What Is a Remnant TV Ad Space and How Can Businesses Advertise on It

Sep 1, 2023 / Industry Insights / FOTW

Find out how to utilise the power of TV advertising without blowing your advertising budget through utilising remnant TV ad spots.

Brands continually seek opportunities that not only provide value for money but also reach a vast audience effectively. But where lies the sweet spot between cost-effectiveness and impactful reach? You’d be surprised to find out that there is such a place.

With TV advertising in the UK commanding billions, it’s easy to assume that this domain is solely the playground of colossal brands with seemingly limitless budgets. Yet, lurking just beneath the surface is the existence of remnant ad spaces, offering hope for brands of varying scales to harness the unparalleled reach of TV.

This article ventures deep into the nuances of remnant TV advertising, shedding light on its mechanics, benefits and the art of capitalising on its potential. Is this just another term in the advertising glossary, or does it offer tangible benefits for cost-conscious advertisers? Let’s find out.


What Is Remnant TV Advertising?

You might be surprised to learn that not every TV time slot is snapped up in advance. There are instances where certain slots, often during less popular viewing times, remain unsold. This is where remnant TV advertising enters the picture.

Essentially, remnant TV advertising refers to the unsold inventory of ad slots that broadcasters haven’t been able to sell at their premium rates. Rather than letting these slots go to waste, broadcasters offer them at significantly reduced rates, usually at the last minute. This provides a golden opportunity for advertisers who may not have the budget for prime time slots but still want to capitalise on TV’s vast viewership.

It’s akin to a last-minute flight deal; the seats (or, in this case, ad slots) exist and are available. Instead of flying empty or broadcasting filler content, providers offer discounted content, ensuring that the space is utilised while advertisers benefit from a reduced cost.


How Do Brands Buy Remnant TV Ad Spots?

Purchasing prime advertising space typically requires long negotiations and vast budgets. However, securing remnant TV ad spots is a different ball game, often involving quick decisions and flexibility. It makes coveted TV ad spots more accessible to businesses with tighter advertising budgets.

Typically, broadcasters make their remnant inventory available shortly before the airtime, creating a sort of ‘flash sale’ environment. Advertisers need to be agile and ready to grab these spots as they become available.

Many broadcasters collaborate with advertising agencies and platforms specialising in remnant ad sales to streamline this process. These platforms provide real-time updates on available slots, enabling advertisers to pick and choose based on their preferences and budgets.

Payment structures can vary, but upfront payment is common due to the last-minute nature of these deals. Given the reduced rates, many advertisers consider this a fair trade-off for accessing prime TV audiences at a fraction of the regular cost.

However, while the prospect of discounted ad slots is enticing, brands must also be equipped with ready-to-air content. The quick turnaround means there’s minimal time for new ad creation post-purchase, making it essential for advertisers to be prepared in advance. We’ll discuss the best types of ads that businesses can use for remnant advertising slots.


Advantages of Using Remnant Advertising

Remnant advertising is not just great for its affordability but also for the unique opportunities it presents in the realm of TV advertising. While the prospect of accessing TV’s vast audience at discounted rates is attractive, the benefits don’t just stop there. Delving deeper into remnant advertising reveals several advantages that might make it an indispensable tool for advertisers. 

Let’s explore a few of these key benefits:


1. Cost-effectiveness

Undoubtedly, one of the most significant draws of remnant advertising is its cost. Because broadcasters prefer to sell these slots rather than leave them empty, they’re often available at substantially reduced rates. This means that brands can achieve TV exposure without the hefty price tag associated with prime-time advertising, making it an ideal option for those with constrained budgets.


2. Flexibility in scheduling

Unlike prime ad slots that need to be booked well in advance, remnant spots allow brands to advertise on shorter notice. This can be particularly beneficial for time-sensitive campaigns or promotions, allowing advertisers to dynamically react to market changes.


3. Access to quality audience segments

While remnant ad slots are generally perceived as being during less popular viewing times, they can still reach specific, engaged audience segments. For instance, late-night slots might appeal to a younger demographic or those in specific professions. This allows brands to target niche audiences without the competition of prime time slots, potentially leading to a higher return on investment.


Disadvantages of Using Remnant Advertising

While remnant advertising offers great advantages, advertisers must be aware of potential pitfalls. No advertising strategy is without challenges, and remnant advertising is no exception. Despite its cost-effective allure and flexibility, there are certain aspects brands need to consider before diving headfirst into this approach. Being well-informed ensures businesses can make the most of every opportunity despite inherent limitations. 

Let’s take a moment to unravel some of the disadvantages of remnant advertising:


1. Unpredictable Availability

The very nature of remnant advertising is its last-minute availability. This means brands cannot always count on their desired slots being available when they want them. Planning campaigns around remnant spots can be a gamble, with no guarantees of securing airtime.


2. Limited Creative Lead Time

With the rapid turnaround time associated with remnant advertising, brands have minimal wiggle room to tweak or customise their content. Advertisers must have their commercials ready to air, which might not allow for timely modifications based on current events or market shifts.


3. Potential for Lower Visibility

While remnant spots can offer access to niche audiences, they may also come with reduced overall viewership. Being aired during non-peak hours means fewer eyes on the screen, which could translate to a lesser impact than prime time slots.


What Kind of Ads Should Be Broadcasted on Remnant TV Spots?

Given the sporadic and sometimes unpredictable nature of these spots, it’s crucial for brands to determine which commercials best fit this mould. Are all advertisements suitable for such placements, or are there specific types of TV ads that might yield better results?

While remnant TV spots are more flexible and affordable, they demand content that’s universally appealing and evergreen, given the unpredictability of the slot timing. Here are a few types of ads that tend to flourish in these environments:


Evergreen content

Ads that aren’t tied down to time-sensitive events or promotions often find a comfortable home in remnant slots. By being universally appealing and not pegged to a specific timeline, they ensure relevance irrespective of when they’re aired. Moreover, evergreen content can resonate with varied demographics, making them a versatile choice regardless of the viewing audience at a particular time.


Brand awareness ads

Focusing less on selling a particular product and more on encapsulating the essence and values of a brand, these ads aim to create a lasting impression. They can be effective in remnant slots, which aim to build recognition and trust over immediate conversions. Such ads foster deeper connections with viewers, gradually nudging them towards brand loyalty over multiple viewings.


Generic promotions

Ads highlighting a company’s core offerings or long-standing deals are adaptable and versatile. Since they don’t bank on immediate or time-limited responses, they fit well in remnant spaces, maintaining relevance regardless of broadcast time. By consistently emphasising a brand’s key value propositions, they reinforce brand positioning, ensuring viewers associate specific values or advantages with the brand.


Tips for Maximising ROI with Remnant TV Ad Spots

While the reduced costs of ad slots offer a compelling advantage, the key lies in harnessing this potential for maximum return on investment. Advertisers need to marry strategy with adaptability to strike gold with remnant advertising. Crafting the right approach can lead to significant dividends, even with the unpredictable nature of these slots. 

Let’s unpack some actionable tips to ensure your brand extracts value from remnant TV spots:


1. Flexibility in scheduling

Given the unpredictability of remnant slots, being flexible with your own ad schedule is crucial. This means being ready to air your content at various times, capitalising on every opportunity. Adopting this adaptable mindset lets you grab those high-value last-minute slots, reaching audiences you might otherwise miss.


2. Diversified content

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Ensure you have a variety of advertisements at your disposal, tailored to different audience segments and viewing times. This diversity ensures that the content you broadcast best fits the slot you’ve acquired.


3. Measure & adjust

Tracking the performance of your remnant ads is imperative. Utilise analytics tools to understand viewer engagement, conversion rates, and overall impact. Based on this data, tweak your strategies and ad content to continually refine your approach and maximise ROI.


4. Build relationships with broadcasters

Cultivate strong relationships with TV networks and broadcasters. Being in their good books could give you early information about available remnant slots or preferential rates. Such relationships can be invaluable in giving your brand an edge in the competitive remnant advertising landscape.


5. Utilise Calls-to-Action (CTAs)

While your advertisement might be evergreen or broadly focused, having a strong and clear CTA can drive immediate responses. Whether you’re enticing viewers to visit a website or make a call, CTAs can significantly boost conversions, amplifying ROI.


6. Incorporate feedback

Actively seek feedback from your viewership. Understanding how your audience perceives your ads, especially those in remnant slots, can offer valuable insights. Incorporate this feedback into future content, ensuring your ads continually resonate and evolve with your target audience.


Final Thoughts

The TV landscape is vast and varied, from the uncharted waters of remnant advertising, with its spontaneous allure, to the more predictable prime time slots. Yet, it’s not merely about acquiring a slot; it’s about harnessing that slot’s potential, delivering impactful content that resonates with the audience, and judiciously optimising your investments.

With their blend of affordability and expansive reach, remnant TV ad spaces offer brands a unique avenue to communicate their narrative. Yet, like every golden opportunity, it comes with challenges. Understanding its nuances, the kind of content that shines, and the strategies to maximise ROI can spell the difference between a successful campaign and a missed opportunity.

Diving into the world of TV advertising unveils many opportunities for brands. While the terrain may be unpredictable, with the right partner and approach, the rewards can be monumental. If you’re looking to craft a TV advertisement that’s perfect for any opportunity, be it prime time or remnant, we can help you translate your brand’s story into compelling visuals.

Don’t leave your potential untapped. Reach out to us today, and let’s embark on this exciting journey together.


Read more: TV Advertising Guides