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Small Business Advertising: Why 2021 is the Year Small Business Breaks Into TV

Female small business owner shooting a TV ad to feature her business' products and services.

2021 is the year small business breaks into TV advertising. Television networks are no longer too big, too monolithic for small business marketing. From impressions to dispersed networks, small businesses finally have the opportunity to reach broad television audiences during their individual prime times.

Small businesses have always looked for clever, accessible ways to advertise, and, traditionally, TV commercials have been the realm of big business with big advertising budgets. But we all know the nature of television is changing, and so too are TV ads. As both shooting video and presenting it become more accessible (and affordable!) it’s no surprise that small business has finally begun to break into TV advertisement.

Also called Connected TV or Targeted TV, advertising through streaming and other direct-to-user media is quickly becoming the hottest innovation in small business marketing.   


  • Streaming has overtaken broadcast television
  • Video production is easier and more affordable than ever
  • How streaming ads work for small business marketing
  • Find your small business streaming audience
  • Tips for successful streaming ad strategy

Streaming Takes Over Television Viewership

Practical Value of Streaming vs Broadcast TV

The single biggest change in the advertising landscape has been the transition to streaming from broadcast television. Broadcasting networks produce scheduled channels that play a set program of shows and commercials every day.

Streaming allows users to choose what they watch and when they watch it. Streaming is available on any device from anywhere with a signal, you don’t need access to a TV or a cable box. Comparatively, it’s no surprise that streaming has quickly overtaken the traditional television and even movie industries. With endless shows and movies to watch, a broad selection on every streaming service, the paid programming is worth more than paid television channels on every level.

Streaming Cost and Timing Accessibility

Streaming television is also more accessible for audiences than broadcast television. The variety of streaming services offer options for both selection and price range. Most streaming services are considerably more affordable than traditional television packages. In addition, streaming is more schedule-flexible. No need for a TV guide and careful planning, viewers can load up their favorite shows, stop, and restart on their own time.

Accessible Small Business Video Production

Not only is television becoming more accessible, so is video production. No longer is it necessary to hire a camera, operator, and reams of film. You don’t even need a great digital camera. A nice webcam and a good mic are sometimes all you need to make a good quality video ad. If you have someone with vision and videography in their skillset, it doesn’t cost a king’s ransom to shoot a great video. Video itself is now very accessible, from your phone-wielding teenagers to your marketing pros.

Video-making teams are also available at small business marketing prices. With the predominance of short videos for social media and content marketing, many small businesses are working on a video marketing strategy. But most don’t yet realize that television has become an option.

How Ads Work for Streaming Television

Television networks have always built funding with advertisements. Playing ads between and during shows is how revenue is grown. With streaming, however, you aren’t buying a timeslot that will show for all viewers at the same time. For streamers, ads are seen at all different times – based on where each viewer is in their own show. In addition, each viewer is shown a selected ad. It doesn’t have to be the same ad that another sees in the same show or at the same time. This allows for greater ad targeting, and also for more flexible pricing.

With streaming ads, you are buying impressions rather than time. An average cost is about 10$ per 1000 impressions (CPM). Like PPC (pay per click) marketing, you can set your exposure based on your budget. This makes it much easier for small businesses with smaller budgets to buy a targeted slice of streaming TV viewer attention.

Male entrepreneur shooting a video for his small business using a mobile phone.

Find Your Audience with Targeted Streaming Ads

Speaking of targeting, this is an essential part of your small business TV marketing strategy. With streaming service, you can fine-tune your audience targeting both through your service selection and how you make use of your ad impressions (times the commercial is viewed). 

Your Audience’s Streaming Service

First, consider which streaming services your audience is most likely to watch. The industry leaders right now are Netflix, Roku, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, Disney Plus, and Hulu bringing up the rear. However, there are dozens of smaller networks with even more affordable (and longer) commercial spots to sell.

Amazon Prime viewers are those who already have a Prime subscription, most of the time, and those who prefer Amazon smart devices. HBO Max viewers are likely to be an audience who enjoys a gritty drama or a great collection of full-length movies. Disney is a hit for parents and families, while Hulu has been a hipster service from its very start. 

Targeting Streaming Ad Impressions

Now let’s talk real targeting. Because you are paying for impressions, you don’t have to show your commercial to every single viewer on the streaming platform. Some services will let you geo-target, only showing to viewers in your business’s area of service. Some will let you connect your ads to certain shows, like DIY renovation shows or children’s programming, or show your ads only during certain times of the day.

Knowing your audience is essential to targeting both the networks and impressions of your TV ads.

Tips for Designing Your TV Streaming Ads

Ready to dip your toe into Connected TV advertising? Meet your audience and gain the exposure of prime-time commercial viewership with your online audience. We’ll leave you with a few tips to consider as you plan your first move into television commercials for the modern audience.

Know Your Video Length

Video length matters. Streaming ads range from 5 seconds to 90 seconds, depending on the slot and their advertising pattern. Some platforms show more and longer ad spaces than others. The size intervals range

  • 5 seconds
  • 10 seconds
  • 15 seconds
  • 30 seconds
  • 45 seconds
  • 60 seconds and
  • 90 seconds

The shorter videos that can act as ‘bumper’ ads that barely distract the viewer are the most affordable and also the easiest for viewers to absorb. 5 to 15 second videos are less likely to be muted, skipped, or clicked away from.

Space Out Your Ad Impressions

Work with your streaming platform partners to space out ads. Avoid the known fiasco of viewers seeing your commercial 10 times an hour, that only creates hostility. Instead, work on your impression targeting to ensure a wide range of viewers – and with other commercials in between.

Match Mood to Content

Try to show your commercials during shows that match the theme, content, and mood. Be clever about your targeting, share serious commercials during dramas and funny commercials during sitcoms, not the other way around.

Small Business TV Advertising

Television advertising is no longer the territory of big businesses with million-dollar marketing budgets. Both video production and the advent of the streaming industry have opened up powerful TV commercial slots to small businesses and any brand that wants to buy a few viewer impressions.

AdCritter makes it easy for any small business to advertise to their ideal customers with free custom TV commercials, local targeting and access to advanced audience targeting. See how easy it is.

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