We recently bought $1200 of TV media for a client, and received $1800 of bonus Run Of Station spots.

Run Of Station placement is decided by the networks and usually includes a mix timezones – usually the stuff they can’t sell, so they give it away to regular advertisers.

We tracked the sales performance of every spot, paid and free, through the client’s website (cPanel, Awstats and Google Analytics).

Of the sales in that period, more than 80% came from the $1200 of paid spots and less than 20% came from the $1800 of free bonus spots.

The $1200 of paid spots delivered sales for around half the client’s allowable cost per sale. The $1800 of ROS bonus spots, had they been paid for, delivered sales averaging over six times the client’s allowable cost per sale.

The conclusion? If the client had paid for a ROS schedule, the campaign would have been a dismal failure, and he would have abandoned the goal of generating a new stream of revenue and profit from TV advertising.

Even free, the ROS spots, though outnumbering the planned and paid spots, only delivered a handful of sales and had little impact on the overall success of the campaign.

A ROS package may sound appealing, but it is basically a bundle of untargeted network ‘off-cuts’. ROS packages may help a brand campaign achieve frequency but they rarely work for retail or Direct Response because:

1.  they are untargeted

2.  they don’t conform to a rational retail or Direct Response TV media strategy, and

3.  they include programmes and time-zones where the cost per thousand of your target audience is too high to ever deliver a low enough cost per sale

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