The total cost for a commercial can vary greatly. In this post, we’ll walk you through the factors that may impact the cost for your commercial project.
March 14, 2022 / Creative Humans
Commercial advertising is one of the most effective methods to market your product or service. If you’ve never produced a commercial before, you may be concerned about the cost. The good news is that a successful commercial campaign does not need a high-priced celebrity pitchman or Hollywood blockbuster production values to make an impact on your target audience. In fact, a professional-looking 30 second commercial can potentially be produced for as low as $10,000.
That said, the total cost for a commercial can vary greatly. In this post, we’ll walk you through the factors that may impact the cost for your commercial project.
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The two primary factors that influence the total costs of a television commercial are production costs and airtime costs. Let’s take a closer look at each:
As with most video shoots, pre-production planning is key to controlling overall costs of a commercial. The commercial production talent you hire will help you determine how to best present your product or service visually, how to convey the quality or significance of your brand, and how the commercial can stand out to your target audience. These factors will determine the budget for your shoot:
Naturally, the more complex the concept for the commercial is, the more likely production costs will be higher. A commercial including animation or visual effects may look stunning, but it may not deliver an effective return on investment if the production’s price tag is too high or the post-production work takes too long to complete. On the other hand, a short bumper ad (typically 2-15 seconds) could be very affordable, though it may not be as effective depending on the complexity of your message.
The most common lengths for commercial spots are 15 seconds, 30 seconds, and 60 seconds, to get the most value out of your commercial, it can be edited into different versions in those specific lengths. Typically, a commercial spot will be delivered with different cut down lengths that can be used in multiple places. An experienced commercial director will shoot your commercial in consideration of how to best convey your message in those standard lengths. To get the most bang for your buck, ask your production company if they can produce stills and GIFs for other marketing purposes too.
After the shoot, a skilled editor will be instrumental in determining how to make a 15 or 30 second version of your commercial present your message as effectively as a 60 second version. In addition to editing, motion graphics artists can be hired to add text and other animations or special effects. Other post-production tasks may include voice overs, music, a final audio mix, and color correction. Each task can add to the total cost of your commercial.
Once your commercial is produced, it needs to be presented in some way to your target audience. One might think that with free video-sharing websites, paying to broadcast your commercial on television or to stream it on a popular website would be a thing of the past. However, tens of thousands of hours of content are uploaded to websites like YouTube every single hour, making it virtually impossible to stand out without promotion or purchasing ad spots. Because of that, the more significant costs associated with commercials is airtime.
So, how much does a 30 second commercial really cost? Here’s a quick look at the average costs for local and national TV spots:
Let’s take a look at some factors that may influence your airtime costs:
Everyone is familiar with the record-breaking prices that companies pay for Super Bowl commercials. Cost of airtime for a 30 second spot in 2020’s Super Bowl LIV ranged from $5-5.6 million. But don’t get cold feet just yet. Those extreme prices are outliers. The bottom line is that programs with higher viewership demand higher prices for ad spots.
Fewer people are watching television at extremely early hours, so commercial spots at 2:00 AM are normally inexpensive. But before going the low-cost route, you should consider when your target audience is most likely watching television. For example, daytime television commercials are typically targeted at stay-at-home parents, retired people, or young children, while prime-time commercials are often targeted at the sought-after 18-49 demographic.
Costs to advertise are far higher during national prime-time programming than during local broadcasts. In fact, those high-priced cable prime-time spots significantly skew the average cost of airtime for a 30 second commercial broadcast, which was $104.7 thousand in the United States in 2019. As mentioned above, the average costs for a 30-second ad spot on local TV, however, can be just $5-$10 per 1,000 impressions (CPM). Advertising on popular streaming services average around $10 CPM (YouTube) to $30 CPM (Hulu).
A national ad campaign would not be the best way to spend your advertising budget if your product or service is not a nationwide brand. There are 210 media markets in the United States that are ranked by the percentage of the U.S. population they reach. Each market has local affiliates of major broadcast channels, and many also have additional stations that feature local programming. When advertising online, you can also usually select your reach--national, local, or geo-targeted. This gives you many options of where you can advertise based on the geographic location of your customers.
There are typically eight minutes of commercials during a half-hour television program. Depending on the length of commercial spots and how many in-house commercials the station is airing, availability for advertising during certain programs may be limited. That’s why commercial spots during popular programs are more coveted by advertisers and, as a result, is why those spots are more expensive.
Rates also vary by season, with television advertising costing more during the holiday season than during other times of the year.
Paying top-dollar to broadcast your commercial to the biggest audience isn't as effective as broadcasting to your target audience. It’s important to consider your target audience compared to the demographics of the programs that you would purchase commercial airtime for.
If you provide a localized product or service, you may be able to purchase commercial time on a local station for low rates and make a strong impact on your community. Alternately, if you’re attempting to target a younger demographic, you should consider advertising on a streaming platform like Roku or Hulu to reach tech-savvy cable cord-cutters.
If your brand has an established social media presence, you can also market your commercial to your target audience through those channels. This can provide additional low-cost reach for your ad, though you should explore options like paid advertising on Facebook or Twitter to amplify your commercial if you determine it would be a good way to reach your target audience. If you have yet to establish your brand on social media, a paid ad campaign could help to build your presence.
Ready to produce a successful commercial? Browse the Creative Humans directory to discover top commercial production studios and freelancers! Creative Humans is full of highly vetted video professionals, from large production companies to freelancers. We look for talented people who have a ton of experience working with brands and agencies. Our goal is to help you make better video, by introducing you to the right filmmakers for your project. Get started for free today!
How to Make the Most of Your Animation Budget
Animation has many perks. Animation is incredibly flexible, making it easy to create videos that reflect your brand’s style and your audience’s interests effectively. Animation can be used for everything from explainer videos to brand videos, making it a great option for businesses that value versatility.
But how much does animation cost and how can you make the most out of your animation budget? Read on to find the answer and learn how you can make the most of your animation budget.
Animation costs can vary significantly depending on several factors, including animation style, project length, who you hire to produce your video, and more. The cost for animation can range from as low as $3,000 per minute to as much as $100,000+ per minute depending on several factors, including:
The more you invest in your animated video, the higher quality it’s generally going to be. Though, this doesn’t mean you can’t produce a high-quality animated video while on a tight budget — you just need to know how to optimize your budget for the best results.
Getting the most out of your animation budget requires understanding what factors impact the cost of animation and making strategic production choices to maximize the quality of your video without overspending.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind to help you get the most out of your animation budget.
The animation style you choose will have a significant impact on the final cost of your video. To get the most out of your budget, you need to consider which animation style is the most effective while still being affordable.
There are several popular styles of animation, including 2D animation, 3D animation, motion graphics, illustration, stop motion animation, and more.
Generally, 2D animation will be the most affordable style of animation as it’s less time-consuming and labor-intensive than 3D animation or stop motion animation.
Most animated video projects are priced by the second, or occasionally, by the minute. In either case, the shorter your video is, the more budget-friendly it will be.
Shorter videos aren’t just cost-effective — they are also often better for engagement as viewers are more likely to watch your entire video.
After writing your video script, make sure to read it out loud and time it to determine how long your video is. Make sure to review your script to find portions that can be cut without sacrificing your core message.
The more complex your project is, the more it’s going to cost. This refers to aspects of your video such as the number of characters, scenes, and unique motions or transitions.
If you need to keep costs as low as possible, try to stick to one or two characters and use other tools, like text, graphics, and iconographies to get your message across without using too many characters.
You should also try to limit the number of unique scenes as much as possible as additional scenes require new illustrations, environments, and transitions — all of which are going to impact the price of your video.
Creative Humans is home to countless video production and animation professionals that can help you produce high-quality animated videos that fit your budget.
Here are a few examples of professional animation from the specialists at Creative Humans.
This budget-friendly animated explainer video does a great job of explaining the financial services and products that the client offers to people across the United States. To keep costs low, this explainer video uses simple illustrations, transitions, and typography rather than complex characters and scenes.
Project Day Rate: $800 - $1,200
This explainer video for Symantec Endpoint Security combines 3D animation with live-action to create a short yet engaging and informative video.
Project Day Rate: $1,500 - $5,000
This simple yet effective PSA video uses 2D animation to create a colorful and engaging scene that draws viewers in and gets them to listen to the video’s message. This video keeps costs low by sticking to a single scene and one speaking character.
Project Budget: $2,400 - $6,000
How To Pitch Your Spot to an Agency: Everything You Need To Know
To create a successful pitch, it’s important to consider who your client is, what they’re looking for, and how you can fulfill their needs. A one-size-fits-all approach won’t do you any favors. Remember, your pitch should be tailored to the needs of your client so that they feel engaged and confident in your abilities.
Here’s what you need to know about crafting a winning pitch.
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Your brief is your go-to resource when pitching to an agency. Winning a pitch requires building trust with a client, asking the right questions, and demonstrating that you understand their needs. Your brief should include important information like who your client is, the target audience, the company’s goal with advertising, their products, and more. It may also include notes on your team members who are delivering the pitch, potential questions you have for the client, and any other information that can help you tailor your pitch to the client’s needs.
Keep in mind that your brief won’t prepare you for every possibility during a pitch. While your brief is an important resource that can help set you up for success, you avoid being overly reliant on it.
After several years of remote work due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many agencies have grown accustomed to using video conferencing apps like Zoom. To make a winning pitch, it’s important to use these platforms to your advantage.
When pitching via video, remember to dress professionally, pitch from a work-appropriate space, and be mindful of your body language. Speak clearly and ensure your space has appropriate lighting. You should also practice handing the conversation off appropriately to avoid long pauses or silences.
When pitching to an agency, bring team members from different departments so that the client understands who will be handling different aspects of the project. This helps the client feel more confident that they’re in good hands and ensures that you can answer any questions that arise.
Your team should feel unified, and every person should have a speaking role during the pitch.
Building trust with the client is one of the most important aspects of winning a pitch and developing long-lasting client relationships.
You must help the client feel confident in your abilities. During your pitch, demonstrate that you understand your client’s needs and explain how you can fulfill those needs. Establish your credentials and show the client what makes you unique from competitors.
When planning your pitch, it’s important to conduct extensive research on your client and avoid asking obvious questions that make it seem like you haven’t done your due diligence. Ask questions that build on what you already know, and show the client that you’re interested in learning more.
No matter how good your pitch is, you need quality work to back it up. The video production professionals at Creative Humans can help you create high-quality video advertisements and commercials that help you land your next pitch. Learn more below!
This commercial for the Hallmark Channel plays on a common trope in Hallmark movies to promote the channel and brand. By using a trope often found in the channel’s movies, the creative director behind this commercial demonstrates a clear understanding of Hallmark's brand and audience.
This advertisement was created to promote an online series about food photography. The commercial blends behind-the-scenes footage with the final photographs to demonstrate how students will learn to take high-quality pictures of food.
Lululemon is a fitness and lifestyle brand that focuses on healthy living. This commercial emphasizes these values by showcasing a professional dancer’s expressive movement and emotion.
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We hope this guide helps set you up for success in winning your next pitch! When you’re ready to take your career to the next level, Creative Humans can help.
The Art of Film and TV Networking
The film and television industry is all about connections. Building and maintaining strong relationships with others in the media industry is one of the best and most effective ways to achieve steady career growth.
Networking can be a daunting task, though, leading many in the industry to avoid putting as much time and effort into it as they should. But by mastering networking, you can develop strong industry connections that help you achieve your long-term career goals.
Here’s what you need to know about how to master the art of Film and TV networking.
The media industry is highly competitive, making it all the more important to take networking seriously. Making meaningful connections in the industry will help you build your reputation and accomplish your career goals.
Having a strong network of media professionals also makes it easier to gain access to new opportunities as people are more likely to take a chance on someone they know—especially if you have a reputation for delivering high-quality work.
When networking, you should be looking to form mutually-beneficial relationships. Moreover, you should be looking to build lasting connections that can benefit you in the long run—not just connections that benefit you now.
By focusing on building and maintaining a large film network, you can maximize your opportunities and set yourself up for long-term success.
So how do you go about building and maintaining relationships in the film and TV industry?
Networking can be difficult, and there is no one right way to do it. To build a strong network, you need to know where to look and how to capitalize on opportunities.
To help you master the skill of film and tv networking, here are a few key ways to build and maintain relationships in the film industry.
For individuals new to the advertising and marketing industry, attending award shows is one of the best ways to meet other professionals in the industry and build meaningful connections.
For those looking into the film industry, film festivals bring in experienced filmmakers from all over the country. Post-screening Q&As, local happy hours, and other social events that take place at these festivals make it easy to make connections.