Why more brands are testing NPE Buys

Tatari's media buying team works with many brands that find success on specific networks or in certain programs and they often ask; "how do we ensure that we get more spots there"? Non pre-emptible (NPE) buys are often one strategy they should consider. On linear TV, NPE buys are 100% guaranteed to clear, which are different from pre-emptible or "remnant" buys which are based on a bidding system and don’t provide this guaranteed placement. Brands have found that NPE buys can be very beneficial for their TV campaigns for a few reasons. 

Assist with clearance and hit budgets more accurately

At Tatari, we meticulously track both pricing and clearance throughout the year, and put analytics to work so that we hit our clients’ desired budget and performance. When buying in the remnant space, clearance can vary +/- 20% each week because a variety of factors come into play and can result in getting bumped out of spots at the last minute. A common example of this is news. Breaking News can completely change the network’s schedules and remnant units can be bumped out on the day of scheduled airing. This is not the case for an NPE buy, which is guaranteed to run and ensures that we hit the target investment. So, for advertisers that don’t have much flexibility in their budgets, buying NPE is a great option to balance out the variability in their clearance. NPE buys allow advertisers to also choose when their ads would air (ie. in specific weeks and daypart) and set defined frequency caps, as long as there’s inventory at time of negotiation (at least one month in advance). NPE buys often come with extras like digital impressions, banners on the screen, billboards, bonus impressions and more. These can assist in the performance of an NPE campaign and are seen as great added value.

Streaming TV works similarly to linear in that when you pay an NPE rate (often called guaranteed), you are guaranteed that the network will deliver a certain amount of impressions. Clearance on streaming tends to be less volatile than linear, however, if your campaign goal requires 100% clearance, an NPE or guaranteed buy should be considered.

Maintaining presence and driving brand objectives

Sometimes networks/programs sell out and for some brands, it is imperative that they maintain their presence on a specific network or show. For example, a pet food brand may want to ensure consistent clearance on Animal Planet. Brand awareness and perception can also be crucial for an advertiser. Tatari often works with startups and brands on-the-rise and it may be extremely important for them to legitimize their brand and foster an association of quality (and at a large scale). In this case, the client may look to high-profile sports games next to established brands like Apple, Gatorade, etc. with a guaranteed NPE placement. As advertisers grow beyond direct-response and start focusing on brand campaigns, NPE buys can also ensure they get their targeted reach. 

Other considerations

Though NPE can be very beneficial for the above reasons, there are a handful of things brands should consider before deciding if NPE is the right strategy for their goals. Generally speaking, NPE rates on linear can be anywhere from 20%-60% higher than what they are paying in the remnant space. Factors that go into negotiating NPE rates depend on the dollar commitment, time period, and available inventory at the time of negotiation. Another consideration is that NPE can not be cancelled because the network takes inventory out of sale to set aside for the brand. When it comes to streaming, buying guaranteed (similar to NPE) also commands a higher CPM as it guarantees that impressions are delivered in full. We typically look at NPE on streaming for those clients who must hit a certain amount of impressions over the course of their campaign.

Because decision making at Tatari is data-driven, before considering a NPE buy we would want to take a deep dive into historical data and prove a publisher or program is consistently showing strong performance. Understanding that efficient performance can be maintained at these increased rates ensures confidence and provides a clear way forward. 

Katie Miltimore

I'm a media buyer and reality TV is my guilty pleasure.


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