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Guru Search Results: 58 matches were found

Wednesday, May 19, 1999 #2515
I want to know about the procedure involved in doing the advertising on internet. Which are the factors that has to be considered by a client or a agency to go for internet advertisng? Also how effective is this mode of communication? Don't you think it is more of personal selling ?The another thing is that how adevrtising has changed in the last decade interms of creativity and new ideas with the advent of internet?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, May 23, 1999 ):
The factors involved in selecting the internet as a medium ar e the same as any other medium:
  • Does the medium reach the target audience?
  • How efficiently?
  • Does the internet environment help the advertising message to make an impact?
  • Are there aspects unique to the medium that create added marketing opportunities, like interactivity, audience involvement, direct selling?

The effectiveness depends on the goal. Brand building may be less effective than in other media, direct reponse more so. Computer-related products may be more successful than those whose relevance is less universal among the internet user.


Monday, May 17, 1999 #2509
Media Guru - I just read your responce to question #2507. Numerically, your answer may be correct that turning 200 pulsed TRP's into 100 continous TRP's may be more effective. (recency theory) It may not however be realistically the best course of action. Recency assumes that your advertising is ongoing reminder advertising and that your brand is well established. Also, purchase patterns and frequency are important. In terms of media, you have to consider what will 100 TRP's afford you? If you are in 2 or 3 dayparts in TV you will have a handful of spots, that the prospect will be lucky to see. I think that recency has to be balanced out with other marketing and media factors, including impact.

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, May 18, 1999 ):
As the Guru said in that response, the concept applied "particularly if your product is something people are buying continuously or regularly."

Recency does not make assumptions about product establishment -- though some practicioners may. In fact the original statement of the thesis emphasized the point, for effective frequency adherents, that after the third exposure, every exposure was at "three plus" and looking at abstractions like three plus in a set time frame was not necessary. About 60 GRP per week has been identified as a workable threshold of effectiveness.

Regarding dayparts, any mix of daypart is likely to deliver an average rating in the 5 to 8 range. Unless you have frequency goals by daypart (why?), 100 vs 200 seems a moot issue.

The net effect on consumers, at the end of four weeks, whether you have run 100 GRP per week or 200 GRP in weeks #1 and #3 only, will be about the same, in accumulated reach and average frequency.

The biggest difference will be in average reach per week (or per day). Your point makes a big issue of a time frame called a week, which is just an abstraction and a common convenience in looking at schedules.

Thinking of the schedule you would select to run 200 GRP in 7 days, why must it differ if spread over 14 days?


Wednesday, May 12, 1999 #2507
For several years, I have bought my client's spring and fall campaigns on an alternating schedule i.e., one week on and one week off @ 200 TRPs per week. Historically, we take a four month hiatus between campaigns. Recently, someone told the client that it would be more effective to buy three weeks consecutively at lower TRP levels. Either plan would be restrained by a stated budget amount. Do you have an opinion about each of these strategies or your ownpreference in television buying strategy when trying to stretch the time on-air?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, May 16, 1999 ):
You haven't stated how many weeks of 200 on and off you run.

But, assuming you take a one-week-on / one-week-off schedule of 200 and change it to 100/week continuous, this will probably be more effective, particularly if your product is something people are buying continuously or regularly. Since reach can only go just so high, the average reach per week of 100 GRPs continuous will be higher than the average weekly reach of one week at 200 and one week at 0 GRP. So the continuous schedule has a better chance or reaching someone just as they are about to make a purchase decision.

This is the essence of the "recency theory."

Click here to see past Guru responses about recency


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


Wednesday, May 05, 1999 #2489
My partner and I are suggesting our cleint some TV specials as part of our recommendation in which we want to include creative media. Our client concern is that she does not think specials are good enough, since her product have TV presence throughot the entire year. Our recommendation is based not on frequency but on reach and the opportunity to sponsor events in which the target population will be effectively reached. Do you have any other theoretical explanation we can give to support our plan?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, May 06, 1999 ):
The appeal of specials is certainly that they add excitement and may focus on a particular target. If they are truly unusual, you hope to get a gratitude factor from the audience.

In the Guru's opinion, relying on a few specials rather than more continuous advertising is not as likely to be "effective." When a product is sold year round, on a regular basis, there is a need for continuous advertising presence. effectiveness of reach comes from either frequency or recency in relation to sales opportunities.


Thursday, March 25, 1999 #2412
1) Are the terms OTS, impressions, hits and exposures interchangeable? 2) Are there media industry norms (or even studies) that indicate a correlation between a number of OTS or exposures and audience (reader) behavior. I understand there were a number of Politz studies conducted in the 60s which suggested that one exposure produced a dicernible response and two exposures produced about double that response. Also there are European reports stating that a magazine ad should provide at least 5 OTS in order for the reader to digest or understand the ad message -- is '5' the number? Are there industry norms, and if so, do they differ by media vehicle? Thanks in advance!

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, March 26, 1999 ):
1) Other than "hits," you may generally consider those terms interchangeable. "Hits" is a much abused term peculiar to the internet. Some people do use it when the mean impressions, but technically "hit" is defined as "an entry in a server log."

Whenever a visitor requests a page on a site, as by clicking on a link, the server log records a "hit" for the text of the page, and hits for each frame and hits for each little bullet or other icon and a hit for each ad. A single page on one of today's commercial sites may consist of several dozen items which would all create "hits" in a server log when only one page impression is happening. The internet is also unique in its ability to serve content with a different ad each time a new user arrives at a page. So page impressions and ad impressions will not agree as they do in magazines or broadcast.

"Hits" originated in the early days of the world wide web, when browsers read text only, like the venerable "Lynx," and a page was just one block of text, so "hit" then equalled "impression," more or less. Hits include server log error messages as well, which are of no value to anyone.

2) The study of effective numbers of exposures goes back at least as far as the scientist Ebbinghaus (1883) who tested how many repetitions of nonsense syllables were required to achieve learning. This was the origin of 3 as a magic media number there have been infinite numbers of other studies, more advertisng and sales focused since.

Note that European media and Europe's media environment are different than the U.S. It is a common trap to assume that media perform the same tasks with the same effectiveness when used in different cultures. The U.S. Hispanic market is a good exanple, with TV, radio and print all delivering very different reach / frequncy, reach potetial and overlap than do the parallel general market media.

The best source of studies on the topic are: Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter, Newsweek Media Research Index and ESOMAR, the European Survey, Opinion and Market Research Organization. The Guru has discussed this frequently.
Click here to see past Guru responses about "effective frequency"


Wednesday, March 24, 1999 #2409
Dear Guru - This may seem like a vague question, but what is meant by "adjusted GRPs?" I am looking at a combined TV and print plan that delivers 425 avg. 4-week GRPs against W25-54, and under "adjusted GRPs" it says 336. These are 52-week plans, and there are only :30 units (no copy split). Your help is much appreciated.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, March 25, 1999 ):
Your question isn't vague, but "adjusted" is. Somone has done you a disservice by presenting something labeled "adjusted" with no explanation. There are numerous bases used to adjust GRPs including:
  • Variations in measured daypart attentiveness
  • Variations in measured daypart recall
  • judgement regarding sales effectiveness of different media
  • copy length/size versus some established standard
  • etc
. Various advertisers have set policies on these matters and planners trained on those advertisers' business report reach/frequency/GRP including these adjustments almost without thinking about it. But the first time someone sees such data, they deserve an explanation.

There are no universal standards for "adjusted GRP."


Thursday, March 18, 1999 #2399
We are currently working with a sit-down restaurant client who has asked us to investigate a market-by- market media mix "optimization" using spot TV and Spot radio. Because the cost of radio is about half of what we are paying in TV, the optimizer continually picks radio as the dominant medium. We know, however, through experience that once we turn on the TV program, results usually happen. Is there any guidance you can provide that would help us in quanitfying this mix outside the realm of what the pure numbers tell us?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, March 20, 1999 ):
Optimizers, at least worthwhile ones, can be set to "optimize" to any of several criteria. It sounds like you are optimizing only for net audience (reach) efficiency, so radio has an advantage.

The Guru doesn't quite understand what "once we turn on the TV program, results usually happen" means. Has radio not been tried?

Apparently, the client believes reach is the key driver of success, while you believe there is an effectiveness issue inherent in the media types. You need to quantify this difference (is a radio reach point only 75% as sales effective as a TV reach point?) and get the client to accept the quantification, then include the factor in your optimization. Consider also the effects of mix on frequency.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


Thursday, February 11, 1999 #2322
Ephron(1993)suggests that the more a planner goes for frequency on television, the less effective he will progressively be, because the extra GRPs will fall increasingly into the "black hole" of the heavy viewers' viewing times, when they already have more enough OTS. In the context of "Effectiv frequency", do you think concentrated frequency with a low reach is usually "better" than a lower frequency with a higher reach?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, February 13, 1999 ):
In the context of effective frequency, yes, more frequency with less reach is better than less frequenct with more reach, but that isn't the point of effective frequency. effective frequency is the concept of focusing on the reach which is delivered at enough frequency.

effective frequency is one basis of Ephron's theories. The key point he adds in movimg to recency planning is that frequency is additive over time; once a message has passed the effective threshold, each additional exposure is with effective frequency, especially when advertising is continuous. There is no need to consider only four week


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

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

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

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


Sunday, January 10, 1999 #2257
Dear Guru. I am a media planner in India. Need some information on latest effective frequency models. The Ostrow model as described in the Scissors and Bumba is the only one I have seen. Are there any other models developed? Also it would nice if you could pass on some info on recency planning theory.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, January 11, 1999 ):
The Advertising Research Foundation library would be the best source for alternative models.

The Guru has often discussed recency. Click here to see past guru responses on recency planning


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


Wednesday, December 02, 1998 #2192
Dear Guru. It is not still clear to me how to measure or calculate reach of the ad campaign using media mix. For example, my ads on TV provided 90% reach, and ads in print reached 25% of the target audience. What is the total reach, frequency of the campaign? What other indexes can we find for such campaign? And my second question is about outdoor advertising. It is essential to measure the effectiveness of the ad campaign comparing awereness and sales before and after the ads placing. But that is somehow the post- campaign analisys and my client would like to see some feagures before the campaign starts (pre-campaign). What indexes (like reach, frequency, GRPs, OTS) can we provide to the discription of the outdoor ad. campaign? Thank You very much.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, December 02, 1998 ):
reach of a medium in a plan is simply a statistical probability. Further, it is generally thought that each medium overlaps each other medium randomly.

So, in your example, if you consider the reach of each medium as a decimal, the probability of not being exposed to TV is 0.10 and of not being exposed to print is 0.75.

The probability of not being exposed to either one, is therefore 0.10 times 0.75 = 0.075.

Therefore, total reach of the mix is 92.5 (if 0.075 or 7.5% don't see it then 92.5% do see it).

Other basic "counts" for a campaign are impressions (OTS), cost per rating point and cost per thousand impressions.

All of these counts; reach, frequency, GRP, OTS, etc are possible for outdoor, if the research has been done, in your country, to count the audience of the locations used.


Friday, October 30, 1998 #2118
This is a two part question: PART 1: Attendant to the: (1) clutter in primetime television and (2) the erosion of the 4 network's share of audience, are there any current studies out that addresses the effectiveness of advertising on network TV in prime? PART 2: If the effectiveness of advertising in prime on the net is being affected, then how much less effective does advertising in spot tv (in prime) become? Thank you.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, November 02, 1998 ):
Answer to Part1:

The Guru has not seen studies of the specific factors and chain of causation you desire to examine. It seems most likely that the two causes you cite would work entirely separately to erode the effectiveness of prime time.

The two key benefits of prime were generally taken to be

  • attentiveness, which is likely to be hurt by clutter and

  • high ratings, not important in themselves, but leading to what is often cited as a planning goal, -- high reach. This becomes less avialable with the decline in network share.
The diligent planner will seek various combinations of vehicles to deliver the desired reach within budget, and put the supposed "prestige" of prime time in perspective. (Do viewers of E.R. accept the commercial more readily because they know they are part of a larger than ususal viewing audience?)

Answer to part 2:

Spot prime will or will not be effected to the extent it suffers from the same clutter and erosion. (See the adjacent query about clutter and attentiveness for related information). Your definition of spot prime will effect your answer, too. If you define spot prime as only that which runs on the 4 networks affiliates, that means the effect are more similar. But if spot prime on "independent" stations counts that changes the picture. After all, a good portion of the 4 networks' erosion is due to the WB and UPN shows like Buffy, Felicity, Dawson's Creek, Charmed, etc.


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

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

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

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


Sunday, October 04, 1998 #2070
My client is a large medical-surgical products manufacturer. Their audience is nurses and sometimes physicians. Their budgets are small, they advertise several products with separate b-to-b campaigns. They are urging me to recommend online instead of or in addition to business print. This does not seem effective to me given their small budgets. Do you have any info on how I could recommend an effective online ad effort instead of using print?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, October 04, 1998 ):
Is the goal of adding on-line to add reach or to reduce costs?

In either case, the first step is to identify media which draw an audience of "nurses and sometimes physicians."

Then, the efficiency in audience impressions per dollar can be evaluated as can the total audience which is reachable.

Your first step may well be to locate the websites of the print media you use (and if you find these, they may offer free on-line ads as merchandising for your print schedule). Other possiblities are the sites of non-competitive advertisers who share your target.

Once you have explored these possibilities, you can decide whether you can make an effective recommendation or can support a decision against on-line.


Thursday, September 17, 1998 #2048
We have a client who is interested in utilizing Network Radio over a two-month period (January and February) to help maximize the awareness of a new brand. Is there any research that correlates radio TRP levels with brand awareness levels to give us some direction on how many points we should buy for the period without generating too much wearout? we should buy? brand.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, September 23, 1998 ):
Awareness is more likely to correlate with reach/frequency than TRP's. Only those reached can be aware. The same level of TRPs might reach 40% of a target or 60% depending on the schedule.

The Guru has seen research that shows that any level below 100 TRP a week in TV allows awareness to decay.

Most research on wearout which the Guru has seen ties wearout to frequency i.e. a commerical is worn out (loses sales effectiveness) after "X" exposures. This may be expressed as the frequency in the next-to-highest quintile. I.e. the 40% most exposed to the commercial would have "X" or more exposures. 25 exposures might be the threshold level you choose. This level would occur at about 200 TRP/week for 8 weeks, which is more than the Guru would guess you would buy.

By the way, one Adult 18-49 plan with those quintiles would have a 66 reach. Another plan with the same TRP's and different schedule could have an 85 reach and just 22 exposures in the next-to-highest quintile.


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.


Tuesday, August 04, 1998 #1991
Dear Guru! What could you say about STAS ( Short Term Ad Strength)model usage in media planning istead of effective frequency approach.How could you estimate STAS advantages, limitations and forecast its delevopment in the future for the different countries. Thanks. TE. 1)

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, August 04, 1998 ):
For the latest on STAS, see the Telmar Awards Paper by J.P. Jones, creator of STAS. Other articles explaining STAS have been published in the Journal of Advertising Research from the Advertising Research Foundation.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


Monday, July 20, 1998 #1962
Thanks for your response to my question (#1955.) I was refering to average frequency NOT effective frequency. In addition, our buys are targeted to the same demo, Men 25-54. Do these clarifications add any new light to your thoughts? I maintain that an average frequency of three (3) per radio station per week requires reducing the number of stations purchased which in turn reduces my reach and overall delivery. Any new thoughts. Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, July 20, 1998 ):
The problem seems to be lack of a specific communication goal.
  • Is the plan goal maximum reach?
  • Is the plan goal optimal reach at an average frequency of 3 or more?

Once there is agreement on this, it is a simple matter to construct paper buys to illustrate what is acheived buying with and without the requirement of an average reach of 3 on each station and how each contributes to agreed goals (a buyer should not decide independently that reach is the overall goal).

The Guru notes that he does not generally support buying to goals based on set frequency per station. Some stations with low turnover will build reach slowly while frequency mounts quickly. A 3 frequency will come too early in that station's reach curve, while another station builds reach quickly and frequency slowly.


Thursday, July 16, 1998 #1954
Dear Media Guru: Our client has asked that all radio stations on a spot radio buy MUST have a 3 frequency per week. I maintain that this mandate is too limiting (and is a sellers perspective) as it requires reducing the number of stations used and increasing the number of spots on the stations being bought. I do agree that a 3 frequency for the entire buy makes sense, but not by station. What are your thoughts?? Thanks so much.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, July 16, 1998 ):
Is that a minimum average frequency or a minimum (effective) frequency?

The idea of exhausting a station's cume before moving to the next most efficient station can make sense, as a buying strategy.

If stations are reaching definably different market segements which are individually important to your planning, and you need to reach these segments equally, than the station-by-station standard might make sense.

But if all stations are targeted to the same demo and only differ by rating size or formats which are not relevant to brand marketing, then only the overall frequency ought to matter.


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


Saturday, May 23, 1998 #1602
I am looking for any guidelines / research about: 1- number of spots for radio (sustaining level, 50% heavy up, 100% heavy up 2 - if I have continues strategy what maximum gap of not being on air may I allow without harm to sales (one week, two, three?) 3 - in my country (Russia) we have practice in outdoor not to place competitors on two opposite sides of billboard, ahzt I think is not correct, as each face of billboard works for different directions and can not compete with each other. What is the practice regarding this in other countries. Thank you very much.

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, May 26, 1998 ):
1) The Guru doesn't judge radio effectiveness in terms of numbers of spots. If one schedule of 12 spots, for example, has an average rating of 0.5 (one-half of 1 percent of the target audience), which is common, it cannot be considered equal to another station's 12 spots with an average rating of 2.5 (also reasonable for top stations in the US). The first accumulates 6 GRPs and might reach 3% of the target, the second accumulates 30 GRPs and might reach 12-15% of the target.

So GRPs' or other audience measure are more realistic ways to determine levels. Having done this, if you determine that 100 GRPs, for example, is the correct sustaining level, then by simple arithmetic, 50% heavy-up is 150 GRPs and 100% heavy-up is 200 GRPs

2) Awareness begins to decline as soon as there is any advertising gap. Current thinking is that sales of a continuously purchased product are better supported by continuity at whatever level is affordable rather than an arbitrary minimum effective weekly level, separated by periods of inactivty. The U.S.'s Advertising Research Foundation has considerable literature on the topic and so might ESOMAR , the European Survey, Opinion and Market Research organization

3) The Guru agrees with you regarding opposite sides of a billboard. The competitive protection policies the Guru is familiar with in the U.S. only deal with advertising seen by the same audience, that is, traffic headed in the same direction. Usually there will be a certain range specified, such as "Within 500 feet" for metropolitan 8-sheet boards, which are about 5x12 feet and can be placed in dense concentration within cities.


Thursday, May 14, 1998 #1592
Dear Guru, There are two questions I wish to address to you: 1. Is there any rule of thumb regarding the weight of 10'' spots? How effective can a relatively 'small' campaign composed chiefly of such short spots can be? By a small campaign I mean one that has arounc 300-400 GRP. 2. When it comes to factors that either enhance or lessen the effectiveness of a campaign, are there any conventions regarding the use of relevant factors? The order in a break may be a more familiar example but there are other factors that one may incorporate to a media plan, e.g whether the commercial is new or not. Thank you so much for the attention Iris Kalka Pelled3 Communications

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, May 14, 1998 ):
1) The Guru's rule of thumb in general, is if the effectiveness - relative to a :30 - is better than the price ratio, a :10 can be a good investment. In the early days of :15s in the U.S., they were evaluated as about 75% as effective as :30s, and sold for 50%, so they were popular. The Guru believes he has seen research to say a :10 is worth 75% of a :15.

However, you are posting from Israel. Your local standards may be different, because of the different culture and different media environment, clutter, media mix, etc. If you can ascertain a local effectiveness ratio, you can make an informed decision.

In any case, the Guru believes these short executions are best used as a supplement to longer copy. The Guru does not believe most creative people would be comfortable with only :10 copy and just 300-400 GRP. 2) The number of factors, such as break position, age of commercial, complexity of message, product interest, etc, which can be influential is almost infinite. The relative influence is a judgement call. Evaluating through a logical process, by establishing your rules and executing them, is best.

The Guru has seen these factors used to develop an effective frequency basis for a media plan's communication goals. In this way all considerations come down to a single number.


Thursday, May 07, 1998 #1584
1.how to achieve better reach in lesser media budget? 2.please provide some tips on clever media planning. 3.who is best media planner as per you and why?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, May 08, 1998 ):
1. If reach is the only concern then it is usually easy to find media with higher reach per dollar. For example, outdoor delivers enormous reach and has the lowest cpm of all traditional media.

Smaller units also stretch budgets without losing reach. Fractional pages or TV :15's instead of :30's, radio :30's instead of :60s also help.

But of course, there are other, copy effectiveness and impact issues associated with these media choices. There is always a trade off; you can't get more reach in the same media for less money, unless you can persuade the sellers to lower the prices.

2. Clever media planning includes some of the ideas above, but also requires a planner to sell the ideas for their benefits, and get past the negatives. The goal of media planning is to deliver on the marketing objectives.

"Clever" is doing it in non-standard ways. Can you persuade the media to create special programming which ties into your campaign? Can you show the media a benefit to them in carrying your ads so that they want to resduce the price or give more than the usual value added elements?

If the Guru has one real tip on clever planning it is: Learn to use and understand the research which is available. Few in media today do. An knowledge of what research is available and how to apply it to media decision making will make a planner stand out, and appear clever and creative, because that planner, in fact, will be so.

3. The Guru himself is the best planner he knows. The nature of the media planner's position in the ad business is to be subordinated to creative and account services. There is little chance for planners to become known beyond their agencies. No doubt the "best media planner" lurks in unsung obscurity in a hundred agencies.


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.


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

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

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

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


Thursday, March 05, 1998 #1521
What is recency planning and is it different from the method of acquiring effective frequency as a media objective

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, March 05, 1998 ):
Recency planning is quite different than effective frequency planning.

Recency planning is based on the premise that the ad exposure closest to the time of purchase decision is far more effective than any other.

Hence flighting, to build up to a given effective frequency, for a shorter period of time will sell less product than having some activity at any time when purchase might be occurring.


Saturday, October 18, 1997 #1438
Dear Guru Could you please give me your views/suggestions on the following: 1. How can you set media objectives for a banking client in a market with only two major competitors; both of whom do not have a clear-cut advertising campaign? Would a % above last years GRP levels be appropriate; in proportion to the market share desired? What other parameters should I consider? 2. Qualitatively or quantitatively, how can front page solus positions in newspapers be compared with inside pages and ear panels? 3. And lastly, how do you add TV and press GRPs; for a specific audience? Sorry about the long query. Thanks in advance

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, October 18, 1997 ):
As a rule, the Guru sets media objectives based on marketing goals, not competitors' activity. Some marketing goals do indeed lead one to comparsions with competition, and awareness of competitors' plans is always a consideration.

If the key marketing goal is share growth, then a proportional increase in weight is one approach. But consider that share, like reach, exhibits an asymptotic curve. In other words, it can't pass 100%, so the higher it goes, the more effort is required to "move the needle."

Consider: You first assume that "X" amount of GRP's are required just to maintain share, on the assumption that competitive activity doesn't vary (and that advertising is the only variable influencing share).

Have you considered whether current share is proportional to share of GRP weight among competitiors?

Would 50% more GRPs grow share by 50%? No, if only because it increases the size of the total advertising arena. Your 50% increase in GRP does not increase your share of GRP by 50%, so calculate the right number to increase share of GRP, if you follow that philosophy.

But since there are competitors, perhaps it takes 50% more weight to gain 25% more share?

Newspaper positions can be compared on a basis of noting, reading, recall, etc. In each country or culture (you are writing from India), the relative power of media and the way consumers relate to them are different.

In the U.S., for example, a front page ad in a newspaper would be quite unusual if not unheard of.

Contacting the U.S. Advertising Research Foundation or ESOMAR, the European Survey, Opinion and Marketing Research organization, or your own country's newspaper advertising association may turn useful up research on positioning.

The Guru treats GRPs of different media as simply additive. When there are established effectiveness factors, as some advertisers have developed, GRPs may be accordingly adjusted before adding, in comparing plans.


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The complexity or simplicity of the message

The number of commercial in the pool

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

The balance of :30 to :15

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

a similar exercise can also set effective frequency thresholds

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

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


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

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

Nevertheless, here are some considerations:

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


Tuesday, February 04, 1997 #1057
What is the best way to evaluate outdoor - qualitatively and quantitatively? Any available research?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, February 09, 1997 ):
In the US, outdoor is typically packaged in "showings" of 25 / 50 / 100 which generally mean 25 / 50 / or 100 grps per day, that is, a selection of locations with a total daily effective circulation equal to 25 or 50 or 100% of the adult population of the market. (demographic data is often very approximate).

Outdoor delivers very high reaches at low CPMs. Message lengths are of course quite limited.

Barring specific creative testing or pre-post attitude awareness and usage tracking, evaluation is very much a judgement call based on creative and your communications goals.


Friday, December 20, 1996 #1087
How do the concepts of effective frequency relate todirect response advertising? Should the same rules of frequency be taken into account when planning forresponse as when planning for awareness? Is frequency even a factor in D.R. or should I just max out on impressions and occasions?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, December 21, 1996 ):
effective frequency applies, but differently. If it takes 3 repetitions for a message to be absorbed, then DR may need the 3 repitions as well before it begins to work. But perhaps that's why DR messages are often 90's or 120's, There is the chance to repeat information 3 or more times and capture attention. In half hour infomercials, it is not unusual for ther to be 3 10 minute cycles of repeated information.


Thursday, October 31, 1996 #1115
Dear Guru,I am carrying out a study on the effects of frequency on attitudes and behavior, distinguishing between low and high involvement productsAre there any previous learnings on this subject ?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, October 31, 1996 ):
Compilations of such research are best available from the Advertising Research Foundation or the Newsweek Media Research Index at VMR.

There ahve been several trade articles on the concept -- effective frequency vs propinquity -- most notably by Irwin Efron, and some by Abbott Wool and others, published in Inside Media and MediaWeek.


Wednesday, October 09, 1996 #1129
I was wondering what the effective levels of reach &frequency for a new product launch would be, as well as an adequate budget?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, October 11, 1996 ):
Determining the effective levels and desired geographic scope will determine adequate budget.

There are no absolutes in effective levels for intros or any other purpose.

Issues to consider include:

  • Competition; how many, spending how much
  • Clutter in the media to be used
  • Typical levels of frequency in the media used
  • Complexity of your message
  • Interest in your product type - e.g. insurance vs sports cars
  • Ability of the target consumer to digest information
  • and others which may be specific to your own situation.

Generally, you want to reach the majority of your target at the determined effective level.


Saturday, August 31, 1996 #1153
How does one determine what is effective advertising on the Internet?What would be thought to be an effective frequency?How does it compare with more traditional media (direct advertising etc)?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, September 02, 1996 ):
One first has to define what qualifies as advertising in the internet context. Is it a full web page or is it a banner ad on someone else's page?

effective frequency was long cosidered to be just a simple 3 or more times, stemming from the origninal 1883 Ebbinhaus learning theory experiment.

More recent theorists look at differnet amounts of repetion needed to "learn" an advertising message, based on content (high interest/low interest, etc) or environment (relevant surroundings, clutter, competition, etc).

But in the case of banners, these are usually no more than logos, with nothing to learn, they're fishing lures to bring the browser to the more detailed inormation. In the case of full web pages, the idea is either to draw the browser through the whole content if the page is an ad or to bring the browser back often if the page itself is a medium for other people's banner ads.

Learning and repetiton may not be relevant or may nned to be redefined.

In a direct mail context, the banner may be like the outside of the envelope, and the web page like the content. Both are a one-shot deal: effective frequency doesn't enter the picture.


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.


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

A very simple example:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Some use attentiveness by daypart.

Some use a combination of the two factors.

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

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

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


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

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


Friday, November 03, 1995 #1826
Which approach to planning Cable Television is more useful, by daypart or by cable network?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, November 03, 1995 ):
You must first understand that Cable TV, unlike network free-air television, is broadcast, in most instances, live Eastern Standard (or Daylight Savings Time.) What is primetime in New York, i.e., a program running from 8-9pm, is airing during prime access in Chicago, 7-8pm, and early fringe in Los Angeles, 5-6pm. Therefore, National Cable TV dayparts have no real meaning or value because of live time broadcasting. There is a much better way to effectively reach well targeted audience segments based upon target audience exposure to programming. Use Cable TV network profiles as they appear in various research documents such as Nielsen Cable Ratings and Mediamark Research, Inc.'s annual survey, to determine which Cable TV networks attract which audience segments. This approach will provide meaningful information based upon the measured Cable TV viewing preferences of the full range of demographic groupings. Furthermore, the daypart based Cable TV planning systems which are available, are built around the audience accumulation curves developed by The Cable Advertising Bureau, and as such they are general, so as not to play up the strengths or weaknesses of any specific cable network. In summary, if confronted with a daypart vs a network specific system for cable planning the latter is preferable.


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

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



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