One major challenge for low-budget advertisers is to increase reach. Brands with low budgets should focus on original thinking and creativity to generate fame beyond their means. Stunts, experiential or spoof marketing is increasingly used to gain attention on a low budget. Marketers could also choose to target a sub-segment of the market and/or use fewer media channels, with emphasis on 'owned' or 'earned' media, and influencers.

Definition

There is no single definition for 'low budget', as media costs vary by market. Warc generally defines low budgets as between $0-$500,000.

Key Insights

1. Successful low-budget campaigns are highly digital-focused, but TV can also work

Analysis of the WARC case study database of successful, prize-winning campaigns shows that the biggest determinant of media allocation is the size of budget. Low-budget campaigns allocate more of their spend to digital and less to TV than the total database. However, there is evidence that low-budget brands should consider TV advertising. Some channels are effective at low levels of spend (such as search, CRM, display, and affiliate marketing), but they quickly saturate as they have limited reach and stop delivering. TV, on the other hand, has a higher reach than many other channels and therefore saturates less quickly. What this means is that to optimise media investment for small brands, TV should have a significant proportion of the budget even at low levels of media spend - 50% of the media budget for brands with annual ad spends of up to £400,000. Low budget brands new to TV are advised to use shorter lengths in seasonal bursts to leverage variations in media cost and seasonal sales effects rather than a longer campaign spread over the year.