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Media Guru

Guru Search Results: 115 matches were found

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 #2506
We have a client who always hears our radio spots (I believe that is a good thing) but thinks they are worn out due to the high exposure. We do not agree as we are running 200 GRPs/wk. for 40 weeks with five spots with a 20% rotation for each spot. We believe that wear out is difficult as frequency is one of the goals of radio and due to listening habits. Is there an industry standard to determine when a radio commercial is worn out? For example, I know packaged goods advertisers who use TV look at the reach at the heaviest viewing quintile. If reach exceeds 25% they considering replacing or resting the spot. Thank you.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, May 16, 1999 ):
Wear-out is

1. Subjective 2. Variable depending on the quality and memorability of the copy.

Rules of thumb the Guru has seen include

  • "It's worn out when the client starts asking". . . or
  • 2000 GRP -- you're getting close on that one . . .or
  • 20 (or 25 or 30) frequency in the second highest quintile -- you're probably past that one, and have at least a 20 average frequency depending on your target and dispersion.
  • . . . and the one that really makes sense is tracking sales and making a change in the copy when the sales trend drops.


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 #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.


Wednesday, May 05, 1999 #2491
We recently completed a 12 week radio campaign in a test market (79.2% reach & 12.5 frequency) for a client that sells a food product in grocery stores. The client experienced a 90% sales increase in this market at a time that other markets maintained only single-digit increases. The dilemma is that the post campaign research that was done showed only a 9% recall (aided 3%, unaided 6%) of the radio advertising. Do you have any information that will help us to support the case tht although the radio ads had a huge influence on sales, radio advertising is not generally recalled easily by consumers? Another concern is that these ads were tagged with grocery store names. Could this have caused the respondents to be confused as to who the advertiser was and in turn result in poor recall? We realize this is a long question, but wanted to give you all of the details. Thank you for your help!

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, May 06, 1999 ):
It is an interesting problem. More often you need to prove that a good recall result is good news, but here you have amazing sales results, and the Guru presumes that you can demonstrate the radio was the only variable.

Of course, it is possible that 9% recall in itself is such a big improvement that it can account for a 90% sales increase, especially if previous market share or penetration was very low.

It is also true that tagging the spots is likely to confuse the listener.

Great advertising generally only gets 25% or so day after recall. Did you have a pre test on recall to compare? Generally, the best repository of useful researc in this topic is the Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230.


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.


Monday, May 03, 1999 #2485
Hey Guru! Please can you help me to find information/research on wearout of magazine adverts. ie At what stage should the creative be changed and does duplication of readership play a role and if so, how?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, May 03, 1999 ):
Studies on the question might be at Newsweek Media Research Index and cerainly are in theAdvertising Research Foundation InfoCenter For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230.

Wear out will differ according to the power, memorabilty, etc, of each piece of copy, of course.

Naturally, duplication plays a role. It is frequency which causes wear out. Higher duplication is another way of saying quicker building of frequency among those reached.


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.


Thursday, April 22, 1999 #2462
What research is available that addresses wear-out for print ads? We're interested in idientifying the maximum "threshold" for frequency for a business-to-business trade publication campagin.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, April 22, 1999 ):
Try Newsweek Media Research Index and Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230.


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


Wednesday, April 07, 1999 #2432
Can you provide a definition of "quintile?"

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, April 07, 1999 ):
Literally, "quintile" means one fifth. In media terms, quintle analysis is a technique where either the population or users of a particular medium or the audeince of a specific schedule is arrayed into five equal groups, according to their frequency of viewing/reading. These are ususally referred to as something like "Heavy, next heaviest, medium, next lightest and lightest."

Then we might use these analyses to draw conclusions like

"the lightest viewers of daytime TV are skewed to the higher quintiles of magazine reading."

or

"My commercial is worn out when the average frequency of the next heaviest quintile is over 20."


Friday, April 02, 1999 #2427
My AE has asked me to determine how much of the clients budget should be allocated to media spending. I believe this should be the AE's decision. How can I determine what should be spent on media and/or how can I help the AE to decide? GRP's

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, April 02, 1999 ):
If you've been given communication goals, like "100 GRP per week for 26 weeks", or "60 reach at 3+ frequency when in, for 26 weeks of activity" then it is fair to ask you to determine a budget, but the Guru imagines your AE's question has been asked in total information vacuum.

You're quite right then, that this is a decision that should be made before media planning comes into play.

Regardless of who makes the decision, considerations must first allocate budget to PR vs Promotion vs Advertising, in the broadest strokes.

Within advertising there's production vs research vs media.

You need to ask for the client's overall marketing plan, as your AE should have, if it wasn't the AE's responsibilty to create one from client information.

Of course, you can look at this as an opportunity to demonstrate that you can do the AE's job, since you've been asked to.


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."


Tuesday, March 23, 1999 #2402
Dear Guru, while we know that for certain categories Multi-media advertising is better than single media, could you tell mewhere i could find research data on this. IN addition, i would like some qualitative comments from you on the issue. Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, March 23, 1999 ):
Research for such questions are best found at Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter, Newsweek Media Research Index and possibly The Newspaper Advertising Association or MPA (Magazine Publishers of America) where there is a recent study "The Advertising Impact of Magazines in Conjunction with Television." As for the Guru's comments on the concept:

It is easy to oversimplify and say that when budget is adequate, multimedia advertising is always better.

The Guru doesn't think multimedia is a category issue. Mixing media might be done to broaden reach, manipulate frequency distribution or because of what specific media can contribute when the primary job is done by a single medium.

For example, magazines plus TV will deliver a broader reach than all TV, typically. But a plan might be 90% TV all year and have a brief print wave to distribute coupons, publish contest rules in detail or deliver other detail oriented messages.

Without going into great depth of analysis, the situation seems more brand specific or marketing situatiuon specific than category related.

In some categories, like soft drinks and beer, budgets are so large and camaigns so multi-dimensional that it takes more than one medium to cope.


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.


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.


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.


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


Thursday, February 25, 1999 #2356
Dear Guru, I am currently planning a campaign for a yoghurt brand. Client is obssessed with going outdoor, but my recommendation would be print - environment being key. His primary objective is TO SELL MORE!! Surely outdoor is not the best medium for this and how should I go about proving this to him. We have very little research available on outdoor.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, February 25, 1999 ):
Your problem seems to be in proving to the client that in fact "environment is key." Magazines provide environment and outdoor rarely has a controllable environment.

Outdoor will deliver more reach and more frequency than magazines can, albeit with much shorter messages and message exposure although greater visual impact is possible.

On the other hand, "environmentally" it is possible to select outdoor locations close to supermarkets and other retail yogurt outlets; this might have a powerful sales effect, too.


Tuesday, February 23, 1999 #2353
Is there a standard frequency distribution chart? If so where could i find it or how can it be calculated without a computer program?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, February 23, 1999 ):
frequency distribution varies depending on the medium (media) used as well as the elements within those media. There are several standard statistical algorithms which can be manually calculated, such as "Beta Bimodal," "Lambda" and others, which can be found in statistics texts. Some are more appropriate to one medium or another.


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.


Friday, January 29, 1999 #2298
I have read many of the questions and answers relating to the subject of Recency on your pages and note that you consider that Recency planning is more appropriate for frequently purchased goods than more considered purchases on longer purchase cycles. Why do you deem considered purchases less appropriate for Recency? It was my understanding that as long as there are purchases every week it doesn't matter at what frequency that product is purchased by the average consumer.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, February 04, 1999 ):
The issue is more one of seaonality than purchase cycle. See the Guru response of Thursday, January 14, 1999, #2261, for clarification.


Wednesday, January 20, 1999 #2280
For a national product launch, what are "typical" TRP weight levels for network tv, say for a launch that is scheduled for 8 weeks?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, January 20, 1999 ):
No such thing. It's a classic case of "it depends".

  • What is the category?
  • Who is the target?
  • Is it a unique product or in a competitive field?
  • Will there be any other media / PR / other marketing communications?
  • What is consumer awareness of the category?
  • Is it a high-involvement or low-interest category?
  • Is it from a well regarded parent company or an unknown?

With a new product, you want to drive reach as high as possible with adequate supporting frequency. As a rule of thumb, few would start lower than 100 TRP / week.


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


Thursday, January 07, 1999 #2249
Dear Guru! Are there any references or research done which support a recommendation for 2+ reach when tv advertising strategy is focused on frequency? (I happened to find only such that support a 3+ reach recommendation). Thank you for your help.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, January 07, 1999 ):
In the Guru's opinion, 3+ became a popular base level because of classic research from 1883 by a physiologist examing learning of nonsense syllables. He found 3 repetitions to be the crucial level.

Many people have come to use 3+ as a rule of thumb and others using various analyses of competition, clutter, product interest, etc have judgementally justified levels from 2+ to 9+. It is essentially a judgment and selling excercise.


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.


Wednesday, December 16, 1998 #2223
dear guru- what is the best way to analyze magazines once proposals come in? Obviosly we want to evaluate comp, cov, cpm, positioning, added value, etc. do you recommend an excel spreadsheet with weighted averages? Is there one already set up on the site to download? Just looking to do this the smartest possible way. Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, December 20, 1998 ):
All these factors, as well as some others, like added reach, and authoritative editorial are possible considerations. One can even consider the degree of the match of the magazines total impressions demographic distribution with the overall distribution of the purchaser.

It is extremely simple to build a spread sheet, making magazines the rows and making the specific factors the columns. Weighting ought to be set up as changeable so that it can be different from one advertiser's plan to the next, depending on goals. It will even be interesting to consider how magazine rankings change, when different factors get differing weightings within the same objectives. For example when reach is more important than frequency, is the magazine list very different than when these factors' importance is reversed?

Of course, the best approach is to independently compute the data using a syndicated data base (such as MRI, SMRB, MMR, TGI, PMB, etc.) and software such as Telmar's (AMIC's sister company) which handles all of the above data as well as many additional capabilities such as reach/frequency analysis and optimization.


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.


Monday, December 07, 1998 #2205
I work with network radio and have a client that only wants to advertise 3 :30s a week (M-F / 6am-12midnite) for 12 weeks. Would you recommend us scheduling consecutive days each week using the same days every week? Is there a model to follow with these type of schedule? Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, December 07, 1998 ):
In the Guru's opinion, such an insignificant schedule will not be much affected by any scheduling techniques. 3 spots per week for 12 weeks, or 36 total spots would be a erasonable 2 or three week schedule if you were buying three or four networks' similar schedules each week.

Assuming you are on some a very good network, averaging 2 target rating. Perhaps you'll get a 5% reach per week at 1.2 average frequency (and 25% over the 12 weeks, with an average frequency of 3).

With this minor weekly audience impact, scheduling alternate days, consecutive days, different days or same days in different weeks cannot have much effect.

Directionally, in theory, the more different element to your schedule, in day-of-week or time of day, the better reach you will achieve. BUt in your case, one or two reach points will be a big change.

If by some miracle, you have such an exciting product and impactful commercial that one exposure makes the sale every time, then do go for the most disperse possible schedule.


Friday, December 04, 1998 #2199
Dear Guru, From your point of view, what would be the principal reasons why media planners would prefer to use one media rather than another? Taking into consideration TV, Radio, Press, Outdoor, Direct Mail, Cinema etc. What would you consider as being the attraction of each to the media planner? Many thanks for your help

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, December 04, 1998 ):
The Guru hopes that professional planners are looking at these media for their contribution to achieving the objectives and strategies of the advertiser, not for individual appeal to the planner.

Sometimes a product needs a visual medium to illustrate product benefits or shelf appearance. Other times a better known or less differentiated product benefits most from the frequency of radio.

Please visit the Guru's Media Strengths page.


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.


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 09, 1998 #2086
Hi Can you give an insight on the latest analysis going on sales response function and its relationship with discrete frequency distribution?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, October 10, 1998 ):
Anything happening in this arena is most likely to appear first at an Advertising Research Foundation workshop or in the Advertising Research Foundation's Journal of Advertisng Research.


Tuesday, October 06, 1998 #2074
Dear Media Guru, Please refer me to articles on media models to arrive at optimum desirable frequency / OTS / # exposures. Thanks. softcheries@hotmail.com

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, October 06, 1998 ):
Try the Advertising Research Foundation library or Newsweek Media Research Index.


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.


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.


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, September 08, 1998 #2031
Dear Guru, I'm new in the Advertising field. I would like to know how to calculate the Target Market Reach1+, Reach2+, abd the Average frequency. TIA. -- SKY

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, September 09, 1998 ):
The answer depends upon what data you are starting with. At its most simple, "1+" reach is the same as just saying "reach". If you know the GRPs, and the reach, then the average frequency is calculated by dividing reach into GRPs.

At bottom however, in each medium, TV, radio, print, etc. reach was actually measured at some point, rather than calculated . That is, using respondent level measurement, such as Nielsen or MRI or Simmons, actual schedules advertiser were evaluated for gross audience accumulated and the net reach accumulated, as well as how many people saw exactly one advertisement in the schedule, how many saw 2, how many saw three, and so on. As the Guru stated above, reach is defined as those who saw one or more (1+) advertisements. 2+ or 3+, etc, is determined by adding those exposed to each discreet number of ads.

Taking the results of many of these schedules as a scatter graph, a classic reach curve may be plotted. Or, by arraying GRPs and frequencies in a table, a formula equivalent to the curve can be determined statistically. This formula then becomes a "model" for calculating reaches of other schedules in similar media. Formulae for 2+, 3+ frequencies can also be calculated. There are no simple formulas for doing this. "Beta Bimodal" is one statistical function frquently used. These functions and models are usually built into large computer media planning systems like Telmar's.


Friday, September 04, 1998 #2028
I am currently pulling together information for one of my clients on national cable advertising. I have spoken with different network reps and have been told that they can not provide reach, frequency, or TRP's. They have said that they are not measured this way. Is this true? The network reps have provided gross impressions (in thousands). Is there a minimum threshold for this measurement?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, September 05, 1998 ):
Everything which has its impressions measured in national tv has TRPs, which is merely a calculation: the division of impressions by the relevant population base, either in the cable network's coverage area or the total U.S.

Any metered measurement can produce the data for calculation of reach of schedules or the production of formulae which will allow estimation of reach.

The Guru would guess you are dealing with smaller networks whose ratings and reach would be unimpressive and therefore are not a part of the sales effort.

A 0.1 rating is the usual threshold for reporting in a printed report. There may be a requirement to earn this rating over a specified time span before even this level is reported. On the other hand, networks with ratings normally below this level are likely to be bought strictly for their content/environment, not their audience delivery.


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.


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 20, 1998 #1965
What is the bare minimum frequency you think is necessary to create an impact in a monthly? Bi-monthly? And a weekly? I am in planning for a client that has done all consumer advertising in the past, and they just informed us that our next FY budget is going to be half AND they want to start doing trade advertising. Obviously, either books have to be cut or insertions. What are your thought?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, July 22, 1998 ):
"Impact" is the most abused term in media.

First, you must decide the importance of reach versus frequency in your plan. More titles means more reach and more insertions per title means more frequency. It is common to find "rules of thumb" that dictate a minimum of 4 times in a monthly, 12 times in a weekly, etc. The Guru believes these are mostly the theories of media salespeople.

In some cases you will find it important that your product is specifically identified with a book. In others, when the availability or efficiency of purchase of your target audience is the key element of choice in selecting a book, it won't matter whether the average target person reached sees three ads in three different books or three times in the same book.

In other words, is it more important that the consumer remembers seeing your ad or remembers where it was seen?


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, 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.


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


Wednesday, June 10, 1998 #1890
Dear Guru, Is there any way to compare between the quantity of a campaign GRPs to the purchase intentions? For example: if we did a campaign of 1000 GRPs, and the post test results show that 50% intend to buy the product (a new product that was just penetrated).Is there any criteria that I can use to evaluate the "value" of each rating point according to its influence on the purchase intentions or on the aided / unaided awareness? I know that the purchase intentions and all other post-test results are a results of lots of other factors as the message itself, the frequency, the product itself etc. Still, I wonder if you can help me to focus on the connection / correlation between the GRPs quantity and the slots mix to the purchase intentions (The competitor's campaign had the same sum of GRPs but most of it in off prime, unlike ours that was about 50% in prime time, and this difference had a meaningful effect on the purchase intentions. Can I "prove" the correlation between slots mix and purchase intentions? Thak you very much!

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, June 20, 1998 ):
The Guru could rule the world if GRP's had a simple direct relationship to purchase intent, or sales, etc. If advertising copy quality or unit length or programming made no difference, as your theory would require, there would be no creative "stars" in agencies and The biggest agency might have a one-person media department.

To approximate what you are looking for, if purchase intent is measured at enough different points of enough different schedules, then a graph relating GRP to intent can be created. It will only be approximately predictive because it ignores all those other variables the Guru mentioned.


Monday, June 01, 1998 #1879
Dear Guru, I have a local client who is looking at gradually expanding into the US / European business markets. They are looking to gradually start generating awareness in these areas. The target market is businesses / individuals interested in doing business in Africa. We have been asked to compile a report onthe following: a) Media choices - TV vs. Print etc b) Broadcast sponsorship opportunities (Sport, business programming etc.) c) Advertising Costs and potential reach, frequency for campaigns in these markets. Which medium / combination of media should they be looking at initially, and why? Where do I source information on global rates, audiences, trends? Thanks for a great service!

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, June 02, 1998 ):
You may refer to Standard Rate and Data Service (SRDS) for the U.S. media lists and Intrernational Media Guide for Europe.

You may find that trends are best assessed by reviewing the archives of each country's ad trade media, such as Ad Age in the U.S. or Campaign in the U.K. If you can get the media factbooks compiled by major international agencies like Saatchi (Cordiant) or Young & Rubicam, there will be convenient trend data presented.


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 14, 1998 #1591
we are in the process of recommending to a new client a media strategy that will help him sell more olives and cucumbers (both products in either can and glass containers). The client has a large marketshare, about 42%. Neither this client nor competitors have ever advertised their products. In this respect the category has been rather dormant. What guidelines can you provide regarding a 3 year plan. Since the company name is very well known, does it make sense, for example, to 'fortify' TV advertising with radio? Providing that radio has very good reach, is there a synergetic effect with TV or is the money better spent in one media? Thank you Irene Kol

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, May 14, 1998 ):
Modern thinking for such products emphasizes reach over frequency. It is more important to have some presence at any time that a purchaser might be making a purchase decision, than to drive reach to high levels (with more frequency) over a short campaign.

One guideline tha comes from this is to make a media mix more valuable, since a secondary medium almost always adds more reach than additional investment in the base medium.

Assuming then that you can afford an acceptable minimum continuous level of TV, addding radio will be wise.

No matter your client's awareness and market share, the first entry into advertising in this category will probably change the picture.


Saturday, April 11, 1998 #1564
Dear Guru, could you please tell me how can I calculate the frequency(exposure) distribution of an advertising media schedule using the Sequential Aggregation, Cannonical Expansion and Conditional Beta Distribution models? Thank you in advance for your answer.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, April 17, 1998 ):
A good university or public business library should have statistical or advertising methods text books with this information.

For example, in NY City, the Public Library's Science, Industry and Business Library has such books and might even give you the specific references to locate copies near you, if you inquired by phone or e-mail.


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.


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.


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.


Tuesday, November 04, 1997 #1449
I'm looking for research on TV spot schedules vs. placing the monies on an infomercial instead. What are the advantages or disadvantages?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, November 05, 1997 ):
The Guru's answer is based on the assumption that your "spot schedule" would also be direct response effort.

Research would take back seat to actual tracking of results and no one knows everyone's results.

The key theoretical difference would be much greater schedule dispersion for the spots, hence greater reach.

There would also be greater frequency for the spot schedule.

On the other hand, infomercials tend to run in fairly standard time blocks, e.g. weekend morning, overnight, etc. Therefore there is a certain segment who intentionally "shops" the infomercials.

The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) may have some tracking data regarding specific cases.


Monday, October 27, 1997 #1445
Dear Guru, We have been talking (within the Agency) about a new concept which is median frequency ( not average!): The goal of this mesurement tool is to determinate the wear-out level of commercials. Have you ever been across with this subject? Thanks!

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, October 27, 1997 ):
First, let's define "Median frequency"

You seem to mean one would array all those exposed to the commerical in order of their frequency of exposure.

Then find the person at the exact middle of the line; one half of those exposed have less frequency and one half of those exposed have more.

It would actually be "less than or equal to" and "more than or equal to," since we are now dealing with discreet individuals, who therefore have a whole number (an integer) of exposures. In the thousands of people exposed, many will be at the median level of exposure

The Guru has not seen this metric used for wear out analysis before, but it seems neither better nor worse than the more common use of quintiles, i.e. looking at the top 2 quintiles, or most heavily exposed 40% of audience.


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.


Monday, August 18, 1997 #1392
Is there a company, or a source, which is capable of measuring Reach/frequency of any/all media combined?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, August 18, 1997 ):
The ADPlus system, from our sister company Telmar, can combine reach and frequency from all media. Some media must first be calculated by other systems and then be brought into ADplus for combining


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.


Wednesday, July 23, 1997 #1377
Enjoyed learning from your answers. I have following questions. 1. Is there a rule of thumb for decising how much to spend on advertising vs. public relations? 2. What is the role of ad agency in determining advertising budget? Or is it determined primarily by the client? 3. How common a practice is it to perform a computerized analysis of media plan to determine the final impact in terms of reach, frequency, etc. 4. Is there a magic number in terms of GRP's, or other ratings needed to convert a prospect to a buyer? If not how does one establish the optimum budget? Thanks so much. Raj

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, July 26, 1997 ):
1) Advertising vs Public Relations decisions are based on a complex mix of marketing issues. One advertiser, mostly concerned with establishing an image or with community relations may spend the majority of funds on PR and the next, seeing a simple need to move units of a basic impulse purchase low-competition, product, may do no PR at all.

2) Some clients merely tell the agency how much there is to spend. Others will go through a process of determining marketing goals with the agency and consider the agency's recommendation on the cost of accomplishing those goals. More often the budget will come from the client, based on issues other than marketing goals, and then be allocated in accord with achieving the goals within the budget.

3) Computerized media delivery analysis is common. Some small retail advertisers may just hipshoot media decisions, often because the geography is small enough to track directly.

4) No, there is no magic number of GRPs to convert prospects to buyers. The marketing issues in each case vary. It should be obvious that persuading you to order a 7-Up versus a Coke next time you go out to lunch, given your background knowledge of the products and benefits, and the consequences of the wrong choice, is quite a different proposition than persuading you to buy a Mercedes Benz, select a vacation destination, or in which hospital to have surgery.


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


Tuesday, May 13, 1997 #1345
Since "PRICING WEB SITE ADVERTISING" was first published (it's not dated but I'm guessing '96?) have there been any 'advances' in the methodology for pricing web advertising beyond either the ModemMedia model or the alternatives suggested? I am not an advertising professional (and they said us geeks use obscure achronyms?), and I am also looking for a concise FAQ type document that might explain the formulae and jargon (CPM, frequency, Impressions in your excellent on-line dictionary and Depth which isn't) within the context of web advertising. Are there and other specific media terms (new or old) that are pertinent in a web advertising context (I got page view and hits)? Thank you.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, May 14, 1997 ):
The AMIC article was wriiten in the latter part of 1995, not long after the appearance of the Internet World May 1995 article which it discusses.

By the way, please be aware that AMIC has added a new area, called I-Trac, which discusses web terms and measurement and which includes a Web Glossary

In terms of newer thinking, consider the critqued article's central concepts:

1.Determine the ratio of hits between the web site's log and the number of file "hits" that make up the page carrying the ad. Divide logged hits by number of hits making up the page to calculate what we can call "page views." Then call page views "reach."

Since then, the software which interprets log files has developed so that it can distinguish pure "hits" from the more relevant page requests or "page views" . Hits today is taken to refer to any line in a log file, even errors. (Ad) Page requests is the analog to traditional media's "impressions".

2.Determine repeat viewing of that page and call that frequency.

We more commonly use "frequency" in terms of whole campaigns

3.Determine the success of viewings of that billboard ad in moving readers to the actual web site and call that "depth."

This measurement concept has come to be called "click-through" or ad click rate. Depth was a term only used as defined in this Internet World article.

Today pricing is generally based on cost per thousand (CPM) impressions. Rates seem to range from $15 cpm for the broadest, general audience sites' rotating banners, through $50 or so for search engines' keyword banners up to $100+ for "premium audience" on highly targeted business to business web sites. Another pricing model growing in popularity is "price per click," which charges for each vistor who clicks on a banner. The problem here is that the site hosting the banner must rely on the creative to generate viewr response -- it isn't all the effect of the web site itself. Therre is considerable literature today about how to influence clicks, as well as a growing body of research which argues for the awareness building effects of the banners, regardless of clicking response. Finally, simple revenue based models are the rising concept. In this, sites hosting banners are compensated with a portion of the transaction revenue generated by web surfers they send to retail type sites. An offshoot of this is a model for ad placement agency compensation based on the revenue generated by their placement of ads at recommended sites.


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, March 15, 1997 #1303
Dear Guru. I have some questions about RADIO media-planning: 1. Could you recommend the book(s) which contains: a) definitions of the standard coefficients: GRPs, Reach, frequency, Time Spend Listening (TSL), Average Rating b) Information about statistical models used for computing these numbers c) Sample outputs from radio media-planning software 2. I have download an educational software from University of Texas. Do you know any other places where can I import demo or edu software for media-planning 3. TSL is additive what means that: a) TSL for (say) 3 hours is a sum of appropriate 12 quater data b) TSL for a whole day is a sum of 12 x 4 quater values c) TSL for (say) three stations is a sum of appropriate three components But what is the behaviour of the Average Rating in these three, described above, cases?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, April 24, 1997 ):
Radio planning is covered in general planning texts, such as Sissors and Bumba, mentioned in the adjoining Guru answer. The booklet provided by the RAB (Radio Advertising Bureau) will give you the definitions you want. So would a technical reference manual from Arbitron. Since TSL, (time spent listening) is behavior expressed as a quantity and attached to one station at a time by one listener, the TSLs may be added together. This is different than ratings which are percentages and can only be combined or averaged with weightings according to the population groups projected.


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, February 17, 1997 #1043
When a planner has a small budget and it has been determined that television is the appropriate media vehicle, does it make sense to concentrate all of the GRPs in one or two dayparts? Example: late news and/or early morning for a business person 25-54?Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, February 21, 1997 ):
If geography is not a variable, then the question relates principally to the balance of reach vs frequency to be acheived. Daypart concentration may increase frequency at the expense of reach, daypart dispersion will increase reach at the expense of frequency. Low cume dayparts like the ones you mention may deliver less reach than a single high cume daypart like prime.

Comparing several possible schedules which are affordable within your budget for their delivery of plan goals is a better course than trying to make the decision based on a generalization of what "makes sense."


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


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.


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.


Tuesday, October 22, 1996 #1120
I am a consultant to a TV station. Recently most agencies have adopted one or another Media Planning software. We have tried to undersatand what type of optimizers they have and what effect in their decisions may have. For example one that uses integer programming seems to benefit high GRP programmes while others low cost and low audiences. How does the type of optimizer influence the plan? Thank you

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, October 23, 1996 ):
Optimizers must be set to Optimize something. It may be pure reach, reach at a given level of frequency, reach within a specific budget,etc. Usually some form of reach is in the goal, because other considerations like cpm or GRPs are simple arithmetic, while reach involves more complex computer models.

The reach models must be based on some measurement of "actual" schedules to be worth anything at all. If each optimizer is merely based on some programmer's opinion of how audience accumulates, there is no way to predict results without owning a copy of the program.

When reach within budget is the issue, it is possible forlow cost/low rated programs to be preferred if theydeliver so much more gross audience that even at low rates of net accumulation, the total reach can be more than quicker 'cuming. high-rated schedules.


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.


Monday, August 05, 1996 #1171
In regards to print advertising, what is a wear-out report? What data do I need to complete this report (reach, frequency, formulas)?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, August 08, 1996 ):
The Guru has discussed Wear Out previously (see below July 17 and May 7).

A wear out report would state the status of various print executions in your campaign in comparison to the wear out standard you have established.

Clients have a way of asking the wear out question without setting a standard or even being able to decide how to set one.

Essentially an ad is worn out when it loses all or most of its ability to accomplish its marketing purpose with its target. The purpose may be as simple as product sales, or lead generation in a direct response campaign, or it may be as difficult to define as building brand imagery or awareness of a specific product benefit. Since directly relating any of these to a specific ad would require custom research, it is typical to use whatever research has been done in the past as related to easily modelled media measurements, such as reach, frequency, GRPs or quintiles.

For example if in the past, a custom study showed the average ad was worn out at a time when the planners knew that 80% of the target had seen it 8 or more times, or when the frequency in the top 2 quintiles passed 30. (Don't use these examplenumbers). Naturally, different ads perform differently, but you will need to work on an average basis.

A wear out report then becomes a matter of reporting something like how many of thetarget have seen the ad at least "x" times, or that the frequency in the top 2quintiles will exceed the standard measure as of a certain month of the schedule, or"X" number of GRPs will have run for the ad by some date.

The key is knowing how one of these media measures relate to your wear out standard. Then the report is a simple task.


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.


Wednesday, July 17, 1996 #1179
Do you know any research about how much average frequency is enough before the consumer turns against the advertised product. I mean before they are fed up with the ad. I would like some articles or tables about different product categories concerning this effect.Thank you.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, July 18, 1996 ):
There does not seem to be any definitive research on this. Planners dread the question "when is the campaign worn out" almost invariably asked without any definition of "wear-out." Certainly some ads are less enduring in terms of selling ability, which may have little to do with consumers being "fed up." Some advertisers use frequency in top quintiles as a guide, some just accumulated GRP, others study the competitive environment and clutter of their usual advertising media.

The "propinquity theory" gaining in appreciation argues for lower frequencies and if it catches on generally, may change the concept of wear out. Probably the best source of published study and opinion would be the Advertising Research Foundation Library


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.


Wednesday, May 01, 1996 #1230
Are there any software packages that allow you to collectmedia data over the internet? Also, what are the latestprograms dealing with media planning? I work with a small agencyin New York that places local radio, newspaper and televisionin a few markets in the midwest and we are looking forways to go take our media planning into the digital age.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, May 02, 1996 ):
Telmar, (AMIC's parent corporation) is in the business of providingits clients with leading edge technology for internet, dial-up and local access to media software as well as to the hundreds of syndicated databases available for clients with legal access.

Telmar has programs for print, television,cable, radio, and newspaper. The All Media Planner allows the user to do all media advertising media planning, including reach/frequency analysis, media mix, optimization, budget allocation, flowcharting, graphics. Also note that there is free cost per point information provided by SQAD on AMIC.

Contact sales@telmar.com for further information about Telmar's services.


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.


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, April 05, 1996 #1731
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 Simmons cover demographics, psychographics and purchase behavior along with radio listening by format. The studies are not principally 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, but it would be harder to fairly compare different studies across 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.


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.


Thursday, February 15, 1996 #1762
What is the actual formula for calculating GRP's

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, February 15, 1996 ):
There are various formulae, depending on from what data you are working:

GRP = Reach x frequency

or

GRP = Average rating x number of advertisements

or

GRP = The sum of the ratings of all the advertisments in a schedule

or

GRP =The total impressions delivered (i.e. audience among a specific demographic group, expressed in raw numbers of people X number of advertisements) divided by population universe for that demograpic.


Thursday, February 15, 1996 #1761
I would like to know a DETAILED calculation for GRP's for Television advertising. I assume the frequency is the number of times the ad ran across all channels. But how do I calulate the Reach for a T.V. AD. Is it based on the rate cards of the networks?(if so, how) or is it based on direct audience measurement. As much detail as possible would be greatly appreciated. darrylw@conceptus.on.ca

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, February 15, 1996 ):
Calculation of GRP does not depend on knowing reach, though reach x frequency is ONE formula. Reach is the more complex calculation, GRP is relatively simple (see other formulae in the adjoining question).

Reach has no relationship at all to rates, nor to commercial length, for that matter. Audience research surveys such as Nielsen can tell us the audience of individual programs. The net unduplicated audience, or reach, of actual advertisers' schedules, examined over time covered by a given survey period, typically four weeks, can be determined.

When many such scehdules, usually thousands, have been examined in that way, "curves" on a graph can be drawn representing the intersections of reach values with schedules' GRPs. The graph curves because each added announcement adds fewer new, unduplicated people toi the reach of the schedule.

The curve can be expressed as a formula y = ax+b, which then can be built into the computer model which media planners use to quickly calculate reach from given GRPs and sometimes other descriptive details of scheduling, such as average ratings, numbers of different networks or programs, etc.

The Guru is now nearly out of details unless Nielsen survey methodology is of interest.


Sunday, February 11, 1996 #1765
What advantages does marketing/advertising on the internet have above marketing/advertising in the "USUAL" media?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, February 12, 1996 ):
he internet offers many disadvantages to go with its advantages. These all pertain to the WWW.

Some Advantages:

  • Immediacy: Ad copy and new product news can be on-line immediately.
  • Selectivity: Ads can be aimed broadly at computer users, or narrowly at Quentin Tarentino fans, or afficionados of the wines of Australia.
  • Relevance to the moment: Ads can be tied to today's crucial interest, by buying keywords on search engines.
  • Participation: Ad viewers can become involved in the ad by clicking on links to product info most relevant to them, filling out and sending requests within the ad. This is far more inolving than the "paste this stamp here" tricks of direct mail.
  • The ability to link E-mail auto-responders to web sites outdoes the capabilites of fax-back servers as well.
  • Minor advantages include savings on postage, paper and production costs versus traditional print and broadcast media.
The disadvantages are chiefly in audience and audience count:
  • At the most optimistic count, only 30-40% of households are reachable by the Web.
  • Very few individual websites reach even 10% of this universe.
  • Reach versus frequency is not well understood or capable of calculation.
  • Audience demographics are not well known nor well distinguished between thosecapable of using the web and those regularly doing so.


Friday, January 19, 1996 #1781
I would like to know if in United State exist any research, about outdoor reaching people. If exist, could you give me an explanation, and any address to try to get more information. How an outdoor campaign is evaluated in U.S.? How many people reach, this kind of study. Thank you in advance

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, February 02, 1996 ):
There are measurement sytems and standards for outdoor media in the U.S. Outdoor (more generally called Out-of-Home media, to include buses, bus shelters, subways, etc) is measured in GRPs as are other media. Outdoor GRP's are measured on a per-day basis, while broadcast media are more often thought of on a per-week basis.

Therefore if one buys 100 Adult 18+ GRPs of outdoor posters, the daily audience exposures (circulation) are equal to the Adult 18+ population of the market area. So a 100 GRP buy is about 3000 GRP per month (100GRP per day x 30 days.

Typical reach systems will report that this level of outdoor delivers a reach in the 90% range with over 30 frequency. You may buy 50 GRP or 25 GRP, of course. Even at these levels reach is typically 80+.

Years ago we talked of "100 showing" or "50 showing" which was sometimes the plant operators rough estimate of 100 or 50 GRP and sometimes just a pricing basis.

Outdoor sales companies, such as Gannett (212) 297-6413 can provide scehdule-specific reach analyses.


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.


Thursday, April 13, 1995 #1852
When you are measuring delivery of media, can you combine various media to come up with a single answer? If so, is it reliable? What is the most economical way for a small agency to pick up software that can accomplish this. By combined media, I am referring to traditional medai such tv, radio, magazines, etc.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, April 13, 1995 ):
The Reach of various media may be combined once the reach and frequency for a media schedule has been computed. Check out Telmar's ADplus product for an inexpensive approach to your problem.


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.


Wednesday, January 18, 1995 #1878
How do I calculate GRPs?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, January 18, 1995 ):
Reach x frequency = GRPs



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