Remnant advertising: proceed with caution
Media companies rarely sell all of their available advertising space. This unsold space or time, referred to as remnant space, can be purchased by an advertiser at a cost often way below standard rates. But is that the best way to purchase advertising space? If you’re using remnant space as you’re primary strategy with your media buy, you may wish to proceed with caution.
The first drawback is that your media strategy and marketing program is on ‘stand-by’ each month. There’s never a guarantee that you’ll get remnant space in your preferred outlet, if at all. If there is remnant space available, media reps may give that opportunity to their bigger advertisers first – effectively bypassing you — or those that purchase ad space per the negotiated contract rates. Media reps do this to keep their top advertisers happy, for all the obvious reasons.
Another point to consider is that if you don’t have a well thought out media strategy or plan for your fiscal year (or even the next six months), then you’re not maintaining consistent brand awareness among your target audiences. This on and off again approach can be disruptive to your brand as it doesn’t allow you the frequency and reach needed to stay top of mind with your audiences. Also missing is the opportunity to align your product/brand message with editorial content – for example, if there’s editorial planned on forklift safety, then it’s a good time to run your forklift ad that touts its latest safety elements.
Remnant space is often better suited for those who seek an opportunity to “add-on” to an existing media plan wherein it further strengthens its media presence.
Sure, remnant advertising can be cheap and very cost-effective. You just have to be smart about how it’s used. It’s easy to get caught up in all the savings and discounts, especially at a time when all advertisers are looking for the best deal. Keep in mind that the best deal may not be what’s best for your brand.