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Most expensive advertising placements by channel

Anyone who’s been involved in creating and placing adverts knows it can be a pricey business.

You’ve got to spend money on getting your creative spot on, splash cash on making sure your media plan is foolproof and then blow more moolah on the actual advertising placements themselves. But most of us probably haven’t spent a few million on advertising, or if we did, we were probably swiftly removed from our post. And yet there are marketing people out there tasked with exactly that kind of budget.

They’re the people who create ads for some of the biggest global brands in the most popular media, be it TV, press, radio or online. Which got us thinking about the most expensive advertising placements in the business. This is our run down of what we’ve found out:

Most expensive TV ad slots

Television in room

Most of us are probably aware that this is during the annual US Superbowl. It’s no secret in fact but some of the numbers involved are truly staggering. It is currently estimated that a 30 second slot costs upwards of $4 million. Crazy money you may say but brands were still queuing up to get involved with an estimated audience of 111.3 million viewers. Anheuser-Busch InBev, Audi, CarMax, Chevrolet, Coca-Cola, Doritos, Go Daddy, M&M’s, T-Mobile and Volkswagen all bit the bullet and spent big. Many of these brands have been involved in Superbowl ads before, and it’s assumed that their return on investment on this unprecedented opportunity for exposure remains pretty high. Either that or they have more money than sense.


By contrast the UK’s most expensive slot, during the X Factor Final on ITV1, costs around £200,000 for 30 seconds. Even though the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing generally whoops X Factor in terms of viewers these days, brands’ appetite for the X Factor slot shows little sign of abating, with both Asda and John Lewis premièring their Christmas campaigns during episodes of the X Factor Live Finals last year.

Most expensive press ad placements

Man reading newspaper

Although exact figures are more difficult to come by in the print sector, The New York Times magazine charges a pretty eye-watering $110,000 for a full page ad. Clearly the demographic of the readership is all-important here and not so much the pure reach in terms of eyeballs. With one of the most affluent readerships in the US, The New York Times can cash in on its aspirational, style-led magazine. For the same reasons, the Sunday Times magazine here in the UK is similarly costly to advertise in.

Most expensive radio ad slots


Photo by Gavin Whitner

Radio ads are often the most cost-efficient form of advertising in a medium which is growing in the UK. The Capital FM Breakfast Show, listened to by 1.19 million Londoners, leads the way in terms of advertising costs in the UK, whilst The Rush Limbaugh, a conservative talk-show syndicated to commercial stations, holds the US title with a staggering audience of over 14 million every week.

Most expensive online keywords

Computer typing

When talking about online, we’re really into the world of Google’s PPC advertising in terms of the most expensive advertising. The five most expensive global keywords for PPC are: insurance, loans, mortgage, attorney and credit. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the most expensive keywords deal primarily with financing and industries that manage vast sums of money, which also tend to be hugely competitive.

So there’s our rundown of the most expensive advertising placements out there. If you’re considering paying out for any of these slots, make sure you have some deep pockets first!

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