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Media Guru

Guru Search Results: 207 matches were found

Thursday, May 12, 2005 #6921
Dear Guru thanks you for your response on my previous question and I have another question for you. Please tell me how I should calculate reach in the diary methodology when in the diary’s there is not present question about reach of each program (meaning how many people were watching the selected program in the same time with the interviewers). Until this moment I am making media plans based on the GRP’s level on weekly basis, but I have requests from my clients to make media proposals based on reach and frequency. Is it possible to make reach and frequency media plans when the research methodology is diary, and how to do this? Second question is what is the difference between the reach calculations in the diary and reach calculation in the people meters methodology? Thank you in advance.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, May 15, 2005 ):
"Reach" of a program means the average (time period) audience of the program. Diary or meter, it means the same thing, although the method differs. Diaries do not "ask about reach;" reach is a phenomenon of the total sample, not the individual. Diaires require the respondent to record viewing as the measurement period goes on, just as meters record this same behavior electronically, and rating or reach is a calculation conducted by the reasearch vendor from the compilation of diaries' or meters' results. Reach models may be built based on cumes genrated in either methodology.


Tuesday, April 26, 2005 #6908
I was asked to present Q1 & Q2 local TV buys to my client's new advertising manager. Both buys include daytime and early news only. The Q1 buy aired Mon-Sun/8-week flight: Q2 airs Wed-Sun/8 week flight. Question #1: The new ad manager insists that the reach and frequency of the 7 days/week buy should differ from r/f of the 5 days/week buy. I say its the same. Who's right? Question #2: The ad manager informed me she likes marketron reports (because they are easy to read) and asked if I could obtain them for the current buy for her review. My reply was, "Sure I can. No problem". There is, however, one small problem. I don't know what a marketron report is. Please help!!!!

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, May 01, 2005 ):
Assuming the same daypart dispersion and GRPs, the same schedule dispersed over more days should have a higher reach; there is greater reach potential in more dispersion. The typical reach model at your disposal may not have the ability to account for this level of detail in the input variables. In any case, the 5 day / 7 day difference is most notable in a one-week schedule. Over eight weeks, little or no difference would remain.

Marketron is a vendor of computer analysis systems for broadcast, nowadays more used by stations and reps than by agencies. One of the stations you buy from may be able to produce the report you need.

Sytems more oriented to agency media buyers and planners include those from our own eTelmar.


Tuesday, April 19, 2005 #6903
Dear Media Guru, Please help me figure out the combined reach and frequency of a multi-station TV buy. To find the average frequency, would I add the frequencies of the stations and then divide by the number of stations? Do I then multiply it by the total number of GRPs to calculate the reach? Since I do not have access to a software program, I need to calculate this manually. I'm in desparate need of your help since these figures are due soon. Thank you.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, April 24, 2005 ):
Frequencies are never additive. A specific model is the only accurate way to combine station reaches. The reach may be divided into the sum of GRP to calculate the average frequency.

A very rough estimation of combined reach might be calculated by a string of random probabilty parings (i.e. pair two stations and then combine the next with those and combine the next with the cume of the three and so on). Because this is "random" and does not account for the greater likelihood of any TV viewers to view other tv, the result will be overstated, by at least 10%.


Thursday, March 03, 2005 #6835
A small change to yesterdays question. If we know the competitors 1 year GRP'S and average reach, can we calculate the effective frequency. This is a little urgent

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, March 06, 2005 ):
There are far too many variables of media mix to accomplish this from the data you offer.

The Guru presumes you mean "reach at a given effective frequency level."

The Guru's approach would be to use R&F software that can deal with effective frequency and enter one year plan variants that include wahtever you know of the plan's components, until you find one that matches your 1 year GRP's and reach, and then see what reach at the effective frequency you have.


Wednesday, February 09, 2005 #6787
What is the formula for combining two R&Fs?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, February 09, 2005 ):
Click here to see past Guru responses about "random probability"


Thursday, January 13, 2005 #6742
Dear Guru, I am a media director for a very very small agency. My boss (the owner) has sold one of our national clients on the idea of network radio. All fine and good except that their budget allows the purchase of only 3 spots per week!!!!!!!!!!! I have been unsuccessful thus far in trying to convince him that this will not be effective. Do you have an opinion on minimum levels to be effective on Network radio?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, January 13, 2005 ):
Do they understand reach and frequency at all? Does the network to be used have a rating of 1.0? So the message will reach perhaps 1 or two percent of the target each week an average of 1-2 times per person? Perhaps 5% in four weeks? Can you express the limited POSSIBLE effects? It makes no sense to do this if the money could buy a real schedule in a few markets.

This sounds like a client with a delusion that it is "national." With this plan, it will be nowhere.

As for effective levels, this will depend on target, and what are the marketing goals, but generally the same standards of schedule as in spot radio will work. One possible exception; if you are sponsoring a strongly authoritative commentator, like Tom Joyner or Paul Harvey, their influence can affect a brand, at least among their audiences, with relatively few weekly spots.


Monday, January 03, 2005 #6732
Guru, If I want to look at a total reach/frequency for several TV schedules that have run over the course of a year (same demo, various creative messages), does it make sense to use the highest reach and to just add up the frequency of all the schedules? Thanks for all your help!

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, January 03, 2005 ):
If you are trying to calculate a cumulative reach and frequency for the year, and any one schedule delivers 95 or more, then you can probably safely call the cume "99+." Then add all the GRPs and divide by 99 to determine the year's cumulative, average frequency. You would have a total reach, total GRP and average frequency among the total reached. "Total frequency" must apply to a specified group and this seems to be the most logical group.

If the best schedule delivers much less than 95, then you should process all the schedules together to determine annual cume reach as your first step, then proceed as above.


Thursday, November 18, 2004 #6691
I have a client that has a one county market area. The billboards selected for the campaign are within the market but the DEC counts that relate to reach and frequency relate to a wider marketing area. The other elements of the campaign are within the one county market. How do I establish measurable goals for the campaign? Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, November 20, 2004 ):
DEC is calculated for individual boards at a stage of the prosess. Be sure to focus on boards in the right area.


Thursday, November 04, 2004 #6669
I'm writing a newsletter and am wondering how to best explain how reach and frequency are calulated in a newspaper buy. Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, November 06, 2004 ):
Click here to see more than 100 past Guru responses about reach calculation.


Sunday, October 17, 2004 #6643
Dear Guru, In the past we used to assess media plans based on CPM. More than ten years ago, planners started to use CPP as a base of comparison and not CPM anymore. I would highly appreciate if you could elaborate on this evolution from CPM to CPP. Thank you & regards,

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, October 17, 2004 ):
This is not an evolution, this is apparently how your company has changed. Both of these measures have been in use for 40 of more years.

CPM is a more absolute measure, while CPP is in relation to a target population.

Network buyers may look more to CPM, since they don't deal with geographies of varying sizes, while planners look more to CPP, which relates directly to GRP, a planning metric, from which reach and frequency are most readily calculated.

The growth of internet as a medium brings more emphasis to cpm, as CPP is not typically used in online media.


Tuesday, August 31, 2004 #6583
Dear Guru, Can you once and for all please give the mathmatics involved to calculate a local R&F into a national R&F, and vice versa. If I am mixing a national schedule into a local market, will the GRP's remain the same? If not, how is it cacluated? Thanks in advance

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, August 31, 2004 ):
Local to national is simple arithmetic:

Local reach X % US coverage translates Rreach and GRP to national.

E.g. if you have a Reach / Frequency / GRP of
70 / 4.0 / 280 in a market which is 10% of the US, then national reach is
7 / 4.0 / 28. Note that frequency is NOT recalculated, it is simply the same. In most cases, this doesn't make a difference, but when it does, keep the original frequency. This is because it is a count rather than a percentage. So the same people that were reached, even when expressed as a percentage of a different universe, simply experience the number of exposures originally calculated.

National to local however, invloves estimation or measurement as much as arithmetic: If you have a schedule delivering a national R/F/GRP of
70 / 4.0 / 280, then you may estimate that its local delivery is
70 / 4.0 / 280, because, by defintion, that is the average reach across markets. However, various vehicles have differences in market-by-market audience, and if you have a specific market in mind, you can get the actual value of the schedule's delivery in the designated market. Then reach and frequency can be calculated for the market using whatever R&F model you have at hand, or perhaps using GRP delivery indices established in past experience. A delivery index would apply only to the GRPs; reach grows along a "curve" and would not vary in a linear fashion proportionately to the variations in individual vehicle audiences.


Monday, August 02, 2004 #6560
Dear Guru: In one of your answers re efficiency of :15 spots vs :30 you said: "In a campaign, these latter measures may mean overall recall and impact favor :15s, if the message can be communicated". Can you give me any references to such studies. The references I have been referred to so far support the opposite view: "Television viewers' attitudes and recall of 15 second and versus 30 secund commercials. James S.Gould" and "Max Sutherland & Alice Sylvester "Advertising and the mind of the consumer". Thank you.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, August 06, 2004 ):
The issue is what do you measure; under almost any circumstances, a :30 has better recall than a :15. But the consumer experince is not about seeing a :15 or a :30. If a campaign has 50 to 100% more exposures because it is executed in ;15, the reach and frequency will definitely be increased and if the ;15 communicates the message, overall effect may be better. It's about camaign versus creative. i.e the media director view rather than the creative director view.


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.


Wednesday, May 12, 2004 #6492
Is there a way to apply a conversion factor to Reach? We are being asked to run R&Fs to the African American audience and we subscribe to the General Market software.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, May 12, 2004 ):
It is not possible to convert reach without, at a minimum, knowing the audience compostion of each program in the calculation as well as the duplication among the specified target. In limited circumstances, for example if you knew the audiences to all programs was 100% African American, but had to use a general R&F system, you might get close by just using population % as a conversion, but this still ignores potentially unique duplication patterns typical of culturallt defined markets.


Tuesday, April 20, 2004 #6465
For a new entrant with a small budget in a high spending category, 1)What should be prioritised in terms of Reach, Frequency or , Continuity at the expense of reach & frequency. 2)Is there a rule of thumb to set higher weight than competitors atleast in the launch month for better vicibility & cut thru at the expense of number of maintenance bursts.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, April 24, 2004 ):
The Guru always recommends 'outshouting' competition. For a new entrant with awareness issues this is all the more important.

Continuity can be a uniquely powerful technique if competion is flighted; a careful study of competitors' flighting patterns might show when to be the big noise in a loud field.

Another technique is geographic selection. If your budget does not allow making enough noise nationally or in a big region, it is wisest to begin in a smaller geographic area where your campaign can have significant share of voice.

Going directly to your question, the Guru would priorize continuity over reach and frequency, if you can achieve at least a minimum R&F; perhaps 30% reach.


Thursday, April 08, 2004 #6458
Dear Guru, Radio data collected via diary gives a signficantly higher reach figure than data collected by syndicated databases. The methodologies are of course different. In the diary system, respondents are given a diary and asked to record their listening habits. For syndicated studies, the question is "Did you listen to radio yesterday/past month etc.?" Still, why is the diary data reporting higher reach? The research agency assures us that the panel selection is based on ownership of radio or listernership of radio , and is not limited to those who already listen to radio. Is it because diary panelists are more aware of radio, and are actively seeking it out? Almost like the phenomenon where if I am thinking of buying a VW Passat, all the cars on the road I notice are VW Passats? Response awaited.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, April 11, 2004 ):
Apparently you are in an unknown country outside the U.S., hence the Guru can not effectively comment on the specifics of your local research systems. The Guru imagines the radio system is meant to measure listening to specific stations and times, while the "syndicated" study, as you call it is a more general measure of radio usage, estimating general listening rather than schedule reach. As a rule such systems are not meant to estimate reach and frequency.


Saturday, March 06, 2004 #6403
Hi Guru, I have a question. What's the difference between a frequency plan vs. a reach plan? How would you go about putting together a reach plan if needed? Are there any formulas or anything that you need to plug in to determine reach? How do you know what is effective? Please HELP!

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, March 07, 2004 ):
A reach plan emphasizes reach versus frequency and the frequency plan is the oppposite. That is, a reach plan is designed to deliver is message to the greates number of different people while a frequency plan emphasizes the number of times each person reached is exposed to the message - no matter how many are reached. Reach plans are used when branding or awareness building are the focus. Frequency plans are aimed at more immediate, direct action such as a retail promotion for a limited time sale.

Some media, such as prime time TV and national magazines produce relatively more reach and others, such as radio, online or daily newspapers are better at frequency within a plan.

You need tools of the sort provided by our own Telmar or eTelmar to evaluate reach and frequency.


Friday, January 23, 2004 #6357
Are reach and frequency goals outdated? If so, how do you measure effectiveness?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, January 23, 2004 ):
The Guru does not see how it can become "outdated" to consider what portion of your target is exposed to a campaign or how often.


Wednesday, January 14, 2004 #6339
What is considered effective for online advertising in terms of reach & frequency?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, January 18, 2004 ):
If you consider online advertsing by itself, why would it have a different effective R&F standard?

Realistically of course, it must. If only two-thirds of people are online, that sets an upper limit. With the millions of web sites fragmenting this audience, what portion of this universe0 can realistically be reached?

Even granting that giants like Yahoo may reach most internet users, what portion of Yahoo's reach can you afford to buy?

In the Guru's opinion, online is a tactical medium. It can reach key prospects in environmentally focused contexts with selectively delivered messsages. It can reach people or add frequency among people not otherwise accessible.


Tuesday, November 25, 2003 #6274
If a rating point is the percentage of the audience that could see the message, then what is the difference from reach? I work at a small agency, and we have gotten rid of our software. I used to be able to plug a plan in, and it would compute my reach and frequency, based on the ratings. How can I figure this out without software, if I know the rating points and GRP's?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, November 28, 2003 ):
Each advertising exposure has certain rating points. For a single such exposure, Rating equals Reach.

For a Schedule, each of the various exposures will duplicate a portion of the audience of the other exposures. The sum of the ratings, less the Duplicated audience is the reach. The sum of the ratings is open-ended. Reach can approach - but not exceed - 100% of the target.

The calculation is complex, and software is worthwhile, especially pay-per-use software like our own eTelmar.

For example, in print, as input, you need average issue audience, duplication between issues of the same publication and duplication between each possible pair of different publications. These must be combined using a complex formula such as the Beta-binomial function. There are variants of this formula, which might be preferred, depending on media type and other variables.


Friday, November 14, 2003 #6247
reach and frequency standards

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, November 15, 2003 ):
R&F standards for what?


Monday, August 25, 2003 #6139
Hi Boss, 1. how many weeks needed as a based assumption to get certain point GRP needed to achieved certain level of Reach/Freq 2. any explanation about answer no 1 3. how to calculate that (the tools) Big thanks boss

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, August 26, 2003 ):
The standard measurement period for R&F is 4 weeks or one month. This allows fitting in monthly magazines. For tools, see Telmar


Thursday, July 17, 2003 #6085
I have an $11,000 cable schedule that achieves 182 demo rating points. In Tapscan the reach and frequency is 12.4 and 14.7 frequency. In Strata the reach and frequency is 73% reach and 2.5 frequency. I think the truth somewhere in between. Tapscan will not share the algorithims (sp)in the formula and I haven't asked STrata. What do you think?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, July 19, 2003 ):
The Guru imagines that the discrepancy has two bases:

One: possibly the Tapscan R&F is assuming that the input is cable GRP and the desirted output is total market R&F, while the Strata is calculating only against cable universe. For example if a market's cable penetration is 60%, then 182 cable GRP = 109 total market GRP. 73 cable universe reach = total 44 market reach.

Two: even under these circumstances, the difference should be less. The Guru suspects that dispersion and programming selection inputs differ between the two so that reach isn't calculated the same.


Friday, April 25, 2003 #5950
Dear Guru, In response to your answer of question: Tuesday, April 22, 2003 #5945. I am grateful for this free service and respect your answers. However, your response, “How did they determine that people who have injuries will watch these programs? HAve they looked at / understood reach and frequency, IF this is the right programming?” This doesn’t answer my question. Since their campaign uses a phone number and they get immediate response to their spots, we know the programs they are buying contain their prospects. My point is, they over-advertise in the same area day in, day out, week in, week out (my original over-saturation point). The easy way to prove my theory is to have them just cut back a small portion and buy other areas. They are reluctant to do so without other proof, first. So, my original question stands: How do you determine (using media formulas) that an advertiser has oversaturated a day part? Thanks!

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, April 26, 2003 ):
The simple approach, based on media formulae is to look for the point where the reach curve flattens (around 80% in the example below). This is where added GRP cease to add enough reach to be worthwhile, generally. But, your issue is one of definiton: What is "oversaturated?" In direct response terms, it's the point where response drops below an acceptable return on investment -- and apparently that has not happened. You would like to experiment with something new, which you apparently believe could have a greater ROI. If there has been any slackening in the response rate, that might justify a test.


Wednesday, April 23, 2003 #5947
Is there any way to determine reach and frequency for a television or radio schedule if the only variables you have are cost and grps?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, April 24, 2003 ):
Aside from how many GRPs are affordable, cost has absolutely no bearing on reach and frequency.

GRPs can give a rough estimate if you have tables or formulae of general results, and GRPs by daypart / station / program can be all the input you need if you have the right software or formulae.


Tuesday, April 22, 2003 #5945
I am trying to convince a personal injury law firm that they have oversaturated daytime television (court & talk shows) with their advertising. They regularly run in the same broad time period on each station daily. I am recommending cutting back a small percentage and spend it else where to build their reach. They are afraid to loose their dominant position. My question is, how do you determine overkill?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, April 24, 2003 ):
How did they determine that people who have injuries will watch these programs? HAve they looked at / understood reach and frequency, IF this is the right programming?


Tuesday, April 22, 2003 #5943
i believe there is a rule of thumb when calculating the reach of trade publications. something like the first major pub in the buy gets over like 75 or 80% and then there is a average increase per added pub. It's just a rule of thumb, but it sure would be useful since we cannot define the size of the overall industry's target universe. IF you do not know this rule of thumb, how would you suggest we calculate the reach and frequency of 5 trade pubs bought with differing levels of insertions over a year. Thanks for any help!

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, April 26, 2003 ):
Crudely: Calculate each book's circulation's percentage of the sum of the goups' circs and make this each one's individual reach. Start with the largest and calculate the added reach contribution of the others by random probability.


Wednesday, March 19, 2003 #5888
I'd like to know how you determine what your GRP goals should be for TV. I know that Total GRP's are equal to reach x frequency. However, if I want to reach 95% of adults 35+ each flight month while achieving a 4.0 weekly frequency, how do I determine those goals? Thank you.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, March 22, 2003 ):
The fact that reach x frequency = GRP is merely an arithmetic relationship, it is not predictive. Not all combinations of dayparts and programs with the same total GRP deliver the same R&F.

You need to examine various schedules with reach & frequency software, such as that from our sister company, Telmar.


Saturday, March 08, 2003 #5871
Dear Guru, I encounter some more questions which I am unsure. I learnt that we can calculate combined reach of different media vehicles in one medium and combined reach of different media (e.g. TV, Magazine etc.) and same for frequency. However, how can I applied tohse in an advertising flowchart? where I need to indicate monthly reach, monthly frequency and GRPs for different media vehicles+media (?) To do it manually, do we really calculate first combined reach and frequency of all media vehicles within 1 medium first than use the final combined reach % to calculate with other media to get the Montly reach & frequency & grps in the adv flowchart....it will be quite tedious....I am confused...please help!

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, March 09, 2003 ):
The Guru does not understand your confusion. You say you understand how to calculate the reach of several vehicles in one medium and how to combine the reaches of several media.

One thing you must understand is that reach is always calculated over a specified period of time. The standard period is four weeks. Often, when print is the only medium involved, one month is used because this is virtually the same as four weeks and monthly magazines fit readily. However, it should be recognized that variations in issue dates muddy the time cycle, and that monthly magazines' audiences cume over a longer period than one month.

In any case, whether the flow chart is divided into 12 months or 13 four-week periods, the process is simply a matter of looking at the schedule that will run in each of these periods and calculating the R/F/GRP for each. The is not any kind of standard that establishes that a flow chart should show R&F for every month. When schedules are fairly consistent, it is probably more common to show the average 4-week R&F within each quarter, or whatever is needed to give a clear understanding of the plan's communications levels.

And yes, if you are doing the work manually, it is tedious.


Wednesday, March 05, 2003 #5866
reach and frequency

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, March 08, 2003 ):
Are you looking for definitions or more? Click here to see past Guru responses about reach and frequency


Saturday, February 15, 2003 #5841
Can you please tell me how to do the Sainsbury formula in order to calculate campaign reach & frequency?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, February 17, 2003 ):
Click here to see past Guru responses about Sainsbury.

To do the kind of calculation you probably want, you need a computer with software such as that offered by Telmar.

The calculation is extremely complex. For example, in print, as input, you need average issue audience, duplication between issues of the same publication and duplication between each possible pair of different publications. These must be combined using a complex formula such as the Beta-binomial function. There are variants of this formula, which might be preferred, depending on media type and other variables


Friday, February 07, 2003 #5815
We've been asked to estimate reach/frequency/etc. for a plan that includes USA Today, newspapers in 8-10 major markets, spot radio in 5 markets, metro traffic in 8-10 markets, and national magazines. I think this is impossible, but can you think of any way I can provide the client with a decent estimate? I was thinking I could start by pulling delivery for USAT, magazines, New York Times, and then somehow estimating the rest.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, February 08, 2003 ):
The Guru sees no problem, and so does not quit understand your question perhaps. Assuming you know what reach and frequency is, you can readily determine the reach of each one of the media you mention. Most simply, you can combine them by Random Probability . Most reach and frequency systems on the market, like our own eTelmar, can do this for you. The only "trick" is accounting for the different geographies, but that's just artithmetic, and easy if you look at all the percentage reaches as their equivalent in thousands.


Thursday, January 16, 2003 #5739
I am looking information about the relationship between SWOT analisis and Reach & Frecuency goals. Can you hel me?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, January 18, 2003 ):
SWOT is Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats; in other words situation analysis. reach and frequency describe communications levels. After a SWOT analysis, one might be led to formulate goals and strategies which include R&F goals. There is no direct connection.


Friday, January 10, 2003 #5727
Dear Guru, I need to support a network TV buy with spot radio. The network buy is at 700 TRP over 6 week flights (frontloaded for each flight). HOw do I determine the appropriate levels of weekly radio weight? Thanks for your help.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, January 12, 2003 ):
Determine what you want to accomplish. If it's a certain communication level, for example, reach and frequency, it easy to use an R&F system to "back into" required radio levels. Your radio sales rep is one source of this kind of analysis.


Monday, January 06, 2003 #5720
We are a small agency who deals primarily in spot buys. I am putting together a network cable TV buy for a client. Network selection is largely based on MRI data against the target. I have R/F goals that were established based on a cursory "borrowed" run on an optimizer program. I know I can ask the networks to run R/F on the schedules I put together, but how can I get a combined R/F on the entire multi-network buy? We don't have a program that does that for network. Is there a formula? Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, January 12, 2003 ):
Networks than can provide R&F runs can provide combined schedules. Systems vary, inout assumptions are important and some networks know how to slant results. Ask more than one network to do the same combinations as a check.

Our own eTelmar system can do R&F on a pay-per-use basis at a nominal cost.


Sunday, December 15, 2002 #5683
dear guru, i'm planning on print a first flight in january and after a hyatus of 6 months another flight in august: is it correct to sum the grp of the 2 flight or i should evaluate them separately? thank you

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, December 15, 2002 ):
Why you would sum the GRP? A cume R&F would be misleading.


Tuesday, November 26, 2002 #5646
I have a client who buys only newspaper price & item inserts 26 weeks per year. In an effort to grow his business, he wishes to invest in inserts 52 weeks per year. Beyond reach and frequency, how can I demonstrate to him that his money would be better spent in another medium?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, November 26, 2002 ):
reach and frequency is the central argument. Other than that, propose short-term tests of alternate media.


Thursday, November 21, 2002 #5634
I understand that % reach diminishes as the number of GRP increases, but over what time period is this based on? In other words, would there be a difference if a flight ran for a week with 500 GRP opposed to a month with 500 GRP.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, November 21, 2002 ):
This is better stated as "% reach increment decreases as GRPs increase."

The standard R&F calculation period is 4 weeks. In general, the same GRPs produce more reach in a shorter time, because of people's media use habits.


Saturday, November 16, 2002 #5622
Can you give me the name of research software that provides reach and frequency for tv broadcast, cable tv, and for a mix of media (tv schedule plus newspaper or magainzes)?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, November 17, 2002 ):
AMICs' sister company, Telmar is the leader in such software.


Saturday, November 02, 2002 #5594
1.how do you measure the effectiveness of sponsorship? 2.is sponsorship more effective than other types of media

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, November 05, 2002 ):
You must begin by deciding what kind of effectiveness you want: sales, public opinion, image, awareness?

For some of these, e.g. public opinion, image, sponsorship may be more effective. Sponsorship is about depth of communication and its impact, media is about breadth of communication. Media gets reach and freqeuncy, sponsorship engages the hearts of those who care about what you sponsor, and will cost you in reach and frequency terms.


Thursday, October 17, 2002 #5566
What is the reach and frequency of Cosmopolitan Magazine?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, October 19, 2002 ):
According to MRI, an average issue of Cosmopolitan reaches 17,110,000 adult women. Frequency is an aspect of a schedule, not of a specific magazine.


Thursday, October 17, 2002 #5565
Does the guru have any experience with the effective use of :10 IDs in syndicated programming? In general would it make sense for a limited budgeted advertiser to place 100% of his budget into this media form in order to maximize efficiencies?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, October 19, 2002 ):
:10s should cost about half of thirties, so the gain in reach and frequency is big. But the key question is whether you can tell the story in a :10. 100 bad commercials aren't worth as much as 50 good ones.


Monday, September 23, 2002 #5526
I have been given a client's previous cable buy to critique. Given that cable is a frequency medium, I feel the client has spread himself over too many networks with too few spots. I want to prove this to him beyond saying 'because I said so'. We are going to pull a R&F report but I also wondered, is there any research to indicate a minimum frequency for cable networks? I was wondering about the turnover rate for radio. Does something similar exist for cable?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, September 29, 2002 ):
Turnover is simply the ratio of weekly cume to average quarter hour audience. This could be computed for cable, but it's simply a short cut indicator for buying towards reach.

Why is cable a frequency medium? Because you said so? Granted cable, because of its smaller ratings, develops more frequency than reach in relation to prime time network. But another, perhaps more important use of cable is to reach niche audiences that are drawn to the specific programming of certain channles.

First be sure you understand the planning goals. Is cable there to add frequncy or to reach the target is a specific environment? If you think purely as a buyer, you may miss the point of a plan. Perhaps the previous buyer was given goals other than frequency; you need to critique in terms of goals. The R&F report you get may be too high or too low. What are the goals?


Friday, August 30, 2002 #5497
Dear Medai Guru: Thanks a lot for sharing your knowledge and experience! Question: Are there any estimated (or guestimated) GRP equivalents between different media. Example: Say, I am planning 400 GRPs on TV to reach about 50% at 4+. If I decide to use only outdoor, what R&F should I be planning for?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, September 02, 2002 ):
Different media have different strengths and uses; see the Guru's media strengths page

It is not appropriate to say that instead of "X" TV R&F one may substitute "Y" outdoor R&F.

400 GRP of TV would be a solid 4 week schedule. A light showing of outdoor develops 125-150 GRP per week, and 600-700 isn't uncommon. Such a schedule would deliver 90-95 reach with 30+ average frequency; perhaps 90 at 4+. Other issues of communication, such as message complexity and impact would outweigh the R&F comparison.


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 #5441
Dear Guru, please solve our argument. We (media agency) are always arguing with creative agencies what size of the creative material should be. We prefer smaller ads or shorter spots, because they are cheaper and we can achieve better media results (reach and frequency), and the creative people like a bigger ones. How could we estimate the optimal size?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, July 30, 2002 ):
By the theory you express, all ads would be the smallest possible, just to get big reach and frequency numbers. Of course, this is ludicrous.

Creatives like bigger ads because they have more impact, and this thinking simplistically disregards the impact of a total schedule.

You need to begin by establishing what will be the standard ad, one that communicates effectively and with adequate impact, however that is defined. Typically :30 TV of page, 4c magazines are such standards. From there, you can make sensible arguments about whether R&F gains with smaller ads are worthwhile or whether the losses through larger ads are.


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.


Thursday, July 11, 2002 #5406
We are in the middle of planning a small trade plan in the science field. First question - do you know of any syndicated research that measures these types of publications? The client believes that somewhere one must exist. Also, we need to determine the communication goals. How would we go about calculating reach and frequency for our plan when these publications are not measured? And duplication studies are not available? Any help would be great! Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, July 13, 2002 ):
There are syndicated medical and technology daya bases, but the Guru does not know of one for basic sciences.

Click here to see past Guru responses regarding procedures to estimate print reach


Sunday, June 30, 2002 #5387
I'm working in Japan this summer and trying to get as infomration on the effectiveness of advertising and using a mix of media vs. buying only Tv. Are there any statistics on reach and frequency measurements or can you suggest a simple way I can translate the information to my client without getting too technical? - Difficult to cross the language barrier.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, July 01, 2002 ):
Keep in mind that in different countries and cultures media behave differently, media mix differently and reach/frequency cumes differently. The U.S. Hispanic market's media are very different than U.S. general market media, for example. Therefore, it would be a mistake to think about simply translating U.S. concepts. Basic definitions such as rating or impressions should be safe, but mathematical relationships or impact measures can bne quite different.

Try Japan Marketing Association for some help.


Monday, June 17, 2002 #5352
I have a very small ad agency that places local TV buys, is their a computer program I could purchase to help in computing say reach and frequency on these buys. I can't afford to pay Neilsen a monthly fee for TvScan. Any suggestions?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, June 17, 2002 ):
The Guru's organization includes Telmar which provides the software you need.


Tuesday, May 14, 2002 #5284
Hello, I am looking for some help on determing ROI for a print media campaign I've had running for about 8 months. Unfortunately, I cannot include sales as we are a B2B company and our product is pricey (read millions of dollars). So advertising is not going to make the phone ring with sales but I would like to put something together to determine how effective the print campaign is at awareness/perception. Or at least reach/frequency. Is there any rules of thumb I can go by or incorporate besides just circulation and cost per pub? Thank you.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, May 18, 2002 ):
Click here to see numerous past Guru responses, posted for your reference, regarding estimating reach and frequency.

Awareness / perception may be a useful metric in evaluating a plan, but unfortuately you really need to have a benchmark base level from before the campaign began.


Sunday, April 21, 2002 #5237
Hi Media Guru, Our product is a toy box and our primary target is mothers of young children between 1-2 years of age. Our secondary target is grandparents and children. 1. What's the best way to reach our primary target? 2. Should we allocate media budget to target kids through cartoon shows on TV although the purchase takes place when they're too young to influence the decision? 3. We do not have access to either Simmons Choices II nor MediaMark, what would be an alternative to support our choice of titles/channels and to get reach and frequency data? 4. Is there a standard way to split the budget between priamry and secondary targets? Thanks Amal

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, April 28, 2002 ):
The Guru's recommedations:
  • Forget targeting 1-2 year olds. As you say, " they're too young to influence the decision"
  • Your target may be reached in any medium, and efficiency against the target will tell you something, but parenting magazines and web sites are probably most effective.
  • The media you might buy will have access to Simmons or MRI and should be happy to provide these data
  • One way to split budget is in proportion to your assessment of the portion of sales which might be made to each target.


Thursday, March 14, 2002 #5151
how do i best explain reach and frequency to a new media student

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, March 17, 2002 ):
The Guru doesn't see the difficulty. Reach is the number of Different persons exposed to advertising, expressed in simple numbers or as a percentage of a target audience. Frequency is the number of exposures experienced by those who are reached.

Click here to see past Guru responses on the topic.


Tuesday, March 05, 2002 #5136
Thank you Media Guru for your response to my last question. Now I have a another one for you: A hypothetical advertising situation I'm working on involves a client who wants to invest in some specialty advertising, specifically pencils, coffee mugs, toy tractors and other things of that nature. Is it possible to determine the reach and frequency of such a medium?...or are reach and frequency better left to descriptions of broadcast, print, and other media

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, March 05, 2002 ):
The first step in measuring reach and frequency is defining the target so that you can eventually say that "X" number or "Z" percent of this target has been reached. In your hypothetical, the number might be the quantity distributed, but it will depend on how well the distribution is controlled to go to the target and to prevent duplication.

Direct mail is not a good analogy, because that depends on percent who open/read to filter the reach.


Friday, March 01, 2002 #5127
I am a student trying to target the affluent for radio advertising. Is it possible to obtain reach and frequency when I don't know exactly how may individuals are in this market. Thank you. Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, March 04, 2002 ):
If you think of reach and gross impressions in thousands, then there is no problem; if you want Percent reach, then obviously you need to have an estimate of the size of your target universe.

Scarborough is a resource which can provide universes and percent reach estimates for an affluent audience, if you can define affluent in concrete terms, e.g. HH income over $100K.


Thursday, February 21, 2002 #5105
I am the media director in an agency that is 90% print. The presedent of the agency, (who knows little about media) has mentioned in meetings in front of me, my staff and the rest of the agency that media is like dinasour and is becoming exstinct. I am very offended by this. This morning she asked me to present in a dinasour costume. I have a broadcast background where bying TV and radio is a true skill, I realize that print is less technical and "anyone can do it". How do I respond to this? What trends should I be aware of to keep my department on top of their game and useful. I have a hard time addressing this with her because when she says it, I cannot remain composed.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, February 21, 2002 ):
1. Get into the spirit of things and tell your boss you'll present in a dinasaur costume if she'll wear her jackass costume.

2. In the Guru's opinion, print is more "technical" than broadcast. Extensive analysis of each environment (title) is typical and appropriate in ways that individual broadcast programs or stations are never analyzed in media plans. Reading and interpreting ABC or BPA statements should be more of a contribution than presenting R&Fs.

You should probably look more deeply into what the boss means about your department, is she just trying to get your goat? What kind of boss even keeps a department she truly finds useless?


Monday, February 18, 2002 #5092
I have a National Cable TV plan that we estimate will deliver a reach/frequency of 33/5.5 if run for four consecutive weeks. I have 7 networks planned. My question is this: What would happen to reach and frequency if I scheduled the same 180 GRP's as two weeks on, two weeks off, two weeks on. My estimate is that the reach may increase slightly.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, February 18, 2002 ):
On the theory that there are always a very few people who do not watch in any finite period, but may be caught across a longer period, you are probably correct. The opportunity to capitalize on this aspect of reach is probably better by spreading the weight over the same weeks than by flighting, but the differences are likely infinitesimal.


Monday, February 11, 2002 #5080
How do I figure reach and frequency? If I know that I want to buy 2000 TRPs over the course of a year, 20 weeks of 100 TRPs flighted. I need to tell how many people I am reaching 10 times. I do know the population and TV HH numbers.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, February 11, 2002 ):
This is very complex and has numerous variables, including daypart mix and target.

The eTelmar starter package is a quick, inexpensive resource.

Click here to see past Guru responses


Monday, February 04, 2002 #5050
Is Telmar's multi-basing system the same thing as Fusion? And, if I'm currently doing the random probability formula to get total reach percent, what is the difference between that and Telmars calculations? Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, February 06, 2002 ):
According to Telmar:
Multibasing preserves the integrity of a survey. It does not ascribe answers, and as such, avoids what we call "regression to the mean", washing away everything to averages. It preserves the leverage of a media element against any target group, not just those that leverage on demographics.

Telmar's R&F formulas use the actual turnover and duplication between media that are inherent in the survey. When there is real data, we use it.


Thursday, January 31, 2002 #5039
calculate reach and frequency

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, January 31, 2002 ):
You need a computer with software such as that offered by Telmar.

The calculation is extremely complex. As input, you need average issue audience, duplication between issues of the same publication and duplication between each possible pair of different publications. These must be combined using a complex formula such as the Beta-binomial function. There are variants of this formula, which might be preferred, depending on media type and other variables


Wednesday, January 23, 2002 #5030
Hi Mr Guru. Just wondering : in the basic (reachxfrequency)xCPM/1000 formula, I have a question about reach. Are we talking about the number of people who see the ad, or who might see the ad ? E.g. the 500,000 people who drive by a billboard every week, but who don't necessarily see it. Thanks a lot.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, January 31, 2002 ):
There is a term - "opportunity to see" - more commonly used in Europe and probably more descriptive than our own "impressions." Each research measurement has a standard for inclusion in the reported audience. For outdoor it may be something like: the number of cars passing a billboard each day time an average of 1.7 passengers per car. In magazine, the number of persons who say they looked into the most recent issue. There are arguements about why each overstates the numbers actually exposed to the ad. However, reach and frequency systems are usually built to deal with the reported audiences fed to them. Most sytems have allowances to adjust inputs or results based on attentiveness, noting or other refinements.


Tuesday, January 22, 2002 #5026
Now that Outdoor can be mixed with other media, what is your thinking on how do the number of uses effect the frequency distribution? Should we be transferring GRP's, number of days or number of boards times days? How does this effect the frequency of the programs?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, January 31, 2002 ):
Outdoor could always be mixed with other media, so the Guru presumes you mean that the media software you use now has the ability to calculate reach and frequency for the combined media. Your question is probably answered in the software's manual.


Thursday, January 03, 2002 #4975
how does reach and frequency build

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, January 04, 2002 ):
Click here to see past Guru responses about reach build.


Thursday, January 03, 2002 #4971
Dear Guru - Was there ever a "chart" that enabled media buyers to calculate reach/freq, gross impressions etc for broadcast television planning. I have been explaining to someone that we use programs for this kind of thing, but this person seems to remember using a chart and thinks i should be able to do this manually if he could. I've never heard of it, have you? He would have been planning around 1975. Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, January 03, 2002 ):
Yes, before computers became common in the 80's, when there were just 3 networks, with 90%+ share, no cable, and few independent stations, R&F tables were the way it was done. Every few years, using Nielsen cume studies of actual scehdules, average reaches for various GRP levels were calculated. There might be variables for the number of programs or episodes used. In this way all possibilities for a daypart could be displayed on a single, typed page.

Today, with computers on every desk, 6 broadcast networks amassing only 50% share, dozens of cable options and hundreds of independent stations, accuracy requires computer systems. Such crude tables could be still constructed, but why bother when computers and software are so readily available?

The Guru who was using the charts in the 60's, is happy with his computer today.


Thursday, December 20, 2001 #4956
how does reach and frequency build?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, December 21, 2001 ):
This differs from medium to medium and among specific combinations vehicles.

Generally, the audience of each added advertisement has increasing duplication with those already reached. The curve below is typical.


Monday, December 17, 2001 #4951
Guru - Where can I learn about maximization of radio and TV buys? What is overkill?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, December 21, 2001 ):
Begin by setting communication goals in reach and frequency terms. Click here to see past Guru responses about effective frequency.


Thursday, December 13, 2001 #4944
We have a client that insists on running :30 LOCAL radio spots instead of :60 spots. We have done a significant amount of network radio, where the "standard" unit is, in fact, :30. Standard units for local buys on the other hand are :60s. The client still challenges our recommendation for :60s in LOCAL markets. Do you have an opinion on this subject, or can you tell me where to find some independent research that addresses the topic?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, December 13, 2001 ):
Today, not only is the local standard :60's, but most stations sell "units" meaning their charge is the same for :60 or :30. In this situation, there seems to be no reason to use a :30 unless specific copy research proves that the 30 is more effective.

In other cases, where :30's cost 80% of :60's, the added reach and frequency achievable trhough :30's may be worthwhile.

For research, try The Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB)


Tuesday, November 20, 2001 #4900
I am trying to estimate past reach & frequency for a transportation trade industry print campaign -- and based on that set R&F goals for 2002. I have gathered the following information: Target universe in US, Asia and Europe; each publication's circulation to that target (where available); duplication (very limited availability of this from these pubs). Given this information, what formula could I use to (gu)estimate reach & frequency for this Trade plan? Alternatively, what other measures could I offer to my client to measure a recommended media plans effectiveness (i.e. Competitive SOV)?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, November 21, 2001 ):
The simple formula begins by calculating audience-divided-by-universe to estimate ratings (probability of exposure). Multiplying together all the negative probabilities gives you the reach, disregarding specific duplication. In other words, if you get a rating of 14% of target, the negative probability is 86%. Then, two issues of that publication have a combined negative probability of 0.86 X 0.86 or 0.7396. Thus the probable "reach" is 1 - 0.7386 or 26%. This reflects a rando likelihood of dulication of roughly 14%. In reality, there is more than just this random duplication between two issues of the same trade title, probably 50%+, so a better estimate of the reach would be 14% + 50% of 14%, or 21% reach.

For a good guestimate, combine all your insertions this way, using 60% duplication between repeats in the same title and 30% between different titles. Use judgement about titles from different countries which may have virtually no mutual duplication.

SOV is another comparitive tool. Going beyond relative communication and relative spending gets quite speculative.


Sunday, November 11, 2001 #4876
Dear Guru, I am developing a local cable buy for adults 18+, and working with two cable systems for coverage in one county. Can you provide me with some insight to accurately project cable tv reach and frequency, when the cable systems may not be able to provide ratings data for the county targeted. If I do receive estimated ratings from these systems, can I figure this the same as network buys are estimated, R X F = grps? I was also wondering if cable systems will typically "post" buys, as network stations do? Any insight you can provide in relation to estimating cable effectiveness would be appreciated. Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, November 12, 2001 ):
  • The arithmetic defintions of Reach, Frequency and GRP assures that R x F = GRP always "works." But this doesn't help you figure anything out until you have two of the three terms.
  • Your best assumption, lacking all other data is that R&F develops the same as CableNetwork
  • If there are no actual ratings available, there is no basis for a "post."

If you are limited to only those cable channels with local availability, reach will be limited. If your target is narrow and matches the profile of some of these channels, which you will buy, enough frequency can produce an effective schedule. Remeber, it may take 500 spots to accumulate 50 GRP, and reach will only be equal to some small portion of GRP.


Monday, November 05, 2001 #4865
Guru, what's the methodology for reach & frequency. I have two schedules, one gets an 77 reach/3.1 freq, the other 85 reach/4.2 freq. and a cume of 87 reach/5.6 freq. A client just asked why such a small increase from year to year.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, November 07, 2001 ):
The Guru's answer is based on the assumption that you mean:

"In year 1, I ran a schedule which cumed 77 reach, with 3.1 average frequency (and presumably about 240 GRP), and

In year 2, I ran a schedule with a cume reach of 85, and an average frequency of 4.2 (about 360 total GRP), and

the cume across the two years reported as 87 reach / 5.6 average frequency (487 GRP). So why is this cume only 87 when I had 85 in year 2 alone, on top of the 77 in year 1?

.

  1. First, if the cume is the combination of the two schedules, there is an arithmetic error somewhere in the cume. The GRP (reach X frequency) of the cume must be the sum of the two individual schedules, which would be about 600 GRP.
  2. Reach grows more slowly as you near the potential. Why? When you reach 85% of the target, most of the people reached are among the 77% you reached previously. At it's simplest, based on pure probability, your 85% reach in year 2 means that year 2's schedule reaches 85% of the 77% already reached and 85% of the 23% not yet reached. This would add 20% to year 1's 77% for a cume of 97%. But the nature of media is that some people consume some media regularly and others not at all. So duplication in a given medium is more than pure probability. Thus reach is only 87% in cume.
  3. If you had used completely different media in each year the cume would more nearly apporach the 97% probability.
Reach methodology differs between media types.


Tuesday, October 30, 2001 #4852
What is the formula or methodology for calculating reach and frequency in print media?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, October 30, 2001 ):
There are various formulas, such as beta bimodal, Metheringham, etc. The complexities call for computeres or a lot of time. Try Telmar or eTelmar.


Wednesday, October 24, 2001 #4819
I know you have addressed this question many times, but I could not find an answer to help me in your archives. How can I determine reach & frequency for my television buy without buying software? I do not know reach or frequency, only total TRP's. Please help.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, October 24, 2001 ):
reach and frequency is a complex calculation. Without software, only tables of results based on averaging actula caluculation will be helpful. Complexities of dayparts, demographics, and timing can mean a 2:1 range in results for the same GRP. If the media vendors can't help you, eTelmar is a low-cost, pay-per-use alternative.


Wednesday, October 24, 2001 #4815
I just started free-lance media buying, Is their a software program I can buy to compute reach and frequency, CPP etc, without purchasing Arbitron or Nielsen? I would submit my own numbers for each program. Thank you.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, October 24, 2001 ):
Try our own Telmar or eTelmar.


Monday, October 01, 2001 #4742
Dear Guru, I am interesting in IMS Modal reach and frequency model. As far as I can understand they use beta-binomial model for plans with one vehicle, but what model is used for plans with more than 1 vehicle (so called between vehicle duplication problem). Could you give me any references or ideas? Sincerely, Lena M

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, October 02, 2001 ):
Contact IMS


Friday, September 07, 2001 #4703
How to arrive with reach and frequency

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, September 07, 2001 ):
Try eTelmar


Wednesday, August 15, 2001 #4658
Guru, Could use some help framing questions for my agency relating to the effectiveness of a media campaign. We recently ran a test cell for a new campaign (our first)in which the agency provided information on total TRPs, total reach and total frequency over the life of the test. I need to determine how the frequency builds over time. Are there any formulas/rules of thumb for calculating build over time? If not, what specifically should I ask them for? Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, August 15, 2001 ):
Reach relates to GRP in a curvilinear function. Frequency relates to GRP in a straight line. This doesn't mean that each week adds the same amount of frequency, merely that it's fairly easy to work with.

The easiest thing however, is probably to ask the agency to calculate cumulative reach and frequency, week by week, over the course of the campaign.


Thursday, August 09, 2001 #4648
Guru, I'm trying to figure out a reach & frequency of magazines which aren't measured. For discussion purposes, lets say my target base was 100,000. I am recommending 5 magazines with a total circ. of 80,000. However, I will be running in each about 5X over the course of 1 year. To make matters worse, I have no idea of the duplication between these mags. Without measured media, how do I figure an approx. R&F?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, August 11, 2001 ):
The first step to a crude estimate is to determine the target readers-per-copy (RPC of your largest circ book. With an average of 16,000 ( your 80,000 total across all 5), perhaps one is double the average or 32,000. If it has 2 target rpc, or 64,000 then your reach minimum is 64%. If all the books average 2 rpc, your schedule of 5 insertions in each of the 5 books has 320,000 impressions or 320 GRP in a base of 100,000.

Assume each additional title adds at least one reach point. Now your reach will be somwhere between 68% and 95% (arbitrary upper limit). With 320 GRP, your Reach / Freq is now somewhere between 68 / 4.7 and 95 / 4.3. Refining your rpc may narrow the range.

Or, if you have circ and rpc estimates, Telmar has software which can produce better projections.


Tuesday, July 31, 2001 #4621
Hello Media Guru Is there software available that will have reach and frequency information for Trade publications. If not what is the best way to calculate this information?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, July 31, 2001 ):
Programs like Telmar's print planning systems can process Intelliquest (computer and tech trades), as well as some others which exist in the medical and other fields. The software can also estimate R&F for other, unmeasured trade titles if you have circulation and reader-per-copy estimates.


Wednesday, July 25, 2001 #4607
Hi ! Two questions 1. how do you decide which cume (1wk or 13 wk or 52 wk etc) to choose. 2. where can I find the details of the ostrows grid actual one with the scales etc. Thanks and regards

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, July 25, 2001 ):
1. Four week R&F is standard. Otherwise, if you need to examine a specific time period related to your marketing, use the closest cume.

2. The Ostrow model aims at establishing the minimum level of frequency to be deemed effective so that the plan can maximize reach at that level of frequency. The model can be traced back to his speech, "Effective Frequency" at an Advertising Research Foundation Key Issues workshop, June 4, 1982.

Typically, the model involves evaluating a series of relevant factors on a scale of say, 2 to 6, and averaging the factors to determine the appropriate level of frequency to set as effective.

In the 1982 speech the factors discussed were of three kinds: marketing, message / creative and media.

Marketing

  • Established brand vs new entry
  • Brand share
  • Brand loyalty
  • Purchase cycle
  • Usage cycle
  • Share of voice
  • Target group learning capacity

Message / Creative

  • Complexity
  • Uniqueness
  • New vs continuing campaign
  • Image building vs specific sell
  • Message variation (copy pool)
  • Wear out
  • Copy unit size/length

Media

  • Clutter
  • Editorial / program environment
  • Attentiveness
  • Continuity vs flighting
  • Number of different media
  • Repeat exposure opportunities
.

For the full speech, the transcript proceedings of the workshop are available from the Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230.


Tuesday, July 24, 2001 #4603
I was wondering if you have any ideas were I may be able to find some sort of template for RFPs that involve media buying like requesting C.P.P. or reach & frequency? We have been working on many media bids for a department of the state and they do not request specific media numbers so the media buyers are only submitting the information that makes their plan look the most favorable. We wanted to reccommend something to them so the comparison of the different agency plans would be more like comparing apples to apples. Thank you for any help

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, July 24, 2001 ):
First we need to distinguish between requesting plans and requesting buy proposals.

A media plan is a document that details what media should be used at what budgets, to accomplich sets of objectives and strategies which meet advertsing objectives set for the planners. If you are soliciting media paln proposals, you should be setting advertising objectives and asking for plans to meet them. Some judgement in addition to quantitative comparison will be appropriate. You could use the relevant portion of the Guru's Parts of a Media Plan as an outline of what is to be included in proposals reveived.

If, however, the media plan is completed and you are taking proposals on media buys, that is what stations, newspapers, magazines, etc fulfil the plan, that the analysis might be simply numerical, as long as all meet the plan's specs, which should be in your rfp.

Beware of comparing reach and frequency analyses that have been created by different software, and are not therefore comparable.


Sunday, July 08, 2001 #4560
Dearest Guru, i'm trying to build a media plan (include its strategy for a market leader product). what do you think about put 'product purchasing cycle' is one consideration on making tv strategy? (the product has weekly-biweekly purchasing cycle). currently, the brand is using the SOV strategy (for about the last three years), but there are no significant effect on the competitor's market share. so i start to think about - i called - reach strategy. the basic idea of reach strategy is reaching as much audience in a single week. and then i arrive to R&F weekly : 3+(70%) for maintenance activity, and 4+(80%) for launching or relaunching activity. but i have a little confidence on my strategy. what do you think ?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, July 08, 2001 ):
Purchase cycle should be a consideration. Obvously a brand with weekly purchase calls for different support than one with quarterly purchase, or strong seasonality.


Friday, July 06, 2001 #4555
Our agency handles a lot of business to business accounts how would one go about calcualting reach and frequency for each particular business sector ex. one account makes catheters. How would you calculate in various value-added opportunities into reach and frequency like links on a site, direct mail lists etc. Thanks for the great service.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, July 06, 2001 ):
To calculate reach and frequency two data points are necessary:
Unduplicated audience within the target (sector, in your case) and total population for the target. The media type or unit size are not relevant; reach is pure arithmetic; relative impact and other creative judgements are separate.

It should be basic to estimate the numbers of audience for any media vehicle, site or mailing in your plan. You certainly must have an idea of the size of the sectors you are targeting. The tricky part would be estimating the duplication between advertisements. In the medical field, possibly PERQ has some useful estimates.

Once you add the gross audiecne of all your ads and eloiminate the estimated duplication, you divide by the population to determine reach.


Thursday, July 05, 2001 #4546
Dear Guru: I have recently been told that in order to determine reach and frequency accurately, it is required that the competitive set in a market be also known. For example, it costs more to get reach in a market with lots of competition than it does in a market with none. I thought that the answer would be the same regardless, i.e. that I could get a 75%/3 R&F for X$$, but that the effectiveness of the ad would be less in the market with more clutter? Can you confirm or refute?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, July 05, 2001 ):
The Guru endorses your position. Reach calculation is only about audience accumulation and does not factor competition at all. If a station sells a news announcement with a 10 rating for $1000, it gets a 10 reach, no matter what any competitive advertiser might do. Competition could be a factoer in the cost of reach only if the competitors are so demanding of the same media inventory that the cost of the spot rises in response to demand. But this relates to demand for the commercial, whether by your competitors or buyers in an unrelated category.

So, competition has no effect on reach of a given schedule. It may indirectly and incalculably affect the cost of that schedule. As you surmise, it probably affects the impact.


Thursday, July 05, 2001 #4545
Dear Guru: I have an advertising plan for a new product launch that has a substantial reach and frequency for the first quarter of the launch. I have been asked to look at taking the second quarter down to 50% of the spending at launch, and 3rd and 4th quarters to 25% of that spending. Is there any rule of thumb that I could use to translate the relative reach and frequency at the reduced levels? For example, if I have a 90% R&F at 100%, could I assume 90% and 5 at a 50% spending level?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, July 05, 2001 ):
If you have the reach curves of the media you are using, you could find the coordinates for 50% or 25% of the dollars or weight vs a new reach easily.

However, different media elements, mixes and schedules develop differently. In one plan, say radio, where a heavy budget is generating added frequency for the last 50% of weight, a 50% reduction might reduce reach only 5%. In a lighter plan, or in a higher turnover medium, 50% reduction might mean 40% loss of reach.


Friday, June 29, 2001 #4538
Hello again, I have two questions about calculating reach and frequency that I have been unable to find in the archives of past responses. Perhaps you can help? 1. I normally use the formula (a+b)-(.a*b) to determine combined reach of two mediums, such as radio and print. How do I calculate the combined reach of more than two? The plan I am working on includes spot TV, spot radio and local newspaper. 2. Is it possible to determine a combined reach for more than one market or should each market be reported separately? In the past, I have provided separate delivery for each market in the same plan with a total number of gross impressions for the whole plan. Is this correct? Thanks in advance!

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, June 29, 2001 ):
1. This common formula is based on an assumption that different media duplicate their audiences according to random probability. Therefore if you follow this assumption, media may be added to combinations of media in a "chain" of the same formula. So, once you have combined TV and Radio, you can use this combination as your "a" and then combine it with newspaper as "b."

2. You can combine reaches across markets by doing a weighted average. Multiply the reach in each market by the percent of U.S. in each market. Add all the products and divide by the sum of the % U.S.


Sunday, June 17, 2001 #4492
Hi Guru - I have a few cable TV questions. 1. Can reach/frequency estimates be done for cable schedules. My rep keeps giving me everything but. 2. Does Nielen measure all cable stations. 3. Why can't I get FX numbers on Telmar, just ESPN. 4. If I can get R/F for cable what are some of the major differences from Network numbers. Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, June 17, 2001 ):
  1. Yes they can. Some smaller networks may not have the facilities to calculate R&F, but that doesn't seem likely.
  2. Yes, but not all cable networks have enough measured audience to be considered reportable by Nielsen
  3. Telmar systems which use your own Nielsen tape data will allow you to examine any reportable network. Systems like Market Maestro, which use established generalized data can only incorporate networks old enough and large enough at the time of the system update to have establish patterns, but not all the 100+ imaginable networks
  4. Because cable ratings are a fraction of broadcast ratings, and turnover is less, cable reaches cume lower in relation to GRPs. SInce cable universes are smaller than broadcast, reach potential is lower as well


Wednesday, June 06, 2001 #4458
I'm working on a plan that includes cable and network television. I have been asked to present a rational for different schedules on three levels of spending. If i know the programs rating point, the average CPP and the cost per spot, how can I use this information to put together the total reach/frequency of sample schedules. I'm trying to get general information at this point without contacting reps to run several schedules. I need to know how to do the math by hand without a program if it's possible. Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, June 06, 2001 ):
It's no longer really reasonable to do the math by hand. The Guru has described calculating reach by "Random probability" in the past. But the unique duplication patterns within tv schedules need to be accounted for either with tables reflecting many schedules' reaches or computer models.

Our own eTelmar offers low cost, single use, online reach calcuation.

You might try the R&F generator at U. Texas .


Friday, June 01, 2001 #4451
Hi Guru. I've read through your responses to questions relating to "reach and frequency" and "awareness", but haven't found exactly what I'm looking for. In setting up goals for a new product launch media plan, we've determined that the overall goal is to generate awareness. What we don't know is the correlation between r/f and awareness. In other words, if we know that we're gong to have an effective (3+) reach of 82.85% and a frequency of 8.63, what % of unaided awareness could we expect to achieve? Will Ostrow's effective frequency model help in this case? Is there a model / matrix used to determine awareness levels? Thanks so much.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, June 01, 2001 ):
Awareness does not correlate absolutely with reach. There are too many other factors, like the quality and memorability of the creative and the advertising environment. Obviously only those reached by the advertising will be aware of the advertising. But there can be wide variance in how many of those reach a given number of times can report awarness in research. Even if awareness corresponded well with reach, there could be varying results due to differences in awareness research technique. Advertisers who do a lot of awarness tracking can build reliable models for thier own use, by tracking results of comparable research studies against known R&F. Similarly, research houses which frequently field awareness studies could get reach and frequencies, for the campaigns tested, and build a model.


Wednesday, May 30, 2001 #4441
This is in regard to automotive advertising. A schedule is bought for each franchise/product. Let's use 3 products for this question. Each schedule is a modest R/F of 65% / 3.5. The creative is one spot for each product, a "donut", the open and close are identical or have the same theme but with a different product in each of the 3 spots. All three spots run within the same flight dates. Is the reach and frequency actually greater on each product because of the "common" open and close or does the common open/close just build the "brand"?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, May 30, 2001 ):
Though there may be some synergy in brand awareness, "reach" is simple statistics. The middle of the donut reaches only those who see it.


Friday, May 11, 2001 #4386
Guru, can you please point me towards research on the effect of pay/cable TV in the home on channel zapping ? Specifically do more channels reduce the amount of advertising viewed ? Have you heard of an Equalisation model to account for this in reach and frequency calculations. Thank you.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, May 12, 2001 ):
It should be simple enough to directly reduce GRPs according to any measured reduction of ad viewing versus program viewing.

For research try The Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter. For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230.


Friday, May 04, 2001 #4368
Media Guru, please help. How do I calculate reach and frequency for a two-week, two-newspaper buy? We are placing 4 ads per week (total of 8 ads for the schedule) on Newspaper #1, which has a maximum reach of 9% of our target. Newspaper #2 will carry 2 ads per week (4 ads for the schedule) with a maximum reach of 23% of our target. Please advise. Thanks!

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, May 06, 2001 ):
Find some example newspaper R&Fs at The Newspaper Advertsing Associations Marketscope site.

In very general terms, you can estimate some parameters. If newspaper A has a 9% maximum reach, it probably has a single copy reach of around 7%.

If B has a maximum of 23%, then it likely has single copy reach around 20%. So the outside bounds of reach for your schedule are a minimum of 20, but more likely closer to 25, the random combination of the two papers' single copies. The outside maximum is 32 ( the 9% plus the 23% maxima), but more likely closer to 30 (random again).

A solid estimate of 25-30 reach for your schedule should be good enough, but you could use the eTelmar pay-per-use system for a specific calculation.

Frequency, of course, will be the sum of the single copy audeinces of all insertions (GRP) ÷ the reach estimate.


Thursday, April 26, 2001 #4345
Are there any accessable studies showing the enhanced reach and frequency by using a media mix of direct mail in conjunction with targeted b-to-b print advertising, rather than direct mail and email only?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, April 27, 2001 ):
Obviously email has a limited audience potential and many business people have developed filters to avoid such spam.

For studies, try The Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter. For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230.


Sunday, April 08, 2001 #4318
Dear Guru : Please help me, my companie is looking for a new softaware supporters, one of these is Steve Perry in London, another is Telmar. Plase give me a phone,fax or email of Steve Perry software consultant based in London

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, April 10, 2001 ):
Acording to our sources in London:

"Steve Perry used to work at IMS, he writes systems for TV reach and frequency. He has now sold his company SPC to BMRB and moved to South America."


Thursday, April 05, 2001 #4315
which kind of programs tend to develop large reach and high frequency? Sarwar -Lintas

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, April 09, 2001 ):
Generally, programs which are more different in content from one episode to the next, and thus are more likely to draw a different audience, each time get high reach.

In the U.S. this has meant programs like prime time, feature movies, a fading genre.

Of course, GRP for GRP, the higher the reach the lower the frequency. Therefore in media planning, a mix is used if the goal is to optimize both reach and frequency.


Thursday, March 29, 2001 #4295
We are doing research for a media plan and we can't find the reach and frequency numbers for any of our magazines, newspapers, and television shows. Is there someplace that we can look that can give us the reach and frequency with out us having to pay a subscription fee?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, March 29, 2001 ):
Individual ad's reach can be found in some places, like our own AMIC's Ad Data. In these cases frequency always = 1.0.

For various specific schedules, it's not reasonable to expect all the infinite possibilities to be posted anywhere; this calls for calculations by software with a price attached.

For inexpensive, single use, pay-as-you-go software, visit eTelmar.


Tuesday, March 20, 2001 #4275
How can I find research regarding historical analysis of R/F trend on television. Specifically, I am looking to find out for example: if you looked at a generic demo maybe W18-49, and wanted to find out the difference between the number of spots in Primetime TV it took to reach 80% of W18-49 in 1970-1980-1990-2000. So basically, the idea is that today it takes more commercials to reach the same % of the population. I just need help finding actual numbers to support that concept. Would know where to find that information?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, March 20, 2001 ):
Since today's average primetime ratings are perhaps half of what they were in 1970, it certainly will take at least twice as many spots for the same reach.

R&F systems have changed over that time, too, so you should really compare the schedule a planner thought necessary in 1970 to the one considered necessary today. Planners will have been more likely to work with GRP than number of commercials, though.

Perhaps there is such a retrospective available from The Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter. For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230.


Tuesday, March 13, 2001 #4254
Dear MG. I am currently involving in making an internal online media planning system. It seems to me reach&frequecy planning in online media does not fit very well. I am appreciated if you tell me current discussions on reach&frequency in online planning.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, March 15, 2001 ):
The key issue in reach and frequency is defining your universe. If your system is totally for online planning, then your universe would logically be the population with internet access. This should match whatever audience data source is being used to generate audience figures in your planning.

Presumably, if reach is an issue, then unique visitors will be the key metric.

In comparing to other media reach estimates, it should be kept in mind that online impressions are a very different sort of measurement than in other media.


Tuesday, March 13, 2001 #4251
Hello Media Guru -- Hopefully you can help me. We are currently in planning and we are analyzing our competitiors When - In Avg Weekly and Avg 4 wk deliveries by Quarter and Full Year. We have pulled their GRPs by week for Network by daypart, Syndicated and Cable so we have the National TV deliveries. We have pulled their Print schedules off of Stradegy and now want to come up w/the same deliveries (When-in Avg weekly and Avg 4 wk by Quarter and Full Year)for Print in order to combine the TV and Print deliveries. Is there a method that you suggest? Thank you in advance-- Bridget

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, March 13, 2001 ):
It isn't clear which steps cause your problems.

If you're being strict, for average 4-week a simple arithmetic adjustment from average month to average 28 days will suffice. For average print week, you could take the year's schedule and divide it into 52 roughly equal groups, then average the R&F of all 52. If print is flighted, then you should calculate for active periods and average with zero weight for as much time as there is hiatus.


Tuesday, March 13, 2001 #4250
My ad agency is putting together a media plan for a client. Currently, the client is spending about 15% on radio and 85% budget on broadcast television. I am recommending a combination of radio, cable and broadcast. I am trying to show a combined reach and frequency. I am able to do this for radio and broadcast tv with my media software. How can I add in the reach and frequency of cable (since universes are different)? My cable rep says she can enter my entire schedule (broadcast & cable) to come up with reach and frequency. Is this possible? Won't I be neglect in showing reach to those HH without cable???Please respond ASAP. Thanks!

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, March 13, 2001 ):
The Guru can recall when some managers opposed the introduction of computers because people would no longer know basic media math.

Keep in mind that the real story is how many people you reach. Once you determine that, it is simple arithmetic to express that number as a percentage of a target group, as we are used to seeing reach.

It is also standard to show reach within the cable universe and in the remaining U.S. For example, you might show that you reached 75% of the cable universe and 60% of the remaing U.S.

And. . . if the cable universe is 80% of the U.S. then your average U.S. reach is 72%

0.8 x 75
+ 0.2 x 60 =
72


Tuesday, January 30, 2001 #4137
Please help. One of my clients started a TV campaign YESTERDAY and wants to know why sales haven't gone through the roof yet. Where can I find research explaining R/F, etc. to help him answer this question? Thank you.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, January 31, 2001 ):
This is not a matter of reach and frequency, just common sense.

If first day schedules usually put sales 'through the roof' why would anyone ever advertise all week or for several weeks?

Look at your GRP per day: is it perhaps as many as 20? If so, perhaps day one's schedule reached 12 or 15% of your target.

What's a reasonable proportion of those exposed to your message just one time immediately wanting to buy that day (assuming killer creative)? 1% as a generous estimate? Thus on day one, if there were one-tenth of one percent of the target as new customers, that would be a raging success. Over the course of the first week, more of those who heard it on day one may get around to buying, plus those from day 2,3, etc. Plus those who hear it 3 times by day 3 or four may finally become persuaded.

If you are doing direct response, you might expect the build to be flatter and resonse to be more immediate.


Wednesday, January 24, 2001 #4120
Which is the best way to decide how many billboards are effective in a specific city?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, January 26, 2001 ):
Out-of-home media are sold in "showings." These are typically #25, #50 or #100. The numbers indicate that the daily traffic being exposed to a showing equates to impressions which would translate to the indicated number of marketplace Adult TRP.

So, a #25 showing is 25 TRP per day, etc. This means 150 TRP weekly (discounting a bit for lower weekend traffic) and 600 TRP in four weeks. reach and frequency are given in the defintion of "Showing" in the Media Guru's Encyclopedia of Media Terms

In different markets, billboards will generate different daily effective circulation, depending on traffic patterns, and locations. The outdoor plant operators know how many locations are necessary to achieve each showing level in their markets. Market differences may not be proportional to market size differences. One market 4 times as big as another may need 6 times as many boards.

With this information, you can plan billboards to suit your communications goals.


Wednesday, January 17, 2001 #4103
When was the last time the reach & frequency Curve was updated? And what is the significance of that?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, January 17, 2001 ):
Reach, as we use it, is a mathematical calculation, based on average performance of actual schedules similar to the ones for which we are trying to estimate audience accumulation for a plan. A large number of actual schedules are evaluated from survey research such as Nielsen. Because reach is a factor of duplication, as a schedule grow in size, the reach added by each increment is less and less. When reach is graphed against an axis of GRP or insertions or dollars, an asymptotic "curve" like the one below, is drawn. The actual formula which descibes this graphic curve is what is in reach evaluation software. Typically it is a regression of the frequencies vs GRP levels, because frequency, too, is linear.

The Guru imagines you are thinking of TV reach, but could be referring to radio, magazines, or internet, etc. There are different "curves" for any given medium / daypart / demographic / mix situation. If you use Nielsen actual data, the "curves" are -- in effect -- continuously updated. If you use other media software like Telmar or its competitors, you need to ask your representative how recent their update of formulae is. Curves based on reach vs GRP are not very variable over time unless there is a major change in the medium.

For example, Telemundo's Hispanic TV reach system "STRETCH2," was updated in 1998 (by running new Nielsen actual schedules), 5 years after its introduction . There was no significant change in reaches.

But looking at general TV reach curves from the days before cable was significant, versus today's would show big differences.


Wednesday, December 13, 2000 #4041
My question is regarding print measurement. For a consumer print campaign (magazines, regional) I've been asked to provide a pithy statement (to be read by a board of directors with limited marketing savvy) adressing the effectiveness of the proposed print campaign. Our account planner asked for reach and frequency, which I don't believe I can provide. I can provide circulation and readership (which would equate to reach, I believe, but that doesn't account for duplication). I am to complete the sentence "This plan results in..." Am I missing something? Thanks!

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, December 17, 2000 ):
You have not made clear why you believe you cannot provide reach and frequency. Once you have the readership of individual publications you can begin to combine their audiences in a rough way, by "random probability." This method will understate duplication somewhat, because related publications and particularly multiple issues of the same publication duplicate more than merely randomly. Using duplication between simialr national magazines, as documented by services like MRI, you can reasonable estimate the duplication in your own schedule and thereby estimate your reach and frequency.


Wednesday, December 06, 2000 #4020
I gave a client a R&F for two years of advertising plus the cume. They asked me if the cume is an average of both years. I know its not but I really couldn't explain it so they would understand. Can you simply an answer.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, December 06, 2000 ):
The term "cume" refers to audience accumulation over a specified period of time. A two year cume should be the net audeince reached over the entire two years of campaign. The Guru doesn't see why anyone should confuse that with an average of two years' cumes.

Perhaps the confusion occurs when you say "R&F for two years of advertising plus the cume." Presumably the "R&F for two years of advertising" is the average 4-week R&F over the two year period and the cume is the total over the two years?


Tuesday, December 05, 2000 #4018
What are the pros/cons of 30 minute infomercial-type spots compared to :15, :30, or :60 spots with respect to production, unit cost, response, reach/frequency, target audience, etc.? Would the type of product be a factor in deciding whether to run :30 minute spots? Thank you.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, December 06, 2000 ):
The questions are essentially direct marketing issues, but as to the media points included:
  • Unit cost: In the same time periods, :30s cost about half of :60s. :15s cost 50-75% as much as :30s. Half hours cost much more but not proportionatly more. This become tricky, because half hours are usually only sold at less popular, lowere price tiems so comparisons to standard, ROS commercials are decieving. Similarly short commercials bought at direct response rates are supposedly priced at half of normal rates but run in less desirable times and are highly pre-emptible.
  • Reach/frequency: A :15 spot has the same reeach as a 30 minute program at the same time. Since there will be many more different announcements with short commercials than half hours, for a given budget, the short commercials have better R&F, the shorter the better on this score. But direct response isn't usually evaluated on an R&F basis.
  • Target audience depends on time slot and not advertising length.
  • Response varies, based more on offer and execution than on format.


Friday, December 01, 2000 #4010
Guru, how do I develop R&F levels for: • Outdoor against the mass market and specific demograhic such as individual with $3Million in assets. • spot market print such as business journals, lifestyle mags etc, where there is no syndicated research such as MRI. • Local Cable against a high affluent audience

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, December 03, 2000 ):
It is not clear whether your issue is determining the portion of the audience of each medium which falls within your target or whether the audience accumulation pattern among your target is the problem.

Syndicated print and product usage research, particularly The Mendelsohn Media Research Affluent Study, analyze audiences od many media specifically aimed at affluent subsegments, although "assets over $3million" may be too narrow for syndicated research to have evaluated.

Outdoor companies are usually prepared to run R&F analyses against a wide range of demographics. Commercial media software, such as ADplus from our susiter company Telmar can produce R&F analyses from minimal target data input.


Monday, November 27, 2000 #3993
A client has asked for information pertaining to the level of advertising required to increase awareness and positively affect the perception of their company on an on-going basis. Is there a source for information regarding required grp levels for radio and television to maximize awareness. Our client is based in Phoenix, Arizona, with an interest in statewide coverage?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, November 29, 2000 ):
Awareness relates most to the reach and frequency of a plan. You must reach more people more often to increase awareness. You must reach more people than are currently aware.

Click here to see past Guru responses about awareness and levels

For research, try The Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter. For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230.


Friday, November 24, 2000 #3983
I am constantly being told that the banner is dead and that clients are moving away from banners to e-mail marketing. Do you think that this demise has been due to lack of targeting and hence ineffective campaigns. Shouldn't the Internet be able to provide one to one advertising?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, November 24, 2000 ):
The Guru doesn't believe the banner is dead. The Guru doesn't see an upsurge in email marketing.

lack of targetting would be a failing of the online planner, more than the internet. Possibly the appeal of big sites over well focused site is a drawback. Or the pursuit of reach and frequency which are not the best use of internet media. "one to one" advertising sounds more like an email than web function. The Guru believes that anti-spam feeling continues to grow. Email "advertising" offers far more annoyance than sales power. In email, like banners, a fraction of one percent reponse rate is all that can be expected. When goals are not realistic, this rate of return is more likely to to be acceptable in email than banners, given the ad rates.


Monday, November 13, 2000 #3966
how do you calculae radio reach and frequency by hand?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, November 16, 2000 ):
The calculation is complex, because it describes a curvilinear function and considers several factors, such as grp, dayparts, turnover, quarter hours in a daypart, # of stations, etc. Sometimes agencies run computer calculations of several schedules with varying components and print tables summarizing these to allow quick, rough calculations.

Visualize a left hand column of GRPs from 50 to 1000, in 50's
and adjacent columns for 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5+ stations.

Read across the appropriate GRP row to find the reach under the correct number of stations. But wait, you'd better make a different table for schedules running only 6am-7pm Monday to Friday and another table for Mon-Sunday 6am - midnight. But wait, you'd better make extra tables in each of those categories for when average rating is 1 and when average rating is 2, 3, etc.

Years ago, some reps and ratings report offered slide rules for the calculations.


Thursday, November 09, 2000 #3959
Dear Guru - I have two questions - #1 - I have a client who wants a shifting reach pattern in place for a media test - No problem - however, there corporate department wants to run the test 2 on 2 off - I think it needs to be every week so that the hiatus time doesn't screw up the added frequency and reach you would receive by being on consistently - any thoughts? #2 - I have a new client that I am working up a media plan for in general terms of spots, reach and frequency. We are using 4 different medias in each market - Radio, TV, Internet and Outdoor - How do I estimate a total reach and frequency, GI and Persons Reached for each market to give to the client when I am using general CPP's to estimate numbers of spots, etc.?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, November 12, 2000 ):
The Guru doesn't understand your first question. What do you mean by "shifting reach pattern" and how do you ssuppose this is affected by the flighting? Where do you have a problem with reach and frequency in #2 other than the impossibilty of an accurate local market internet impressions count? Do you have reach and frequency tools for these media but face a local problem or something else?


Wednesday, November 08, 2000 #3951
I am in the process of making a media plan targeting Germany and UK, but have had problems finding resources for those areas. What I would really like to find is something comparable to an SRDS book that gives the prices along with ratings, reach, Index, frequency. etc. Thankyou for your help!

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, November 08, 2000 ):
International Media Guide is the analog to srds, but don't expect ratings or reach and frequency from either.


Wednesday, November 08, 2000 #3950
Dear Guru, How is reach and frequency determined for a print (magazine) schedule?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, November 12, 2000 ):
The average issue audience, measured duplication between issues of the same publication and between different publications are compiled using various formulas. Generally commercial media software like Telmar's or that of the magazine measurement vendors is used.


Monday, October 30, 2000 #3926
Very basic: Why can't I add the weekly frequency for each week in a 13 week flight and have it total the frequency for the total 13 week flight? I know that I can't do this; but I couldn't explain it properly to someone. Help

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, October 30, 2000 ):
If you mean the simplest definition of "frequency," that is the number of ads in the scedule, then you can do what you say. But most likely you are referring to average frequency of exposure, as in "reach and frequency."

Like reach, this kind of frequency is not additive. Why? Because it refers to the average frequency of exposure among the people reached. Suppose your campaign looks like this:
Week # Weekly Reach

Weekly Freq.

Cumulative Reach

Cumulative Frequency

1 20 1.2 20 1.2
2 20 1.2 27 1.5
3 20 1.2 36 1.7
4 20 1.2 40 2.0
5 20 1.2 43 2.3
6 20 1.2 45 2.7
7 20 1.2 46 3.0
8 20 1.2 47 3.4
9 20 1.2 48 3.8
10 20 1.2 49 4.1
11 20 1.2 50 4.4
12 20 1.2 50 4.8
13 20 1.2 50 5.2
If you added weekly frequency, you would get a frequency of 15.6 by the 13th week instead of the correct 5.2. The trick is that the average frequency is the average among a different group of people each week. As more people are reached, the group grows. So the frequency of week number one is the average among 20% of your target, and in week number two it's the average among 27% of your target.


Thursday, September 07, 2000 #3783
What are the benefits of Spot TV versus print for a 3 month launch campaign?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, September 09, 2000 ):
TV is a more active, impactful medium than newspaper. There is a greater range of flexibility in schedule, reach and frequency, especially in achieving quick, up-front high levels. 95% reach at 20+ frequency in week 1 is possible in TV, with nothing close possible in local print. But budget will be a key issue.


Wednesday, August 30, 2000 #3767
Dear Guru, we are getting into awareness based media planning which means objective will be set on awareness scores, rather than GRP, R&F. Please tell me the factors which are required and procedure for setting awareness objectives.Thank you

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, September 01, 2000 ):
Very theoretical. There is no specific rule of thumb equating awareness to GRP. There will be a big difference in saying the objective is to achieve 30% brand awareness versus increasing an existing awarness of 30% by 30 points.

You should think about:

  • What percent of "aware" persons will be purchasers?
  • What number of purchases is the pay-out level of your advertising?
  • How often does the aware person make a purchase decision?
  • Assuming awareness never exceeds reach, what reach must you acheive and what decay rate can your afford to maintain the awareness that will drive sales?

Frankly the Guru believes that saying "awareness based media planning" is just putting a marketing spin on the media plan. Ultimately a media plan sophisticated enought to have objectives almost invariably has some awareness objective mentioned. And ultimately, media must be bought in terms of GRP or impressions or insertions; the media vendors do not sell quantities of awareness. So either you have a formula which equates awareness numbers to media units or you do not. The Guru does not.


Thursday, August 24, 2000 #3746
Media Guru(s), Hopefully will not humiliate myself with this question: When planning a trade campaign (target is Neurologists,and GPs) how do I determine the time frame for reach/frequency? I have set effective freq. at 4. Is this over a 4 week period? Can it be over a quarter? I cannot achieve a 4 week freq. of 4 against the Neurologists, but I can against the GPs. Does this mean that using trade print to reach the neurologists is not effective/appropriate? How do I rationalize a 4 week r/f delivery time frame for the one target group and a quarterly time frame for the other? Or am I totally missing the mark in both cases??? R.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, August 28, 2000 ):
The "standard" period for evaluating reach and frequency is 4 weeks or a month, if all print.

When considering effective frequency, some thinkers believe that every exposure after the crtical number is achieved is delivered effectively. This is a cornerstone of the "Recency" theory. So, you can think abouit your effective levels on a rolling, cumulative basis, and merely state that effectivene reach is being delivered to GPs as of "X" point in time and against neurologists as of "Y" point in time.


Monday, August 21, 2000 #3728
What is the formula to equate reach and frequency from an outdoor showing? i.e. a 25 showing has a reach of 76.8% and a frequency of8.2 (I pulled these numbers from your media glossary)

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, August 21, 2000 ):
"25 Showing" in out-of-home media indicates a buy with a daily effective circulation, or traffic count, or impressions, which equate to 25 GRP per day.

In considering a month's reach & frequency, it is common to adjust the weekend days' traffic down by about 50%. In a month, instead of 25 X 30 = 750 GRP, we credit about 630 GRP. This agrees with the arithmetic of 76.8 Reach and 8.2 Frequency.


Monday, August 14, 2000 #3703
Do you know where I can find some published articles about how to determine the media investment base on Optimal reach & frequency level ?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, August 18, 2000 ):
This is a very basic aspect of media planning. Probably the most common approach to formal media planning is setting a communications goal in reach and frequency terms and then examining the reach delivered by various plan options.

The richest source of articles might be Journal of Advertising Research.


Wednesday, July 26, 2000 #3654
Please provide formula to manually calculate reach & frequency for press. Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, July 29, 2000 ):
This calculation is very complicated. If you don't have detailed tables of duplication factors between different publications and between various numbers of multiple issues of the same publication, only fairly crude formulae are available.

Click here to see past Guru responses about reach calculation formulae.


Wednesday, July 19, 2000 #3632
Are there any traditionally accepted reach & frequency benchmarks for TV?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, July 23, 2000 ):
The Guru wonders what you really mean.
  • Do you mean "Are there minimum R&F benchmarks when TV is the sole medium of a plan?"
    - Those who follow the effective frequency approach might ask for 50 reach at 3+ frequency
    -Those who favor "recency" might say 'as much continuity as possible with a 30 reach per week minimum'.
  • If you mean "What should be the TV reach level used when TV is the primary medium in a multimedia plan?"
    - Some might point to the reach level where the curve of accumulation 'flattens'.


Monday, July 10, 2000 #3608
hi where can i find researches or information about drugs advertising? which media have the best influence on patients? t.v? press? Radio? which reach & frequency levels are recommended ? thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, July 10, 2000 ):
The answers will vary depending on typical media planning / marketing issues.
  • Who is the target?
  • What is the competitive situation?
  • What are the legal restrictions
For example, in the U.S., there is one set of rules that applies when you are marketing prescription drugs and another set for "over the counter" pharmaceuticals.

For prescription drugs, you can mention a drug name without discussing the problems it treats or its results, or you can mention a problem to treat without mentioning a drug name. In these cases there are fewer rules to observe. When you mention a drug along with its disease or results, you must also provide the "patient information" (PI) which is all the side effects warnings, counterindications, etc. This typically means broadcast advertising must be accompanied by print to carry the PI. Or that print must devote a portion of space to this detailed information.


Monday, June 12, 2000 #3547
I am buying radio in two different markets - one is a large market which is measured by Arbitron. The other is a small market where I get the ratings through Arbitron county measuring. The two cities are only 45 miles apart and there is a large amount of radio overlap. Is there any way to figure an accurate combined reach & frequency? Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, June 12, 2000 ):
First, define "market." If these radio markets are both in the same DMA, and you want DMA R&F, add the two stations' reach in thousands and divide by DMA universe. If they are in two different Metros, calculate reach within each and do a weighted average of the two:
  • Metro "A" target population = 100,000
  • Metro "B" target population = 20,000
  • Metro "A" target reach = 40% (40,000)
  • Metro "B" target reach = 55% (11,000)
  • Combined, total coverage area reach = 40,000 + 11,000 ÷ 100,000 + 20,000, or 42.5%


Wednesday, June 07, 2000 #3537
I'm new to media software. If my agency is planning all media, is Donovan a better package than Telmar. Are there any others that I should consider? Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, June 08, 2000 ):
No. Donovan software is for buying and stewardship. Telmar (AMIC's sister company) offers programs used for planning, such as reach and frequency estimators, print cross-tabbing and rankeing, flowcharts, etc.


Thursday, June 01, 2000 #3516
How can you estimate the reach and frequency (or even TRPs) of a radio schedule in a market that is not metered?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, June 01, 2000 ):
In any county, there should be at least an occasional Arbitron coverage study data to use for audience estimates.


Friday, May 26, 2000 #3500
Guru, I have had a lot of planning experience for spot television and local cable television and am now being asked to plan network television, network cable television and syndicated television. I've noticed after looking at several example plans that network GRPs are often lower than spot GRPs ... Why is that and what are effective GRP levels for network media? Please help.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, May 29, 2000 ):
The Guru would surmise that in spot, you have seen more promotional or retail-oriented schedules, where noise level is the basis. In network plans, more sophisticated assessments of communications goals may have been made, focused on reach and frequency.

The concept of "planning spot tv" or "planning network TV" is also puzzling. The media choice is the result of planning, not the going-in assignment. Are you part of the buying process moving to network tv where multimedia plans may have been assembled by others, prior to your involvement with a single element?


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.


Saturday, May 06, 2000 #3447
Guru, is there a website that offers R&F calculators? I work at a small agency & don't have access to most research data.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, May 06, 2000 ):
Right here on eTelmar


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.


Monday, May 01, 2000 #3434
I am trying to determine how best to manually calculate reach and frequency for Out of Home Media. Would you be able to help and provide me with reach curves and turnover ratios for OOH media. Thank you.

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, May 02, 2000 ):
Out-of-home (outdoor poster media) is usually bought in #25, #50 or #100 "showings." These are based on daily effective circulation, or traffic, equal to 25, 50 or 100 GRP per day, respectively.

Within the state of the art, in rough terms, these levels usually mean 4-week reach and frequencies of approximately

  • 80 / 8.8 / 700
  • 87 / 16.1 / 1400 and
  • 92 / 30.4 / 2800.

As should be apparent, there is not much room for fine tuning, nor much reason for considering other GRP levels.


Friday, April 28, 2000 #3428
I'm working with fast food client in Puerto Rico(PR). PR is very competitive in this category. I like to know what is the effective frequency and reach in sustainning level and promotional period. I know that exist many theorical procedures to found the reach and frequency goals. But i'm very confuse what is the more accurate to this reality(very competitive environment)Please help me.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, April 29, 2000 ):
Competitive environment, e.g Share of Voice, is one key variable.

Click here to see the Guru's discussion of the Ostrow model for setting effective frequency goals.


Thursday, April 27, 2000 #3425
Are there general guidelines for media planners so that they will know how and when to consider ethnic or cultural groups in the planning process? Are there any planning tools?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, April 27, 2000 ):
The three major ethnic/cultural groups are currently almost one-third of total population ( see AMIC's Abbott Wool's Market Segment Resource Locator ): African American is 13%, Hispanic is 12% and Asian American is 4%. The rule of thumb is always "consider" ethnic and cultural groups. There are several common or basic product categories in which these groups have a 150 - 300+ index of usage versus the remainder of population. These include fruit juice, baby products, rice, corn meal, and many brands of beer, popular foods or over-the-counter pharmceuticals.

General advertising doesn't reach the linguistically isolated portions of these markets (50% or more of Hispanics and various Asian national groups). Even those reached, among all the ethnic/cultural segments, are less impacted due to lack of appropriate cultural cues in the general advertising or the media environments.

Upon due consideration, the planner may find that for his or her particular advertiser, no special effort is required. But, the planners may also find that there is a 12% segment of their universe consuming 25% of their product, and reachable through efficient media. It is not really unusual for the "first mover" in one of these market segments to gain 10% market share among the segments, which equates to a gain of more than 1% national share, something that couldn't have been achieved for three times the budget in general advertising.

Non-ethnic segmetns such as the mature market may also bear consideration.

Telmar's media software includes a Spanish TV reach and frequency system, called STRETCH, created by Telemundo

Hispanic Broadcasting System (formerly Heftel) has created En Total which does general Hispanic radio calculations and media combinations.

The African American, Spanish, and Asian-American media all offer research analyses.


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 19, 2000 #3410
What is your opinion on using out-of-home (30-sheets or bulletins) as a stand-alone medium for a brand-building campaign? On a related note, are there any "rules" for adjusting different types of media for their "impact" versus other media (e.g., impact of an all-newspaper campaign versus an all television campaign given the same TRP levels and the same "likelihood of use" by the target market)?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, April 21, 2000 ):
The Guru has seen impact adjusments across media based on recall, on attentiveness and on an advertiser's proprietary research, but no general rules-of-thumb.

Unfortunately, such adjustments are too often based on one unit of the advertising, such as a TV spot versus a radio spot, and don't take into account the crucial difference in number of spots or GRPs per dollar.

As for brand-building in outdoor, there are two principal considerations in the Guru's view:

  • Definition of "brand building:" The term, one of those nebulous buzz-words which seems to mean whatever the speaker wishes, implies, to the Guru, the creation of a brand image and positioning from a low-awarness start.
  • Limited message: How much can a brand be "built" by the few words and large graphic allowable in out-of-home media?
  • Yet, the Guru is very favorably inclined to taking advantage of the enormous reach and frequency possible via out-of-home

In short, the Guru's gut feeling is that outdoor can contribute greatly to brand building, but that the process needs at least one longer-form medium.


Monday, April 17, 2000 #3401
Dear Guru, I need to develop a cost estimate and approx. reach/freq. for a US television buy in the top 40 markets. Here's what I have and what I still need to know: I have the markets and approx. CPP per daypart from SQAD. I need to know how to calculate a rough estimate of reach & freq for 1 week to 1 year based on 200 points per week in each market. Can a network (CBS etc)place the entire buy, or do I have to do this per market. I'm one person and can't spend too much time executing this (if it happens). Any advice would be great. Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, April 17, 2000 ):
No, networks don't place spot buys. You can use spot reps or media buying services. Find these in Standard Rate and Data Service (SRDS) or The Standard Directories of Advertising Agencies and Advertisers ('The Redbook')

Either one can help you with reach and frequency, or eTelmar.com offers an inexpensive, online reach calculator.

If you are buying 200 points per week for a year in the top 40 markets, you are spending in the 10's of millions, at least. This is ample to hire a buying service or at least some experienced free-lance help. Either one would save you far, far more in media costs than the expense of their fees.


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.


Tuesday, February 15, 2000 #3216
What have you found to be the maximum weight one should put behind a specific television spot before it "wears out?" Assume 200 TRPs per week for 39 weeks of the year exposure. Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, February 16, 2000 ):
For this question, asked in this specific form, the Guru would say 2000.

But it isn't so simple. Different daypart mixes will build different reach and frequency -- and it's frequency that's the issue. Some say 20+ frequency in the second heaviest quintile is the cut-off.

Even then, the qualities of the specific commercial and the size of the commercial pool are important factors as well.


Wednesday, February 02, 2000 #3179
Hello Media Guru, I am searching the information about the media planning model worked out by Canadian Media Directors Council (CMDC). Please, can you tell me what is the heart of this method. I would be also very grateful for any references about this theme. Thank you in advance.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, February 02, 2000 ):
The Guru's limited knowledge about this "model" includes these points:
  • It's not a media planning model, it's a reach and frequency model
  • It has not yet been released
  • When released, it is likely to be available only to Council members, and therefore not accesible for the Guru's evaluation.


Thursday, January 27, 2000 #3167
Hi Guru, I posed a question to you earlier today that might require some clarification. I'm speaking specifically about Internet advertising and am really looking for some guidelines in what are generally considered to be optimal levels for reach and frequency in a campaign. That is to say, how many times does a user generally need to see a banner before its value starts to diminish. Secondly, how many banners should one consider purchasing -- again as a general rule -- in order to maximize the flight's impact. Another way of looking at might be to say, if one were to buy one million impressions, what is the likely number of people who will have been impacted? I realize there is a wide range, based on the narrowness or broad-based appeal of the sites, but is there a general range that can be modeled from?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, January 27, 2000 ):
This is a very interesting question.
  • The irony of the concept of effective frequency on the web is that effectiveness, measured as click-thru, has been shown to drop through the first three exposures to a banner and then flatten. (see DoubleClick: "Banner Burnout")
  • The Guru is also quite leery of "modeled" web R&F that does not take into account specific sites used. Often, one advertiser gets more reach from only one-sixth as many impressions as another advertiser. For example Nielsen//Netratings posts their measured "Top ten advertisers of the month" with each one's impressions and reach. At this writing, December 1999 is posted. Amazon.com (#3) ran 620 million impressions and got 54% reach while TRUSTe (#1) ran 2.1 Billion impressions for only 37% reach. Even Barnes & Noble (#7) with 276 million built 38% reach


Thursday, January 20, 2000 #3136
Is there a simplified reach and frequency calculation formula that allows for the number of stations (TV or radio) as well as the target audience size?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, January 22, 2000 ):
reach and frequency calculations have become quite complex today and are typically done by computer. Because reach is curvilinear, the formula can be quite complex, even without this issue. A different algorithm is needed for each dispersion scenario.

A good system will account for number of stations, at least in radio; AMIC's sister company, Telmar has such a system.

Since reach calculations are typically done with percentages of universe, like rating and percent reach, target audience size is not specifically relevant. Different curves will have been deduced for different targets, based on their accumulation patterns, which may not exhibit a direct correlataion to size. If reach in thousands is needed. it is simple to calculate by multiplying perent reach against target population.


Monday, January 17, 2000 #3124
Hi, Media Guru... I am new to media planning and need to know how to figure out how to distribute the budget among media. We have decided to use Direct Response TV ads and Radio, but how do I determine how much of the budget to put in either? I understand the definitions of the terms reach and frequency but do not know how to use these tools. Also, is there an online (free) resource that can help me come up with psychographic data either in general for a demo or by market and demo? Thank you in advance for your help!

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, January 21, 2000 ):
When the planner has a free hand, media mix is determined by examining various combinations to see which best meet the Media Objectives and Strategies.

You may go through an examination of efficiency, communication impact, environmental support, etc, of broad types prior to testing various mixes for reach and frequency or other measurable contributions.

In the case of direct response, you probably have some track record of the relative selling ability of each medium on which to base an intial distribution. After start, careful tracking of response will lead you to modify budgets. This direct tracking of sales, typical in DR, makes reach and frequency analysis moot.

The Guru does not believe there are any free online market psychographic/demographic resources.


Tuesday, January 11, 2000 #3108
I am working on a preliminary recommendation--a branding awarness campaign for a bank that currently does product advertising but no image advertising. Thre are three levels of spending that will be discussed. The question that I have is what freqency levels should be achieved to have not only a increase in awareness, but also influence the target to switch banks. It is a competitive banking market. What do you think of these reach and freq levels based on 4 weeks of advertising?? The media mix for the first 2 includes TV and Outdoor/Transit and the last Outdoor/Transit. There would be 1 TV commercial, 2 messages for Outdoor and 2 messages for transit. So, I am not concerned that much about wearout as having adequate effective frequency levels. Schedule #1 91% reach/14.6x; Schedule #2 is 90%/11x ; #3 is 79%/9.9x please let me know what you think of these frequency levels. Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, January 17, 2000 ):
When you evaluate media schedules which include out-of-home media, considerations of "effective" frequency go out the window. The nature of these media is to amass enormous levels of frequency behind simple, undetailed messages. Statistically, any of these schedules would have plenty of effective frequency, although you haven't mentioned the effective frequency in your details. The most effective schedule would be one of the first two, and the best of those is the one with the higher reach and frequency. Apparently the second costs less than the first.


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.


Tuesday, December 21, 1999 #3067
Is there any standard way of setting reach & frequency benchmarks for the Consumer durable category such as Motorcycles, Television, Tyres etc.

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, December 21, 1999 ):
"Consumer durables" is much too broad to generalize. Purchase cycle, seasonality and budget are the key components for setting communications goals.

Target, media choices and geography might also contribute to level setting.


Monday, December 06, 1999 #3029
Dear Guru, I am an Advertising student at the Univesity of Akron and I doing a promotional campaigns project. What I am doing now is trying to develop a mock budget based on reach and frequency. Do you know where I can get information on how much Advertising through different media (tv, radio, newspaper, magazines)costs per contact? Or even on average? I can't start any research without information on cost of advertising. Could you please help me? Melody

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, December 07, 1999 ):
Visit AMIC's Ad Data area


Friday, November 19, 1999 #2989
Media Guru, Our client is asking us why we use reach & frequency to analyze the effectiveness of our media plans. We are not aware of any other tools/methods that have been developed. Can you give us some pointers on how best to answer this question? Thanks in advance!

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, November 19, 1999 ):
reach and frequency are used to help predict the effect of plans and, more appropriately, to compare the available alternate plans, when communications power is the issue.

Media plans are actually advertising communications plans: "how many people of the targeted demographic receive the message and how often?" is the most basic quantification of the expected acheivements of the plan. In the process of selecting targets amd media, other issues of prospect quality and ad impact are addressed, but the final wieghts and measures are reach, frequency, and their product, gross impressions.

During and after execution, of course, sales and awareness measures are more direct evaluative tools.


Tuesday, November 02, 1999 #2928
Guru: I'm trying to plan an online media buy for branding purposes and having a hard time devising a formula for adequate impressions levels. I think % reach is a better way to go, but what's the optimal % reach for online branding on a website (high enough frequency without waste)? Thanks!

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, November 03, 1999 ):
It is very early in the scheme of internet reach models to imagine that there are standardized formulas.

You are correct to think that "branding," which means different things to different people, but seems to be about awareness in most definitions, depends upon reach.

But reach in relation to internet impressions is a curious thing. As in all media, it depends upon duplication between one day's visitors and the next plus duplication between one site's visitors and another site's.

When reach formulas are created, they begin from examination of the actual reach and frequency in real advertisers' schedules.

In this connection, it is instructive to visit the "Top 10 Advertisers of the Month" page at Nielsen//Netratings, a web audience research firm. In the month of September, 1999, the #1 advertiser, in terms of impressions, was TRUSTe, with 945 million immpressions and 25% reach among persons with internet access. But Amazon.com, the advertiser with the highest reach, at 44%, had less than one-third as many impressions, 273 million. Other advertisers with as few as 103 million impressions surpassed TRUSTe's reach.

The bottom line is that

  • Clearly, there is not a lot of consumer reach possible on the web, if the top advertisers' perform like this.
  • Impressions-to-reach models are going to be complicated to build.
  • We probably need a new definition of "branding" for on-line purposes.


Tuesday, October 26, 1999 #2907
Respectable guru, I am writing from a country where outdoor is still sold by number of sites. What would be the pro's and con's for a 14 day campaign with 200 sites against a 30 day campaign with 100 sites (in the same area for the same cost)? What would be the relation between reach and frequency in both cases? Are you aware of any web sites with research on this topic? Thank you for your answers.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, October 27, 1999 ):
The Guru imagaines that in your situation, the daily effective circulation (DEC) of the sites is not known. This data is the basis for GRP based out-of-home buys in the U.S.

If we assume that the average DEC is equal for all 200 sites and the 100 sites, and that the 100 are evenly dispersed among the potential 200 locations the Guru would opt for the longer schedule. The net reach over each schedule should be similar and the longer presence should produce more sales.


Friday, October 01, 1999 #2841
I am going to be freelancing from home. What are the tools that you would recommend me subscribing to, or the sources to have to keep me in touch with the industry?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, October 01, 1999 ):
Ad Age and MediaWeek will cover the basics. Depending on the areas in which you expect to be active, you might want to read The Industry Standard for interactive, Business Marketing's Net Marketing for Business to Business, and to have a basic set of media software with reach and frequency capability, like ADplus or Telmar's N3P.

You might also need some of the sources fromStandard Rate and Data Service (SRDS)


Friday, October 01, 1999 #2840
What is the difference between achieving a 10.0 rtg. on one spot of Seinfeld, vs. a combined 10.0 rtg. on Oprah, The Today Show and Just Shoot Me? Are we reaching a larger audience? Is there a way to measure duplication of the three programs? Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, October 01, 1999 ):
A combined 10 rating points accumulated across three programs will also represent 10 GRP, or an equal gross audience, but because of duplication the reach will be somewhat less than 10 and frequency somewhat more than 1.0. The reach will be at least equal to the rating of the highest rated program of the three.

The syndicated ratings reports, i.e. Nielsen, measure the duplication; the planner's standard reach & frequency tools estimated the net audience, accounting fo this duplication.


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.


Friday, September 24, 1999 #2820
Hello Guru!My question may fall outside only media planning. Neverthless I hope you can direct me to the correct info. sites. I am planning a promotion for an established FMCG-Women's product. The product is used for hygiene as well as cosmetic purposes. The promotion entails the consumer entering a contest along with a proof of purchase and a writeup on her experience with the brand. 1. Which media TV or Print would yeild the best response. The brand has high TOMA. The campaign has a duration of one month in the peak sales season. 2.Is there any model to predict the response in terms of no. of entries received and offtakes 3.How should I plan- for generating max. response, in terms of reach and frequency at a moderate budget? No previous data exsists for any such promo with me.4.Are there any rules of thumb in exsistence for a corelation between reach, frequency and responses? Thanking you in advance for your guidance.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, September 24, 1999 ):
As you imagine, your questions fall mostly outside of media, and your acronyms are not standard in the U.S., so the Guru is not clear on the background.

A good source for the sort of information you want is the Direct Marketing Association (DMA)

Within the realm of pure media / direct response concepts, the Guru does not believe there is any rule of thumb for Reach / frequency / response relationships. The Gurru has seen small audiences produce much more response than large audiences in many cases.


Wednesday, September 22, 1999 #2815
Can you please refresh my memory and tell me how to calculate multi-week reach and frequency across television and radio? Thank you

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, September 23, 1999 ):
If you mean combining these media, the formula has been addressed. Click here to see past Guru responses.

If you mean how to get multiweek reaches for either medium, you need reach curves or software, the extension formulae are tow complex for casual use.


Wednesday, September 22, 1999 #2814
Hi Guru The ad agency I work for has a theory that cable GRP's and radio GRP's effectivenesss are significantly less than network and spot television. On our flow charts we only calculate 1/2 half of these points. I have heard this theory before but I've never seen a plan that cuts the GRP's in half. What do you think?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, September 23, 1999 ):
The Guru has been aware of theories that use effectiveness factors in comparing media. Sometimes GRP are adjusted on the flow chart, but since the flow chart often serves as the buying control document, more often the adjustments are shown in reach and frequency comparisons.

There can certainly be an argument that radio has less effectiveness than TV, commercial exposure versus commercial exposure, all else being equal. But, the argument doesn't seem to be rationale for cable TV. The commercial is the same, the presentation is the same. Unless there are objective measures of attentiveness or clutter or recall used, why is cable less effective? Individual commerical audience size is not relevent to message effectiveness of the medium; one consumer is not aware of how may others are watching the same program.


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 #2797
I am looking for software that figures "reach and frequency" for newspaper media plans. Do you know of any and if so, which has the most current, up-to-date data?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, September 14, 1999 ):
AMIC's sister company, Telmar is one that offers newspaper plannning software. You might check with The Newspaper Advertising Association for recommendations.


Tuesday, September 14, 1999 #2793
What is the protocol for adding print delivery to a broadcast reach and frequency analysis? Does it skew the analysis or can it be done accurately with media planning software?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, September 14, 1999 ):
Very simply, reach-based planning sets the reach / communications goal as the priamry focus of the plan. For example, rather than focus on CPM, the cost per person reached takes precedence over cost per person exposed (which is what CPM measures).

So, the first vehicle or medium in a plan might have the best CPM, but the second one is the one which, in combination with the first, produces the most overall net reach for the combined spending.


Monday, August 23, 1999 #2734
Dear Guru, in regards to broadcast, my company advertises on national cable networks only. Our media buying company submitted a post-buy analysis for 2Q, but did not include reach/frequency info. When I asked for this information, they said "it's not standard to give cable r/f" is this true and if so, why? Thank you.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, August 23, 1999 ):
The Guru agrees that it is not "standard" to include delivered R&F in a post analysis. It is probably not relevant, if the buy was built around a planned R&F and the post shows that the buy delivered as estimated.

However, what is standard, is for a service to respond to a client's question. If the buy delivered out of line with the estimate, the service should, at minimum recalculate the R&F. If the issue is running an actual R&F of the schedule, based on spot by spot use of the Nielsen cume system, significant expense might be involved, and this could be open to negotiation.


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 #2679
our peoplemeter claim that we must weight commercial lenght according its duration for example: if the commercial lenght is 15 second and the rating of the commercial is 20% so the multiplie the rating 20% in 0.5 and the weighted 15" commercial is 10% (the ration between the commercial length to 30 second i claim that it is wrong since they want to put an impact index and the rating is a quantity index which tells as how many people watch? and if the same people so 30" commercial and 15" second commercial it is means that the same amount of peolple so the commercial besides, the meseaure unit on the meter is 60" and last why the dont weight reach and frequency to commercial? who is right?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, August 05, 1999 ):
Commercial length has no effect on reach unless your peoplemeter considers second-by-second turnover, so that some additional people might be reached in the latter 15 seconds of a :30. Even in this case, the ratio would not be 2:1.

For all practical purposes, any length commercial at the same time in the same program has the same reach.

Impact however, can differ by having a longer message. When fifteens were new, most studies fount they had about 75% of the impact of a :30, based on recall.


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, May 31, 1999 #2548
How do you determine reach and frequency for a site?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, May 31, 1999 ):
Reach is the number of different people exposed to a message or media vehicle and Frequency is the average number of times the person reached is exposed in the stated period. On the web, unique visitors is the term used for "different people," and the period of time usually considered for average frequency is one month.

If your site has server log analysis software, like HitList , for example, it can tell you the number of unique vistors per month, and also the total number of page impressions served. Monthly page impressions, divided by unique visitors = Frequency .

Also, syndicated, user-centric, web ratings services like MediaMetrix report on these audiences independently. Hoever, only the top few sites, less than1% of all sites, are big enough to be reported.

Traditional media planners are used to expressing reach as a percentage of a target audience. However, for most sites, this percentage would be vanishingly small. Only the top few sites among MediaMetrix's sites reach even 1% of active web users: the 50th ranked of the 15,000 they measure reaches about 3 million unique vistors. This would be about 3% of the perhaps 100 million people on-line in the U.S. and Canada.


Tuesday, May 18, 1999 #2512
We want to educate marketers on the importance of reach and frequency in business to business pubs, specifically in lawyer publications. They seem to think reach is enough. I remember using reach and frequency tables for broadcast schedules. Do you have anything similar for b to b pubs? I need this rather quickly. Thanks for your help.

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, May 18, 1999 ):
Most people understand that a single exposure is not enough to memorably communicate a message. The Guru has often encountered advertisers and account execs who felt that their message was so important, such a breakthrough and so exciting that only one exposure was enough. They didn't consider that most messages don't penetrate or catch one's attention on the first exposure.

Of course most messages aren't that stimulating, in and of themselves, on multiple exposures, either.

Tables come from analyzing several actual schedules of real data. If your publication is measured and you have access to the research, you can prepare schedules and tables. Multiple insertions in one publication build reach slower and frequency faster than a schedule dispersed among multiple publications. If you know duplication factors between two issues of your publication and between your publication and others in the field, you could do crude estimates of reach. If not, there are not likely to be other valid ways of building tables.

Click here to see past Guru responses about "frequency."


Monday, May 10, 1999 #2500
Would like research/tables on law publications or business to business pubs reach and frequency research to support our claims that frequency is just as important as reach

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, May 10, 1999 ):
Try the Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230.


Sunday, May 02, 1999 #2482
What is the minimum weekly threshold level of reach & frequency to be set for a print campaign [ Full page colour] ? How different would be the same for a television campaign [ 30 secs TVC]?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, May 03, 1999 ):
There is no absolute standard. Recency theory calls for about 30 reach as the weekly threshold. The Guru believes virtually any reach is worth something, but careful analysis of the sales or consumer response needed to support a level of spending can always be done.

To the Guru's thinking, the only reason to have a different threshold for TV vs print is that typically, the frequency levels accompanying a given reach in magazines will be lower than the frequency for the same reach in TV, assuming your reach is at more than a minimum level. (A reach of 10% in either, achieved through one advertisement will have a frequency of 1.0).


Friday, April 23, 1999 #2465
I am puzzled and maybe I should know the answer to this question, but I don.t We are competing with another agency to win an account. We were given the assignment to put together a television buy. The objective was to put the same buy together, but improve on the rates. Bottom line is that the buy starts in two weeks and the market is very tight. We improved in some areas and some ares came in higher. We were able to secure some overnight spots at no charge. This was the only difference. The ratings were .1 and .2 for overnights. We ran a reach and frequency. The following are the results: Ours results: 69.5 reach 4.4 frequency 309.1 GRP's There results: 46.6 reach 6.6 frequency 309.2 GRP's Why the difference? We use MM+ and they sue TAP SCAN. Could the diffence software programs be so difference in calculating R&F? I hope I have supplied you with enough info. Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, April 23, 1999 ):
Two systems can legitimately have very different results, but this case does seem extreme. The detail level taken into account can vary and be quite important; for example, repeated use of the same stripped program or weekly program may be something one R&F model takes into account while the other just considers a more general GRP by daypart.

You haven't said whether the schedules were very nearly identical, either. If your 309 GRP was made up of 60 spots and their 309 was made up of 300 spots there would be substantial difference in R&F. Yours would then be preferable to most advertisers.

Bottom line, it doesn't make any sense to compete based on R&F results unless the same model is used on both schedules.


Friday, April 09, 1999 #2439
Where can I find a list of the top business websites. A client is looking to reach business executives through web advertising. Do you have any suggestions?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, April 10, 1999 ):
MediaMetrix, one of the leading web usage measurers, offers a list of the top sites visited from work.

Defining "business websites" and "top" are different issues. "Top" may not really be relevant. The web is different than any other medium. In TV or magazines, we credit the entire audeince of the vehicle to an ad run in it. But on the web, we usually buy the number of impressions or clicks we want. It is no easier to buy 1,000,000 impressions/month out of 300,000,000 availably on www.yahoo.com as from another site that only has 5,000,000/month in its inventory. reach and frequency might be better buying 5,000,000 from 5 different sites than just one.


Thursday, April 08, 1999 #2434
My client was told from a previous agency that 100 points a week is a standard guideline for television advertising, for sustaining levels. I know there are tons of factors that would really go into developing point levels, but other than showing r/f and eff 3+ numbers is there any way to source this or provide rationale? The client is looking for it. Thanks as always.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, April 08, 1999 ):
As a regular correspondent of the Guru's you certainly knew that an agency saying 100 GRP / week is "standard" is a sign of ignorance, at best, and you've come to the Guru for help in debunking this nonsense.

Looking at the 4 week reach of 100 GRP / week might show a 100% variation in reach, frequency or reach at 3+ based on daypart choice, for Adult 18-49. So ignoring whether daytime or prime is used is foolish. Will 50 GRP/week of Prime do the same communication job as 100/week in day?

When GRPs are seen as just weight, with no consideration of programming content, reach potential, frequency, etc, one suspects media planners have not even gotten into the game.

Factors such as how high is the introductory weight, how high is the competitors' weight how long are flights vs hiatuses, should all influence a choice of sustaining weight.

The simplest way to rationalize for your client is to show how different the reach and frequency of 100/week can be and what the competition


Friday, March 19, 1999 #2400
I need to know the calculation to work out margin of error for TV reach and frequency results. E.g. what is the margin of error of 40% @ 2+ depending on the size of the sample, penetration etc.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, March 20, 1999 ):
Assuming you are using a model to calculate reach and frequency, your error is no longer an aspect of sample size but of the reliability of the model.

For instance, suppose your schedule consisted of 20 advertisements with an average rating of 10. And, based on sample size, the 10 rating was +/- 2 rating points (or 20% relative error). But your total schedule of 200 GRP is not going to be +/- 40 points. Because error is plus or minus, there is an equal chance that one 10 rating is really PLUS 2 and the next 10 rating is really MINUS 2. So, in a schedule, most of the error cancels out. This is one reason why ratings minima for buying are often short-sighted.

When it comes to reach analysis, someone might have built a model by compiling several actual schedules measured by the original research and finding a formula for the straight line formed by the average frequency of each. Since the actual schedules came from the orignal research, the sampling error of each (minimized by the plus or minus aspect of the schedule elements, as above) could have been calculated. But now the "curve" coming out of the model is only judged by its ability to match back to actual schedules.


Wednesday, March 17, 1999 #2398
Is it statistically correct to merge television Reach and frequency and Reach and Freq. delivered by Print vehicle? is so how, what is the rationale behind the process as the basic samples for readership and viewership studies are usually very different. do readership studies in the west capture product ownership and usage data ? and if so, do planners use such data to redefine their TG definitions for eg. the ideal TG for the replacement market for TVs could well be owners of Television sets over 4-5 years old !! thanks, Rahul

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, March 17, 1999 ):
Combining TV and Print reach and frequency is a philosophical issue not a statistical one.

Though the original research used different samples, both were designed to project the behavior of the same population. By the time you're dealing with reach and frequency, things are quite removed from the ratings research; you're working with models, not respondent data.

Objections to combining Print and TV are usually based on the difference in message qualities.

Yes, U.S. syndicated readership studies such as Simmons, MRI and The Mendelsohn Media Research Affluent Study include product usage data and these are frequently used to define planning targets.


Wednesday, March 10, 1999 #2382
RE: My earlier question #2379, my boss responded this way: Pre-launch was a 2-week period, so an average 4-week number would have been a misrepresentation of reality. If you do not have a 4-wk period for comparison than you should not do a 4-week r/f. Do you agree with this? How should I handle this disagreement with my supervisor?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, March 10, 1999 ):
The Guru disagrees. The phrase "average four week" in the context of reach & frequency refers to a rate of accumulation, not really the period of time other than the time periods actually measured in the original establishment of reach calculations. Four weeks was originally chosen as the basis for the actual measurements that built the formulae when monthly media (magazines) were the predominant national advertising media. One does not really care how much time is involved.

For marketing purposes, what is important is that you communicated an advertising message to X% of consumers an average of Y times. It is easy enough to say that "over two weeks, we reached 60% of the target an average of 3.9 times." No one is misled, nothing is invalid. You just happened to use a four week formula to determine the results. As the Guru said earlier. only in some 1-week cases will there be any real differerence. (As there would for long term cumes, like 13 week).

If your supervisor's only alternative is to report nothing, as if there was no way to measure the schedule, that doesn't seem productive.


Wednesday, March 10, 1999 #2379
My supervisor said it is impossible to figure an average 4 week r/f if the flight is shorter than four weeks, but i remember doing it on another account. Can you please confirm who is correct, and how to figure it out if I am? Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, March 10, 1999 ):
You're correct. There are a few workable approaches to this.
  1. One says that whatever GRPs run within four weeks are the GRPs that count in figuring an average 4-week R&F, whether these GRPs are spread over one, two or three weeks. So, if you have two weeks at 100 GRP/week you have the same average four week R&F as you would for 200 GRP across four weeks; it could just as well have been 50 GRP/week for 4 weeks or 67 GRP/week for 3 weeks.
    The Guru supports the above theory.
    A small exception might be made for one week schedules, where actual data shows that, for radio in particular, a given number of GRP run in one week delivers slightly higher reach than the same GRP spread over four weeks, due to listening patterns.

  2. Another approach uses "when-in" data. Here, if you run 100 GRP/week during your flights and your flights are two weeks in and two weeks out, then you do your R&F as if you had 100 GRP/week for four weeks. Using this theory, you get the same result for 100 GRP/week two in, two out, as you do for two in, four out, which, to the Guru, is clearly quite a different communication level.


Monday, March 08, 1999 #2378
How do you figure out average four week r/fs without software? Thanks for your help.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, March 08, 1999 ):
Before software, there were tables to get reach from broadcast GRP, and books of factors and formulae for print.

Those old tables are probably no longer valid, perhaps someone has done some new ones. The Guru has discussed this frequently.
Click here to see past Guru responses on reach and frequency


Monday, December 21, 1998 #2230
I am currently analyzing a media schedule that includes consumer print, trade print and national cable. I have been asked to pull a reach and frequency for the entire schedule. I realize that I am working with several differenct universes. I have added the circulations and pulled the gross impressions for cable. I have added those together. Is there any formular to determan a reach and frequency? Help?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, December 24, 1998 ):
In general, different media have different audience accumulation patterns when thinking about net unduplicated audience vs gross audience.

Calculating reach from a total multimedia impressions number is not practical unless the gross rating points (impressions divided by GRPs) is so many thousands that a 95+ reach can be assumed.

Some media, in particular broadcast media, allow general estimation of reach from a table of GRP levels. Print media are more complicated.

What you really need is standardized media software for reach and frequency calculation like that which is offered by AMIC 's sister company, Telmar.


Friday, December 11, 1998 #2215
I want to obtain some free media software.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, December 11, 1998 ):
And the Guru wants one million dollars. What kind of media software do you need; to do what task? It is rare that the specialized software for reach and frequency, cpm rankers, etc is available free unless a particular medium creates some to fill a need when there is no standard software that works for their media type.

The only free media software of which the Guru is aware is reach and frequency for U.S. Spanish language TV.

Univision has temporarily withdrawn their HispaniCume, and Telemundo has just released an update of their STRETCH2 sysytem.


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.


Monday, November 30, 1998 #2179
How do you manually work out reach and frequency for TV campaigns. Is there a particular formula?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, November 30, 1998 ):
See the query of Tuesday, November 10, 1998 #2144. It is not feasible to do manual calcuations without tables, which are probably not being created any longer. Someone with the computer reach and frequency tool could develop the tables easily, but there would be little point.

Once reach has been determined for a range of possible schedules by various available means, there would be a fairly simple algebraic formula that describes the "curve." But, today, that's the long way around.


Thursday, November 12, 1998 #2148
We have a client who is planning to run about 450 GRPs in cable TV. The timeframe for the spots is from 6pm - 1am and the campaign length is 10 weeks. We have 2 :30 spots in rotation (new copy for the client). If frequency is important, what would be a good level to shoot for and what would be overkill? Help!

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, November 13, 1998 ):
The Guru is not sure whether you mean average frequency of exposure, as in "reach and frequency" or the frequency per cable channel per week in your buy.

At 450 GRP over 10 weeks, you will probably run about 75 - 200 spots per week, depending on the networks used and target. 15 to 20 per network wouldn't be a bad level.

The Guru believes that some cable schedules get so heavy that the repeated commercials quickly become an annoyance to loyal viewers of content specific networks.

Four week Reach / Frequency would probably be in the 30 / 6.0 range.


Tuesday, November 10, 1998 #2144
I need to find out more information on how to figure reach and frequency, especially four week averages as it applies to print, radio and television. What is the best source to use for finding R/F analysis including some work samples. Help me Guru, I want to be like you!

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, November 10, 1998 ):
When the Guru started out, reach and frequency was calculated manually with the aid of tables and factors. Since then media have become more complex and measurement more detailed. Complicated, multi-step algorithms such as numerous iterations of the Beta-binomial function must be calculated. Now, the computer is virtually the only way reach and frequency is analyzed.

Some of the measurers such as Simmons, and MRI have systems for R&F on the media they measure. A few, rare, media such as Telemundo Spanish TV Network, offer sytems (STRETCH2) for their medium.

Most common is the specialized, all-medium software system, such as the one provided by AMIC's sister company, Telmar.


Friday, October 30, 1998 #2117
I have a client that would like to do an image radio schedule for the first time. An 8 week schedule was proposed - he wants to cut it to 6 weeks for budget reasons. The reach and frequency for both schedules are similar. Is there research to show him as to why the longer schedule will have more impact and long term effectiveness?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, October 30, 1998 ):
There seems to be a missing factor. If you were running 100 GRP per week for 8 weeks and cut back to 100 GRP per week for 6 weeks, GRP would be reduced by 25%. Therefore, reach or frequency would have to change significantly, if not both.

I.e: suppose your 8 week plan had a reach and frequency of 60 / 13.3 with 800 GRP. If you reduced the plan to 6 weeks / 600 GRP and the reach did not go down, frequency would drop to 10 -- a 25% change. If the frequency did not go down then the reach would have to decline to 45, again a 25% decline. Realistically both reach and frequency should exhibit obvious drops.

Perhaps someone is mistakenly comparing average 4-week reach in the two plan. That comparison would be irrelevant, but be "similar" if not identical.

If you mean that the 8 weeks schedule is compressed into 6 weeks, then there would be an avergae 4 week difference but no budget reduction.

In this case, however "recency" theory would prefer the 8 week version becasue it provides more chances to deliver advertising to the consumer at a time of decision making. This theory may not be appropriate for "image" campaigns.


Wednesday, October 14, 1998 #2095
Dear Guru, Do you know special media models for autdoor advertising? Are there any difference of modelling diffrent media? What is the most appropriate model for calculating reach and frequency for the outdoor advertising. There are several models like Agostinis, Beta Binomial eg., what is the closest one to the outdoor models. Thank you.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, October 15, 1998 ):
Harris Donovan of Canada has an Outdoor reach and frequency system.

A media reach model is based on several observations of the actual reach achieved by real schedules and finding a "curve" that matches a regression analysis of the GRP vs frequency lines. Some of the models you mention are appropriate with small ratings like radio's or medium ratings like consumer magazines'.


Wednesday, October 14, 1998 #2094
Dear Guru! Could you explain the speciality of billboard advertising, focusing on the time length of the campaign. I suppose there is an optimal length of a campaign, and after that the reach is not growing (or just a little). In the European market we can find 1 week 2 week and 1 month long campaign too. Are there any available research on this topic? Thanks Tamas

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, October 15, 1998 ):
In the U.S., an outdoor campaign is usually bought as a 25, 50 or 100 "showing". "Showing" means GRP's per day, based on camparing DEC (daily effective circulation) to the population universe.

A "50 showing" outdoor campaign will achieve 85% or better reach in one month, so obviously there cannot be much reach growth from there. A 25 showing isn't much lower and a 100 showing isn't much higher.

Campaigns usually run 3 or more months. The cost of production typically works against less than 30 day postings.

Even though outdoor delivers very high reach at low cpm, in the Guru's experience it is rarely employed just for this reach building, because it offers limited message length and detail.

Harris Donovan of Canada has an Outdoor reach and frequency system.


Tuesday, October 13, 1998 #2093
I am a novice at media planning. Recently I acquired a job as a media planner due to my overall advertising experience. I've been assigned a medical account with a focus on orthopedic surgeons and the media type is print. I've been instructed to base my analysis for publication recomendation on CPM. The number of orthopedic publications is limited but I feel there should be more to my analysis than CPM. Can you tell me what other types of analysis I can do and how to accomplish them?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, October 15, 1998 ):
If you have titles that are not purely for orthopedists, then you can compare their compostion -- the percentage of audience who are orthopedists. This indicates their focus on your target.

If you have the specialized physician audience studies, i.e. PERQ's FOCUS, you can compare audience duplication between titles and develop reach and frequency for various schedules of the publications you might use.

The same study might tell you which titles have more audience members who purchase what you are advertising.

An editorial analysis might show that some titles have more coverage of the category of the product or service which you are advertising.

An advertising analysis might show which books get more of your competitors' business.


Friday, October 02, 1998 #2068
Hi Guru! We have a client who has $80-100,000 extra budget to spend this year. The budget has to be spread out nationally (in over 150 markets). We were offered a full page ad with a magazine (that reaches our demo) with a circulation of 7.6 mill. for 90M. We were also considering running a cable schedule on only one station since that's all we could afford. Which do you think is the better option? In addition, we are looking to run the first 2 weeks in December.Thanks for your help.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, October 02, 1998 ):
There really isn't enough information here to make an informed decision. For instance, a lot would depend on what media are in the base level of the plan, what your base reach and frequency are already, and what are your goals.

But let's play with it anyway: Suppose your magazine is Better Homes and Gardens, which reaches 26% of Adult Women. You would be achieving 26 Reach, a frequency of 1.0 and, of course. 26 Women GRPs.

Let's suppose your cable network is Lifetime. Does your money buy 26 GRPs there? More ? Less? It might get you 13 reach and a frequency of 2.0. Which is more important to you, reach or frequency? Does the magazine or does cable offer better content as an environment for what you are selling?

You need to reduce the question to specific factors which you can evaluate.


Tuesday, September 22, 1998 #2052
I am working on a national cable buy. First question, please explain VPH. I have been asked to provide the following information: -How many households will my schedule reach and how many times. Of course, I have to have all this information by tomorrow at noon. I have selected my networks and have asked for proposals from each network. The networks inform me that it will take several days to pull a reach and frequency. So my question to you is, can I take the HH's thousands and add them? It this the right way to approach this project. How will I calulate for a frequency. I can give the client the total number of spots, but is there a way to calculate frequency? Please Help? Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, September 22, 1998 ):
VPH is "viewers per Household" and is used as a simple way to express persons audience in relation to housholds. In other words, if a network has a measured average quarter hour (aqh) audience of 1000 Households and a measured aqh among women 18-49 of 550, then its VPH for women 18-49 would be .55

Estimates of reach are based on modeling from actual past schedules and are typically calculated with computers. These calculations take only minutes, but you are probably facing a backlog in your vendors' research departments or, typically, a turnaround time policy which can be overriden if you apply the right charm or pressure to your sales reps.

Because these models reflect varying audience duplication between one spot and the next and between one network and another, adding household impression would be wrong. Such a calculation would produce "gross impressions" which is much greater than reach.

Frequency is calculated by dividing reach into gross impressions (or percent reach into gross rating points), so you need reach to calculate frequency.

If you have any media planning software at all, such as Telmar's AdPlus or Maestro, you would find that these system usually have a general calculator of cable reach built in.


Wednesday, September 09, 1998 #2037
I am looking for a method of calculating reach and frequency for national syndication radio vignettes. A. Does the amount of time of the vignette matter ie, 90seconds, 120seconds etc. B. Is there a method of adding multiple radio station figures together and averaging out these calculations accurately. C. Is there an inexpensive source for this information on a national level.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, September 09, 1998 ):
A) Length doesn't matter in reach and frequency (unless you are dealing with a commercial long enough to experience audience turn-over during its air time).

B) In syndication, usually stations are exclusive with a given geography, so the audiences are additive nationally, or may be mean-averaged across markets.

C) Arbitron and RADAR provide such data. "Inexpensive" is a matter of opinion.


Wednesday, September 09, 1998 #2035
Hi! We are at that stage where the Diary system is being scrapped to be replaced with Peoplemeter. I need to know a)International experiences in different countries when peoplemeter was introduced in terms of fall/increase in ratings, non prime time vs. prime time choices etc. etc. b)how to set reach and frequency objectives post the transition. Thanx.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, September 09, 1998 ):
a) The Advertising Research Foundation and ESOMAR , the European Survey, Opinion and Market Research organization libraries will have several articles about these conversions.

b) The transition itself should not affect your objectives. If "X" reach and "Y" frequency were right before, then they still are, even though the schedule which produces them may be different. But, if you have calibrated R&F against actual sales in the past, then you merely need to analyze those old schedules against the cumes of the new system.


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.


Friday, July 24, 1998 #1973
I need help! I need to know the forumla (or formulas) for figuring the reach and frequency on a television schedule. I need it to be demo / and have the following information: universe, impressions and grps. What else do I need and what is the magic FORUMLA! At this point we are using the cumulative impressions into the universe to figure the reach - but could that be right? I don't think so - but the reach is what I need to figure (already have grp and freq is easy if I have reach!). Please help - and thanks tons.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, July 24, 1998 ):
When you divide the accumulated impressions by the universe, your result is GRPs. There is no simple reach formula unless you already know GRPs and frequency. There are various very complicated algorithms for calculating reach for a given average rating size, known average duplication between programs used, etc. "Beta Bimodal" is one of the best known.

But today, Reach calculations are done by computer, using models built from Nielsen's actual measurements of net audience reach from meter-measured schedules.

Telmar, AMIC's sister company, is the leading provider of software for such analyses.

Before computers were commonplace, media planners had tables which gave reach for various GRP levels depending on demos, dayparts and duplication. These, too, were based on average Nielsen audience accumulation reports.


Monday, July 06, 1998 #1937
Dear Guru, I'm trying to find info on the relationship between reach and frequency known as the prime axiom in media planning. Such as, what it is, why is it useful and how is it directly or indirectly measured? Also, I need research on the volatility of broadcast media. For instance, how can broadcast media avoid law suits if they fail to run a commercial. I'm frantically completing a take home exam for a graduate class and can't find research on these topics. Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated. I'll let you know if we get an "A."

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, July 07, 1998 ):
One wonders at the sort of course where these terms matter but are not thoroughly taught. reach and frequency are the weights and measures of a media plan.
  • "Reach" tells you how many different people are exposed to an advertising schedule. It is commonly expressed as a percentage of a target group's population. E.g. 75 percent reach among women 18-49.
  • "Frequency" tells you the average number of exposure to the schedule experienced by the people reached.
The usefulness should be obvious: no matter how great or impactful an ad may be, it will not sell product unless it reaches enough people and reaches them frequently enough to have an effect on their behavior.

The various research tools media planners use which measure the audience of TV shows, radio stations, magazines, etc can also tell us how many people are reached by schedules of several uses of theses programs and books. From these direct measurements, statistical models are built which can estimate the reach and frequency of schedules being planned. Media Planners can therefore compare alternate schedules to determine which ones will best meet reach/frequency goals.

Thinking of pure arithmetic relationships, reach and frequency are linked with GRPs -- Gross Rating Points. When the ratings (audience as percent of target group) of all the individual ads in a schedule are added up, the resulting total is GRP. GRP divided by reach = frequency and reach X frequency = GRP. 2. Mistakes happen. Fine print in contracts protects broadcasters against liability if they inadvertently miss airing a commercial, or deliberately do so because a higher paying advertiser comes along, or because the decide to air a news special. etc. Their only obligation is typically to give a "makegood," another commercial location with equal or better quality.


Thursday, June 18, 1998 #1905
Is there a threshold at which you maximize on reach (TV) at a certain weight level? I am purchasing a high concentration of grps (60% in prime / 20% in news/prime access / 20% early morning/daytime/late night) in excess of 300 Ad 18-49 GRP's per week for 4 weeks. Running R&F against such a plan shows reach at 99% --- which I feel is impossible. Isn't the threshold of maxing out on reach at 96%?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, June 19, 1998 ):
The typical, short term cume study gives a 96% top end. But 99% of Homes have TV so a 99 reach is theoretically possible.

Since either 96 or 99 is the result of all TV collectively, a very heavy plan is required to achieve it, especially in today's fragmented TV environment, where cable has so great a share of viewing.

For your schedule, even 96 is probably somewhat high. If your R&F system is unsophisticated, outdated or unable to adjust to the number of weeks in the schedule, that may explain the high result you are getting.


Monday, March 23, 1998 #1548
what is the correct television weight for a campaign

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, March 30, 1998 ):
The "Correct" weight depends on many factors, there is no one correct weight.

One way, but certainly not the only way, to calculate an appropriate level is to follow this checklist:

  • (A) How many new sales / product units, etc are your monthly sales goal?
  • (B) What percentage of the prospects who are successfully exposed to your campaign are likley to buy what you are selling?
  • Divide (A) by (B) to determine with how many prospects per month your advertising must effectively communicate.
  • Using the reach and frequency calculating system of your choice and your judgement of "effective levels of communications, calculate what level of weight delivers the desired effecively reached audience.


Wednesday, November 19, 1997 #1459
Does it make any sense to calculate GRPs not having reach and frequency stated? My campaign brings me 530 GRps - whatdoes it mean for me? Could I calculate OTS if I have only GRPs? Thank you

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, November 22, 1997 ):
GRPs are simply a summation of all the audiences of all the ads in a plan. They give you the "boxcar" size of a plan without any detail. This can be used to compare to other campaigns or other times, in crude terms.

If by OTS, you mean "Opportunities to See," which is equivalent to Impressions, then the calculation is simple. GRPs are a percentage of the population. Whatever your GRP's target group, you need to know the total "universe" of that population for which the GRPs are stated. Then, if you have 500 GRPs, you have impressions equal to the population, times 5.


Wednesday, September 10, 1997 #1411
Dear Guru, I am a Software developer in Brazil and I would like to develop new reach & frequency Software with optimisation. Must I use Simplex method? Is there any other more efficient method? Alexandre Crivelaro, criva@gsoft.com.br.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, September 10, 1997 ):
Most optimization sytems work by adding the "next most efficient quantum of reach." This may be more efficient from a programming perspective, but a system which builds a new plan at each increment of spending can take advantage of the best overall interaction of the media. This will produce more reach-efficient plans.

AMIC's sister company Telmar uses this second type of optimization.


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?


Thursday, March 20, 1997 #1296
I have a client that is interested in obtaining an easy to read and understand book on reach and frequency. Do you know of one? Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, April 23, 1997 ):
There are two types of books that would cover "reach and frequency." Statistics texts and media planning texts. In either, most of the content would be about othewr topics. The media planning text is probably more useful. One such is Advertising Media Planning, by Jack Z. Sissors and Lincoln Bumba. It's available from Amazon Books and other sellers of texts. The ARF's library contains many articles on the topic which might fully answer your needs, and their publication about the "ARF Media Model is a classic.


Saturday, February 22, 1997 #1039
I am trying figure out the best way to calculate reach & frequency for the following:

Television Flight:
4 consecutive weeks (250 TRP's per week)
Then scaling back and running 175 TRP's per week - Every other week for the following 8 weeks.

How do you calculate R&F when your schedule runs on an every other week basis?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, February 24, 1997 ):
There is no basis for believing that an alternate week schedule of 700 total points (175 per week for 4 of 8 weeks) cumes to a different total than 87.5 grp per week for 8 weeks, as long as the scedules are otherwise identical in numbers of different announcements, and numbers of different episodes of the same programs.

It is true that if the schedules per week of activity were solarge as to exhaust reach potentials, the answer might bedifferent, but this is far below such levels

So the total schedule of the first four weeks at 250, plus the 4alternating weeks can be calculated as if there were lower levelconsecutive weeks.


Monday, January 27, 1997 #1067
My client is requiring me to use adjustment percentages whencalculating grp's in print. I was always taught that reach x frequency= GRP's. Now if I calculate the adjustment to my grp's, the formula no longer works. Is this correct, or do I have to do something else to my reach/frequency? Help!!!

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, January 28, 1997 ):
There are various approaches. If the GRP adjustment is just an index reflecting characteristics of the vehicles and their audiences, it may be sufficient to show R/F/GRP/AdjGRP

If the adjustments are meant to change actual value of the GRP, it is usual to recalculate reach from the new, adjusted GRP. Since print R&F is usually calculated from actual schedules, via a "black box" algorithym, rather than from a grp "curve," this may be impractical. If your system allows you to enter factors for each publication before calculating reach, that may solve your problem.

Lastly, even with adjusted GRP to represent some abstraction, the people reached would not be reached at a different average frequency, so one quick and dirty answer, if you must use adjusted grp, is just to divide them by the original frequency, to get reach.

It's similar to the concept of changing a spot coverage area, broadcast r/f to its national equivalent: The GRPs are weighted by the coverage area % and the frequencyremains constant, to calculate the reach.


Tuesday, July 23, 1996 #1176
My telecommunications client is planning a multimedia (TV, newspaper, radio) launch in Chicago this fall, hoping the phone will ring off the hook. Is there a way to predict response levels per medium (or in total?) for the client to effectively staff its phone lines? I have total population, target population, reach & frequency levels (for TV - a 6 week flight; for radio a different 6 week flight; print used in both flights). The kicker is: this is not a direct - response spot (of course, an 800# will be included, but generally, it's an image builder). I also know that it will depend greatly on many things creatively (length of time the 800# is on the screen, is it a pnemonic number, is there an offer, etc). I'm thinking if there is an easy answer to this, I wouldn't have a job.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, July 24, 1996 ):
The safe answer is to contract an "inbound telemarketing"service which is large enough to expand or contract around your actual traffic. Depending on the offer and strength of copy, calls could equal .01% to 5.0% or more of persons reached. Using a service the first time out, especially if you're not specifically setting up a DR business, will give you benchmarks for the future.


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, May 07, 1996 #1226
How many times can a print ad run before it wears out?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, May 08, 1996 ):
The only answer to such a question is "it depends."

How powerful/interesting/competitive is the ad?

What reach and frequency is being developed as the ads insertions repeat.

How many different magazines versus repeats in the same titles.

What is your definition of "wear out?" Decline in awareness, decline in incremental sales, frequency of exposure in the top quintile or top 2 quintiles?

. . .it depends.


Saturday, April 06, 1996 #1249
Interested in locating research re radio programming, in-depth info re radio listeners (psychological characteristics as well as demographioc variables). Most research seems to be reach and frequency. Has any qualatitive research been done with various types of radio listeners? [Interests, values, what turns them on, etc]

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, April 07, 1996 ):
The major syndicated media studies MRI and Simmonscover demographics, psychographics and purchase behavioralong with radio listening by format. The studies are notprincipally focused on radio, but would be useful. Radio Networks and major stations have access through their national reps, if not locally.

Many major stations may also have proprietary studies, butit would be harder to fairly compare different studiesacross formats.


Friday, March 08, 1996 #1266
Guru:Is there a formula for calculating reach & frequency for trade vehicles.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, March 10, 1996 ):
There is no truly simple formula for calculating reach and frequency of any medium. The key datain print R&F are pair-wise duplication between different vehicles and between two or more insertions in the same vehicle.

As the number of insertions in a plan increase, the number of data elements to include in a formula increase. The number of possible pairings for just a 10 insertion plan is 45 ((n x n-1) / 2).

Telmar among others, offers software designed to quickly perform these calculations on defined schedules of media measured by SMRB, MRI, MMR, J.D. Power or others. Using measured media as prototypes, reach of various schedules you might want to consider could then be calculated. From these numerous calculations, you could, by regression analysis, develop a "simple" formula of the form y=ax+b to calculate frequency based on GRP of typical plans of the sort you run in these media (y is frequency; x is grp; a and b are factors from the regression).

A formula of this kind is very specific to the audience dynamics of the media vehicles involved. Please understand, this is not a recommended technique, merely a response to your question.


Wednesday, January 10, 1996 #1792
Please provide some sources for a small ad agency to use to conduct national magazine print planning for a demanding client. I have several programs with very different audiences and don't have the time or staff necessary.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, February 02, 1996 ):
"Programs" shouldn't be providing audience data, they should be reading the current data of SMRB, MRI, MMR, etc.

Telmar has software which will analyze media plans using any of these or several other audience studies. SMRB and MRI also offer systems to analyze their audience data in media planning.

If your concern is primarily software cost or staff time, the print media also have these systems and are eager to help you run reach & frequency or other analyses of print alternatives. It would be wise to specify the data (SMRB or MRI, etc) which you will use as your standard and ask more than one of the candidate publications to do analyses.

Magazine audience change over time, new magazines come along; it is important to be using current research.


Thursday, January 04, 1996 #1800
How to estimate demographic editions for magazines in IntelliQuest, Simmons CompPro and/or John Adams' Studies for coverage, composition and reach/frequency purposes.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, February 02, 1996 ):
One good way is to use Telmar's "Prototyper" which can estimate magazine audience based on modelling from known magazines and/or indices on known demographic differences between basic and demographic editions. Composition and coverage results can be used in reach and frequency analyses. Telmar supports all three of the data sets you mention. Send mail to sales@telmar.com for more information about their prototyper.

Other magazine analysis systems like Choices and Memri have similar protyping processes, and may support some or all of the data resources you list


Wednesday, December 27, 1995 #1804
what is the difference between general media and direct response television media? and would I ever recommend to my client DRTV as an inexpensive way of getting exposure?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, February 02, 1996 ):
General TV and DRTV are different in the way they are purchased and in key aspects of the copy used. To qualify for DRTV, the copy usually must be selling something through an 800 telephone number. Mail is also possible, but the immediate nature of telephone response is preferable (900 number ads are typically under a different rate structure).

DRTV rates are usually based on half of the going rate for the time period. The concept of "going rate" is hard to pin down with any certainty, unless you are buying the same schedule at the same time as "general media." These half price schedules are typically in remnant time or relatively undesirable times late at night or early in the morning or weekends. They are also instantly preemptible. You can't rely on delivering a schedule of "50 GRP per week in prime and 75 GRP per week in early fringe" through DRTV.

General TV schedules are used to build awareness through planned levels of reach and frequency or timely impressions delivery during specific promitions or campaigns DRTV schedules are opportunistic buys, with each airing anticipated to generate a certain quata of responses for a product ready to sell at all times without specific timing issues.. DRTV advertisers often track resonse minute by minute to associate each call with the specific commercial airing responsible. This is in clear contrast with the awarenes building aspect of general media.

When your client measures "exposure" in reach or effective reach terms than DRTV is not an efficient way to get exposure. Those remnant timeslots are not reach builders.

A DRTV advertiser is generally selling something worth the investment in inbound telemarketing expenses for each 800 number order, and assuming a certain minimum of orders per airing. (You cant make money if a $5 an hour operator has to spend 10 minutes taking address, size, flavor and credit card info to sell a $2 item, unless you add $3 shipping and handling). This means it doesn't work for toothpaste, floor wax, soap or cookies, unless you're selling the $29 bag-o-groceries special.


Monday, November 27, 1995 #1816
Where can I find reach, frequency, and rates for NordicTrack Advertising?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, November 27, 1995 ):
Use a syndicated "competitive expenditure" service like NYC based CMR (Competetive Media Reports) to learn advertising schedules and price estimates. Then analyze these schedules with industry standard reach and frequency software, like Telmar's Maestro.


Monday, October 30, 1995 #1828
Where can I find reach, frequency, and rates of outdoor advertising in Salt Lake City, UT?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, October 30, 1995 ):
The large "network" Outdoor companies sell and have rates for markets and "Plants" beyond those which they own. They also can compute reach and frequency data. Gannett (212-297-6412) and Patrick, also in NYC, are good to starting places.



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