Running electoral registration - England

Using paid for advertising

Using paid for advertising

Media is typically bought in the weeks and months before a campaign is due to go live. 

You will need to hold conversations early on to establish the deadlines for buying advertising media, and for supplying artwork. There are also likely to be technical requirements for the supply of artwork.

You may buy individual sites from media owners, or work with a media buying agency to select the best media to meet your objectives and target audiences. 

What are the channels and who could they reach?

  • Radio – reaches lower income residents and young adults, as well as those in more rural areas; segmented audience can be reached by appropriate stations
  • Online – less useful for lower income households; reaches under-24s and students particularly through social media. Most capable of targeting specific groups
  • Newspaper – potential to reach lower incomes, particularly in certain titles
  • Magazines / newsletters – target specific local areas or community groups
  • Advertorials (promotional articles) for local press and websites – could be used to carry more detailed information
  • Outdoor – useful to reach target audiences by locating in areas with high density and passing footfall; potential to reach students; billboards and buses can provide high frequency of views
  • Mobile advertising vans – can deliver messages to geographic areas with high densities of your target audience
  • Event sponsorship – potential to reach young people and BMEs

What are the other considerations when using paid for advertising?

Buying advertising space is expensive so you should consider the following factors:

  • Total reach – the number of relevant people expected to be exposed to an advertiser’s message at least once in a specified time
  • Frequency – the number of times a member of the audience is exposed to a message in the specified time
  • Cost – The cost of reaching one thousand people or of reaching your target market

When establishing the reach and frequency you may, for example, want to consider if it’s better to have fewer adverts on a larger radio station than lots of adverts on a small radio station and whether a high reach campaign in a local newspaper running for one day is better than a low reach campaign in a community magazine that lasts a month.

Think carefully about your target audiences before accepting any special offers from media owners. Ask why the price is reduced – it may be that the space does not have a proven ability to reach your audience.

Last updated: 6 October 2020