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Guru Search Results: 425 matches were found

Wednesday, February 18, 2004 #6387
I am reading a text book on media planning but do not understand how it is figuring Average frequency. It assumes 40 households are viewing television (HUT = 40). 17 homes are viewing one program; 11 homes are viewing two programs; 7 homes are viewing three; and 5 are viewing four. There is one spot in each program. It states that the households are viewing an equivalent of 80 programs (or spots). By dividing the 80 spots by the HUT it produces an average frequency of 2. My question is, how would you figure the average frequency if there were 3 spots in each program? The book does not make it clear on how it arrived at the equivalent of 80 spots. Thank you.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, February 20, 2004 ):
In media planning, we usually deal with HUT as a percentage of the Household universe, but this exercise can still work.

Remember that there are people involved here. The 17 homes viewing one program cause that home to see the one spot in that one program.

The 11 homes viewing two programs eman that two spots are viewed in those homes (think about 2 people in those homes each viewing a different TV). So 22 spots are viewd in these homes, 21 spots are viewed in the 7 homes each using 3 TVs, and 20 spots in the 5 homes viewing 4. Total 80 spots viewed.

If 40 homes view 80 spots, the average number of spots seen per home ("frequency") = 2. With three spots per program the total spots viewed is 240 (80 x 3) and frequency is 6 (240 ÷ 6).


Saturday, January 31, 2004 #6372
I am doing an assignment for university based on recruitment for one of the armed forces. i cannot decide which would be most effective- to use higher frequency or reach..any ideas??

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, January 31, 2004 ):
The answer has many variables. Reach can be more expensive than frequency. Minority targets can be more difficult to reach and have fewer media options than a general audience. Suppose you had a ridiculously small budget of only $2500 and want to recruit Arab Americans. The problem would then be reach versus efficient targeting. Broad reach might argue for outdoor media in a neighborhood densly populated by Arab Americans, e.g. Brooklyn, New York's Atlantic Avenue. But that budget would buy only one small posting for 5 months. It could achieve substantial reach in that small area and good frequency but with a limited message and considerable waste.

City-wide Arabic newspapers might offer three different options covering broader geography for the same length of time. This would likely increase reach and lose frequency.

In short, never ignore budget parameters when thinking about reach versus frequency. With a more reasonable budget of $25,000, for the same goals, think more about reach and multiple media and adequate frequency will be there.

Reach versus frequency needs can also depend on awareness. If your audience is highly aware of your offering but needs persuading, then frequeuncy is probably more important; with no awareness, reach is primary.


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

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


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

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

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

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

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


Tuesday, December 16, 2003 #6315
How do you calculate combined frequency. If I have a cable plan in a market with a frequency of 2.6 and a broadcast tv plan with a frequency of 6.6 - what is the combined frequency?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, December 20, 2003 ):
The Guru will assume you are referring to average frequency, typically considered for a four week period. One actually calculates the combined Reach and GRPs and then figures the "combined" frequency. Consider the following table. If you had run 400 GRP in broadcast and had 61 reach there would be 6.6 average frequency. If you also had 100 GRP of cable and a reach of 38, there would be an average frequency of 2.6.

GRPs are simply additive for a total of 500. Reaches must be combined by a system that recognizes duplication; "random probability" will overstate a bit when you are working with two related elements such as different kinds of TV. Probability might have estimated a combined reach of 76 here but let's suppose your algorithm estimates 72.

In any case, the combined average frequency is calculated thus: divide the combined GRP (500) by the combined Reach (72) which equals 6.9; see below:

Element
Reach
Freq.
GRP
Broadcast
61
6.6
400
Cable
38
2.6
100
Total
72
6.9
500


Monday, December 01, 2003 #6285
info on frequency value planning

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, December 05, 2003 ):
Not exactly a standard concept, but see The Media Planning Paradox


Saturday, November 29, 2003 #6282
Is there a method for "manually" calculating the reach/frequency of network TV/radio? I know other options exist (Telmar, for example) but would prefer to have my students do it this way if possible.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, November 30, 2003 ):
25-30+ years ago, planners worked with tables of GRPs by medium or program frequency, etc, baseds on averages of many fully calculated actual measurements but not full scale calculation, which would involve treating each commerical individually. While there might be some value in learning how to take a set of observations and develop a curve, trying to make these base calculations for each plan seems pointless.

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


Thursday, November 27, 2003 #6279
Effective frequency

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, November 28, 2003 ):
Click here to see past Guru discussion of effective frequency.


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

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

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

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

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


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

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


Friday, October 24, 2003 #6217
What is the rationale for using a mix of :30 and :15 second spots vs. either alone?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, October 26, 2003 ):
:15s cost less than :30s. Therefore, replacing some :30 spots with :15s extends the schedule, yielding added reach / frequency / impressions, etc.

:30s generally communicate more / better than :15s. Often a schedule begins as all-:30 before :15s are mixed in once the message ius established.


Sunday, October 19, 2003 #6209
How is recency theory justified when the entire world is talking effective frequency?How do we know when the TG is going to purchase?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, October 19, 2003 ):
The entire world has been talking effictive frequency for 30 years, yet not all have followed it.

Recency theory does not oppose effective frequency, it is a different approach to it, comsidering that in a continuous plan, 3 exposures are reached early and all additoinal exposures are effective, rather than only considering exposure in an arbitrarily defined measurement period.

One particular specifically reason for receny is that the time when the TG will purchase is unknown so the best chance to be the most trecent exposure, which is the most effective exposure, is to advertise continuosly. There are minima, even for recency.

Further, the popularity of an older theory is never a valid arguement against the value of a newer one.


Friday, October 17, 2003 #6206
Dear Guru, I've read Erwin Ephron's article on Adstock. Is Adstock widely used in the US? Also, other than reach/frequency goals, the Recency Theory and Adstock, are there other theories currently being used or debated? Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, October 18, 2003 ):
As Efron himself says: "In the US most agencies schedule media without much regard to Adstock carry-over effects, because we have learned that immediate response to advertising dissipates rapidly."


Thursday, October 09, 2003 #6195
What is the correct process for analyzing comparable period retail sales? Specifically, we are working on a project that would not only compare comparable sales periods (year over year), but also compare a sale window to a pre-sale window. Thanks in advance for your feedback.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, October 13, 2003 ):
The Guru assumes you mean to compare advertising performance in these periods. The simplest approaches are comparing budgets or weight (GRP). Many refinements are possible as to media mix, reach. frequency, etc.


Tuesday, October 07, 2003 #6189
Dear Guru, With all due respect, I had written you back in September about a situation I was encountering (below) and received a response that I found extrememly puzzling. You said that my question had to do with copy opposed to media. Guru, copy is a part of media and a vital one at that. You also sent me to a link where you mentioned wear out. I went to the link and didn't find much to answer my question. Being sincere with my next question, why do you spend time to respond in depth to people with ridiculous questions (How do I buy spot cable, what's a CPM, etc) from people who could find the simple answer in a "Media 101" book, while mine is a rationale, functioning question and concern? Product life (packaging influenced) is also part of media. Why blow all of this off? Thank you, CRH Previous question: Dear Guru, 2 Qs: 1.) My client created a TV ad campaign and RIGHT before we launched, a competitor with lower quality/lower price/larger packaging had close to the SAME TV ad campaign! I feel product confusion has happened between my client's premium brand and that of the less expensive "knock-off" product. Do you concur? Any research to back this theory? 2.) Because of my theory, I have advised my client to change ads IMMEDIATELY. They have agreed and we will begin to advertise our OLD ADS starting October. I feel "ad quality restoration" has been achieved through our previous ad's 6 month hiatus. My client and I find that our campaigns last for about 6 months before we experience ad wearout, based on copy and frequency wearout. However, returning to an OLD AD where we are basing campaign results on ad quality restoration, how long will our old ads last, given new ads burnout in 6 months? should we plan on only 3 months since the audience will quickly remember the ads again? Your thoughts? Any research to back this up? Please help! -Media guru grasshopper. The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, September 14, 2003 ): Much of this question is about copy and product, not media. Regarding the wearout issue, there will probably be quicker wearout than with a new ad, but that is hard to quantify.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, October 10, 2003 ):
1.) Regarding copy vs. media, quite simply, you are wrong.

Advertising is two essential elements:
Copy (creative message or "the Ad," and
media, the vehicles (TV/Radio/Magazines/Outdoor/Online) which deliver the Ad to the audience.

The Guru deals with the planning, buying and analysis of media. This has nothing to do with copy, the advertising message itself except to decide whether the media is suitable to carry the message and communicate effectively with the target audience. Often, a media professional determines for which media copy should be created to best reach or influence the target, but this is far from deciding marketing or message strategy.

2.) The Guru's past responses about wearout include 50+ more or less detailed comments on the topic, which is a subjective concept at best. If you can define wear out, you can measure it.

3.) The Guru's stated purpose is to answer questions about media planning/buying/research. People who aske "media 101" questions didn't take the course, and the Guru would not accomplish much by telling half his users to look at a text book. Occasionally, that might be the only answer, but the Guru preferes to deal directly with media questions.

If you have signed up for a media position but have found yourself making copy decisions, that's a problem. But not a media problem. Luckily for you, AMIC offers a double-your-money-back on the fee for using the Guru, if you are not satisfied with the answers.


Thursday, October 02, 2003 #6184
Hello Guru, Could you tell me what's the difference between communication objectives, advertising objectives and media objectives? What's the difference between advertising mix and media mix? Thanks already.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, October 04, 2003 ):
To address these in a logical order:

  • Advertising objectives are broader and will include such details as message content and strategy
  • Media objectives are more specific to media planning and buying, including media budget, target, seasonality, geography, ad environment.
  • Communications objectives are narrower stiil, addressing such issues as reach / frequency levels and flighting

Advertising mix includes media plus direct mail, collateral materials, promotion, etc. Media mix is a narrowed focus encompassing items like TV, Radio, Print, Online.


Monday, September 29, 2003 #6180
Dear Guru, This is further to my question on having a classfieds section in a marketing magazine with a niche readers community (i.e specifically from advertising/media/marketing/PR). The reason I asked this question was regarding Classfieds section, the advertisers you would be targeting would be very low budgeted and it happens that they are not aware of your magazine and its readership, as a seller, you know that you are going to provide the right kind of audience, but these advertisers generally do not get convinced or at times doubtful about advertising in a classifieds section with a frequency of monthly! how do you suggest to market it? or your opinion to have a classfieds section in a monthly magazine where the readers take their own time to read?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, October 04, 2003 ):
You need to assume that potential classified advertisers are either
1) your readers or
2) are interested in your readers.

The first group will be reached by in-book advertising. The second perhaps by listings in Standard Rate and Data Service (SRDS) and the like.


Friday, September 12, 2003 #6154
Dear Guru, 2 Qs: 1.) My client created a TV ad campaign and RIGHT before we launched, a competitor with lower quality/lower price/larger packaging had close to the SAME TV ad campaign! I feel product confusion has happened between my client's premium brand and that of the less expensive "knock-off" product. Do you concur? Any research to back this theory? 2.) Because of my theory, I have advised my client to change ads IMMEDIATELY. They have agreed and we will begin to advertise our OLD ADS starting October. I feel "ad quality restoration" has been achieved through our previous ad's 6 month hiatus. My client and I find that our campaigns last for about 6 months before we experience ad wearout, based on copy and frequency wearout. However, returning to an OLD AD where we are basing campaign results on ad quality restoration, how long will our old ads last, given new ads burnout in 6 months? should we plan on only 3 months since the audience will quickly remember the ads again? Your thoughts? Any research to back this up? Please help! -Media guru grasshopper.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, September 14, 2003 ):
Much of this question is about copy and product, not media. Regarding the wearout issue, there will probably be quicker wearout than with a new ad, but that is hard to quantify.

Click here to see Guru thinking on wearout


Wednesday, August 27, 2003 #6141
Could you explain the difference between "Continuity" and "Recency".

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, August 29, 2003 ):
It is not a matter of difference, per se. Recency is about being the latest advertising exposure seen by the consumer at the time of a purchase decision. Typically, this calls for a continuous rather than flighted-for-frequency schedule.

Click here to see Guru discussion of recency and continuity


Tuesday, August 19, 2003 #6129
Dear Guru, Could you please give me the evaluation method or ideas to link with sales and media impact (e.g. GRP/R/F)?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, August 23, 2003 ):
If you have sales data, it should be simple to correlate with past GRP or Reach or frequency using data tools in something asd simple as MS Excel.


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

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

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

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


Friday, July 11, 2003 #6075
Dear MG, I've refered to previous answers on each medium strength, pros & cons. I would like to know further how to : 1) articulate Impact, Reach, frequency & Continuity for each medium, especially TV, Radio, Print 2) product placements - what are the benefits against spot buy in TV. thank-you.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, July 14, 2003 ):
Articulating these issues is more about wrting skills than media issues. You need to carefullly evaluate the marketing and advertsing goals you have received as input and craft your own documents to relate your recommendations to their delivery on these goals. Expressing how you are answering the needs expressed by the person giving the assignment can be quite powerful.

Product placement is not quite media. The key benefit is the implied endorsement value.


Wednesday, July 09, 2003 #6070
We have a new client on our business who is trying to "make his/her mark" on the brand. I work on a national packaged goods account and the client is questioning our use of primetime as part of the network TV daypart mix. The client's argument is that he/she can buy more points in cheaper dayparts, and therefore is wanting an explanation of what prime "does" for the plan. Beyond showing R/Fs (where the reach goes down and the frequency goes up once prime is taken out) is there anything else I should do? Our theory has always been that prime has a higher attentiveness level but the client wants proof that higher attentive means more sales. I have also championed the idea that people who are more passionate about a particular show are more likely to be more interested in the ads running during that show, but again I have no proof for this. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, July 14, 2003 ):
This theory is popular. Try The Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter. For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230.


Wednesday, June 25, 2003 #6041
Can you explain to me the difference in frequency and recency? I have been out of the media buying field for a couple years and the term "recency" is new to me. Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, June 30, 2003 ):
"Recency" and "effective frequency" two approaches to setting communications levels. Though often cited as opposing views, recency takes frequency into account.

Click here to see past Guru discussion of these terms.


Saturday, June 21, 2003 #6029
Dear Guru, Please help me to clarify these issues : - What CPT and CPM stand for ? - Are the formulas to calculate them as follows : CPT=(Costx1000)/Impression CPM=(Costx1000)/Reach(000) - Impression and Reach in thousand are not the same,are they? Impression include duplication but the reach in thousand does not. Impression = Reach(000)x OTS? - Therefore, there must be different b/w CPT & CPM. But it seems that most books consider them as the same. - GRP = OTS x Reach (%)or GRP = frequency x Reach (%)? - Does OTS have some meaning of impression? Since these issue confuse me now so much and I current get a stuck in preparing a report. Pls do reply me as soon as possible. Many thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, June 21, 2003 ):
You have tangled up several ideas and defintions. In different countries, some of these terms are used differently or not used. For example, in the Guru's base of the U.S., we do not use "opportunities to see (OTS)," and though you may be in Thailand, the Guru will not assume so.

CPM stands for cost per thousand impressions; the "M" is the Roman numeral M, meaning one thousand. CPT is not familiar in the US, but is probably another indicator of Cost per Thousand impressions.

The Guru most often sees "OTS" used as equivalent to "impressions" but sometimes as a reference to average frequency, so here are the simplest definitions.

"Impressions" are the number of advertising exposures, i.e. the number of different people exposed to advertising times the average number of occasions on which they are exposed. Thus, duplication is included.

"number of different people exposed" is equivalent to "reach."

"Number of occasions on which they are exposed" is equivalent to "frequency."

CPM is cost of advertising divided by impressions in thousands. Reach is not involved.

When reach is expressed as a percentage of a target group, then reach x frequency = GRP.


Wednesday, June 11, 2003 #6009
Hi Guru, I have heard of one method of setting effective frequency. That is we evaluate the criteria such as : established compaign, complexity of message, well-known brand, high product clutter... by giving them marks depening on their level. This mark will be multiplied by coefficient of each criteria. The total mark will be used to set the effective frequency level for that product. Pls supply me with more info on that. Appreciate should you can give me detailed explaination on steps to do that or give me a source to refer. Another question is that how can we set effective GRP based on effective frequency level, reach curve,no. of phase ( what is no. of phase?).The reach curve we use hereabove is that of target group of the brand or of any else? Thanks a lot.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, June 15, 2003 ):
Click here to see Guru discussion of the "Ostrow model."


Tuesday, June 10, 2003 #6004
We have planned for our client (consumer product) for a TV campaign at prime time slot of Channel A where we are getting good GRP (360 per week) and low CPRP. The campaign is for one month. At the same time we are also proposing to advertise on channels B & C as well. Though the ratings of these channels are not as good as channel A and CPRP at higher side, but the reason to advertise on channels B & C is to cater the audience of those channels as well otherwise we are duplicating the same audiences if we go only for channel A at prime time slot. Now our client insisting that if we are getting the required GRP with low CPRP from channel A, why should I go for channel B & C? Please advise that should we go only for channel A or for channels B & C as well.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, June 15, 2003 ):
The issue is in how you define "the required GRP." If this level is based on a reach goal, effective frequency goal, or some similar communications standard, then the question is whether concentrating all the GRP in one channel will achieve this goal.

Your question implies you have some basis for thinking that a portion of your target is only reachable on channels B & C. Presumably, you have a way of documenting that theory. This becomes your rationale for broadening your buy.


Friday, June 06, 2003 #5999
Dear Guru: I would like to know that GRP calculation is reach x Avg. frequency or rating x Avg. frequency

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, June 07, 2003 ):
Just as a matter of simple arithmetic relationship,
GRP = reach x average frequency.


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

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


Thursday, May 15, 2003 #5974
I can use random probability to calculate reach. Is there any way I can create a complete frquency distribution? For instance, Is it correct to add up probabilities for an individual for 4 publications (Say 0.75, 0.75, 0.5 and 0.25) and say that frequency for the person is 2.25?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, May 18, 2003 ):
The Guru follows neither your math nor your logic here.

If your example means the the indivisual has a 75% chance of reading the first publication, etc how would that give the person a 2.25 frequency for the 4? You are working with almost unrelated data, not to mention the overstatement of random probability in calculating reach of related media. Further, frequency distribution deals with the numbers of persons who experienced each integral frequency, i.e. how many had one exposure, how many had two exposures. No individual may have a fractional exosure.


Sunday, May 11, 2003 #5965
Dear Guru, Many thanks for your reply on OTS and Effective frequency. It's been a great help finding you online, b'cos we don't have any institution to get proper training on issues regarding media planning. The thing is in our country (Bangladesh), while media planning, we always face a lot of problems due to the unavailabilty of data. However, we've got TV viwership ratings, Newspaper circulations and readership ratings etc. At this point, how can I effectively calculate OTS? Is it possible to do with the data I've mentioned. Thanks once again. M. A. Toolie

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, May 11, 2003 ):
In the Guru's prior response (#5938) he explained how to calculate print OTS, if one audience exposure is your standard. For TV, 1 rating point means a quantity of audience exposures equal to 1% of the specified population.


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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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


Monday, April 21, 2003 #5941
apart from reach, frequency and continuity is there any subject that can be used in determining media objectives?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, April 26, 2003 ):
Seasonality, purchase cycle, effective frequency, BDI/CDI, awareness, wearout, etc.


Wednesday, April 16, 2003 #5938
Dear Guru, What are the methods for calculating OTS of TV and Press ads with limited data? can you help me find articles on effective frequency?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, April 21, 2003 ):
OTS is a matter of measurement. If the limited data includes circulation of press, as it always should, then an assumption of readers per copy may be made -two is usually a safe starting point in paid media. With no data there is no way to estimate sensibly.

Click here to see extensive Guru discussion of effective frequency


Wednesday, April 09, 2003 #5927
For Our target segement which is households who have car and have at least one child under the age of six,we would like to find out What is the ranking for TV Channels based on the frequency in states such as Illoinis,Michigan,Ohio and Indiana?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, April 11, 2003 ):
This question doesn't quite make sense. frequency of what? If you mean incidence of HH with car and kid under 6, that's a population question and not related to TV Stations. If you mean audience rankings of TV stations among HH with car and kid under 6 that isn't related to frequency. Also TV audiences are not calculated by state, but by Nielsen's Designated Market Areas


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

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

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


Sunday, March 16, 2003 #5882
Dear Guru: our client (a premium price mineral water with a great brand awareness, although years of absence in communication) is considering 2 different media plan for the relaunch campaign: first based on national tv + press and the 2nd on press+outdoor. The budget is 1/4, 1/3 of the top spender in the market. In tv there is a very competitive arena (200-300 grp's per week). The positioning of the brand should target affluent, dinamic and young women: in your opinion it's better to concentrate the media budget on media less used by competitors (targeted press and outdoor) developing a "great noise" or you think it's better plan tv like the 95% of our competitors, risking to not be visible? thank you very much (sorry for my english)

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, March 20, 2003 ):
In this case the Guru thinks being big in unique media has an advantage, if you can reach the people you need to reach. But do consumers think about relative frequency within media or are they simply exposed to what they are exposed to?

Can you make a case for one medium being more effective than the other?


Thursday, March 13, 2003 #5876
How do you develop a kids TV wearout analysis against a kids target? They have a much higher acceptance of frequency than adults.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, March 16, 2003 ):
Wearout standards are based on experience. It seems you believe you have the experience on which to base an adjustment of a standard analysis.


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

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

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

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

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


Wednesday, March 05, 2003 #5866
reach and frequency

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


Tuesday, March 04, 2003 #5865
What are the pros and cons of using a :15 tv spot versus a :30 tv spot? Does emotional based creative work well in a smaller unit size, like a :!5 tv spot? Thanks, WP

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, March 08, 2003 ):
By any measure of impact, e.g. recall, persuasion, etc. :30's will always beat :15s, one for one. By measures of media communications, e.g, reach, frequency, GRPs, impressions, :15's will always beat :30's, in a campaign. In a campaign, these latter measures may mean overall recall and impact favor :15s, if the message can be communicated.


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

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

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

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


Friday, February 14, 2003 #5838
I am working on creating a hypothetical media plan for a class project, which entails targeting adults age 18-34 years of age, for a new product. I am lost as to how to set Reach frequency goals, and then once I formulate my plan, how do I calculate the actual reach? Also, how do I figure out cost per point for network tv late fringe and cable tv? Is there a guide that could help me estimate?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, February 14, 2003 ):
Go to the Guru Archives Search Engine. Use "goals" or "calculate" or the other questions as your search terms.


Friday, February 14, 2003 #5835
I'm proposing 1 ad every day, M-F, in Wheel of Fortune for 5 weeks. My media software is calculating an average frequency which does not seem to take into account frequency built against this one program over a 5-week period. What can I do?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, February 17, 2003 ):
The Guru would expect almost no reach build after the first week, just a GRP increase. So if the program has 1 rating of 5, and reach of, say, 8 at the end of week one. the reach is 8 with a frequency of 3.1 (The 25 GRP ÷ 8).

After five weeks, reach might be 12 and frequency 10.4 (125 GRP). The range of possibility is not large, Minimum of one. maximum of 25. Get better software.


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

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


Wednesday, January 29, 2003 #5778
Mr. Guru, I am the marketing director for a PI law firm. The firm has been on tv for the past 15 yrs. Of course, our target is anyone from age 8-88. I have read a ton on the recency theory and feel that it may work for us. In the past we have always concentrated on the highest reach with keeping freq. at at least 3. However, I feel that we've built brand awareness over the year and that the frequency level should not be a factor. In addition, I don't think that people really recognize an attorneys comercial unless 1. They've been exposed to it a lot, or 2. Are exposed to it when they are in the market. Can you comment, and possibly lead me in a direction to reports and studies concerning attorneys or similar industry? Thanks for you help.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, February 03, 2003 ):
The Guru agrees your commercial is only effective when someone is in the market, so recency is appropriate.


Wednesday, January 29, 2003 #5773
Hi Guru. I first registered in 1997 and I have been an avid reader of your answers ever since. I am trying to ascertain if there are a set of factors that I can apply to estimate the readership of a magazine. All we have is the claimed circulation by the publisher. We do not have an ABC audit in our market and as such it becomes increasingly difficult to ascertain readership amongst various target groups. In this particular case, the claimed circulation of the magazine is 161,000 copies ... yet we haven't a clue as what number of the 1.9 million residents of the city read this magazine. We have analysed the distribution of the magazine and found that it is distributed to the "affluent" areas of the city. SEC AB. Apart from that, there isn't much we know about it. I'd really be grateful, if you could shine some light on this case. Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, February 01, 2003 ):
If there is no audit, you must accept the circulation estimate. The Guru does not think there is a rule of thumb for distribution vs the number that would result from an audit. The overage could be 10 or 100%. Readers per copy can vary from less than one to 10 or more, depending on cirulation density versus populaition, econimics, interest, frequency and culture.

If the Guru was guessing about a free, dropped, magazine with general interest editorial (in regard to the drop area) he would estimate readers at about 50% versus distributed copies. I,e,
readers = claimed circulation X 0.5


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

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


Tuesday, January 14, 2003 #5732
I have heard comments from media agencies that emphasize quality over cost for TV spots. However I am a little skeptical, especially when their compensations are tied directly with the budget. So I would like to ask you a few questions to help me get a better understanding. 1) Does a good relationship between the director of a TV station vendor and the media buyer strongly affect the quality of TV ads (in terms of POD position, etc.)? 2) Does buying above the SQAD mean a bad buy in comparison to others who purchased below the SQAD? 3) Are there ways to measure (quantitatively) the performance of a media buyer? Your opinion would be highly valued. Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, January 18, 2003 ):
The Guru comments:
  1. In any buying / selling situation, a good relationship between the parties is likely to improve the deal as perceived by both sides. This will affect product "quality" for the buyer and quantity sold for the seller.
  2. Buying above SQAD is a pretty reliable indicator of having spent too much.
  3. SQAD is more of a benchmark than an absolute. Once some basics are set, you can tell the buyer has gone wrong if his/her costs go up when SQAD costs trend down, or go up much more than SQAD does. Likewise, a buyer whose costs go down more than SQAD's costs do has made good deals.

A media buyer needs to be given explicit goals against which to be measured. There are no absolute quality indicators of a buy, whether you look at cost, cpm, reach, rating, pod position, etc, unless these goals are set. Undirected, a buyer will probably go for lowest cpm/cpp or his own interpretation of best reach. If you wanted high ratings or heavy frequency instead and didn't make that clear up front, it is not the buyer's performance error when you don't get your secret desires. If you did give specifications and the buyer went a different way or didn't meet goals, then that's bad performance.


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

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


Saturday, January 04, 2003 #5716
I have read somewhere that Krugman's 3-exposure theory did not necesserily imply the need for 3 (or 2 or 4) physical exposures, but only a series of mental steps, which may take place after a series of exposure, or after just one. This seems to have more sense as it places adequate importance on different product/media/circumstance-related, creative and other relevant factors. On the other hand this turns the effective frequency theory into nonsense. What do you think?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, January 04, 2003 ):
The idea of the 3+ concept then is to assure the other steps occur. Perhaps you are thinking of the explanation of the theory that goes smething like "the first time the information is merely presented, the second exposure causes recognition, and the third causes remembering / accepting / acting or whatever. Rather than leave the latter two steps to the vagaries of chance or psychophysiology, the e second and third ad exposures give some assurance. This is the difference between planning and hoping.


Saturday, January 04, 2003 #5715
Dear Guru: Are there any studies showing the relationship between advertising exposure frequency and sales? Does the effective frequency theory deal with the exposure-sale relationship, or rather exposure-awareness relationship? And in the latter case, is there any study showing the connection between awareness and sales? Thanks, R.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, January 04, 2003 ):
Try The Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter. For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230.


Friday, January 03, 2003 #5713
Looking for published reports, relative to effective frequency and effective messaging--need the third party validation--Help?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, January 03, 2003 ):
Go to the Guru Archives Search Engine. Use "effective frequency" and "effective messaging" as your search term.

The Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter is always a good source. For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656,


Friday, January 03, 2003 #5712
Dear Guru I am trying to find information on effective frequency and the 3+ frequency theory. Can you help? Thank you.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, January 03, 2003 ):
Go to the Guru Archives Search Engine. Use "effective frequency" as your search term.

The Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter is always a good source. For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656,


Tuesday, December 31, 2002 #5708
Looking for published research on effective messaging, effective frequency--general, and medium specific.

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, December 31, 2002 ):
Try the various associations, such as The Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB), TV Bureau of Advertising, as well as The Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter. For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230.


Sunday, December 22, 2002 #5700
To broaden the customer base by inducing new customers what should be the media strategy? Should one look at having more reach or the frequency should also be considered?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, December 22, 2002 ):
One way to look at it is: think about whether the customers you don't yet have are unaware of your product/service or aware but unpersuaded. Then you can decide whether to speak to new prospects (reach) or try for more persuasion (frequency).


Monday, December 16, 2002 #5685
Dear Mr. Guru: What are the most recent mediaplanning theories that have had any significant effect (e.g., effective frequency vs. recency)? Thanks, R.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, December 19, 2002 ):
Others are
  • treating on-line media in the same way (applying the same standards) as traditional media,
  • incorporating minority segments, and
  • optimization across media types.


Thursday, December 05, 2002 #5657
Where can I find information on frequency and Reach of major Network stations

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, December 05, 2002 ):
There seems to be some confusion about terms or metrics here. First, let's assume you are asking about network affiliate stations in major markets, such as New York's WNBC.

Then we could learn from Nielsen how many persons the staion reaches in a given period of time and the average frequency of exposure of these persons to the station.

But since frequency is a more useful measure of an advertsing schedule, the Guru expects that your question may have been something else.


Tuesday, December 03, 2002 #5653
What is the thinking behind the "retail strategy" airing TV only Wed-Saturday, other than shopping peaks on the weekend. Is there any media rationale to support it and can it apply to cable as well? Appreciate your thoughts..

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, December 06, 2002 ):
This is the frequency theory as opposed to the recency theory. Some feel that there is added effectiveness in wall-to-wall presence, and for products moslty sold in the weekend shopping periods, it makes sense to concentrate on these days, if any. It's about consumer patterns not media, so it applies (or doesn't) equally to TV newspaper, radio or cable.

An interesting corollary phenomenon is that some media will offer discounts for Sunday-Tuesday schedules.


Wednesday, November 27, 2002 #5649
How can I optimize a media plan based on advertising response curve???

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, December 01, 2002 ):
If your advertising response curve is assumed to be "S" shaped (as in many published studies), this means there are diminshing returns as frequency (repeated exposure) is added after an optimal point.

One approach to optimization on this basis might be to begin building reach in the most effective medium, and add the next most effective medium at the point of diminishing returns of the first. Then, the added exposures would be more likely to hit a previously unexposed group of prospects.

This assumes you will base your judgement of "most effective medium" on the one which generates the most results (sales / awareness / perception change, etc.) per dollar. . . and track incremental results on the same basis.


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

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


Saturday, November 23, 2002 #5638
I need to provide my management with a brief discussion on how good quality information on advertising response curve together with frequency distribution data can be used to improve television planning / optimization.Can you help me, please...

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, November 23, 2002 ):
Journal of Advertising Research will have considerable material on the topic.


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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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


Thursday, October 03, 2002 #5542
Dear Guru, We are a company that specializes in large scale video displays, with our focus on the indoor/outdoor LED screen market. We currently provide our services for events and trade shows. We are developing advertising solutions for companies utilizing this LED Screen Technology. What kind of formula should we use to sell airtime? i.e 30-second spot an hour for seven days between the event hours....say 9am-8pm. There are ten sponsors of this event. The event will draw approximately 50,000 people over the seven days. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Regards, Darren

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, October 06, 2002 ):
Start with outdoor as a model. An average cpm might be $5.00. Perhaps that could double if you have full sound with animation. Perhaps it could double again if the event audience is highly desirable to the advertiser. That would make the price $1000 over the course of the event. Can you also charge for frequency, i.e. once per hour? Remember we just based the audience on the whole event. The audience of a show open 36 hours over three days will average perhaps 2-3000 at a time. Can they all see every commercial? Think about how long each visitor stays and how often they would pay attention to the commercial. An average frequency of two seems generous.


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

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

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

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


Tuesday, September 10, 2002 #5510
Several of my AEs INSIST that there is a way to combine different media R/F over different time periods. Can you help me with what to tell them... why it won't work, how it would skew the numbers, etc... so I don't have to fight this fight every few weeks?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, September 16, 2002 ):
There is a way, mathematically at least. Conceptually, one medium reaches a certain group of people and the other reaches the audience which it reaches. There will be some duplication between these two groups of people reached. Broadly, the difference in time won't cause a major difference in the mathematical results.

The problem is that when planning combined media, we look for cumulative effect on consumer perception. Obviously, it's different when the consumer sees TV alone in February and magazines alone in April, rather than beinbg exposed to both over the same period. The difference is not in reach so much as impact. Perhaps it is important to keep the standard labels on your numbers, i.e. "Average 3 week reach," and "average 4 week frequency." When they don't occur together, the labels need to reflect that fact.


Monday, September 09, 2002 #5503
Dear Media Guru: I have read in some of your previous responses that the rule-of-thumb wear-out level for a typical 30" TV copy is about 2000 GRPs. What would the wearout level be for a 15" copy, about 1500 GRPs (75% of the 30")? And what about a 5" copy? Thank you. R.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, September 12, 2002 ):
The 2000 GRP level related to quintiles of frequency of exposure, therefore the copy length chage does not inherently call for a change. Is there a reason to think the :15 wears out faster than the :30? 75% is an impact or recall ratio. If rcall were less, wear out might be, too.


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

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

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

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


Thursday, August 22, 2002 #5479
1. How to determine the minimum GRPs that we should use per month 2. How do we know which level of frequency that we should set as effective frequency. Mostly we are using 3+ when do the planning but still wondering. Thank you

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, August 22, 2002 ):
Click here to see a compilation of past Guru responses about setting effective levels.


Wednesday, August 14, 2002 #5462
Dear Media Guru: Let's say there are 2 competing chewing gum brands in the market that generate over 800 GRPs weekly each. Clearly they are fighting for a higher SOV. The awareness level of each is close to 100%. I would think that when you have such a high awareness level you just need to maintain it with about 100 or max 200 GRPs weekly which will give you 80-85% reach. Maybe there are merits in such huge GRP weights that I am not aware of? Thanks, R.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, August 14, 2002 ):
In communications levels questions, it is always important to understand that different target groups and especially differetn cultures have different expectations and needs.

You appear to be writing from Uzbekistan, so the Guru's experience may not apply directly.

Sometimes schedules seem high because ratings are enormous, perhaps 25%, so any kind of frequency runs to heavy GRP weights. If ratings are 2-5% than this probably isn't a factor.

There are more effects derived from GRP weights than just reach. At the levels of which you speak, frequency becomes the key variable. If chewing gum is a major staple in your market with users making purhcase decisions daily, extreme frequency levels might be justified. If gum brands have more significant social overtones - i.e. are culturally significant, unlike the U.S. perhaps the weight is justified.

In a U.S. context, these levels do seem mystifying.


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

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

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


Thursday, August 08, 2002 #5454
Guru, Can you direct me towards any studies that show what an effective frequency should in both Newspapers and Magazine? I'm trying to arm myself with some ammunition to prove what we think is too low a frequency in several major market papers. You help is appreciated.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, August 10, 2002 ):
Try The Magazine Publishers' Association and The Newspaper Advertising Association


Tuesday, July 30, 2002 #5443
If you are designing a pullout poster for a business magazine with a circulation of 35,000 and you want to add advertisments to it, what is the going rate for a 2 x 2 advertisement with the staying power of a poster?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, July 30, 2002 ):
The Guru is not aware of a "going rate" for such an ad. It does not seem to be worth more than a similar sized ad in the magazine's regular pages, unless the poster is of the sort to earn regular reference. In that case, perhaps 50% premium can be justified. Even then, the ad only adds frequency, not reach


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

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


Tuesday, July 30, 2002 #5441
Dear Guru, please solve our argument. We (media agency) are always arguing with creative agencies what size of the creative material should be. We prefer smaller ads or shorter spots, because they are cheaper and we can achieve better media results (Reach and frequency), and the creative people like a bigger ones. How could we estimate the optimal size?

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

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

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


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

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

These points will guide you to weight and daypart mix.

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


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

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

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

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


Thursday, July 18, 2002 #5421
Our client, an italian luxury firm, is planning the fall -winter campaign. They need to get results very quickly (sell of products) but also to "rebuild" the brand, which in the past years didn't advertise at all. They would prefer to put most of budget on newspaper to get frequency but in our opinion the magazines should have at least 1/3 of the total budget to help "building" the brand. What do you think?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, July 20, 2002 ):
What are the reasons you think magazines do a better job of building the brand? Articulate them. Is it environment? Reproduction quality? Authority?

Why does newspaper frequency = quick sales? Is there a strong retail trade relationship. Deconstruct the theories and evaluate how the media can be mixed?


Monday, July 15, 2002 #5413
I would appreciate any feedback you can provide on the following....the client is looking for us to make a recommendation on how many print titles should be on their plan. What criteria should be looked at when determining this? I am sure a lot has to do with budget. They will be running in trade pubs in the biotechnology area and their budget is about $300,000. Also, how many times do you recommend running in a weekly publication? thanks for your help.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, July 17, 2002 ):
The number of print titles isa a result, not a goal. Goals should be reach, or frequency or coverage of specifc arenas, If there are twenty possible titles, there will be reasons to prefer some over others. The budget needs to be viewed in a context of the average ad cost.

There are some rules-of-thumb -- guidelines, not carved in stone -- which suggest once per month minimum in a weekly, every other month in a monthly, but these are about consumer perceptions of frequency. How many arenas do you need to cover?


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

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

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


Tuesday, July 09, 2002 #5403
what is a typical effective frequency level for retail stores?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, July 09, 2002 ):
"Typical" is typically not right for any given category. Click here to see past Guru responses about setting effective frequency levels.


Wednesday, July 03, 2002 #5398
how could I create a reach curve if I don´t have any information of "frecuency and reach" available. What kind of assumption should I suppose? Thanks Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, July 05, 2002 ):
"Creating a curve" is about graphing some data so that other data can be interpolated. In other words, when you know the reach or frequency from a few different schedules of GRPs, you then can predict the results of others.

Lacking any data, what assumptions might you make?

  • The general shape of a reach curve is more or less like the one shown below

  • Generally, the curve rises rapidly at first and then flattens, because it is 'asymtotic,' in mathematical terms
  • The top of the curve cannot exceed the reach potential of the medium.
  • The starting point will have reach equal to the rating of a single announcement, but the curve is drawn from a (0,0) origin.
  • The smaller the average rating, the slower the rise.
Reach curves are usually created from the frequencies observed in the known schedules, because the graph of frequencies is a straight line, so its 'slope,' to use another mathematical term is easier to deal with.

Reach with no observations is a complex calculation. You need a computer with software such as that offered by Telmar. In one example, as input you need average announcement audience, duplication between announcements of the same vehicle and duplication between each possible pair of different vehicles. These must be combined using a complex formula such as the Beta-binomial function. There are variants of this formula, which might be preferred, depending on media type and other variables


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

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

Try Japan Marketing Association for some help.


Saturday, June 29, 2002 #5384
I am working on a recruitment media plan, targeting ER physicians. Would you agree that the general media strategy should be to have increased frequency, in lieu of increased reach. For example, run FP4C ad in every issue of a trade pub instead of running every third month in three pubs. Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, June 30, 2002 ):
There is nothing in your question's set up which would lead the Guru to make a recommendation one way or another.

However, the Guru would imagine that there are times when a prospect will be interested in your ad and other times when the physician would not. Under theses circumsatances, reach would seem more productive than frequency.


Wednesday, June 19, 2002 #5365
Dear Guru: Thanks to you, our media plans have become even the more focused and precise. For one particular client, we have utilized Syndicated Television and remnant print within the United States. Our planning has brought a 600% increase in sales over an 8 month period. Being an international client, they now want us to take over the International Advertising. How do we buy in International markets? We've been mixing the TV with :10 Syndicated programming to increase frequency. Does this "wealth" of an inexpensive advertising method exist outside of the US? How are rating points calculated in Europe, Mexico, Canada? Who do I contact in Europe, Mexico, Canada to air my spots? Do they air "Everybody Loves Raymond", "Friends" and "Drew Carey"? How would I monitor delivery? Any unique advertising advice for the creative spots? Thank you Guru.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, June 22, 2002 ):
Thank you for the acknowledgement.

For Mexico, start with Televisa. For Canada, start with CBC. Europe is a mass of separate national markets, without consistency in programs available or sales practices.

Consider using a multinational media service like Carat.


Monday, June 17, 2002 #5356
Have a recruitment client. They want to go on TV with full year support with limited funds. We suggested compression. Would you know anything about this? ie, advertising 3 days a week vs. 7, reducing dayparts, etc.

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, June 18, 2002 ):
At its most simple, this sort of compression reduces reach and increase frequency. For those who follow the effective frequency style of thinking, this technique might add impact. For those oriented to recency, compression is counter-productive.

When funds are limited, the Guru would start with limited grography or timing and add funds if results warrant.


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

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


Sunday, May 26, 2002 #5309
Our company has recently appointed a new media planning agency. Are there any standard parameters on which the performance of planning agency can be evaluated? Since the planning agency is different from buying agency, the performance can not be measured on CPRPs or cost/spot etc. Secondly, is there merit in having separate agencies for media planning and buying? Your views. Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, May 26, 2002 ):
Assuming your communications and advertising goals are coming from yet another resource, you might set up some objective standards for how well your media plan answers these goals, translating into reach, frequency, impact, image building, etc.

The Guru believes that separating planning and buying somewhat limits the planning agency in the support it will get from the media sellers regarding packaging media deals.

There is some benefit in letting a good planner buy, but no inherent benefit in separating the processes.


Wednesday, May 22, 2002 #5301
In one of your responses to advantages of media mix and multimeedia strategies u have mentioned "Better distribution of frequency of exposure" as the advantage of using a media mix Can u pls elaborate on this Thanks for the help

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, May 23, 2002 ):
Each medium has heavier and lighter users. The heavier and lighter viewers of each medium duplicate at random, so that heavier print readers may be the lighter TV viewers. Consider the graph below, comparing a TV + print plan (1) to an all-TV plan (2). At the same budget, Plan 1 had a reach / frequency of 89.5 / 6.7 while plan 2 achieved 78.6 / 5.7.

Not only does plan 1 have better total reach and average frequency, but the portion of the target exposed to each number of ads (in the bar graph) is greater for plan 1. The proportional margin increases as number of exposures grows.


Tuesday, May 21, 2002 #5297
I am writing a POV for a client on radio frequency levels. Are there any guidelines or general principles on weekly and 4-wk frequency goals for national radio? I haven't been able to find anything through the RAB.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, May 26, 2002 ):
There are many theories. Other than buying 12 spots per station per week, in local radio, there are few standard points of agreement, and even the 12 spot theory is not absolute.

For example, in some situations, such as Black or Hispanic radio, where ratings levels can be 8 or better; GRPS for 12 spotrs can be 100 or more and you are really buying reach more than frequency, attitudes about frequency will change.

Then, are you talking about spots-per-week frequency or average frequency of exposure? The answer will again change depending on what other media are in the plan.

The Guru feels that all this and more need to be taken into consideration, rather than look for general rules.


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

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

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


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

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


Thursday, April 18, 2002 #5229
Dear Media Guru, Do you have any research or date that studied ideal budget allocation between main media and sub media? Or, How much of budget is good for sub media in order to maximize advertising impact?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, April 20, 2002 ):
One common rule of thumb is "use the primary medium up to the point where it becomes inefficient to add incremental reach." This rule works in reach oriented plans. Another might be ". . .until the submedium adds reach __% faster than more money in the main medium." A frequency or tonnage plan would have a different approach.

In any case, the rule will be based on media delivery measures, not some abstraction of budget percentage. The budget percentage split which results will vary greatly depending on the main and submedia involved, and the communication goals that define "impact".


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

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

Click here to see past Guru responses on the topic.


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

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

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


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

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

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


Tuesday, February 26, 2002 #5120
Dear Guru, In building reach for a retail chain we have put the emphasis on daily targeted campaigns featuring high TRP levels. For example 350 trps over two days. Would we be better off to spread this over one week. Would the reach be any higher. Can you show me the difference in reach of 350 trps over two days, one week and four weeks. Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, February 27, 2002 ):
The answer will depend upon target, daypart mix and other variables.

Broadly, some expanison of schedule days increases reach, by virtue of the opportunity to catch people whose media use habits vary over different days. Differences in shopping habits will aslo impact effectivness. Spreading too far may diminish reach if you concentrate in fewer dayparts.

Reach differences should be small if nothing else varies. Effectiveness is also sustained by the frequency change which will balances any reach change. You need to play with schedule variations in some felxible media software, such as eTelmar's.


Tuesday, February 26, 2002 #5117
Dear Guru! Sorry for unclear question about media mix. I would like to know is it a possibility to estimate the whole advertising campaign in different media by using common indexes (GRPs, frequency, reach etc) if there are no data from the same source - people-meters (TV), diary (press and radio)?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, February 27, 2002 ):
Yes. It is a standard procedure to combine media and has been for decades. There are some basic assumptions of statistical overlap, making a crude combination through probability arithmetic fairly indicative, and making modern media software, such as that offered by Telmar, reasonably specific.


Monday, February 25, 2002 #5115
Guru - I have a client who wants to move the needle with product sales via a newspaper only campaign? Is there a suggested frequency/times per week/campaign length for this single medium campaign to generate sales? Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, February 27, 2002 ):
The answers will vary by ad size, product category and many other elements. Consult The Newspaper Advertising Association


Thursday, February 21, 2002 #5104
Dear Guru, how can I appriciate the effectiveness of media mix (TV, press and Radio)?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, February 23, 2002 ):
The Guru is unclear on what you mean by "appreciate."

Among the benefits of media mix are

  • Gerater reach
  • Better distribution of frequency of exposure (flatter quintiles)
  • Ability to focus on different elements of communication; e.g. the immediacy and impact of full sight, sound and motion through tv plus the detailed descriptions of print


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

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


Friday, February 15, 2002 #5087
I am planning a magazine campaign which is over a period of 6 months with a reach emphasis. Can you please explain how the frequency builds along with reach.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, February 15, 2002 ):
Each magazine has a rating. The rating is equal to target readers ÷ target universe. GRP = sum of the ratings of all the insertions.

The first insertion will have reach equal to its rating points and a frequency of 1.0.

When GRPs accumulate, Reach increases at a decreasing rate, as in the curve below.

A print reach "curve" builds more quickly at first; especially when there are more different titles and less so when there is repetition in fewer titles.

GRP ÷ Reach = frequency. frequency, if graphed, would be a straight line.



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

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

The eTelmar starter package is a quick, inexpensive resource.

Click here to see past Guru responses


Monday, February 11, 2002 #5078
Hi - My client wants a general guideline for scheduling strategies for a maintenance versus a launch campaign. The obvious answer is continuity versus burst, but could you advise on the number of weeks on and off air for both approaches? Including ideal GRP levels? Thanks a lot!

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, February 11, 2002 ):
The primary factor here is budget. With adequate budget, continuity is always better even if levels vary at specific times. You need to determine what is an "adequate level" which you might define in terms of reach, or frequency or media mix, etc. For additional guidance, Click here to see Guru comment on recency.


Tuesday, February 05, 2002 #5059
Dear Guru (by the way, thanks for your earlier answers, they are really helpful !) : If I reach 3 differents profiles of people with 1 outdoor campaign, is it correct to say that reachxfrequency for each target equals the TRP (target rate points), and that the GRP is reachxfrequency over the entire population. So the GRP would be composed out of several TRPs?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, February 10, 2002 ):
First, GRP and TRP are equivalent terms. Some people reserve use of TRP (Target Rating Points) for cases where a speciific demographic is targeted, such as Women 18-49, College educated men, or Employed teenagers, and then only use "GRP" (Gross Ratings Points) for a Household target. Others use GRP for any target. In either case, the term means gross percentage of the specified target universe.

Arithmetically, Reach x frequency = GRP or TRP. GRP or TRP for different targets may not be added.


Tuesday, February 05, 2002 #5056
I've heard reach/frequency curves described as asymptotic curves. Can you please explain what that means? Thanks again.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, February 10, 2002 ):
Asymptotic, in this sense, means approaching 100% at an ever decreasing rate. In reach terms, if your first ad has a rating of 10%, it reaches 10% of the target. The next ad with a rating of 10 will have some duplication with the first and so possibly add only 9 reach points. The next will duplicate with both and perhaps add only 7 points to reach, etc. This is why reach curves (see below) "flatten" as they rise.


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

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

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


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

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


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

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


Monday, January 21, 2002 #5024
Hello Guru -- Do you have information on newspaper ad wearout? I have a client who wants to increase their newspaper advertising frequency without changing their creative ... what guidelines should be used for a branding campaign? Thanks!

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, January 31, 2002 ):
This is not really a media question. It's a matter of copy effectiveness. The answer will depend on category interest as well as the size and impact of the ad. For Branding, there may be an arguemnt to stay with a simple effective message. On the other hand, in newspaper, production is relatively inexpensive in comparison to media costs.

Click here to see past Guru comment on wear out.


Monday, January 21, 2002 #5022
Hi Guru, I've been asked to do a media plan for radio buys in the DC market. I've never done a media plan for radio before and have never even purchased radio ads before. Can you tell me where I should go for more information on how to buy radio ads and how it all works. I guess I'm looking for a radio101 or something. Please help! Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, January 31, 2002 ):
Get in touch with an experienced sales person from one of the top stations with which you will be dealing. Stations have marketplace and general radio planning tools. A good salesman can give you more education quicker than any other source

If you are starting from an assumption that you are only using radio and only one market, you are not really "planning," just selecting a schedule.

Your big-picture elements are meeting reach / frequency goals, format choices, and added value.


Saturday, January 12, 2002 #5000
Dear Guru, where can I find information about multi media planning (when I buy all media for GRPs and plan them together to gain aggregate effictiveness: Reach, frequency, etc.)

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, January 15, 2002 ):
Planning per se is about multimedia combinations, or reasons to use only one. Start basic media planning texts, you will find in theAMIC Bookstore (in association with Amazon.com)


Friday, January 11, 2002 #4995
should there be more emphasis on either reach or frequency depending on the level of involvement associated with the advertised product? also, is reach or frequency more important for standing out within a saturated market? cheers

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, January 14, 2002 ):
frequency, in both cases.


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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

For research, try The Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB)


Tuesday, December 11, 2001 #4938
Greetings. You previously answered a question for me regarding calculating R/F for a trade print plan (question #4900). Based on your answer (which included calculating ratings and using industry standard duplication figures), I am calculating overall Reach for each publication and for the entire schedule. Once I have that information (Reach%, Rating%), can you confirm what formula I would use to get the frequency (both for each publication and for the entire schedule). I have searched many years of your archives and can't find an answer that addresses that specific question. Thanks!

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, December 11, 2001 ):
frequency = GRP ÷ Reach

GRP is the sum of all the Ratings which go into the Reach.

For example, if publication "A" has a 12% rating, three insertions = 36 GRP.

A schedule of 3 times in publication "A," plus 4 times in publication "B," which has a 16% rating = 110 GRP.


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

.

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


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

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


Saturday, October 27, 2001 #4835
What wins ad size or frequency? Are there any case studies or research available that proves either theory? Your assistance is greatly appreciated to help settle this debate.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, October 28, 2001 ):
What wins what?

The Guru finds that frequency will do better at generating awareness, recall or reach. Size may convey a different impression of "importance." frequency is probably better for sales, but ad size may be better for image or to convey certain highly graphic ideas.


Wednesday, October 24, 2001 #4827
I have a few questions regarding advertising to children between the ages of 9 and 12. I am a Xavier University student working on a project for my Media Planning class and would really appreciate it if you could answer any of the following questions or if not, please direct me to someone who can. 1) What options are available for advertising to children between the ages of 9 and 12? I'm looking for creative ideas as well as anything that may be considered standard. 2) How do these options work and who do they reach? Are there any internet sites that may be helpful in locating this information? 3) What are the strengths and weaknesses of these options? Are any better than others at reaching this specific target? What would you recommend as far as frequency is concerned? 4) Hold are these options sold? Monthly, weekly, daily, etc.? On a spot by spot basis? Where could I get quotes for these to include in my presentation? 5) How much do they cost? 6) How are these mediums measured? Who provides measurement? For example, Arbitron measures radio in average quarter hour ratings. Do you know where I can go to find statistics on these? How many people are reached over what time span etc.? 7) Lastly, who should use these mediums? Is it better for one industry/company than another? Why? If it is easier to respond to me directly to my e-mail account please do. I would really appreciate this. leakey22@hotmail.com Thank you VERY much.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, October 25, 2001 ):
The Guru thanks you for the opportunity to do your class project.
  1. There are numerous TV shows on the broadcast networks, as well as Nickelodeon and other cable networks. There are publications from Scholastic Magazines and Radio Disney and many more
  2. These work pretty much as do comparable media for other ages. Visit the sites.
  3. Strengths and weaknesses generally parallel the same media for all ages. See the Guru's media strengths page. Broadcast tv will have the greatest reach, others may be more targeted or efficient. The Guru imagines frequency will be more important for this age group.
  4. Timing and pricing varies, visit the sites. Request kits. You may have to talk to vendors for realistic pricing. You will encounter varying willingness to help a student.
  5. See #4
  6. Nielsen measures the tv options. Print and radio are not measured by the standard sources such as MRI and Arbitron, except on rare occasion. The vendors will have some proprietary studies, possibly online.
  7. Who should use them depends on the marketing strategy. No doubt figuring this out is the point of your learning.


Wednesday, October 24, 2001 #4826
I know there's a study out there on the effect of frequency on click-throughs. I even found reference to a study in an answer you, the great Guru, provided in January 2000. However, the textlink to Doubleclick you provided on that answer no longer works, and after hours of searching online (doubleclick, iab, clickz, etc.) I have been unable to locate any official studies. Can you point me in the right direction of a current study? Thanks Guru!!

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, October 25, 2001 ):
If the sources you've tried don't have anything, try The Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter. For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230.


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

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


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

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


Tuesday, October 23, 2001 #4813
Dear Guru, Are there any research companies willing to pretest effective frequency by acctually showing my specific TV commercial to a test audience?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, October 23, 2001 ):
If you mean at no charge, probably not. The Guru is not clear on what test scenario for multiple exposure you are envisioning. To be a realistic test, the multiple exposure would have to take place over time and sales or A&U studies conducted over this period of time. There are many firms which might do this for you, and it will probably be quite expensive. A "panel" type company such as A C Nielsen or IRI Behaviorscan might be good starting points.


Tuesday, October 16, 2001 #4798
Could you please give me all examples of TV flights pattern: GRP min/max levels, guerilla tactics, else ?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, October 16, 2001 ):
Flight patterens can be any imaginable combination of active and inactive weeks from 1 on / 12 of to 12 on / 1 off. Anything more extreme shouldn't be considered flighting. The on/off patterens do not have to be equal or consistent.

Some think GRPs should be at least suffieceint to reach 30% of target weekly in a continuity plan. There is no real upper end except the "point of diminishing returns" where adding reach is prohibitively expensive or no longer possible. Even then, some would add weight just for frequency in promotions.

Guerilla tactics are marketing, not media issues.


Tuesday, October 09, 2001 #4766
Can you provide a guide for calculating the optimal number of advertisements to place per annum using radio, TV, an Newspaper Printing?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, October 10, 2001 ):
There is no basis for such a rule of thumb. Pay more attention to impressions, reach / frequency, etc


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

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


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

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


Friday, September 07, 2001 #4700
How can I measure the effects of media PLANNING and isolate them from total advertising effects, so as to minimise the effect of the creative? For example how can you tell the consumer has a high recognition level of a brand thanks to good time-, medium-, frequency- (etc.) decisions and not just because the ad was a creative success?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, September 09, 2001 ):
The only reasonable method is to comapre the same copy in different media vehicles. You need isolated markets or a laboratory environment to do such testing.

Roslow Research has a persuasion test that has been used in similar situations.


Friday, August 17, 2001 #4663
Love, love, love this site! I think you are providing a wonderful service. I read a recent question which as about an OTS formula (OTC?) I have never heard of this term. Would you tell me what the letters stand for? (I looked in your media terms section, and it is not there.) Thanks,

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, August 17, 2001 ):
Thank you for your kind words.

"OTS" or "opportunities to see" is used differently by various practitioners. One meaning is equivalent to impressions, or the number of exposures of a campaign to individual members of the target demographic; a summing of the audiences of all the advertsing occasions of a campaign. In this sense, "average" is not an appropriate modifier. Others may use the phrase "average OTS" as we in the US use "average frequency."

The term OTS is not commonly used in the US, but is standard in the rest of the English speaking world.


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Marketing

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

Message / Creative

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

Media

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


Wednesday, June 27, 2001 #4527
I have a Telmar Maestro run on M25-54 watching weekend sports. What is the difference between "Exposed (000)" and "Exposed at least (000)"? Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, June 27, 2001 ):
Note that the first column of the run is labeled "freq" or frequency. So that each number of (000) in the columns you are asking about is in a row with a frequency number from 1 to 15 or higher. The number "exposed" is the number of persons who see exactly the specified frequency of commericals (number of spots), while "Exposed at least" is the number of persons who see that many commericals or more. "Exposed at least" to 1 frequency therefore, is equivalent to your reach.


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

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


Wednesday, June 13, 2001 #4485
I would like to evaluate and/or add some new execution models to my cache for our local retail clients. Models for television such as "bookends" or "roadblocks" seem to be either tired or useless these days. I realize that the efficacy of any execution depends on the goals, strategies and tactics of my plan, but would like to learn of other methods employed in other markets. Any suggestions on where I might find some other multi-media ideas for different categories of clients?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, June 17, 2001 ):
When you cite "bookends or roadblocks" you are talking about the finest final fine points of buying your schedules. These are simply tricks to optimize reach or frequency, and which have catchy sounding labels.

When you talk of multi-media, ideas you return your thinking to the prliminary planning level.

Cross-media promotion is the sort of approach which best fits. Start by talking to salespeople at the media conglomerates. Companies like AOL-Time Warner and Viacom, for example, have sales specialists to help you develop these approaches.


Monday, June 11, 2001 #4468
My partner and I were asked by our clients to prepare a "communication strategy" for a government-sponsored responsible gambling strategy. We have already designed a brochure, a logo and we're currently working on their website. We've been looking for examples of a "communication strategy" but have come up empty handed. Our clients are not trying to sell something tangible but instead are trying to promote an idea - gamble responsibly. Any ideas where we can get a template or an actual communication strategy? We've looked through the archives and noted that you often refer to strategies only as a way to sell a product. Should we consider the idea of "gamble responsibly" as a product? Thanks for your help.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, June 11, 2001 ):
The Guru uses the word "product" in such discussions as a generic term including prosucts, services, image campaigns, etc

"Communications strategy" is a term that can have various meanings in different contexts. In the context of a media plan, it is covers the definition of the target, media envoronments and levels of communication (reach, frequency, etc). See the Guru's Parts of a Media Plan

"Communications strategy" can have broader meanings in the context of an overall advertsing plan or marketing plan.


Wednesday, June 06, 2001 #4459
One of the client's the I buy media for has a limited budget in a market with a very high cpp. They are considering running :10 second spots in addition to :30s to increase frequency. Do you think that's a good idea?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, June 06, 2001 ):
It's a way to increase frequency. Is there a frequency goal you're trying to meet?


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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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


Monday, May 14, 2001 #4396
Is newspaper used as a reach or frequency vehicle?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, May 20, 2001 ):
Reach. With only one daily exposure opportunity in most cases, the frequency possibilities are far less than broadcast, online or out-of-home media.


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


Wednesday, May 02, 2001 #4354
I noticed in the media strengths sections you don't include Internet Advertising. Why is that? Also, have you seen any best practices in how media people compare tradtional advertising with Internet advertising. For example, how can a media planner compare reach frequency in broadcast with impressions and unique audience in Internet? Any insight would be helpful. Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, May 02, 2001 ):
The actual reason is that the media strengths page goes back to AMIC's earliest days, late 1994 / early 1995, before the internet was being taken seriously as a medium. But the Guru will now add the following to that page:

Internet

Capture audience in the act of shopping (Search engines)
Narrowly select target by site appeal
Instant interaction / order taking
Instant copy change
Customer relationship building
Target customer / deliver ad variant based on customer profile or past action
Powerful environment for computer-related advertising
Streaming allows TV-like audio video within above advantages

Regarding comparing to other media, the differences are no greater than between Radio and outdoor or TV and newspaper. If you compare numbers, it's a clean comparison. If you need to explain communications impact and other differences, it's more complex, but merely a matter of choosing the right words.


Tuesday, May 01, 2001 #4349
I would like to know, if there are any other (main) media strategies, apart from recency, effective frequency and dripping. If so, under what name can I find research and guidelines about them?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, May 01, 2001 ):
These are scheduling / communications strategies. Advertisng can be continuous activity, or non-continuous (flights / waves / pulses). Tactics within activity can be same level at each period of activity or different level at each priod of activity. Within periods of activity, levels can be stable, rising or falling.

Recency argues for continuity; effective frequency argues for minimum effective levels during any activity.

Other scheduling approaches may be merely spreading it around at a level that experience has shown to be effective for the advertiser.

The best repository of research on such topics is The Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter. For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230.


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


Tuesday, March 20, 2001 #4273
Dear Guru, Can you guess at an estimated reach for a 4-week radio schedule at 150 TRP/WK (W2554)? Also, do you happen to know the formula for manually figuring reach/frequency? Thanks for your help!

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, March 20, 2001 ):
The formulas for radio reach are enormously complex and must take into account number of stations, daypart mix, average rating and other variables.

Your 600 GRP schedule might generate (roughly) from 35 to 70 reach, depending on these variables.

Click here to see past Guru responses abourt calculating reach.


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

0.8 x 75
+ 0.2 x 60 =
72


Thursday, March 08, 2001 #4247
Dear Media Guru, I have a client who is interested in an advertising campaign to change the public's opinion of them. I would like to know what would be more effective, a sustained low frequency campaign over an 18 month period or a short 3 month flight with both high reach and high frequency. The budget level is the same either way. The goal is at the end of the 18 month period, the target market should have a MUCH better opinion of the the client. I revere your expertise and look forward to your answer.

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, March 13, 2001 ):
The simplest answer is that if you run a heavy, three month schedule, and then measure target opinion 15 months later, your message is likely to be all but forgotten.

If you spread your schedule over the entire 18 months then you will probably be in a better position at month 18.

A good compromise is probably a brief -- possibly one month -- schedule to establish presence and sustaining spread over the 18 months. Since you appear to be focused solely on image rather than sales, some flighting should not be a problem.


Wednesday, March 07, 2001 #4243
Media guru, hopefully you can help me. I am trying to obtain definitions for the following. These phrases get thrown around so often here, but I am not completely sure what they mean; 1) Media strategy? 2) Communications strategy - how does it differ from media strategy? 3) Brand communications as opposed to advertising? Appreciate the help.

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, March 13, 2001 ):
You are right that these phrases get thrown around loosely. Part of the problem is that they have common English meanings and another is that, like many advertising terms, they have different meanings in various English speaking countries.

Looking "from the top down" may help understanding. First of all, generally "strategies" are courses of action designed to meet objectives.

  • Marketing objectives are big overall goals like increasing sales 10% per year.
  • A marketing strategy aimed at meeting this objective this objective might be to use consumer advertising.
  • An advertising objective within this marketing strategy could be to increase trial of the brand.
  • An advertising strategy within this could be a budget for consumer media.
  • A media objective under this strategy could call for building awareness among a new target segment.
  • Media strategies to achieve this objective might include a communications strategy of achieving X% reach in each four week period at a minium of Y average frequency

Brand communications is a broad concept including all messages delivered to consumers and trade via advertising, promotion, public relations, etc.


Tuesday, March 06, 2001 #4235
Dear Guru, Is there any rational for using the long-duration ads (media-wise) other than it can convey full message? Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, March 06, 2001 ):
Perhaps message retention is better, but most quantitative arguments -- reach, frequency, impressions, etc. -- would be against longer forms.


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

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

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

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


Monday, February 19, 2001 #4196
Do you have any statistics concerning the effects that adding color to an ad, increasing ad size, and/or increasing the frequency of an ad run on sales and recall of consumers? Could you please back these statistics up with studies and dates that these studies were conducted?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, February 22, 2001 ):
Visit Starch.

Also consult The Newspaper Advertising Association and The Magazine Publishers' Association.


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

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

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

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

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

Click here to see past Guru discussion about establishing levels.


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


Thursday, January 18, 2001 #4107
Dear Guru, I am writing from Istanbul,Turkey.I have two questions. 1. Would it be a good idea to place tv commercials on Monday, Wednesday and Friday one week, and Tuesday, Thursday and Friday next week. And repeating this cycle for three months. Since the product is a FMCG, I want to keep Fridays continiously so that just before weekend shoping our ads will continiously be in front of the consumers. Is this a wise use of alternating technique? This way I am hoping to have more effective frequency on three days of a week but leaving the four other days "empty". What's your opinion and guggestion? 2. As we all know, GRP =frequency X RATING. Therefore, it doesn't take the length or size of the ad into account. In other words, the GRP for a 10" commercial is considered equal to the GRP of a 45" commercial, which is not fair. There must be a way that doesn't ignore the length or size of the ad and reflects it , one way or the other to the final GRP figure. What do you think about this problem? Do you know any solution? Thank you very much for your kind assistance. Muammer Oztat

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, January 18, 2001 ):
Concentrating on Fridays may be beneficial, but the Guru thinks the other alternation is insignificant.

Regarding GRPs, "fairness" is not a media concept. In some calculations, such as reach, they are a way of counting people, not impact, and GRPs are simply headcounts. In other situations it is common for planners to make adjustment to GRPs for schedule comparisons. These adjustments may be based on commerical length, daypart attentiveness or other factors.


Wednesday, January 17, 2001 #4106
Guru(s), is effective frequency planning really dead? I have been reviewing the literature and it would seem that the concept of effective frequency is now outmoded and has been misinterpreted, over-simplified etc. I have been a proponent of the effective freq. approach in combination with Ostrow Model. I am loath to abandon, but don't want to be a media anachronism. Your thoughts would be much appreciated. (I have a presentation on Friday, during which I am sure to be grilled on the topic. R.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, January 18, 2001 ):
Effective frequency goals are apparently fading from favor in planning for products with continuous purchase patterns. There are sometimes good reasons, in time sensitive or highly seasonal categories, for example, to consider effective frequency. The distinction is a matter of professional judgement and assessment of marketing goals. This should outweigh planning trendiness, in the Guru's opinion.


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

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

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

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

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


Monday, January 08, 2001 #4087
Guru, First off, just wanted to let you know that I find this to be one of the most usefull sites on the web - as a management consultant in need of a crash course on media planning, the information found in these pages has proven invaluable...Now, on to my question: I am working on the launch of a branded consumer services play (auto related), and am trying to build a marketing budget from the bottom up, rather than as a strict % of sales. I have modeled an overly simplified media plan, and am looking for guidance on placeholders to use for weights (TRP) for TV and Radio, # of weekly inserts for newspaper, and showing level for outdoor. I know there are numerous factors and considerations I am leaving out (I know the GURU doesn't like sweeping generalizations), but I need a place to start. Goal: generate "substantial awareness" (think Midas, Maaco). Thanks for your insights.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, January 11, 2001 ):
The Guru thanks you for the compliments.

Keep in mind that while "substantial awareness" may be a snappy phrase for discussion of plans, you need to quantify such a term in order to quantify the building blocks of getting there.

Let's suppose we decide the goal is 80% ad awareness among the target within a given campaign period. Therefore, your advertising must reach at least 80% of the target in that period, with enough frequency for the message to penetrate and stick, let's say at least three times.

Now, you can calculate that generating that reach in TV will call for a certain number of TRP (you can use the media software at eTelmar for calculations). Or you can examine getting that reach with radio or a combination of TV and radio.

Outdoor will generate high reach more efficiently than either, with a #25 showing, but outdoor's necessary simplicity of message may not stand alone in filling your needs.

Newspaper has its own contribution and you need to judge from a marketing perspective whther you need a small store-locator ad every day, a full page branding message once a week, or some other approach, if any.


Friday, January 05, 2001 #4082
Guru ... I am analyzing various GRP levels for a radio only schedule for a retail client. Is there a benchmark for an acceptable average frequency to ensure the schedule is worth airing? Thanks for your help.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, January 06, 2001 ):
Beyond a reasonable minimum, say 12 spots, any schedule can be useful.


Saturday, December 23, 2000 #4063
Dear Guru, I am a very new media planner so I have a very basic question. What is the difference between average frequency and average OTS and what is the formula for their calculation. Thanking you in advace.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, December 23, 2000 ):
"OTS" or "opportunities to see" is used differently by various practitioners. One meaning is equivalent to impressions, or the number of exposures of a campaign to individual members ot the target demographic; a summing of the audiences of all the advertsing occasions of a campaign. In this sense, "average" is not an appropriate modifier.

Average frequency is the average number of exposures experienced by the members of the target who have been exposed to the campaign (net reach) over a measured time period such as 4 weeks.

Formula:
Gross impressions ÷ net reach
or
GRPs ÷ percent reach.


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

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


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

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


Monday, December 04, 2000 #4013
Dear Media Guru, I've read all articles about recency planning written by E.Ephrone and i still have a question - can You say for what product categories or marketing goals(like product launch)it is better to use recency or effective frequency planning strategy?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, December 06, 2000 ):
Recency is based on the idea that the advertising exposure closest to the time of purchase is most effective. Therefore, when products are purchased continuously across time, continuous advertising gives the best chance of exposure to a consumer clost to the time of a purchase.

At times when other issues than maximizing sales over time are dominant, scuh as short term promotions or building awareness of a new product, other scheduling is more appropriate


Thursday, November 30, 2000 #4005
What are the strengths and weakenesses of using a :30 television spot vs. a :10 television spot. And vice- versa?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, December 02, 2000 ):
The sole advantage of a :10 is that it is cheaper than a :30, usually about half the price. This advantage may be turned into added frequency and reach.

But it is a message that may be half --or less -- as effective.

:10s are not as freely available so using the added frequency potential may not be realistic. :15's are the more commonly available short form.


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

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

Click here to see past Guru responses about awareness and levels

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


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

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

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


Friday, November 17, 2000 #3974
Guru- I posted a question on Tuesday, October 24, 2000 #3907 about Cable advertising and you told me to: "Make sure you buy the cable outlets which duplicate least with your broadcast buys." What do you mean by this? Thanks!

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, November 19, 2000 ):
In that query, you asked about justifying buying cable because of the concern that the broadcast networks undedelivered cable HH. So presumably your desire is to assure that your advertising schedule covers the cable homes which are not reached or exposed to adeqate message frequency through broadcast. Some cable networks tend to be more viewed by ("duplicate with") the same homes which are heavy viewers of broadcast tv and others attract viewers more different ("less duplicated") from the broadcast network viewer. These latter cable outlets better serve your purposes in considering cable.

When going from a plan to a buy, you move from the general (broadcast underdelivers) to the specific (cable network "A" or "B" delivers) to accomplish your goals.


Friday, November 17, 2000 #3973
What is cost per miller? What is rating point? What is efective frecuency?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, November 17, 2000 ):
  • The Guru has never encountered "cost per miller." Perhaps you mean "cost per mille" which is how some people interpret "CPM," which actually means cost per thousand, based on the Roman numeral "M."

    This in turn means cost per thousand impressions delivered by the medium. An impression is one exposure of advertising to one single member of the target audience.

  • Rating point is audience expressed as a ratio. Target impressions divided by target universe or "base". Thus, if the medium delivers 1,000 impressions and the population universe is 5,000, there are 20 rating points.
  • Effective frequency is a number of exposures judhged sufficient to effectively communicate a message. Therefore a plan may be judged according to the reach at this level of frequency or above. 3 is a commonly set level. The concept is going out of favor.


Wednesday, November 15, 2000 #3972
I'm a newcomer to the site and I very much enjoy your bright responses. Re recency, you write >a core concept of recency is that once the third exposure is delivered, all additonal exposures are at 3+.< That concept belongs to Herb Krugman, ("Why Three Exposures May Be Enough.")whose work was misread as supporting effective frequency. The corresponding core concept of recency is a single exposure within a short planning interval is most cost-effective. These results in moderate TRP's and more weeks of advertising. When heavier weight is called for (i.e., new product introductions), instead of accepting random frequency, recency shortens the planning interval and maintains a solus reach goal. Planning for continuous reach produces a better distribution of frequency. My apology for this somewhat truncated explanation. I can provide greater detail if you'd like. Erwin

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, November 16, 2000 ):
Erwin;

As the leading industry writer on the topic, your comments are greatly appreciated, and you'll have to excuse the Guru for using your own writings in his reply.

Maybe "seminal" concept would be a better term than "core" concept when the Guru cites this Krugman principal, since it is more part of the evolution than structure of recency.

Perhaps connecting the concepts himself, but gathering them from your own articles, such as Learned Any Ads Lately?, the Guru sees the concept that all additional exposure are at 3+, as part of the underpinnings of Recency. Because this idea gets us past the effective frequency issue, the -- superior, in the Guru's opinion -- Recency theory surmounts objections from the effective frequency camp.


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

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

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

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

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


Monday, November 13, 2000 #3965
Can you give a definitive explanation of media quintiles (radio, tv, newspaper)?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, November 16, 2000 ):
Quintiles are used in two key ways:
  • Quintiles of media, and
  • Quintiles of schedules

Quintiles in either case involve dividing the people under consideration into five (quint-) equal groups for analysis. Why five? Why not? it has become the established method. Three groups would often be more useful: "average," "above average" and "below average" are easier to conceptualize. And some advertisers have considered "nine-tiles."

In media quintiles, the users of a medium, like radio, are divided into five equal groups, arrayed according to their heaviness of use, for example, the 20% of the population who listen to less than 3 hours of radio per week, those who listen to 3 to 6 hours, up through those who listen to 50+ hours. The range of hours of listening are set so that each range takes in 20% of the population. Then, other aspects of the behavior of these groups may be evaluated and lead to media or marketing decisions.

For example, if the lightest radio listeners are also light TV viewers, but the heavy newspaper readers, newspaper may be the best way to add reach to a radio plan and more evenly distribute frequency of exposure across all the people reached.

Quintiles of schedules are similar, but only consider those reached by a media schedule. For example if you had a radio schdule of 500 GRP in four weeks with a reach of 70 and a 7.1 average freqency, you might find that the lowest frequency 20% of your schedule reached (14 reach ou of the 70) had an average frequency of 1.0 and the highest frequency quintilehad an average frequecy of 19.8. When you add newspaper to the plan you can examine each quintile of the combined reach and will likely find the least reached group of the new total has a better average frequency.


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

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


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

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


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

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


Wednesday, November 01, 2000 #3935
Where do I find information on weekly GRP levels to use in radio for a service that is constant throughout the year, with no seasonality?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, November 06, 2000 ):
  • Determine GRP from desired reach and or frequency
  • Determine desired reach / frequency from awareness or sales goals; you can only sell to people who are aware of the service.


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

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

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

Weekly Freq.

Cumulative Reach

Cumulative frequency

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


Friday, October 20, 2000 #3900
Rome 20 October, 2000 . Dear Guru , I am thinking to planning an Ad campaign on Restaurants placemats. I would like know something about "the timing of exposure of Ads to gain the best effectiveness : in the case , I would like to know the effectivness of 3 or more exposures in 1 or 2 hours . Thanks Daniele Giacobbe

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, October 22, 2000 ):
This doesn't seem to relate to placemats. There have been experiments with multiple commercials in one pod, multiple ads in one program and multiple ads in one issue on magazines and newspapers. Probably even consecutive highway billboards. Generally these put a premium on frequency. For the ultimate collection of relevant research, see The Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter. For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230.


Thursday, October 19, 2000 #3897
Dear Guru: My events department asked my how to estimate the "media value" of a product metion during the lead story of a primetime show like entertainment tonight. I told them that this was a very broad question, and it would vary depending on who the target was, what the ratings were, and what value really meant (i.e, dollars? contirbution to product sales? % contribution to frequency of a campaign, etc. They didn't know. Can you confirm how to go about this? What info do I really need? Am I on the right track? Do you have any math formulas to estimate this? Thanks!

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, October 19, 2000 ):
Your thinking is exactly right. The Guru kows you as a regular and recognizes that you have followed his thinking from replies to past queries.

In terms of "media value" you would best stick to media metrics, like dollars, reach, frequency, etc. In considering dollars, you can relate the length of the metion --full context, not just brand name mention -- to price of commercials.

If thinking about impact, the Guru believes such a mention, is worth twice as much as advertising because of its implied indorsement. This of course assumes it's a positive mention, not something like "the strangler's weapon was a pair of Donna Karan pantyhose."


Thursday, September 28, 2000 #3851
Oh great and powerful guru... I've just read a series of responses concerning GRPs and wearout. Most questions seem to be based on X # of GRPs but no mention of reach or frequency. The real answer may lie in average frequency. If your GRP of 1000 is 1000 reached 1 time wearout is not a factor. If the GRP is 50 frequency for 20 reach, it's time to change spots. Am I'm living on a different planet or am I close to understanding something?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, September 29, 2000 ):
You are quite correct; the key audience metric in examining wearout is frequency.

But media people use boxcar GRP numbers as a general reference for schedule magnitude. Any reasonable TV mix of 1000 or more GRP will deliver about 85 - 95 reach for a typical demographic, making the average frequency about 11. The range in this discussion is therefore pretty narrow.

Some set a wearout standard according to frequency in the next-to-highest quintile, something like "when the next-to-highest quintile has a frequency of 20+." Even this kind of standard doesn't give greatly varying results across reasonable mixes of high numbers of GRP.


Wednesday, September 27, 2000 #3843
Do you know if there is some other web-based reach/frequency analysis tool for creating media plans . . . in Latinamerica?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, September 28, 2000 ):
eTelmar has the tools, but the audience measures for Latin America based sites are up to you to bring along.


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

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


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

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

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


Wednesday, August 23, 2000 #3737
I am trying to figure out the wearout for print. My target is African Americans 12-24 and 18-49. All I have is the FY reach, freg and TRPs. What would be my next steps?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, August 28, 2000 ):
There are no accepted standard formulas for wear-out. By the nature of print, which tends to yield high reach adn low frequency, there is generally less concern about wear-out than in broadcast.

Some of the broadcast rules-of-thumb for wear out include "over 20 frequency in the second highest quintile" or "2000 GRP.

Niether of these are likely to occur in print. Custom research may be the only real way to evaluate this. Start with Starch.


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

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

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


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

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

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


Friday, August 04, 2000 #3676
Do you have any research that shows how using multiple advertising medium (e.g. using radio plus outdoor) can increase effectiveness?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, August 08, 2000 ):
The first purpose of multiple media is to improve reach / frequency for the dollar. Otherwise, there can be many definitions of "effectiveness," such as brand awarenss, ad awareness, sales, etc.

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


Friday, July 21, 2000 #3638
I have requested and received the latest media kits, and have given a single sheet description of the client and the demo to the reps. Should there be an expanded RFP, and how long (or short) should a print RFP be, to be effective?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, July 23, 2000 ):
The Guru is not supportive of RFPs for print submissions. The concept of the RFP is best suited to soliciting complete solutions to needs. If you could give each vendor your complete print communications goals and were possibly willing to allow one publisher to win the whole budget, then the RFP approach could make sense.

Otherwise, the Guru recommends you specify, target, positioning, frequency desired, merchandising desires, and ad units and not be concerned with the "length" of the request at all. In other words, tell the sellers, as directly as possible, what the buying decision will be based on, and then let them respond. Feel free to request a standardized format for submissions, but allow enough flexibility to receive good ideas.


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

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


Tuesday, July 18, 2000 #3625
Can you please explain what "Optimizers" do in media planning? Is it a separate program from media planning software or part of the package (e.g. Tapscan, SmartPlus, etc.)? Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, July 23, 2000 ):
Generally, an optimizer is a buyers' analysis tool using respondent-level data, to select a media list which has the greatest reach within a budget or achieves a reach goal most efficiently.

There can be considerable detail specified as to target, reach at "X" level of frequency, etc. The current use of "optimizer" most often specifically refers to network TV analyzers using Nielsen data tapes as input and examining "actual" versus modeled reaches.

Media planning packages generally don't include such optimizers. Optimizers typically cost more on their own than media planning software suites and also require purchase of relatively expensive Nielsen tapes. Similar buyers' analyses of print schedules, are typically built into these planning suites but rely on users' possession of Simmons or MRI data.


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

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

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


Thursday, June 22, 2000 #3571
What is the difference between: advertising objective vs. media objective vs. communication objective? What is the best way to do an online branding campaing for a car manufacturer? Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, June 25, 2000 ):
Advertising objectives are a broad set of goals which include media opbectives. Media Objectives are a broad set of goals for a media plan, which include a communications objective.

For example, advertising objectives may include a brand image to establish or a specific level of brand awareness to achieve. Neither of these are media objectives.

Media objectives may include a media target, a media budget, a region of the country or sales index standard for geographic concentration. These are not communications objectives.

Communications objectives may be such goals as minimum average four week reach, frequency, effective frequency, etc.

There are many ways to do any sort of online branding campaign. There is no "one size fits all" best solution. A branding campaing for "the safest car" would certainly differ from one for the car whic is the "best value for a family." It is important to have firmly in mind what "branding" means:

According to marketing consultant Rob Frankel, "Branding is not about getting your prospects to choose you over your competition; it's about getting your prospects to see you as the only solution to their problem." (sm)

This means that most of what makes a campaign a "branding" campaign is outside of the domain of media. Study the marketing elements of the campaign and judge how you can make the media plan support it.


Tuesday, June 20, 2000 #3562
I would like to know which reports as to my web advertising I should except from the web site I advertise on. If you have any examples of empty reports as to the traffic in my web page/banner clicking figures - that would be great thanks ifat

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, June 20, 2000 ):
The miniumum basic report expected from any commerical web site would be banner exposures and click rates. Typical frequency is monthly. Sites could also break down exposures and clicks by pages associated with the exposures and clicks and the geography of the persons exposed and clicking.

Other than the basic exposure (impressions) and click count nothing is truly expected unless part of the deal. If you are buying a flat advertising rate, without cpm or audience guarantees, even that data may not be assured.

In any case, this basic data is too simple to need standardized reports. How many ways are there to arrange two numbers?


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

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


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

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


Sunday, June 04, 2000 #3527
Hi Guru,What will be the right measure to evaluate niche media channels : reach,GRP's or Share.This keeping in mind that the niche channels are traditionally viewed and used as frequency channels and are traditionally decided after the mainline reach channels are selected.Regds RKB

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, June 08, 2000 ):
The right measure will depend on your goals in a given plan. If you are considering niche channels to extend reach among that niche, then the reach added by the potential schedule is the standard. Note that this means how much reach you can add for the dollars available for niche channel investment, and not the total reach of the niche channel itself. It is a common miustake, in the Guru's opinion, to compare media based on an abstraction of their total performance rather than what they can realistically contribute to a specific plan.

By the same token, if the niche channels are to be used as frequency vehicles, then efficiency is probably your best comparison. Share will rarely be most pertinent metric in any case.


Thursday, June 01, 2000 #3517
What is the general rule of thumb (in terms of number of :60 radio spots per week) in a non-metered market? The goal of the advertising campaign is awareness over a 7 month period (no weekly promotion to talk about - just letting people know about our business). In the past we have been running anywhere from 14 to 16 spots per week.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, June 01, 2000 ):
The "overkill" level of frequency will depend on continuity among other things.

In a market too small to measure, the Guru imagines that there are relatively few radio stations, perhaps 12 or fewer, and average ratings might be 5 or better. So suppose 16 spots is about 100 GRP. FOr reach you would still want to use more than one station, at least 12 times each.

Are you sure your market isn't measured, perhaps as part of a larger market as defined by Arbitron? Even tiny Lima, Ohio, the 201st of the 210 DMAs making up the entire country has ratings twice yearly. Check out Radio & Records.


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

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


Tuesday, May 30, 2000 #3503
Media Guru, I'd like to clarify my question from last week about national media vs. spot media planning. Based on the marketing and communication goals of our client, we have determined that network television is a necessary part of our media mix. We are in the process of aquiring reach/frequency software for national media, but don't currently have it so I can't do a run to determine TRP levels that will generate effective levels of reach/frequency. So, in order to get a feel of what other national advertisers planned, I looked at other plans that contained network television. In looking at those plans I noticed that the TRP levels are significantly lower than spot television plans. Have you noticed that same descrepancy in media plans that you are familiar with? If so, why?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, May 30, 2000 ):
You must be comparing all-TV plans where one is all spot and the other is all network for these comparisons to make sense, in the first place. If there are other media involved, naturally that will affect TV levels.

In national plans containing both media forms, the network will be mostly low-readh daytime and high-priced prime. So there are reasons to limit investment in each. Spot ususally is concentrated in fringe times, which offer better reach potential than day and better efficiency than prime, so that is one reason for higher spot levels.

In other plan where there is network as well as spot, spot may be used to give extra weight to markets with greater sales or greater sales potential or to fill in market that are underdeliverd by network versus national averages. In any of these cases, spot is typically used at higher levels, but in a short lis of markets.

There is nothing inherent in spot versus network to make spot levels higher than network when either one is the sole medium.


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

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

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


Friday, May 26, 2000 #3497
Dear Media Guru, Not long ago I came across the statement that audio and video spots do not work if they are shorter than 20". Please, give me some comments about this. If it is possible, can you ad your comments with some references on this theme.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, May 29, 2000 ):
It seems a ridiculous statement, considering the popularity of :15 TV commercials today. Were you reading old trade journals? 20 years ago, when TV :60s were the norm, they said the same thing about :30s. Comparing one unit versus the other, there will always be an advantage to the longer execution. But in the real world, one gets double the advertising, or perhaps 3 for every two. :15's work through added frequency if for no other reason.

Research is plentiful. Contact The Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter. For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230.


Thursday, May 18, 2000 #3486
Hi. I writing a media plan for a B2B .com The target is small businesses and the marketing objective is "to build the brand". Should I use reach as the primary media objective or frequency? For example, the online portion, should I use larger banners and sponsorships on fewer networks and single sites or smaller banners on more nets and sites? Also do you know of any research that details the crossover among magazine hard copy readers and that same magazine's online newsletter? Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, May 21, 2000 ):
Some research has shown that banner ads wear out very quickly, at least insofar as generating clicks. So reach would seem a more useful benefit of online ads. If your goal is branding, one presumes you have significant information content in the banners themselves, rather than relying on clicks.

Cahners has posted some research on crossover in a B2B context.


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

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

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


Tuesday, May 16, 2000 #3476
What is the usual time of TV copy worn-out? Please give me some examples of Western markets (I am writing from Poland). Is there a big difference when you use the same copy all the time or several versions (let's say - the same logo, text, packshot, but different scenario)? Please submit it to FMCG brands. Thanks in advance. Cezary

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, May 19, 2000 ):
It depends on how you define wear out, which might be based on GRPs or frequency or sales rate.

Click here to see extensive past Guru comment on wear out


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


Tuesday, April 25, 2000 #3421
I'm thinking of running :60 second radio spots vs. :30's. I have schedules and costs, but want to know if there is an industry standard that shows how much more :60's cost over :30's (if it's twice as much or 40% etc.) Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, April 25, 2000 ):
The standard, once-upon-a-time, was that radio :30's cost 80 to 85% of 60's. Today, more often, radio stations sell "units" and have one price for :60 or :30. Under either standard, 60 is a better buy. But under the older system the added frequency with :30's was a real consideration.


Tuesday, April 25, 2000 #3420
We are putting together a sponsorship package that incorporates TV spots, our company newsletter, our website and our fleet vehicles -- is it possible to estimate a combined reach/frequency for all four mediums combined?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, April 25, 2000 ):
The TV is easy, using standard methods, of which you are probably aware.

The other estimates must start from simple counts of the newsletter circulation, web traffic and - the toughie - persons exposed to your fleet. Most simply, after getting a standard TV reach, convert the other media impressions to ratings and combine by "random probability."


Monday, April 24, 2000 #3413
Which medium (TV, radio, print, direct mail)does the Internet have the highest duplication with in terms of usage?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, April 24, 2000 ):
This question isn't really answerable as stated. TV, Radio, Print and (in theory) direct mail reach everyone, including all internet users. So, with this broad question, all media are tied at 100% duplication.

Specific schedules of traditional media , specific DM lists and specific web sites will have different duplication rates, and different frequency distributions. Or, you could determine something like "webusers are less likely to be heavy viewers of TV than heavy readers of magazines."


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


Monday, March 06, 2000 #3285
I am considering becoming an internet consultant for an established media-buying agency who currently does no Internet/banner advertising work, but wants to start. I have many years experience in Internet, web site production, and marketing, but I know little about media buying. Where would be a good place to start? I will be attending Thuner Lizard Web Advertising 2000 conference in Ny in April.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, March 06, 2000 ):
The Guru is quite opinionated on this concept. His opinions include:

  • It is far easier for a media professional who knows buying to learn about the internet than for an internet / web site production person to learn about media buying

    Conferences like the one mentioned are likley to offer an experienced person a few new insights, but not likely to confer job skills.

  • There are far too many people currently selling web media who toss around web jargon but have no idea of the meaning of key media concepts, like reach, frequency, duplication, efficiency

Your best hope is that the company you are joining, if they are hiring internet specialists from outside the media buying world, is putting on some sort of training / mentoring program, where you can learn by doing.


Sunday, March 05, 2000 #3283
hi guru is there any place that i can read about media strategies? ( flighting, continuous,pulsing ,recency)? can you guide me what are the right reach/ frequency levels in FCMG ? shooping goods? others? best regards

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, March 05, 2000 ):
There are many Guru comments about these topics. Go to the Guru Archives Search Engine. Use your keywords as your search terms.


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


Thursday, February 10, 2000 #3203
Dear Guru Could you tell me how to set reach objectives if I have sales objective in terms of no. of SKU and average purchase frequency.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, February 13, 2000 ):
If "average purchase frequency" means you know how many purchases are made by some percent of your target, then one approach might be to think that for every member of the target exposed (the effective frequency) number of times in a purchase cycle's length of time, you will make a sale to the same percentage of those exposed as the percent of the target group which is expected to to purchase in the time frame.

Of course this assumes that advertising is the only cause of sales or of incremental sales, but it should give you a framework upon which to build.


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

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


Sunday, January 30, 2000 #3171
Guru, I am currently trying to put together a newsletter for clients of my radio station. The newsletter would be about our new website and pertinent facts that would entice the clients to become more involved in the site. My questions is: What are the most important topics to cover when telling a client about how great and effective a website is?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, January 30, 2000 ):
The Guru asks:
  • What is "great" about your website

    and

  • Why should the client care?

Are the clients getting free ad space as merchandising for their radio schedules? Are you trying to sell them ad space on the web site? Is the website creating marketing tools for the clients? If none of these, why would they care at all about the web site?

So if one of those is the answer, then the greatness and effectiveness will be in the site traffic, number of vistors, length of visit, frequency of visit or sopme user interaction with the site that effects the client, like contest sign up, listener club sign up which creates a database available for client use, etc.


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

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


Thursday, January 27, 2000 #3161
Dear Guru, Am very interested in the effective frequency and recency planning debate. I would be very grateful if you could forward some articles or suggest sites where I could read about John Phillip Jones and Erwin Ephron on STAS and Recency Planning or Mcdonald and Naples on Effective frequency. Any other articles/sources would be of great interest to me Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, January 29, 2000 ):
AMIC's sister company, Telmar, recently celebrated its 30th anniversary with special "Anniversary Awards Papers" written by Jones (on STAS) and Ephron and posted here.

Click here to see numerous past Guru comments relating to recency and effective frequency.

The most complete collection of articles on these topics is the The Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter. For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230.

Some would be found in the Newsweek Media Research Index.


Saturday, January 22, 2000 #3145
Another question : How is the recomendated efecttive frequency for a launching campaing, for maintennance, for a promotion. The efective frequency is relative, but the experience and the knowledge of the people there somilars in many countries. Please help me

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, January 23, 2000 ):
Effective frequency always seems to start from the basic 3+ times which comes out of the original research. Then the next question is what reach level to set at this effective frequency benchmark.

Some planners set various other efeective frequency goals depending upon various marketing factors (see the Ostrow model).

Most simply, introductions and promotions would suggest higher effective frequencies while maintenance can use minimal levels.


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

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

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

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


Wednesday, January 19, 2000 #3132
Dear Guru, I am searching for the information about subway audience data. Can you help me in finding the information about the main characteristics of the subway research in different countries. I have only the data about passanger flows per subway line (direction) and per concrete station and socio-demographics from TGI survey for subway usage frequency. Do you think it can be enough to make mediaplans? Thank you anyway.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, January 22, 2000 ):
Subway advertising sellers should have demographic data about their medium.

Start with TDI.


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

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

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

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

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


Sunday, January 16, 2000 #3122
Dear Sir / Madam, The question that I have is related to media weight setting. q1) Often in the past we have used the market prioritisation technique in BDI / CDI. Having done this we simply super impose the market dynamics to arrive at a market task. Now the question is can we make the BDI / CDI numbers talk harder. Is there a relation between BDI and the frequency required.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, January 19, 2000 ):
BDI and CDI are typically used to establish the effort which will be made in each market in relation to the other markets. These indices reflect a market's contribution to national sales versus its portion of national population.

The application of the index typically addresses allocation of media dollars or impressions. It could just as easily be used to set average frequency or effective frequency goals, but since frequency grows in a non-linear fashion - the growth rate accelerates as GRPs accumulate, it is simply a more complicated basis for media application.


Friday, January 14, 2000 #3120
What is the minimun number of GRP's a radio schedule should have to reach A35-64? I have planned a minimun of 50 GRP's for various markets, but I do not know if this is too little, or too much.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, January 19, 2000 ):
The only generally accepted "minimum" in radio advertising is 12 spots per week per station. But GRP must be considered as well in judging communications value.

50 GRPs is almost too small a total schedule to bother with. Most advertisers, pulling a number out of the air would probably start with 100 GRP per week in a campaign if radio is the only medium being used. A total campaign of 50 GRP should reach about 20-22% of the target, at a low level of average frequency: about 2.3. This would not be expected to generate much consumer response.

4 weeks at 100 GRP/week will get about to 50% target reach at an average frequency of 8x.

Certainly budget is a constraint, but effective levels in fewer markets is better than wasting money in a longer market list.


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

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


Wednesday, January 05, 2000 #3096
Oh Great Guru -- I need to calculate GRPs, but I don't have reach or frequency on some tv buys. I do have CPM, total impressions and impressions/week and the total population of the demographic. Can you supply a formula for calculating GRP based on what I have?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, January 05, 2000 ):
(Impressions divided by population) x 100 = GRP.

For example,
if impressions are 2 million and population is 1 million, GRPs = 200.


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

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

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


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

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

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


Tuesday, December 14, 1999 #3053
I have a production department and account manager that want to produce a :60 TV spot. I know that we need a :30. I need to give them (and the client) a concrete argument as to why :60's are too expensive to produce and place and the effectiveness of a :30 is what we need. I know that :15's can be 70-80% as effective as :30's - but I don't know numbers on the effective of :60's - help

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, December 19, 1999 ):
When :30's were a new idea, research showed them to be about 75% as effective as :60's. Now that they are coin-of-the-realm, the ratio has probably improved. Even if less than half as effective as a :60, the reach/frequency and recency contibutions of running twice as many spots would outweigh this unit impact issue.

It is a mistake to consider only one execution vs another when it is the campaign that should be evaluated in measuring effectiveness.

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


Tuesday, December 07, 1999 #3033
Without the budget for post-flight call out surveys what formulas or 'rules' can I use to anticipate message saturation and burn. What reach or net reach level over what period of time would be probable to achieve a 80% awareness within the target. Also what is considered too much exposure for one message before you reach a point of diminishing returns. I know that the the better measurment here is research before and during the campaign, but there must be some bench marks that are industry accepted. Can you share these and share a public location for other general assumptions like this. Thank you in advance Guru... J

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, December 08, 1999 ):
  1. Ad awareness will never be greater than reach, so start from a plan that delivers at least 80% reach
  2. To establish measurable awareness, some repetiton will be needed, so think about getting an 80% reach at a set effective frequency level. The Guru has previously discussed use of the Ostrow Model to set this goal.
  3. A message is worn out when its ability to generate sales falls off. This being hard to predict, many advertisers have used past experience to set media-measurement based cut-offs. These have included a limit of 2000 GRPs and a frequency cap of 20 in the second highest quintile. In reality, the size of the copy pool, the qualities of the copy, the target, the overall media mix, and product category may all lead to wide variations in wear out. The two standards mentioned above were both commonly used in basic package goods TV advertising in a mix with print and a TV copy pool of 2-3 executions.


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

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


Wednesday, November 24, 1999 #2998
hi media guru please guide me : how can i know how much frequency, reach, and grp is needed for an old brand which first advertise on t.v? ( the target audience: main shoper with young children - 4-8 years old) thank you

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, November 28, 1999 ):
This is a judgment call. The Ostrow model can help guide setting of effective frequency goals.

Reach then becomes what you can afford or what you need in terms of numbers of sales to become successful judged against anticipated consumer response as a percentage of target consumers reached effectively.

Further, one must keep in mind, since you are writing from outside the U.S., that cultural situations and media environments have a big impact on the matter.


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

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

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

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


Tuesday, November 16, 1999 #2977
Details of Ostrow's effective frequency model

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, November 21, 1999 ):
The Ostrow model aims at establishing the minimum level of frequency to be deemed effective so that the plan can maximize reach at that level of frequency. The model can be traced back to his speech, "Effective frequency" at an Advertising Research Foundation Key Issues Workshop, June 4, 1982.

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

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

Marketing

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

Message / Creative

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

Media

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

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


Tuesday, November 09, 1999 #2945
I have chosen to do my thesis( post graduation in communications) on exposure distrbution models in print and television media. I am really keen on finding out more about the following topics: Beta Binomial Distribution Sequential Aggregation Distribution Dirichlet Multinomial Distribution Hofmans Beta Binomial Distribution Conditional Beta Distribution I have been through " Reach/frequency Estimation for the -the Internet World Wide Web" by Jongpil Hong . I do have access to journals on campus but am facing a problem gathering information on conditional beta distribution ( Kim Heejin,1994) and sequential aggregation distribution (Lee, Hae Kap, 1988). On surfing the net i also visited - http://www.utexas.edu/coc/admedium, checked out the demo on frequency distributions. To further my study in this area i would be grateful if you could guide me as to how to access these doctoral dissertations.Also any help and guidance on other information sources will be deeply appreciated.

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, November 09, 1999 ):
The Guru would expect to find doctoral dissertations available at the universities where they were delivered.

Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230. has the best compilation of advertising research studies.

The New York Public Library's Science, Industry and Business Library also has a great deal of this material.

There is also a dissertation abstract and search service at UMI


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

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

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

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

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

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

The bottom line is that

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


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

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

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


Monday, October 25, 1999 #2903
Are CPMs higher on sites that have high frequency of use (ex. email sites)?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, October 27, 1999 ):
There is no reason they should be. On the one hand, traffic is traffic. On the other, reach is often valued above frequency.


Thursday, October 21, 1999 #2895
Dear Guru,I want to know why ad agencies work with standards like a 15 % commission. Why are these norms like - commission on gross or net amount followed as a standard? When are the commissions charged on gross amount and when on the net amount? For ex. why only 15 % but not any other figure. Similar norms are followed when charging for media space/ time bought by a client. I have read your answers on the concept of 3 + frequency for ads. Could you please provide similar information for the aforementioned norms and the various norms/ standards followed during billing by ad as well as media buying houses and Agencies of Records. I would also be obliged if you could direct me to any site which provides this information.( The commission rates which I have mentioned are followed in India. Are they the same worldwide?) Thanking you in advance.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, October 21, 1999 ):
15% of the gross media cost has been the standard for so many years that no one questions the rationale any longer, though many big budget advertisers negotiate other deals, and many small budget advertisers must pay a different fee. When commission is based on net, 17.65% is used to get the same proportions.

Not all media have always used 15%. It used to be common for outdoor to base prices in 16.67% of gross, on the theory that more work was required of the agency for "riding the boards." Some media only publish net rates which agencies must mark up. These media are typically smaller locally oriented ones useed to selling direct to advertisers. Internet web sites often quote net rates as well.

On other items and services which agencies purchase for clients, such as production the 17.65% of net is commonly used.


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

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

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

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


Wednesday, October 06, 1999 #2854
What are the advantages/disadvantages of advertising during sweeps? We have a client who is TOTALLY hung up on advertising during sweeps. Isn't there a lot of self-promotion going on in TV? The client is a newspaper. Also, I've heard that political advertising during the fourth quarter 2000 is projected to be phenomenal. Do you have any information on how advertisers are reacting? Thanks!

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, October 07, 1999 ):
It is true that ratings are higher during sweeps, because programming is selected to increase audiences when they are being measured. And yes, there is a lot more self promotion in these periods.

But, assuming your client is going to buy "X" GRPs, they will get them with fewer announcements in a sweep than otherwise. If it takes 20 announcements to get 100 GRP in October but only 15 to get 100 GRP in November, the difference to the advertiser should be infinitesimal in terms of more impact. If any measurable effects are seen, there would be a hair more reach and a speck less frequency in the sweeps scenario. The cost per point might be higher.

Political advertising surges during every presidential election. Advertisers will not be visibly reacting today, since Fourth Quarter is sold as the first quarter of a network's year. When Q4 2000 selling starts to move next May, the upfront advertisers will secure their time comfortably. Some advertisers who don't usually buy upfront will. As the year goes on, some money which would have been spent in some places will go elswhere, network to spot, TV to radio, broadcast to print.

It happens every four years and used to be worse when both summer and winter Olympics fell in these same presidential election years.


Wednesday, October 06, 1999 #2852
I have to give a presentation on buying print media. I want to explain how frequency discounts work when advertising in newspapers. Can you help me explain, in the simplest way possible, how these discounts work? I appreciate your help. Thanks!

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, October 06, 1999 ):
The more often one advertises, the lower the price per inch of space. That's as simple as the Guru can make it.


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


Tuesday, September 14, 1999 #2797
I am looking for software that figures "reach and frequency" for newspaper media plans. Do you know of any and if so, which has the most current, up-to-date data?

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


Friday, September 10, 1999 #2788
Media Guru, How many commmercials does the average person watch in his/her lifetme? I need to know for a class I am taking in college. Please let me know by Mon. Sept.13 Thank you La Nita

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, September 14, 1999 ):
The Guru has heard estimates from 600 to 3000 per day (which is ludicrous, of course).

Assume we're speaking of a person born during the TV era, who really starts watching at 2 years old.

Assume the person watches 3 hours of TV a day, on average.

Assume the frequency of TV commercials stays unchanged for the 75 years or so of the person's lifetime.

There are about 7 or 8 minutes of commercials (14-20 commerical units) per hour at the low end and twice as many at the high end, so lets take an average of 30 per hour. 30 per hour, 3 hours a day for 365 days a year for 73 years = 2,398,050.


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

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

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

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


Friday, September 03, 1999 #2765
Dear Guru, We are in the process of completing an advertising campaign that is targeting the Retired Senior market. Unfortunetly our advertising budget will only allow for regionalized print, and limited national print. Although I am completely aware that frequency of insertion is dependant on numerous variables, I am curious to know if there is an industry standard for number of insertions that a "senior" typically needs to be exposed before becoming familar with a message or risking burn out? Your help is very much appreciated.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, September 03, 1999 ):
The Guru has never encountered any industry standard for wear-out in any medium or any target. Too much depends on the ad itself, the interest level of the category, novelty, etc.


Thursday, September 02, 1999 #2763
Dear Guru - I have been attempting to write a business plan for a content based internet site. I have had an impossible time finding out about potential revenue generation through ads. Do you know of good (free or low cost) places that can give specifics or estimates on the revenue generated by specific sites through advertising? What about hit frequency for internal navigation buttons on specific sites? Or maybe you... well thanks anyway.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, September 03, 1999 ):
The Guru does think it very likely, but perhaps IAB (Internet Advertising Bureau) or C.A.S.I.E. (The Coalition for Advertising Supported Interactive Entertainment) have data.


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

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

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


Monday, August 30, 1999 #2751
please e-mail me the latest information about effective frequency as it relates to magazine advertising... required # of insertions to break through, etc.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, September 02, 1999 ):
Guru answers are only received on this page.

Click here to see past Guru responses about effective levels in print or try the Magazine Publishers of America


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

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

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


Thursday, August 19, 1999 #2729
Dear Guru, 1- Please let me know SQARE model that SQAD use to calculate CPP for TV and Radio. Please let me know the detail or any link I can find more information or books... 2- Do you know any model for reach vs GRPs? Our client ask us to show the data like that. The problem that we try to find the suitable daypart mix, station mix, medium mix that is good for our advertising strategy but we don't have any optimiser programs. We have only ratings data like Telescope and Prinscope of ACNielsen. Do you know any example to solve this kind of problem? 3- Our client also want to have a model to set advertising budget to get for example 80+ reach but we can not know until it happen. How to solve this issue? warmest regards, Thai Vang

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, August 19, 1999 ):
A general explanation of SQAD's model is available from SQAD. They will give you the same information they would give the Guru. But the essence is manipulating actual buying data in real situations, provided confidentially by actual media buyers.

GRP's and reach do not have any standard realtionship, except within given media and population parameters. You are writing from Viet Nam, where Televison audience cume patterns are likely to be quite different than in the U.S. Even within the U.S., Hispanic TV reach curves are very, very differerent than the General Market TV reach curves.

The way to build a model, to oversimplify, is to collect a great number of actual reaches of real schedules, and then plot their frequency against reach in a regresssion analysis, which gives you the formula for the "curve." frequency is plotted, rather than reach, because frequency is a straight line while reach is a curve. The curve formula then allows you to create a model with a reach solution for any GRP input. The more variables you use to build different curves, the more sophisticated your model can be.


Thursday, August 19, 1999 #2726
I buy a base level of 500 Ad 18-49 TRP's per week; a typical flight will run 4 weeks --- for a total of 2000 TRP's. From this base buy, we usually split the base buy in 1/2 trafficking in two different spots (1000 / 1000 TRP's). At what level do you think that wear out will occur? Thanks for your help.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, August 19, 1999 ):
What is your definition of wearout? A frequency level? A decline in ad awareness? A sales decline? There are may ways to set wearout.

One of the oldest, and easier to use because it is defined entirely by media measurement, is a certain frequency level in the next-to-highest quintile, perhaps a frequency of 20.

Depending on daypart mix, this might mean wearout at about 2000 GRPs for a spot.


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

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

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

Click here to see past Guru comments on effective reach

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

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


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

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

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

But this all has to be taken in a context of

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

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

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


Monday, August 02, 1999 #2679
our peoplemeter claim that we must weight commercial lenght according its duration for example: if the commercial lenght is 15 second and the rating of the commercial is 20% so the multiplie the rating 20% in 0.5 and the weighted 15" commercial is 10% (the ration between the commercial length to 30 second i claim that it is wrong since they want to put an impact index and the rating is a quantity index which tells as how many people watch? and if the same people so 30" commercial and 15" second commercial it is means that the same amount of peolple so the commercial besides, the meseaure unit on the meter is 60" and last why the dont weight reach and frequency to commercial? who is right?

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

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

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


Friday, July 23, 1999 #2655
my client wishes to advertise for a sale of his plastic mould machinery for sale ad in the world's top 5 publications. i want to know the rates , frequency, circulation of leading newspapers / magazines which will be in my target audience. please help me. this is very urgent. thank you.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, July 28, 1999 ):
This kind of ad is completely inappropriate for the "world's top 5 publications."

For the top 5 publications read by people who might be interested in plastic mold machinery, try Standard Rate and Data Service (SRDS) business publication resource.


Tuesday, July 20, 1999 #2649
Dear Guru, Could you please explain the formula for calculating median age for a TV Network based on AA(000). Also would looking at the Median age based on Reach(000), make sense. Thanks,

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, July 23, 1999 ):
The median of anything is the number that falls in the middle when everything is arranged in order. So to find median age, ideally you need to find out how many viewers are two years old, how many are three, etc up to 99+. If you can't get it by single year, get the smallest brackets possible. Then you find the age which has an equal number of people older than that agaand an equal number younger, this is the median age. If you are working with age goups instead of single years, you may have to assume that the median is the mid-point of the median age group, weighted according to the number older and younger.

For example, suppose there are 10 million viewers, and there are:
2 million age 2-11 years
2 million 12-17
3 million 18-24
1 million 25-34
1 million 35-49
and
1 million 50+.

With 10 million viewers you need to find the person who has 5 million people older than he or she in the audience and 5 million younger.

This person must be somewhere in the 18-24 group, because we can tell there are 4 million younger than this group and 3 million older.

Rather than just pick the mid-point of 18-24, you should interpolate according to the other numbers: the mid-point age should be 4/7 along the span 18-24, toward the younger end, or 20 years old.

What would the median age of the reach do for you? It's dependent on the viewing frequency of the network which may not correspond to the ad placements of your schedule.


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

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

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

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


Wednesday, July 14, 1999 #2631
While there are different parameters ( creative, media, marketing ) to set the effective frequency for a media plan there seems to be no parameter for setting reach. What are the different ways to arrive at reach objectives for a plan

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, July 15, 1999 ):
There are many approaches.
  • awareness goals: Ad awarness won't get higher than reach, obviously
  • comfort levels: When working with an effective frequency level, the Guru wants to reach the majority of his target effectively over four weeks
  • Affordability
  • recency: Recency says that maintaining some level of weekly reach is more effective than flighting, for products with regular purchase (threshold is 30 reach per week)
There are numerous variations.


Thursday, July 08, 1999 #2616
Hello Guru! I would like to ask you what is a 30 sec equivalent GRP and why is that calculated if the spot length (as per some of your previous answers) do not influence yhe level of reach&frequency ? Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, July 08, 1999 ):
:30 equivalent is a buyer's convenience. Assuming the standard unit purchased is a :30, instead of dealing with different unit rates in the same program, a :15 is treated as if it had half the rating. It's strictly an efficiency/value issue and has no impact on reach or frequency. Remember that the ratings we have are actually the ratings of programs or time periods and not commercials; commercials are just assigned the rating of the time slot wherin they air, so commercial length is irrelevant to rating.


Wednesday, July 07, 1999 #2614
I do the media planning for a targeted television network, and currently, we are evaluating our spot radio buys to answer the question: "Do these need to be more dispersed (i.e., do we need to buy a deeper station list vs. hi frequency on a few, targeted stations) in line with the recency approach? Please keep in mind that we essentially have a new brand every day, as people tend to watch on a night-by-night, as well as on, an episodic basis, rather than every week by rote. I apologize, as I may have asked this question previously, but I didn't realize I should check back for the answer -- for some reason I thought the answer would come via e-mail.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, July 08, 1999 ):
Recency values reach above frequency. Therefore, greater dispesion of you weight would be preferable under that theory.

But this theory is most typical for package goods, where there is less of an issue of whether or not to buy in the category. The Guru does not believe choosing whether to watch TV and what to watch on TV is strictly comparable.


Tuesday, June 08, 1999 #2562
I have an outdoor question. If showing size refers to the reach per day, i.e. 25# reaches 25% of a market per day, why aren't the estimated TRPs per month simply 25 x 28 = 700. Most studies I see quote a lower TRP level for a 25 showing. What gives?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, June 09, 1999 ):
The Guru has come across this problem and found the answers.

There are two answers, one sensible, one nonsense, but both real.

Sensible: The "25 showing" is a standard number of panels, based on 25% of adult population. So if your target is Women 18-34, there may be a different number of women 18-34 GRPs in a showing actually bought as 25 Adult 18% GRPs. This is perfectly sensible, and happens ain all media, but the sellers and buyers of other media are fully conversant with these facts.

Now for the nonsense answer, which is most likely the basis of the number you were given. Various research companies, such as MRI have measured outdoor as part of multimedia reports and these generalized reports are being used to estimate target reach for a marketpace showing. Often a completely different source for average frequency is used and these two factors are multiplied to calculate GRPs. It seems invariably to be much lower than the GRPs you would get by the realistic method first described, and so makes outdoor seem less efficient than it should.

The misused sources could, instead be used to provide relative exposure indices between demographics, allowing a simple conversion of GRPs. The Guru hopes the Outdoor industry improves in this area.


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

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


Wednesday, June 02, 1999 #2555
I am attempting to establish an equitable % of target penetration for newspaper, for a group of retailers. Any advice on an acceptable % of penetration%

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, June 05, 1999 ):
The Guru isn't clear on what you mean by "equitable," but it used to be standard to buy to 60% coverage. The real issue is that "X%" coverage will deliver "Y%" reach for a given insertion frequency.


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

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

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

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

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


Thursday, May 27, 1999 #2538
how much efective frequency in TV I need in case that Launching for a month Promotions for a moth and others

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, May 29, 1999 ):
The Guru has probably discussed effective frequency questions more than any other topic. Setting the "right" level depends on assessing several factors.

Click here to see past Guru responses


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

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

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

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

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


Monday, May 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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