important in this target market. Using this sponsorship format, Green-Acres was able to boost the impact of its communication at affordable prices, ranging from €50 to €100,000 per campaign. Overall, television sponsorship investments have not yet had an impact on website traffic but have fulfilled the objectives of building reputation and brand visibility.

Of course, fully developing Green-Acres’ reputation will take more time, but the company believes that it is on the right path and is continuing its investments.

The complexity of pricing in France...
Another difficulty as a first-time media buyer is that of the purchasing price for an advertising space. Where can you find it? Catalogue prices mean nothing and you are given discounts that seem enormous and leave you stumped. So ultimately, what is the right price?

Since the amounts are significant and the ROI difficult to evaluate, in comparison with web actions for example, where the cost/contact is specific, it is essential to have good support.

Furthermore, when you have a restricted budget, a decisive factor in the tactical buying decision is immediacy. Grabbing an opportunity demands good responsiveness, for a last-minute deal for example, or taking a slot in place of a competitor.

… and internationally!
With an international positioning, Green-Acres was also looking to develop its reputation in its target countries in Europe. And buying internationally poses new pitfalls because the rules are different in each country.
For example, buying advertising space in England is done through a bidding system. A campaign on ITV was conducted for 2 months during prime time for an amount much less than the basic rate.

If an advertiser wants to position itself by smart media buying, it should give itself the resources to make choices and learn from its mistakes so that it ends up with an effective media plan in relation to its issue.


As we’ve just seen buying smart in media is possible and accessible. It obeys certain rules, some common sense, others more complex.

In conclusion, smart media buying means working hand in hand with a trusted contact who will provide you with an overview of your issue and the media.

In terms of strategy and media buying, there is nothing better than a consultancy that supervises the creation, media planning and buying to work effectively and at the best budget for your brand.