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How to Advertise Nationally: 5 Best Practices 

Depending on your brand goals, national, regional, and local brands looking to expand and grow their business could all greatly benefit from national TV ad campaigns. At TEGNA, Kinzey Fritz knows what it takes to create a national TV campaign that generates results. We sat down with her to get her insights on creating a national campaign that can move the needle for your brand.

Meredith Cunningham Published: September 27, 2023
How to Advertise Nationally: 5 Best Practices  image

Kinzey FritzIn the ever-evolving landscape of video advertising, the quest for that elusive but highly coveted national spotlight has never been more challenging or rewarding. National advertising campaigns can transform brands into household names, capturing the hearts and minds of consumers from coast to coast.

But to navigate the complexities of reaching a diverse and discerning audience, you need more than just a catchy slogan and an eye-catching logo. Success in national advertising often requires a combination of strategic planning, creative excellence, and the right partner. 

With nearly five years of experience and a handful of notable partners as a National Account Executive at TEGNA, Kinzey Fritz knows what it takes to create a national TV campaign that can propel a brand into the national spotlight. We sat down with her to get her insights on creating a national advertising campaign that can generate great results and remarkable ROI for your brand.   

What is National Advertising? 

Suppose your brand goals include reaching millions of viewers to increase sales. National TV advertising effectively reaches a massive audience from coast to coast and is often categorized by 15- or 30-second video ads or commercials. 

But what makes national advertising different from local or regional campaigns?  

“National advertising is an ad campaign that targets the entire country vs. regions or specific DMAs,” explains Fritz. “This is beneficial when a company has a service or a product available for purchase that is not isolated to a specific region of the country.”  

When creating national advertising media plans, media buys are not geo-targeted & air on national networks (for TV) such as ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, and ESPN, and air alongside programming such as “The Masked Singer” or NBC’s Sunday Night Football.

What are the Objectives of a National Advertising Campaign? 

The objectives of a national advertising campaign can vary depending on your brand’s specific goals and priorities. Still, they generally encompass a range of strategic aims aiming to maximize the campaign’s reach, impact, and effectiveness nationally. 

“National plans, like local plans, are used when companies want to increase sales and revenue, build brand awareness, and improve brand perception across a national footprint vs. targeting specific regions or DMAs,” says Fritz.  

National campaigns can also be used to: 

  • Build Brand Fame: Once marketing campaigns reach a certain level of recognition, visibility, and positive brand reputation, consumers begin to respect and trust the brand as a leader in their industry.
  • Expand Market Share by highlighting unique selling points and competitive advantages.
  • Promote Special Offers and Launch New Products to generate interest, excitement, and demand for the new offerings, incentivize immediate customer action, and help drive short-term sales spikes (However, some national advertising campaigns focus on long-term brand growth and market dominance).
  • Educate Consumers to position the brand as a knowledgeable authority and create trust and credibility.
  • Create Emotional Connections and focus on storytelling and messaging that resonates personally (The Farmer’s Dog Super Bowl commercial is a great example of this).
  • Gather First-Party Customer Data: Collecting valuable customer data, such as email addresses, through the campaign for future marketing efforts is a strategic objective for some advertisers.

Effective national advertising campaigns are built on a clear understanding of the target audience, strategic planning, creative execution, and continuous measurement and optimization to ensure the objectives are met. These objectives should align with the advertiser’s overall marketing and business goals.

Best Practices for National Advertising Campaigns 

Launching a successful national advertising campaign requires a comprehensive strategy incorporating various elements to reach and engage a broad audience effectively. Here are some best practices to consider: 

1. Combine the Power of TV and Digital 

Many advertisers often make a decision on which platform to use. It can often come to a showdown between TV and digital, but a ‘one or the other’ mindset might not offer the best return or success.  

“One of the most important parts of a campaign is targeting the intended audience across multiple mediums,” says Fritz. “It’s important to note that TV and digital complement each other, and combining traditional television advertising with digital marketing channels can create a more robust and integrated campaign to reach those audiences.”  

That’s because TV ads provide broad reach and brand visibility, while digital platforms offer precise targeting and interactivity. By integrating these mediums, you can ensure that your message reaches the right audience at the right time through their preferred channels. 

2. Consider Engaging with Local Markets 

While your campaign is national in scope, considering the diverse characteristics of local markets can be beneficial. Choosing local media can be a great way to create more personalized messaging across your target demographics.

“You can implement a national campaign by bundling local market buys,” advises Fritz. “This is an excellent approach because it allows your brand to align with local media brands with loyal local audiences, as well as tailor creative to certain regions and DMAs.”  

3. Tailor Messaging Based on Persona and Location 

Knowing your target audience is critical, and creating customer personas and understanding your audience using data can help you tailor certain aspects of your campaign to resonate with popular trends and viewers in a specific culture, location, or life stage. 

“For example, different parts of the country experience different weather conditions during different times of the year. There’s value in tailoring messaging and pushing certain products to some regions vs. others during the same time of the year. This, in turn, helps to eliminate waste & ineffective messaging,” advises Fritz. 

This personalization can help establish a stronger connection with local, regional, and national audiences. Personalization could involve using localized imagery, references, or even language variations in your messaging. Consider incorporating location-specific information to make your campaign more relevant to different regions. 

4. Leverage the Halo Effect 

The halo effect occurs when positive attributes associated with one aspect of a brand spill over into other elements. If your brand is already well-regarded in a specific domain or has a strong product/service, leverage that positive reputation to enhance the perception of your advertising campaign. This can lead to increased credibility and trust among your target audience. 

“There’s an earned level of trust between local TV stations & the local community. In some markets, TEGNA has been operating & serving their local community for over 40 years. Our brands are in tune with what matters to their local communities. This, in turn, allows advertisers to align with content that’s important & trustworthy to the local consumer.” 

5. Measure Results & Optimize Campaigns 

In today’s media landscape, it’s essential to know how your marketing and advertising dollars are performing. Knowing this will help to maximize campaign efficiency and eliminate any underperforming aspects of the campaign. While digital channels are traditionally viewed as easier channels to measure, offline tools are also becoming more sophisticated. For example, the right TV attribution tool can help companies better calculate television ROI.

“Brands need to be able to connect the dots between their investment and results,” says Fritz. “Measuring results via TEGNA Attribution can help brands gain insight into incremental reach, daypart efficiencies & which creatives (potentially) perform better than others in different markets.” 

For example, when you receive an Attribution report at the end of a campaign, you can drill down into the effectiveness of each ad, looking at dates, times, and schedules of when ads aired and when people visited the website. This data then informs future decisions to optimize campaigns and maximize their effectiveness.

Advantages of National Advertising 

National TV advertising has several benefits, such as reaching a large and engaged audience, capturing the halo effect, and increasing brand awareness. Here are some of the key advantages of national advertising:

  • Broad Audience Reach: Suitable for products or services with a mass appeal or a broad target demographic.
  • Brand Recognition: When consumers see your brand consistently across various channels, it becomes memorable and trusted.
  • Increased Credibility: National advertising signals to consumers that the brand is established, reputable, and capable of serving a larger market.
  • Customer Loyalty: Consistent national advertising can foster customer loyalty by reinforcing the brand’s presence and values in the minds of consumers.

However, Fritz emphasizes that national advertising shouldn’t overshadow the value of local advertising. 

“I often recommend bundling local media buys to create a national campaign. Don’t get me wrong, national advertising has advantages, but some products or services have more localized appeal,” says Fritz.

“In such cases, targeted regional or local advertising may be more effective. Additionally, the success of national advertising campaigns depends on careful planning, creative messaging, and a deep understanding of the target audience’s preferences and behaviors, which can vary by region.”

It’s important to note that national advertising also comes with challenges and costs, and its effectiveness depends on various factors, including the quality of creative content, media choices, and alignment with overall marketing objectives. Businesses should carefully plan and execute national advertising campaigns to maximize the advantages and return on investment.

Join TEGNA for National Advertising Campaigns 

With 64 stations in 51 markets, TEGNA can help you reach your national and local TV advertising goals utilizing broadcast, streaming, and digital solutions. Our local TV brands deliver trusted, high-quality news, lifestyle programming, and highly rated national network programming to millions daily. With cutting-edge attribution measurement, multiplatform amplification, original content, and the latest in data-driven technology, our mission is to help businesses grow and thrive.

Learn more about how TEGNA’s national advertising campaigns can help propel your brand into the national spotlight. Contact us today!

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