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Media Guru

Guru Search Results: 71 matches were found

Wednesday, March 07, 2007 #7296
what are the factors in effective media planning

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, March 08, 2007 ):
If you are referring to "effective reach" / "effective frequency" planning, it is a matter of combining media elements to deliver a given reach at a specified minimum frequency level. For extensive Guru comment on this click here to see more than 100 past Guru responses on this topic


Wednesday, January 03, 2007 #7255
Happy New Year, Guru. I am trying to establish communication goals for television. We plan on using multiple dayparts- -prime, em, late night, cable- - how does this factor into the effective reach?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, January 05, 2007 ):
Different mixes lead to different effective reach results at the same budget. Set your goal and then the plan must meet it. You don't set goals by projecting a plan's results and making that the goal.


Tuesday, May 17, 2005 #6927
What is your opinion about reach and frequency, and do you think its worth using this tool?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, May 20, 2005 ):
Reach tells the number of different people exposed to your campaign, frequency tell the average number of time they are exposed.

In the Guru's opinion, these are crucial campaign metrics. effective reach considers specifc levels of reach at minuma of frequency.


Sunday, July 18, 2004 #6542
what are the theories on effective reach and effective frequency

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, July 19, 2004 ):
Click here to see over 120 past Guru responses about effective reach and effective frequency.


Thursday, May 20, 2004 #6500
Using the OTS formula (GRP/Net Reach), if we set an OTS target with a predetermined reach, can we arrive at the required GRP for differrent OTS targets. Why effective frequency is more popular over OTS when setting frequency objective. In my experience we need to achieve more GRP's to achieve a predetermined reach for an effective frequency over OTS target, any reason for that methamatical relationship.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, May 20, 2004 ):
As a matter of simple arithmetic, Reach and GRP are inextricably linked by a multiplying factor which can just as readily be effective frequency. This does not mean that you can set any reach goal at random and assume a given GRP number will relate back with a specifc OTS. Different mixes of dayparts and media elements have different capabilities in reach / effective frequency generation.

Why more GRP for an effective reach level? Again, simple arithmetic explains it. "Reach" in an ordinary "reach and frequency" calculation, means reach 1 or more times. In other words, a frequency of 1 is treated as "effective." Typically, when we talk about "effective reach" we are working on an assumption that 3 or more frequency is needed for effective communications so that only those reached at least 3 times count. Naturally, more GRP are needed to get a given reach 3 tiems than only once.


Tuesday, April 20, 2004 #6464
What is the differrence between avg. OTS & Effective frequency. Which is the most popolar measurement tool used for setting frequency objective & can you illustrate the differrence through a sum.

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, April 20, 2004 ):
OTS is generally a raw exposures count (impressions). One could take total OTS and divide by reach to get average OTS, which would equate to average frequency; that is, the average number of times any person exposed to the message (reach) sees the message.

Effective freqeuncy is the number of exposures JUDGED to be required before a person reached is affected by the message, e.g. remembers or understands it. effective reach is the numer of people reached at this effective level. 3+ is probably the most commonly used effective frequency standard, but there are various models for setting the level. See the Guru's comments on the Ostrow model.


Thursday, March 25, 2004 #6434
How important are gross impressions to a media buy (specifically radio or traffic sponsorships)? Wouldn't eff. net reach be more important? How can I better explain the difference between gross impressions and frequency to a client that has these two efficiencies confused as the very same thing?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, March 26, 2004 ):
Firstly, a media buy must answer the specifications of the plan:

Do plan communication goals specify maximum weight or a focus on frequency over reach?

Frequency is linked to gross impressions but only through other factors and neither is an "efficiency." Budget divided by gross impressions is CPM, which is the classic measure of "efficiency" and no normal cost / frequency ratio with which the Guru is familiar is in use.

Gross impressions takes into account both frequency and reach. 1million gross impressions can be 1 million people each exposed to advertising once or 10,000 people each exposed 100 times. Radio is commonly considered a "frequency medium" but is capable of generating significant reach. Traffic radio is typically a frequency buy. effective reach, i.e. reach at a specified minimum level of frequency is not the most likley goal for a traffic radio campaign.


Friday, March 12, 2004 #6416
What determins an effective reach at a certain frequency? For example, I have worked on a piece of business where the net effective reach had to be 60% at a 5+ frequency. I have also worked on a piece of business that required the net effective reach to be 60%, but at a 3+ frequency.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, March 14, 2004 ):
The Guru is assuming you mean to ask "how does one determine the frequency level at which to consider reach "effective'?" One standard approach is known as the Ostrow Model. Click here for Guru discussion of this model.


Wednesday, November 26, 2003 #6278
Dear Guru(s), how does one establish an effective reach objective for a media mix? Do you report the effective reach for each medium separately and calculate the 1+ reach for the mix and leave it at that? R.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, November 28, 2003 ):
Media software can readily report total media 3+ reach.

Click here to see past Guru responses about levels.


Wednesday, June 04, 2003 #5995
We are planning to release a TV launch commercial, I want to know what do you think the effective frequency, effective reach & GRPs. The commercial duration is 30 secs.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, June 07, 2003 ):
There are many considerations Click here to see past Guru discussion of effective levels


Tuesday, October 22, 2002 #5574
Dear Guru, I am interested in the perfect values of the following media parameters for one TV campaign of beer product (May be there is some standards): 1. Number of flights per year 2. TRP’ s per week 3. TRP’ s per campaign 4. OTS per campaign 5. Reach 1+, 3+, 5+ per campaign I am interested which are the effective frequency and the effective reach. Thank you very much for your answers.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, October 27, 2002 ):
There are no perfect answers. Within whatever budget you have, you must consider what is possible. If you can afford 5,200 GRP per year, is it better to have 100 GRP per week every week or 146 GRP for 9 four week flights?

Part of the answer depends on how you set the effective frequency goal. Perhaps seasonality tells you you need the 150 in the summer but only the 100 the rest of the year. What level do the competitors run? What is your brand awareness? What are your awareness goals, sales goals, share goals?

In short, budget, and many circumstances need to be considered rather than any quest for abstractly 'perfect' answers


Friday, August 09, 2002 #5459
Dear Media Guru, is there any clear relation (formula or something) between effective reach and GRP? For example: if I have to achieve 3+ Reach 60%, how much GRP do I need?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, August 10, 2002 ):
Different media and media element mixes yield different results. That is, 100 GRP of radio is different than 100 GRP of TV or newspaper. 100 GRP of daytime TV is different than 100 GRP of Prime and News.

Reach and frequency models can deal with these differences, but there is no one-size-fits-all GRP number for a given effective reach.


Tuesday, July 30, 2002 #5442
What kind of tools or models do you have to define effective reach and effective frequency in TV ? How can I access to that tools or models ?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, July 30, 2002 ):
The Guru uses the tools of Telmar and eTelmar. eTelmar systems are easy to access on a pay-as-you-go basis, online.


Tuesday, July 23, 2002 #5432
What is an adequate number of points per weeek on television for a campaign that goes over a ten week period. It targets A25-54 and is not a "sale" retail account. This is a regional hospital and the television is split between two networks: NBC and CBS. Also how do you determine the percetages per daypart in your planning.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, July 27, 2002 ):
Start with communication goals: what reach and frequency or effective reach do you need?

These points will guide you to weight and daypart mix.

It strikes the Guru as odd that you speak in terms of "two networks" before any of the other decisions are made. The Guru would expect you are buying local, not network tv for a regional hospital.


Monday, July 22, 2002 #5427
At my agency, we set media goals for many clients in terms of EF/ER & CPP. The correlation between EF/ER for a specific category/demo we get from past similar campaigns for which we are able to extract the necessary data. But eventually most of our clients judge our performance only on CPP. Yes, cost efficiency is important but so is EF/ER. The fundamental problem arises when our analyzed tv schedule and our actual own do not match in the execution pattern (e.g. portion of primetime vs fring.). My point is as a media planner, the EF/ER be taken into account as well (even if we were off mark on the CPP), right? The problem how to do this quantitatively. Please help.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, July 27, 2002 ):
The Guru observes:
  • Effective Frequency / effective reach are planning goals
  • Cost Per Point is planning input and buying goal
  • Your problems seem to fall into two areas:
    - Educating the client to understand what you are doing, and
    - Educating your buyers in undertsanding your goals / their assignment.

If EF/ER are the communication goals for the plan, then achieving them at the planned budget becomes the primary standard. If this achievement is based on the media mix bought (as it should be) then the buyers must be made to understand that delivering that is what they must do.

Overall, the mistake is allowing CPP to become a goal instead of a tool.


Tuesday, June 18, 2002 #5359
Is it relevant to calculate an overall reach / effective reach of a 3 flights campaign with 4 weeks OFF AIR period between?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, June 18, 2002 ):
What might "relevant" mean here?
Can the calculation be done? Yes.
Is it meaningful? That depends on your needs. Have you set a goal pertaining to the total numbers of persons exposed? Then it is relevant to that goal?
Is your only standard based on people being reached at a point in time? Then it is less relevant.


Tuesday, July 10, 2001 #4565
Thank you for an invaluable service. Help!! A client wants to know how many times they should advertise in a publication to get effective reach? He wanted to know if there is a good rule of thumb? Is there anything like that? I tend to think that this number is different depending on the size of the target audience. How would you detemine an effective reach level for a trade plan/publication? Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, July 11, 2001 ):
An old planner's rule of thumb in consumer publications was 4 times per year in a monthly and once a month in a weekly.

The Guru doesn't see a reason why effective reach should depend on the target. Factors like competitive climate, clutter, product interest, complexity of message all seem more relevant. At any rate, "effective reach" is about how many times the target is exposed to a message. If you are working in a narrow trade arena, where the authoritativeness of the book is crucial to your effectiveness, you'll make a book-by-book decision, not work from a rule of thumb.


Thursday, April 12, 2001 #4326
What is the definition of effective reach?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, April 15, 2001 ):
Click here to see numerous Guru responses defining and discussing effective reach.


Thursday, March 15, 2001 #4257
Mi, If i am putting together a radio schedule what would the ideal reach be? For any buy, any market? is it 60%?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, March 16, 2001 ):
There is no such ideal.
  • What will the budget buy?
  • Are there other media in the plan?
  • Is reach the goal or effective reach or frequency?
  • What is the reach potential in the market?
  • For the target?
Why settle for 60 when for some targets 90 is readily attainable.


Friday, February 23, 2001 #4202
We are doing the planning for an acount in a market we have not previously bought. The demo is Adults 25-54. What formula is used for establishing the weight distribution per daypart. If we are asked to buy 150 points per week how do we determine what the percent of each daypart.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, February 25, 2001 ):
This depends on plan goals. If reach is the main goal, then you can examine a variety of mixes of weight to see the best reach available within the budget. The same technique works if the goal is effective reach or frequency.

In all likelihood, starting with about 20% - 25% in each of 4 or 5 dayparts and changing mixes in 5% increments, you will find very little difference except by adding or deleting prime time totally.

If impressions weight is the key, then just buy according to best efficiency, once your reach minimum, if any, has been met.


Tuesday, February 06, 2001 #4162
Hallo, Dear Media Guru! Can You please help me to solve the following problems:

1 - I know that my TVcmp should get effective reach of 50% with effective frequency 4+. How can I get(count) the number of GRP I need to buy and TRP I need to reach?

2 - what concrete methods do can You recommend to define the levels of reach&frequency for concrete product's/brand's TV cmp. Thak you a lot.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, February 07, 2001 ):
The Guru is not clear as to what distinction you are trying to make regarding GRP and TRP.

To determine the GRP/TRP needed to achieve a specific reach / effective frequency goal, you need a media software like that provided by Telmar or eTelmar.

Click here to see past Guru discussion about establishing levels.


Monday, November 27, 2000 #3991
I am looking a an article by Erwin Ephron - "Propinquity/Recency and Now Avoid Paying Premium for Top-Rated TV Programming, for Cost-effective reach". DO you know where I can get this? Thanks!!!

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, November 27, 2000 ):
That specific article is not in AMIC's Erwin Ephron on Media area, but several of Erwin's others on Recency are. There is also direct contact information for further inquiries.


Wednesday, August 02, 2000 #3666
Ref. question 3663 Thanx for answering my question. I buy slots with high eff. index when my objective is to accumulate GRP's and drill my message into my consumers mind. This is the secondary stage where after creating the initial reach i focus on accumulating greatest total number of impressions (Funnel Treatment). As for the decay factor it reflects the decrease in the recall leval when advertising is reduced or stoped. I normally use 10% decay level in IMphase(IM horizontal planning technologies) The question that i want to ask you is what is the better way of flighting. There is a 70's 3+ eff frequency model by Prof. MacDonald which says that brusting is a better flighting patteren.On the other hand there is more recent Recency concept championed by Prof. JP Jones of Syracuse university of NY which says that as far as FMCG goods are concerned people are in the market every week and infect only needs one OTS to stimulate purchase.Please comment MY second question is how do you calculate Eff Frequency. Normally i use Eff frequency model where i calculate the eff frequency by applying judgement and common sence in a disciplined manner using Marketing, Advertising and competitive factors Thanx Sarwar Khan Media Manager R-Lintas Lahore,Pakistan

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, August 06, 2000 ):
1. In regard to 3+ effective frequency versus recency, the Guru tends to favor recency for "Fast Moving Consumer Goods." Recency is not really a contrast to the 3+ frequency theory, but an extension. As championed by Erwin Ephron, a core concept of recency is that once the third exposure is delivered, all additional exposures are at 3+.

2. Once again, there seems to be a semantic issue when you say "calculate" effective frequency. If you mean setting the frequency level to be considered effective, then your "judgment and common sence in a disciplined manner using Marketing, Advertising and competitive factors are the right approach, and the Ostrow Model will be helpful.

If instead, you mean to calculate the effective frequency delivered by your schedule, this has absolutely nothing to do with the subjective factors you have listed. A reach model determines how many persons are exposed to each discrete number of ad units in the schedule. That is if your reach is 75%, that means, explicitly, that 75% of the target has experienced one or more ad exposures. Within this, perhaps 70% of the target has been exposed to 2 or more, 66% to 3 or more, etc, up to the full number of units in the schedule. Reach models allow for expressing all of these levels. "effective reach" mean those reached at least the minimum number of times established as effective, most typically 3.


Tuesday, May 16, 2000 #3479
Are there parameters (highs and lows) for effective reach and frequency? In other words, is there a particular reach and a particular frequency that are considered "average" as they relate to broadcast media? How would one determine whether an advertiser is spending adequate funds to meet these "averages" when airing a broadcast schedule on a Mon-Sun basis?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, May 19, 2000 ):
The Guru finds the concept of average irrelevant in this context.Such measures are relevant in relation to competition and one's own communications goals. What does it benefit an auto brand if the "average" advertiser has a reach of 50% at 3+ frequency when all automotive competitors are delivering 75% at 3+?

As to turning spending into effective reach and frequency, that's typically part of a media plan. Budget gets expressed as schedules of TV, radio, print, etc. Reach and frequency are calculated by available software for these GRPs. effective reach / frequency is an inherent part of the calculation.


Thursday, May 04, 2000 #3444
Hi Guru - I'm doing a radio campaign for a small restaurant chain. I have about 3 different station options that will work well. My dilema is that the station that comes out the best is an Oldies format. Not my first choice for a "guy sportsbar". My first choice was a combo of stations - NTR, AC and oldies bringin up the rear. My boss wants to just use the oldies station based on the numbers. I say, since all of the numbers look good - let's go with the 3 station buy. This is not a numbers argument and I don't know what to use to convince him. Any suggestions, or does it matter? Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, May 07, 2000 ):
You don't say on what basis oldies "comes out the best." The Guru would imagine it's based on target rating, target composition, target efficiency or some combination of these.

You also don't say what the communications goals are, reach, effective reach, pure target impressions weight or something else.

You don't say why you don't think an oldies station would be good for a guys' sportrs bar, but the Guru would expect it's probably misguided, as in you like sports bars and you don't like oldies. The Guru has encountered this kind of thinking before; for example in NY or LA buyers who think country music is strictly for lowbrow blue-collar workers and farmers, not considering the format's dominance across many strata in most of the rest of the country.

If all the numbers you can think of favor the oldies nad you don't have research such as Scarborough or MRI to tell you that oldies stations are not listened to by guys who like sports bars, maybe you should just go with the numbers. If reach is an issue buy all three stations.

Generally, when the Guru has encountered a buyer putting "instinct" ahead of numbers in making decisions, it has turned out to be very simple unscientific, personal preference at work.


Tuesday, May 02, 2000 #3439
Regarding effective reach and effective frequency, are there general accepted boundaries of these measurements as they relate to radio and television? How do you compute effective reach and frequency?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, May 04, 2000 ):
The Guru has seen effective frequencies from 2 to 9 used in plans. Most often, 3 is the "bogie" but 4 and 5 are not uncommon.

In the Guru's opinion, the effective levels make sense when applied to a majority of the target, that is, 50%+.

As far as computing effective R&F, the capability is typically built into reach and frequency calculators. As part of calculating reach, the frequency distribution is calculated. This is a calculation of the discreet number of persons reached by each ad in the schedule. Thus one can compile the number (or %) of target persons reached "at least" the set number of times.


Wednesday, April 26, 2000 #3424
I'm doing a campaign for a small restaurant chain with a relatively small budget. The goal is to drive traffic for lunch. I'm going to run in the AM and afternoon drives. Is it really necessary to have a 3 frequency if I'm going to be on the top 3 stations on the same programs each day at the same time over a period of 8 weeks? The schedules that I'm getting back show in the low 2's.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, April 27, 2000 ):
The common reference to a goal of "3 frequency" which you may have heard stems from century-old learning theory which found that 3 repetitions of information were required for it to be "learned" and acted upon. Many media planners use this theory and so specifically consider how many members of their target they are reaching at least 3 times.

You, however, seem to be looking at the average frequency of a schedule, which is different. Any schedule with at least three annoucements will have some portion of its reach exposed to 3 repetions. You need to decide what portion of your audience should be reached three times. YOu need to judge this by looking at the combination of all stations: you may be looking at individual stations reach and frequencies.

Finally, you may consider the full 8 week schedule. A station may be reporting to you only the one week reach and frequency, if you haven't specified, all stations, full cume.

With a schedule of just two dayparts on three stations you are probably getting a fairly low reach at high frequency and this is a completely different sort of consideration than the "3 frequency" issue.

Many planners today are abandoning the effective reach (3+) approach in favor of "recency," the concept that the exposure closest to a purchase decision is the most effective one. You plan might agree more with this approach if it has enough weekly reach.


Wednesday, April 12, 2000 #3392
Guru, I've never used a planning program as most of my planning has been national print and outdoor, local broadcast, and things I've felt I can handle on my own.I've seen so many planning programs and websites for planning it's hard to tell the good from the bad. Have you ever evaluated planning programs and, if you have, can you recommened one or two? Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, April 12, 2000 ):
To the Guru, the term "planning program" means programs like Telmar's AdPlus or Telmar's full set of individual media analysis programs or the eTelmar online suite of media programs.

Such programs calculate reach, frequency, effective reach, frequency distribution, and quintiles for individual media plus combinations of media as well as cross-tabulations and rankers from media audience databases. Flow charting is also a typical option.

These programs don't actually create media plans, that is determine how much budget to invest in each medium, ad units to use, and scheduling. There are such programs on the drawing board, but require that the planner quantify and factor those concepts which would be subjective judgements.


Wednesday, March 08, 2000 #3296
Guru, does the sum of individual monthly effective reach equal the total compaign effective reach? (e.g. 3 month campaign - month 1=10%, month 2=10%, month 3=10%. Total campaign = 30% effec. reach?? Should/could there be a discrepancy as large as 10% between the sum and the total? Thanking you in advance, R.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, March 08, 2000 ):
The Guru wonders how you could get such an idea. In your theory, reach would be 120 after a year! Reach, as you surely know, is a percentage of the universe, and cannot excedd 100%

As in any other combination of reaches, there is some duplication between the effective reach of one month's schedule and the next.

The difference between reality and your addition could easily surpass 100% over time.


Tuesday, March 07, 2000 #3293
In a budget meeting I´D been asked to reduce the number of stations planned for certain cities, in order to have money to cover other markets......My argument is that we need to buy at least 35% of total PUR (persons using radio) to have an effective impact with the promotional radio campaign...I´ll appreciate your comments...AZ (MEX CITY)

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, March 07, 2000 ):
The Guru has never encountered a share-of-PUR-standard, nor have a couple of his senior, radio researcher colleagues.

The big issue is what you determine makes an effective impact, in concrete terms so that you can make a case. Is it reach, effective reach, frequency or what? All these issues relate much more directly to consumer communication and impact than the abstraction of share of PUR. If you can buy GRPs and reach to your needs, but have to do it with fewer stations, it doesn't strike the Guru as a very significant issue.


Tuesday, March 07, 2000 #3291
Is there a formula which calculates effective reach and frequency? I know that reach x frequency=grp's, but how can I determine what the effective reach and frequency would be for 100 grp's or 150 grp's?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, March 10, 2000 ):
Of course there's a formula, but it can be immensely complicated. In fact, media planners rarely, if ever, considered effective frequency before computers became a part of everyday reach and frequency calculation in the 70's.

Your "reach x frequency=grp's" is not a formula, but merely the arithmetical relationship of these quantities as they are defined.

GRPs are the convenient weights and mesures we use in media buying. They are simple statistical measurements, whereas reach and frequency are more complex statistical models In some cases, there are relatively simple reach formulae derived from compiling the actual, measured reaches of actual schedules with known GRPs. The formula is non-linear.

To find the effective reach of a schedule, you first determine level of frequency to consider "effective" and then examine the frequency distribution of the schedule to see how many people have been reached that number of times The frequency distribution shows exactly how many people have been exposed to each integral number of announcements in a schedule.

The math is based on non-linear functions. For any given reach and GRP set, the frequency distribution can vary considerably depending on the media combined and the dayparts within the media.


Monday, March 06, 2000 #3288
I am doing planning for an image campaign on TV for this Spring (May-June). The are going to be 5 separate spots running under the same theme, but with different messages. Since there are so many spots, about how many GRPs per spot per market should I consider to be reasonable for delivery of each message? Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, March 09, 2000 ):
This is one of those "how high is 'up'?" questions.

Do you need for each spot to be seen by some number of different people? Then buy GRPs adequate to build that reach for each spot.

Does each peice of copy need to be remembered rahter than just the overall theme? Then establish effective reach goals for each execution and buy to required GRP's for that goal.

There are no real magic numbers like "a minumum of 100 GRP's to do X."

It's a matter of setting communications goals either for a campaign or for specific pieces of copy, and buying the needed media to achieve the goals.

By the way, in an image campaign, the Guru would expect that the overall theme is more important than the individual messages.


Thursday, March 02, 2000 #3275
Guru, any thoughts on how to estimate % trial as a result of advertising (effective reach 50% at 3.6+ effective freq. print plan, only medium).The brand has done little advertising,has limited awareness(8% unaided) in a moderately competitive category(indigestion remedies). I have factored the target group pop.(W55+) by the incidence of the condition, then further adjusted by % likely to treat the condition, to arrive at a "Total Potential Prospects". At this point I would like to estimate the % that can be persuaded to trial, to determine estimated prospects and potential sales, but I have no historical advertising or client data on which to base the expected return. Would you base return on current awareness levels, or current SOM? No growth expected in the category,assume trial at the expense of the competition. I am attempting to devise a systematic method of determining ideal effective reach,linked to sales objectives, as I am not content to leave it at "maximum affordable at effective freq. level" Sorry for all the blather, but your thoughts and wisdom would be much appreciated. R.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, March 04, 2000 ):
What you seem to need is a persuasiveness measure: what is the percent who would try the product (purchase intent) with and without advertising exposre? Many marketers have done such research and, if available, it can be factored against your "total potential prospects."


Sunday, February 27, 2000 #3254
I would like to have information about typical rates of frequency that are considered necessary for advertising to be effective on different media. I would like information for television, radio, outdoor and print advertising. If there is such information, I would also like information for internet ads. In short, how many times does an ad need to be seen on different media before for an effective reach. Thank you...

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, February 27, 2000 ):
Most judgements about effective frequency are just that; judgements. The traditional number, 3, is based on century-old learning theory about repetitions of information needed for learning to occur. This theory is not medium-specific but has many other aspects.

Click here to see past Guru responses about this and the Ostrow model

Research by DoubleClick about "banner burnout" shows that internet ads lose effectiveness (in the sense of causing clicks) by the third repetition. Of course, if you want to apply this approach to internet advertisng then you would be considering the awareness-building and sales-driving aspects of banners, rather than click-thru.


Saturday, December 25, 1999 #3075
Dear Guru, there has many studies and discussions about the effective reach and frequency, GRPs level, etc for the TV media. Is there any for Newspapers? Any industry norm about what is the effective frequency for Newspapers

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, December 25, 1999 ):
The concept of effective frequency is based on psychological studies of learning which found three repetitions of information were required for the information to be "learned."

The original study, by Ebbinghaus, was conducted circa 1883. If the concept is valid at all, it is equally valid for print media as it is for TV.


Thursday, October 07, 1999 #2855
How does one set effective frequency and effective reach targets? Are there any models which can help set these targets? And is this approach(effective freq.) media neutral or does it apply differently to different media?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, October 07, 1999 ):
The Ostrow model is one such model.

The concept of effective reach/frequency is based on repetition of messages as the key to consumer action, and so should be media neutral. However, since the nature of various media makes one generate higher frequency than another at the same reach level, plans often take different approaches to "effefctive." For example, a plan based on major magazine which average a 20 coverage among the target, will rarely generate even a 3 verage frequency in four weeks, while a radio plan for the same target might equal the magazine plan's reach in its first week and double the average frequency.

Planners work with the rules and rationales which make the most sense in a given situation.


Monday, September 27, 1999 #2830
I have read all your responses regarding recency. If you wouldn’t mind answering a few more, this is a multiple question predominantly regarding recency as a planning theory. 1) What Telemar program deals with TV R&F on a weekly basis? 2) Do the same audience accumulation formulas work for a one-week cume vs. 4wk or 52 wk? 3) When now planning an a weekly basis rather than a flighted basis are frequency guidelines or goals a consideration in the recency planning theory? 4) Has there been a clear industry swing relative to EF or recency yet? 5) A 1997 JAR article by Erwin Ephron cited some minimum target reach guidelines like 35 weekly, 65 four-week and 80 quarterly. Has there been anything more definitively determined since then (I noticed reply 2631 7/14/99 lowering the weekly reach to 30)? 6) For those espousing recency, is the trend to a 52 presence or extended flighting like 8-10 continuous weeks of each quarter? 7) On the Effective Frequency side, where the defacto goal has centered around the 3+ level, has the time frame shifted to anything other than a 4-week period?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, September 29, 1999 ):
1) Media Maestro and TV Buyer handle TV R&F.

2) No, formulas differ for one week, 4 week, and long term. 400 GRP, spread ove differend programs might come close to exhausting the reach potential of one week's TV audience, but not if spread over 4 weeks or longer.

3) Recency planning is focused on weekly reach, and incorporates the concept that every exposure after the third one is at the 3+ level.

4) Some have adopted recency, some cling to effective reach. The Guru is not aware of any polls of agencies or advertisers, but suspects that recency is still growing in acceptance, but is a minority approach.

5) The reach minima are a bit loose, and 30 vs 35 is not a major point of contention.

6) The idea of recency is that being there whenever a purchase decision is made is ideal. Flighting, when continuity is affordable and there is no major seasonality is contrary to the principle.

7) Four weeks has always been somewhat arbitrary, likley stemming from the one-time dominance of monthly magazines. But it is a convenient benchmark. A logical approach can set a level other than 3+ or other than 4 weeks, etc.


Monday, September 20, 1999 #2808
Hi Guru!For maintainence level of advertising for an established brand, on TV why is an OTS of three considered to be a minimum ? Or does no such rule of thumb exsist?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, September 20, 1999 ):
The 3x rule-of-thumb is based on studies dating back over 100 years to a researcher named Ebbinghaus. He determined that it required 3 repetitions of a string of nonsense syllables for them to be retained by experimental subjects.

Advertising researchers extended the research to posit that only after three exposures to a message would a consumer understand, recall and be prepared to act on the information. Media planners then started using an average frequency (as in "Reach and Frequency") of 3 as a minimum.

More recently, the concept of effective reach has used the theory that only those exposed at least 3 times should be counted as "effectively reached." So, for example, a media plan with an average four week reach / frequency of 76 / 5.2 might reach 50% of the target 3 or more times.

Some planners will evaluate several issues surrounding the copy, competition and media options to decide what effective level is appropriate and set a level of 4 or 6, etc. Of course, this is meaningless without also setting a reach goal at the stated frequency level. A plan that delivers 50 reach at 3+ might also deliver 42 at 4+, 33 at 5+ etc, so there is an issue of the goal versus the level at which the plan is examined.


Tuesday, September 14, 1999 #2795
Dear Guru, I am writing to you from the Middle East. First of all I am very excited to discover the AMIC site. I have recently been exposed to various documentation on the recency theory. Alongwith the documentation I have seen something called reach curves. The reach curves I have seen are typically for 1+, 2+, and 3+ levels for all adults and all women audiences. I understand it is an easy way to translate effective reach goals into GRP goals e.g. X GRPs will get you Y% 3+ reach against the target. It also clearly depicts the point of diminishing return. I am eager to know how I can develop reach curves for my market. Can this be done by us in the media department or do we need to approach some company which specializes in this area. What sort of data is required? Just to give you a background, we are not a metered market. TV audience measurement is conducted thrice a year using face-to-face interviews with a representative sample. Viewership is typically available by 15 minute time segments for all channels across various demos. Thanks in advance.

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, September 14, 1999 ):
Reach curves have been in use since long before computers were used in media departments and long before metered measurement.

Curves are created by using the reach of actual schedules. For example, in the U.S., Nielsen would report the actual reach of specific brands' schedules, based on examining the net unduplicated viewers in their reasearch data who viewed the program schedules used by the brand's commercials.

Once you have several schedules ( 8 or so will do) with actual reaches and frequencies for various GRP levels, you can use the regression analysis data function in a spreadsheet, like MS Excel or Lotus 1-2-3, to calculate a formula which describes the curve. This formula can literally draw the curve on a graph, or let you build a table of GRP / Reach pairs. By the way, it is the frequency and GRPs which are used in building this regression, because while reach is a curve, frequency is a straight line.


Friday, September 03, 1999 #2766
Hi Guru, What exactly is the Ostrow Model ? How useful is it to the clients ? Is it the last word ? Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, September 03, 1999 ):
The Ostrow Model with which the Guru is familiar is a grid used to set the correct level of effective frequency at which plans will be evaluated.

20+ factors relating to competitive climate, product involvement, clutter, commercial length, commercial pool, etc are each rated on a scale, say from 2 to 6, which is then averaged to set the frequency level.

Is it the last word? Is it useful to clients? There is always another theory about anything. The usefulness is in creating a reational, well thought-through basis for establishing communiations goals, so that planners can present a logical approach to clients. The approach makes good sense, for those who follow the effective reach style of planning.


Wednesday, September 01, 1999 #2759
Is the random probability formula used to combine reach for different media also valid when looking at effective reach (i.e. 4+ level)?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, September 02, 1999 ):
If you mean, can you combine the 4+ reach of one medium with the 4+ reach of another medium to get the 4+ reach of the two combined media, the answer is no.

Among those who were reached 2 or 3 times by each medium, some will now be reached 4 or more times and some will not, yet these people are not considered by combining only the two four+ groups. There are also those reached only once by the first medium and three times by the other, etc. A new, overall calculation of the frequency distribution must be done, to determine the 4+ of the combination.


Friday, August 06, 1999 #2693
I would like to know the following: 1) how to set the effective reach/frequency for various category of Products viz fmcg, durable, etc. 2) what would be the ideal effective r&f for various categories 3) should the selection of program be based on cprp or do you have any Other method. Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, August 06, 1999 ):
1) & 2) effective reach does not depend on category, but on analysis of several factors:
  • Complexity of message
  • Ad unit
  • Competitive pressure
  • Clutter in the media used
  • Budget
  • Etc.

Some of these factors will be generalizable for categories, but they will be narrow categories, like "imported sports cars priced from $50,000 to $75,000," and not as broad as "durables."

Click here to see past Guru comments on effective reach

3) Program selection may be based on CPRP, but there are several other factors:

  • Suitability of program content
  • timing
  • program content synergy with ad message
  • package pricing of total buys with and without the program
  • contribution to reach, etc.


Monday, August 02, 1999 #2682
what is considered the effective number of insertions over a year in 1.) daily newspapers, 2.) monthly magazines, 3.) bi-monthly magazines, 4.) weekly magazines. My client's campaign is business to business. We buy print such as WSJ, Forbes, etc and trade print. I can answer this on a common sense basis, keeping in mind the 3+ effective frequency theory, but is there research on what levels are most effective/optimal?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, August 06, 1999 ):
First, review adjacent Query #2693 for comment on setting effective frequency.

Traditional planning has various theories about minimum levels in print media. It used to be common to set a minimum of one issue out of four in publications with frequencies ranging from weekly to monthly. Weekly frequency was more the norm in newspapers.

But this all has to be taken in a context of

  • whether print is the only medium
  • whether print is the primary or secondary medium
  • How deep is the print list

Effective 4 week frequencies above 3 are difficult to acheive in the print media you list; effective reach like this is more the province of broadcast, while print is more often aimed at depth of message.

For research on print reach / frequency and effectiveness try Newsweek Media Research Index and the Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230.


Monday, July 19, 1999 #2643
Dear Guru! I've got the following question. Our client has a product to advertise. He has set advertising goals for the ad campaign. We defined the level of effective frequency needed to reach these goals. 1. What is the range of effective reach? For example, 30%

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, July 23, 1999 ):
Media plan communications goals should specify a level of effective reach along with specifying the effective level of frequency.

Basic, as well as more advanced media software, calculates reach and frequency, frequency distribution and reach at various (effective) frequency levels. Input is typically GRPs.

Setting an effective reach goal can be based on gut, such as reaching the majority of the target at effective frequency levels in 4 weeks, or based on sales predictions. For example, this might be an estimate that 10% of those reached efectively will buy and X number of sales are the goal. Then 10 times X are the number who must be effectively reached.


Monday, June 07, 1999 #2558
Dear Sir, regarding effective frequency there are some tools like Ostrow's grid. But I could not find any explanation about how to set effective reach level. Using a grid one can find a frequency level like 4+ but what the effective reach should be set at this freguency level? What are the considerations?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, June 09, 1999 ):
There is a lot of judgment here, plus the realities of budget. When setting an effective reach, saying only those reached at least "x" times count. So first, how high a reach can you afford? Of course with flighting this answer can vary, too. The Guru basic rule of thumb is to start by effectively reaching most of the target; 50 reach or better.


Wednesday, May 12, 1999 #2505
what is effective reach?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, May 16, 1999 ):
The Guru has discused this often. Click here to see past Guru responses about effective reach


Monday, May 10, 1999 #2502
I've always looked at communication goals in terms of effective reach. Determining effective reach goals can be different agency to agency. That is fine. My issue has to do with combining broadcast media with print media. Can there be an effective reach goal when these media types are combined? In a discussion with my Media Director, they felt that there can only be a 1+ goal. That the concept of effective reach curves were developed on a broadcast model and that print cannot be combined. If not why? I would love your opinion and insight. Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, May 11, 1999 ):
First, the 3+ concept goes back 115 years, to a researcher named Ebbinghaus, who found three repetitions of a series of nonsense syllables was needed for "learning" or memorization.

Combining media to achieve 3+ goals depends on a variety of philosophical judgements:

  • Is the message sufficiently similar, between broadcast and print, so that repeats of either count equally toward establishing the information in the consumer's mind? (unlikley)
  • Determining what level of reach should be achieved at 3+ and/or whether 3+, 4+ or another level should be set as "effective" usually depends on issues like the competitive pressure in the media used, clutter in the media selected, message complexity, category appeal, category novelty, etc. Many of these evaluations would have different results in different media.

It seems to the Guru that the issue is not whether to look at 1+ versus 3+ but whether to consider effectiveness medium-by-medium or in total.

The bottom line would depend on whether the communication focus is on the specific message, which leads to medium-by-medium evaluation, or more on brand or ad awareness, which leads to combined media evaluation.


Thursday, February 18, 1999 #2347
As a buyer I have always been given the necessary information needed to put together a buy. I am currently in a new position, and I am being asked to provide information that I've never concerned myself with before, or gotten involved with the how's or why's of the decision. I'm in dire need of help. Here goes: I have been asked to determine the number of GRP's that should be used in a proposal for a new client. I have not received any budget information. The schedule will run 6-8 months, my demo is A 25-35 and the GRP's should be spiked during the 1st & final week of each month. Also, I am to include TV, Cable, and Radio. My question is: Do I simply request avails from the various TV & radio and cable stations within the market, put together a proposed schedule based on the avail information I receive, and add up the number of GRP's accordingly? HELP!!

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, February 18, 1999 ):
Congratulations, today you are a media planner. But apparently you are working with people lacking professional advertising experience or perhaps a retail client.

You either need some marketing goals input or you need to suggest some goals and get agreement before proceeding. You have been presented with a question equivalent to "how many pounds of nails are needed to build a building?"

You need to know how big a building, what materials it will be made of, how many nails in a pound, to what use will it be put and how big must it be?

To recommend schedule weights you need either a budget or a communications goal to deliver. In media / marketing terms you need to establish -- whether you are given direction or someone accepts your suggestions:

  • What has priority: Reach or frequency?
  • is there a minimum reach or effective reach to attain; per week, in four weeks, or in total?
  • To help answer those questions, if no simple answer is available, you might ask is it a new or established product or service?
  • What levels are used by the competition, if any?
  • Are there any specific product awareness, ad awareness or sales volume goals?
  • (In planning advertising, assume everything is a result of advertising: there is no awareness among people not reached; there are no sales to people who are not aware of the product.)

Knowing all this, you could examine reach frequency and continuity impact of various levels and combinations of your media choices. In other words, you somehow need to establish what must be accomplished by the GRPs, before you can decide how many to use.

It is puzzling, in this great information vacuum, that someone has decided to "spike" certain weeks. Apparently there is some information around which you haven't yet been given.


Monday, February 15, 1999 #2336
How are effective frequency and reach levels determined for new product categories?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, February 16, 1999 ):
The Guru has discussed this frequently. Click here to see past Guru responses on effective reach


Thursday, February 11, 1999 #2321
I have been trying to understand Plan Optimisers for quite some time now.I still am unable to understand. Especially in a complex media scenario like India where languages differ from region to region and different cities have to be covered and a lot of non- quantitative factors like regional sensitivity have to be considered , how can we effectively use Optimisers that are predominantly manufactured in the west?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, February 13, 1999 ):
Quite possibly, you cannot. Optimisers are meant to deal with quantitative issues of media selection, getting the most reach or effective reach or quintiles-of-frequency balance for the money.

Many seemingly subjective elements of the media possibilities, like the effects of regional sensitivity, can be judgmentally quantified and processed by an optimizer.

When languages differ, it is comparable to geographic differences: they are different universes and call for separate plans.


Friday, December 04, 1998 #2198
Dear Guru. Thank you for your answers - they are very helpfull to me. My question is on "recency". 1.What groups of products best fit for "recency" planning. 2."Recency" planning needs continuity. But it is not evident what frequency level is needed at every moment of such continious ad campaign. It seems reasonable to set more frequency at the launch period and then decrease frequency for mantainance. Also we should take into consideration seasonality. Thus our campaign becomes pulsing but not continious. What are your comments? Thank you very much.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, December 04, 1998 ):
1- Recency seems to best fit common products that are bought regularly; in other words, a purchase is stimulated by running out of the current supply. This means food and HBA products, primarily. More "considered purchase" products, like automobiles, may not be a good fit.

2- Erwin Ephron, principal proponent of Recency, has commented to the Guru that about 30 reach on a weekly basis is a threshold level. This might mean 50-60 GRP depending on the media used amd target.

Part of recency theory, in relation to frequency levels and effective reach, is that after three exposures have been delivered, every subsequent exposure is supported by adequate frequency. Recency generally applies to brands with established awareness; when you raise the issue of product introductions, it is a different situation.

Seasonality is the principal exception to recency. There is no point in delivering the most recent ad exposure at a time when no purchase is likely. It is important to distinguish products with seasonal fluctuations, like deodorant, from products with very specific seasons, like barbecue charcoal.

Also consider that Recency does not mandate even levels in its continuity. The weight can be raised above the threshold when appropriate.


Wednesday, December 02, 1998 #2194
Dear Guru, can you name any media analysis tools and media predictive tools that media planners use on a regular basis without being too technical, of course. Many thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, December 03, 1998 ):
Here are several:

  • Reach: the number of different target households or persons exposed to a campaign (most often expressed as a percentage of the target universe, and most often calculated over a 4-week period).
  • Frequency: The average number of exposures of the campaign to those reached.
  • Gross Rating Points (GRP) / Target Rating Points(TRP): Essentially interchangeable terms for the sum of the audiences of all the ad units in the campaign, expressed as a percentage of the target universe.
  • Gross Impressions: Same audience count as GRP/TRP but expressed in whole numbers rather than percents.
  • CPP / Cost per GRP and CPM / Cost per thousand impressions: should be self evident from the previous. These are referred to as the "efficiency."
  • effective reach: Those in the "Reach" who experienced a specified minimum number of exposures (effective frequency)

All the above stem from the audience research tools and investment figures. So called "reach and frequency" systems typically generate all these figures.

Other tools, especially in print media are also occasionally used. These may include "time spent with" media vehicles, "page openings", attentiveness, etc.


Tuesday, October 06, 1998 #2073
In media jargon, what does recency planning mean?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, October 06, 1998 ):
Most simply, it's the idea that the message heard closest to the time of purchase decision is most effective. This leads to plans that optimize continuity instead of focusing on achieving a minimum level of GRP's or minimum effective reach for some affordable number of weeks.

The Guru has addressed recency often; try searching the term in the Guru Archives Search Engine.

Recency has also been a hot topic on our MediaPlanning and Award-papers e-mail discussions.


Tuesday, August 25, 1998 #2014
Hi, I would like to know anything regarding setting the minimun level of TRP's, or minimun reach goal. We know how to set the optimun level, but there is a minimun? One point where is better not to advertise at all. Thank you.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, August 31, 1998 ):
Any GRPs generate some reach and frequency.

Any reach generates some consumer impact. Setting minima is a matter of judgment and logic.

If you are an adherent of the effective reach theory, you will determine what is your effective level (3+ or more) and what portion of your target you need to reach at that level, to make advertising worthwhile. This determination will tell you either how much time you can be active in advertising or across how much geography. The Guru favors 50% as the portion of target to set as minimum to reach effectively.

If you believe totally in the recency theory, any is a reasonable minimum, because each impression has its greatest chance to produce a sale this way, as it is more likely to produce unduplicated reach at any point in time. Yet, few planners can avoid feeling there should be a minimum, probably because they want to see measured sales movement for some period of time.

In either case, seasonality and purchase cycles will inform the decision.


Monday, August 03, 1998 #1987
Dear Guru, I am new to media planning and have been asked to predict the major changes for media planners over the next five years. can you give me any starters? Thanks in advance

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, August 03, 1998 ):
Since this must be a training exercise for new planners, isn't asking the Guru cheating? But since this sort of exercise is silly anyway, the Guru will go along; after all nobody would have predicted the media planners' involvement in on-line, five years ago.

Come to think of it, on-line may have been the only major change of the past five years.

For example,the incremental importance of cable and the slow decline of broadcast ratings is not a major change for planners. They face the same questions, but the answers have changed somewhat.

The new millennium, whether one considers the "popular" start date of January 1, 2000, or the actual date of 1/1/2001 will, no doubt, be a time to look for new approaches and focus more on the future. Marketers will finally recognize that the various major ethnic markets: Hispanics -- newly the largest ethnic group -- plus African American, Asian American and smaller minorities will encompass most Americans in the first decade of the new century. This will mean planners must pay far more attention to assessing the importance of and covering these market segments.

Also in the next five years the Guru sees the debate between advocates of "Recency" plannning and those backing "effective reach" being settled. Categories of marketing or rules on which to base application of one or the other will be clearly defined and two distinct styles of planning will emerge.

Finally, coming back to online, the internet's amazing growth will max out. No more than 50% of the population is likely to be on-line. The internet universe and internet ratings, on a U.S. basis, will be readily available, so that on-line media will become just another element of media plans. Specialist agencies will fold into general agencies and internet media will have no more mystique than out-of-home.


Wednesday, July 29, 1998 #1978
If I'd like to compare cost-efficiency of certain radiostation and certain TV station, would it be correct to apply some coefficient for radio GRP's (like 0,3 radio grp's vs 1 TV's)? Is there any reliable research findings concerning the question of comparable value of, say, the same kind of units but for different media? Thankful for your answer, Elena, Moscow

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, July 29, 1998 ):
Cost efficiency is typically used to compare media while intentionally ignoring "qualitative" differences. Of course, planners like to assign values to represent the differing value of communication power or whatever.

What is your measurement standard in a media plan? Reach, effective reach, sales per grp?

It is quite unlikely that a TV grp has 3 times as much of anything - recall / sales motivation / etc. And one must keep in mind that GRPs have their effects as part of schedules, not one at a time. Even if one radio announcement was 30% as strong on some basis as one tv annoouncement, the accumulation of effect over the course of a schedule would become much less, especially if radio's lower cost per GRP allowed a bigger schedule for the same money, which is why efficiency is compared in the first place.

Short answer - develop comparisons of efficiency and effectiveness separately. Then use effectiveness as an index on efficiency if you must.

ESOMAR , the European Survey, Opinion and Market Research organization or the Advertising Research Foundation may have studies on the relative effectiveness question.


Monday, June 22, 1998 #1915
Do you know of any awareness tracking studies or models that relate recall by medium to purchase intent? Would it be feasible to carry out this kind of effectiveness study to determine what kind of results a media placement agency is delivering to clients?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, June 25, 1998 ):
No doubt some users of recall tests have made an effort to relate recall to sales or purchase intent. This involves using their own, proprietary test scores and sales data. It is possible that the Advertising Research Foundation Library or the archives of their Journal of Advertising Research or conference presentations include the sort of analysis you need.

However, whether this is a basis for judging the performance of a media service is another question altogether. Has the media service been instructed to buy for optimal recall? Has the media service been instructed to buy to optimize purchase intent? In the Guru's experience, these are rarely part of the media goals conveyed to a buyer. More often, buying efficiently or to achieve a reach, frequency or effective reach goal is the instruction.

Further, if you wish to make recall or purchase intent your standard of evaluation, it only makes sense if you share the model you wish to use with your buying service


Friday, May 29, 1998 #1613
1.what is osto's model? 2.In case of an absence of duplication data for publications, how do l calculate the effective reach using 2 or more media vehicles? in such a scenario, is it safe to use the random theory even if multiple readership is negligible?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, June 02, 1998 ):
1) The Guru is not familiar with Osto's model. It may be specific to India, from where you are writing.

2) The Random method is a starting point. If you can find two other similar publications with measured duplication, you can use the duplication ratio from those publications. If you literally mean "effective reach," that is, reach at or above a minimum exposure level, then you need a more complex formula or a computer program like Telmar's ADplus.


Monday, March 23, 1998 #1541
I need latest info on the recency theory for tv media planning and the general opinion of the industry on this theory.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, March 30, 1998 ):
Trade publications like Ad Age, Mediaweek and Jou rnal of Advertising Research cover this topic regularly, with articles from Erwin Ephron, Walter Reichel and John Paul Jones.

Newsweek Media Research Index and theAdvertising Research Foundation Library also archive such information.

The Guru believes the industry is still divided on Recency vs effective reach.


Friday, August 08, 1997 #1386
I wanna know if exists any similar combination for media as exists with marketing-mix with the 4 P's (product, placement, price and promotion).

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, August 08, 1997 ):
Though not as alliterative, the comparable media factors might be:

  • Ad unit
    (length/size/coloration)
  • Frequency
  • Target
  • Geography
  • Media Mix

All this is, of course, a sub-set of marketing's "Promotion" element.

Other factors in media, which you would be used to encountering in plans' Objectives and Strategies sections, come before or after these decision points. For instance, Budget, which controls the degree of freedom possible in selecting options for the list and Reach / effective reach which is essentially a result of the decisions made about the listed factors.


Thursday, June 19, 1997 #1366
Dear Guru, I have a set of urgent questions to ask of you. I have a meeting tomorrow, and need your help! 1. How is effective reach calculated? 2. Reach v/s Frequency -- when should one be given priority / importance over the other? 3. Is there any way of taking creative into account while analysing competition? If yes, can a system of weights be worked out? 4. How do you reconcile to the vast difference between reach/frequency deliveries from a Peoplemeter system as opposed to the Diary system? My client refuses to accept a 4+ reach of 30% being accustomed to levels of 70% for the same plan! Would greatly appreciate your immediate reply.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, June 19, 1997 ):
1) In any schedule of several commercials, some of the target group will see only one, some will see two, some will see three, some will see four, some five, etc, etc.

The actual measurement is based on tracking the cume of several different advertisers schedules in a single measurement period such as one month of the PeopleMeter.

A mathematical model that will match the measured GRP/Frequency is calculated so that plan deliveries can be predicted. Going more deeply into the actual measurement, it can be determined how many people of each demographic group were exposed to each commercial in the schedule and a model calculated which will predict that performance for a plan.

For example, below is the typical output of a computer models' frequency distribution, showing what percent of the target saw exactly n commercials and what percent saw n+. (this example is from Telmar's ADplus):

                    Frequency (f) Distributions 
                           ------------------------------------- 
                                  % who saw
                                 ---------------
                          #seen exactly  at least     
                          ----- -------  -------
               Target:      f     rch    rch    
               P18-49      ---   -----  -----   
                            0     69.1  100.0   
                            1     11.5   30.9    
                            2      6.0   19.3    
                            3      3.7   13.4   
                            4      2.6    9.6   
                            5      1.8    7.1    
                            6      1.3    5.2   
                            7      1.0    3.9   
                            8      0.7    2.9   
                            9      0.6    2.2   
                           10+     1.6    1.6   
                           20+     0.0    0.0    

2) Reach vs Frequency: The determination of emphasis here can be a complicated analysis making up the greater part of a plan's documentation, under the heading of "communications strategy." A commercial so powerful that it's sell is overwhelming in one exposure might take the "Let's buy one spot in the Superbowl" route as did the Macintosh computer with the classic "1984" execution.

In more competitive situations, competitors' levels are taken into account, clutter in the media of choice, copy quality, etc. Obviously a balance must eventually be struck between reach and frequency based on judging all these factors.

3) There are several ways to take creative into account while setting up reach vs frequency goals;

The complexity or simplicity of the message

The number of commercial in the pool

how close your commercial is to the established "wear-out" level

The balance of :30 to :15

etc, etc. can all be assigned factors and totalled or averaged to give a reach vs frequency emphasis factor

a similar exercise can also set effective frequency thresholds

4) There should not be "vast" differences between effective reaches based on people meter and diary systems if schedule GRP and other aspects are the same. 5 or 10% would be the range the Guru would expect.

A plan with a 70 reach at the 4+ level would be delivering in the range of 98% total reach. It sounds as if your client may be confusing a plan with 70 reach and an average frequency of 4 with 70 at an effective frequency of 4. Or perhaps confusing 4-week reach with a long term cume?


Friday, June 13, 1997 #1365
Dear Guru, Could you please give your opinion on what can be viewed as a recommended level of GRP, frequency and effective frequency for a highly competitive advertising category on TV. As an example we can take a carbonated soft drinks' category. What should be the planning guidelines? When and why we should use flighting (pulsing) or what is the rationale for a continous campaign. Additionally to TV which other media should we use and why? Thank you in advance, Bob

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, June 13, 1997 ):
You are actually asking for the complete Objectives, Strategies and communications tactics of a full scale media plan, without offering enough background.

Nevertheless, here are some considerations:

One theory of competitive media planning calls for delivering a minimum of 10% more impressions than the key competitor, in head to head media. This assures beating the competition in GRP, reach and effective reach.

Budget is a consideration. If there is not enough money to compete as above nationally, then selecting geography where the delivery advantage can be maintained should allow you to beat the competition, bit by bit, until you can afford national support.

When there are time-sensitive promotional issues, then pulsing can be an effective way to deliver more impressions over the crucial period. Recent media theory has emphasized the benefits of continuity, because "the impression delivered closest to the purchase decision is the most effective impression." In the soft drink category, where purchase decisions are constant, continuity may be generally preferable to pulsing.

In other, highly competitive, seasonal categories pulsing may be needed.

As far as recommending other media, that calls for more information, but please look at the Guru's Media Advertising Strenghths


Monday, February 17, 1997 #1045
I am interested in obtaining research that explores effective consumer promotion television weight levels. A typical consumer promotion window may be 2 - 3 weeks. Most consumer promotions are planned in the neighbourhood of 300 GRPs / week. Is there any research that has measured effective levels. I am trying to identifity an optimal level, a level (or range) below which response/sales suffer and/or above which response/sales do not substanitially increase.Goal- avoid spending too little or too much against a given promotion.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, February 21, 1997 ):
There are so many variable beyond GRP weight that the Guru doubts you will find simple answers.

Just a few are copy length, daypart mix, competitive arena, product interest, and commercial quality and wear-out status. Further, the Guru thinks that effective reach / frequency is a more useful quantitaive standard than pure GRP.

Two places to look for relevant research would be Newsweek Media Research Index or Advertising Research Foundation


Tuesday, February 04, 1997 #1056
What is the best way to determine effective reach? Any availabale research?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, February 09, 1997 ):
effective reach refers to the concept that people exposed to advertising are only exposedd "effectively' beginning witha certian number of repetitions of the message.

originally, 3 tiems was the standard, based on the work of Ebinghaus in the 1880's, who tested learning of nonsense syllables.

Today logic and experience tells us that many factors determine the number of repetions necessary before recognition and understanding of a message will turn into motivation to buy.

The power of the creative, the clutter of the media used, the competitive environment, the interest of the consumer in the category, whether it is an impulse item otr considerd purchase are just a few of the 20+ factors commonly used to judge whether the effective level mustbe set at 3, 4, 6 or more.


Sunday, July 07, 1996 #1185
I am convinced that with a limited budget it is necessary to reach "effective" reach levels at a given period of time rathe than spread thos dollars throughout the year to achieve low levels but high coninuity. I am working in the Automotive field. Please help me. I need specific documented research studies on effective reach!!!

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, July 08, 1996 ):
It isn't clear what your query is. Many people continue to feel as you do. In recent years, many others have espoused the "propinquity" theory which advocates continuous low levels, based on the idea that the single exposure closest to a purchase occasion is the most effective.

There has been considerable trade publication comment on the matter, most often by Erwin Ephron, probably the leading proponent of propinquity. A recent Advertising Research Foundation workshop devoted considerable attention to this issue, and the proceeding of that conference should be available from the ARF. There have been opposing positions, in agreement with yours, published as well, one of the earliest by Abbott Wool in Media Week shortly after Ephron's first publication of the theory.

The Guru has discussed this before, so using your browser's "find" function to scan this page and the Guru archives will provide additional material.

Surely the most archetypical exception to continuity is for the highly seasonal product, as automotive products may be.


Friday, May 17, 1996 #1213
Dear Guru,I have two questions which you might have heard before.
a)I do know that a :15s commercial on TV cost between 50% to 75% of a :30s depending on market etc. Is there any studies that show what the benefit of either length is (if any) in terms of reach, frequency, effectiveness, memorability, etc.
b)I have seen studies praising the advantage of multiple media usage above single media; in other words using TV and radio instead of just TV. Can you elaborate on that and update with new info about this topic. Reason being a client who would like to slash the budget down to just using TV for campaigns. I however feel that there is an added benefit in using multiple media.Please respond by Monday if you can.Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, May 19, 1996 ):
a) There is is no difference in reach and frequency between a :15 and a :30. In the same time period, they have the same audience, within the tolerances of research measurement.

On the other hand, a schedule using :15's in place of some or all the :30's will provide more reach and frequency, because it has more announcements, hence more GRP, etc, for the same budget.

When :15's started to become popular several years ago, there was considerable research regarding effectiveness versus :30's. The general findings were that :15's had about 70 - 75% of the recall of a :30. At the time, :15's were typically a network option priced at 50% of :30's so the trade off of price vs effectiveness seemed favorable.

b) Multi-media plans chief benefit is in reach development, though the effects of the added reach have ripples in many directions.

Adding a new medium adds more reach than adding weight in the same medium: There are more likely to be different people in the audience of a different medium, over a given period of time. This applies to effective reach as well.

There are a variety of philosophical approaches to taking advantage of this.

One approach says to build reach up to a minimum effective level in the primary medium first, before adding the next medium. Another says build the first medium to the point where the reach curve flattens, then add the next medium to resume reach growth.

A newer, different line of thought, the "recency" theory, de-emphasizes reach in favor of delivering messages to the consumer closest to the point of making a purchas decison. This argues for continuity, to reach more people at all times rather than highest levels in sporadic flights. Again, multi-media will produce more reach, but other theories of minimum weekly levels may effect scheduling, ie radio bought to a minimum of 12x weekly when active.

Judgements must also be made regarding whether TV and radio is perceived as the same message by the consumer. Of course, this same judgement must be applied to different executions in the commercial pool of each individual medium as well.


Tuesday, April 30, 1996 #1231
I'm working on a presentation on how media planning professionals go about determining a media mix, and how a percent of budget is allocated to each medium being used. It's a general presentation for a client who is not very familiar with media planning terminology or methods. So far my sources for info include a couple of similar documents that I and others that I work with have written in the past, and the media planning textbook (by Scissors). Do you know of any other RECENT sources of info, points-of-view, articles on this topic? Or have you answered a similar question recently? If so, please tell me the category under which your response would be filed (I have looked through several categories of your responses and did not see anything relevant to this topic). Thanks!

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, April 30, 1996 ):
In the broadest terms, the process may be thought of as

Marketing Goals ---> Marketing Strategies ---> Media Goals ---> Media Strategies ---> Media Tactics, etc.

A very simple example:

A marketing goal of increasing the number of users of product X might lead to a strategy of converting users of competitive brand Y.

The media goal might then be to optimize reach at effective levels of frequency among a demographic group matched to current users of brand Y.

The media strategy to achieve this might then be built by examining various media mixes to determine which produce the best balance of effective reach for the budget, within the creative limitations.

Of course this is just one possible marketing goal, one possible strategy that might emerge.

There are many ways to set reach goals, to set minimum effective levels or decide to apply the recent "proximity" or "recency" theory of exposure.

In short, one doesn't decide on percents of media and see how it turns out, one decides which media will best answer the marketing and media strategies. Often, some creative decisons have precedence: if TV is designated as the "primary medium" because of communications ability, need to demonstrate, etc, then the strategy migh dictate putting all money into TV "until the effective reach curve is exhausted."

There are infinite ways to express and measure goals and their achievment. Some standard media planning software, such as Telmar's Media Maestro, and Hispanic Media Maestro, allow easy examination of various mixes, instantly showing how reach/frequency/effective reach change as budget or schedules are shifted between media by the planner.


Friday, March 15, 1996 #1263
Can you fill me in on "recency"? Sounds like a complicated way to say low media weight, long duration? Is this correct? If so, can it work with a small budget?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, March 18, 1996 ):
Recency does amount to lower weight and longer duration, but allows for more complex discussion. It is a theory which works in opposition to "effective reach." effective reach is based on the fact that 3, or some other minimum number of exposures to advertising, is necessary for the advertising to be digested, understood and begin to effect consumer behavior.

Recency posits that an exposure close to the moment of purchase decision is the most effective, therefore maintaining a constant presence of messages is most likely to catch the prospect at the crucial moment.

Obviously, even within the recency model, the more exposure provided at any given point in time the better the chance of catching a consumer at the critical time. Recency argues for continuity, not for low levels, though it is often used to justify low levels.

Recognizing that truly seasonal purchases call for different scheduling than regularly cyclical purchases, the concept says that if a given number of impressions are affordable, all else being equal, those impression will generate more sales when spread consistently rather that concentrated into flights at a presumed "effective" level.


Friday, February 16, 1996 #1760
Dear Mr. Guru, Thank you for your last reponse on how to calculate GRP's. You had mentioned that you had explained it fully except for Neilson's calculation methodology. I would be interested in hearing more about this method of calculation as well. Also, is there a "better" way to measure the actual "Impact" an ad campaign has had if you know the actual length of each ad, the frequency the ads ran and the channels(and shows) that they ran during. ie. frequency X length X Audience(rate for each time slot)?? This is obviously a simplified formula, but your feedback on this would be greatly appreciated. Lastly, for television advertising, what are some of the other accepted methods of measurement. Thanks (Again) darrylw@conceptus.on.ca

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, February 16, 1996 ):
It is Neilsen's survey methodology that wasn't covered. They would use the same calculation formulae. The full description of Neilsens methodologies for People Meter, household meter and diary would cover several pages. Contact Neilsen who will be happy to send you methodology booklets.

Regarding "impact" there are as many ways to evaluate this as there are advertisers.

Some advertisers use a factor for copy length based on norms from recall tests. For example, 75% of a :30 is a typical value for a :15.

Some use attentiveness by daypart.

Some use a combination of the two factors.

Some apply the factors to GRP as an indicator; some apply to GRPs and then estimate reach from those adjusted GRPs as an impact indicator.

The frequency of a schedule, as discussed so far, refers to the average frequency of exposure for all pesons reached.

There are those who use "effective reach," counting only persons reached at least 3 times (or any designated minimum) when evaluating the impact of a schedule.


Monday, November 06, 1995 #1824
Do you have any information about "Wear-out" of TVCs?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, November 06, 1995 ):
The first thing to know about wear-out is that there are no absolutes. Different people mean different things by "wear-out" There are numerous ways to set a standard for wear out and numerous ways to measure a commercial's approach to that standard. The simplest, as stated by one of the industry's great researchers is, "a commercial is worn out when the client asks about wear out." Realistically, a practical definition of wear out is when the commercial no longer stimulates additional sales. However, it's rare that any commercial is tracked closely enough to determine that point, and the trick is to *predict* that point. Commercials differ in their quality, impact, and memorability, as well as in the clutter and audience duplication of the schedules used to air them. A commercial that's one of a pool of three closely related commercials for a brand might wear out at a different point in time than one that's one of three dissimilar executions. A commercial airing repeatedly in a single daypart wears out before one in a broad rotation. The audience target and its media habits will also have an impact. Once the wear out level is determined base on the above, then it needs to be associated with a media measurement. Measurement might vary from "when the top quintile is exposed x number of times" to "when effective reach is x% over xx weeks" to "when the commercial has accumulated xxxx TRPs." Bottom line, the answer is a commercial is worn out when it stops selling. How to determine this is a question of judgement and specific research.


Monday, January 23, 1995 #1877
It seens that the effective reach concept is falling on disrrepute. What do you think. Is it a valuable concept for a package goods advertiser?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, January 23, 1995 ):
Despite some media pundits, effective reach/frequency is not dead yet. A good media plan should directly address the communication strategy of each particular product campaign. Frequency will depend upon such parameters as purchase cycle, complexity of the message, competitive advertising, the ability to deliver the message in a timely fashion at the height of consumer interest, as well as other tried and successful principles. The current heightened interest in frequency takes into account the length of the advertising commitment, a concept that was always vague in the original effective reach/frequency theory. Because this topic is of great importance, we have created a news group under Industry Forums so that all AMIC members may participate.



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