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Guru Search Results: 456 matches were found

Monday, March 24, 2008 #7521
Dear Guru, I need a clear concept of GRPs. I understand the terminology that it is the sum of rating points but what actually refers to it and what is the rationale behind it. For suppose, I have achieved 235 GRPs over a period of 40 days and my audience is Male - Female, 18-35, SEC- A & B. What does 235 as a weight refers to. What is the minimum threshold level of GRPs. How does the calculation works. I am clear on reach and frequency. Thank you!

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, March 24, 2008 ):
For any given audience considered, each time there is one exposure of an ad to one member of the audience, an "impression" is generated; there are 2 impressions whether the same person sees an ad twice or two different persons each see an ad once, and so on.

If the sum of all these impressions is divided by the population base (universe) of the target audience, the result is GRP, which are expressed as a percent of the population. I.e. if the number of impressions is equal to the population size, the result of the calculation is "1" or 100%, expressed as 100 GRP.

Similarly, the impressions of a single ad, divided by the population, is the ad's rating. Thus, the sum of all ratings is also the GRPs. There is no "rationale," these are simply media terms and definitions.

Different theories and approaches set various GRP thresholds depending of marketing goals.

Thursday, February 28, 2008 #7503
I am new to media buying, especially buying radio and i was wondering what is a good GRP to look for? One schedule that a sales rep laid out for me has 42.5 GRP, 24.4% reach and 1.7 frequency for the 25-54 demographic. Is this a good schedule? Please advise.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, March 02, 2008 ):
Schedules are not "good" in the abstract.

Are you emphasizing reach, efficiency, frequency, content or what?

Some very generic rules of thumb:

  • It is standard to buy at least 12 spots per week on a station
  • Some buyers looking for best schedule reach buy each station up to 80% of its cume potential
  • Typical buys include more than one station, so overemphasizing the reach of a single station is not useful
  • GRP-wise, 100 per week is a common minumum buy in a radio-only plan at the outset.

24.4% reach is rather low level in a market, so mulitple stations are even more likely to be needed. Unless you are supporting a short-term promotion, evaluating reach on a four week basis is standard; the schedule you show seems like it might be a one week schedule or on a low-rated station. Talk stations and music stations have different patterns of reach building, which is why this may or may not be a "good" buy on this station. Cultural market segment stations, e.g. Black or Hispanic, typically have much higher ratings within their segments and cume much higher reaches for the GRPs. In the top few urban markets, as many as two out of three of the top stations will be in these cultural segments; their audiences are focused within these segments. You may need to add other stations to expand coverage to a broader slice of of market if your target is spread across all cultural segments. So called "spectrum buys" address such issues, whether you want to spread coverage across all age segments of the broader target, all cultural segments, all income segments, all sub-geographies or whatever other marketing issues apply.

Friday, February 22, 2008 #7500
On his 2008 spot calendar, our media buyer shows a breakdown of total spots, total trps and total cost for a 4 week month, a 5 week month and fluff. It's the fluff that bothers me. Shouldn't the buyer be willing to pay more per spot to increase the odds it will run, rather than anticipate pre-emption and include a fluff buy? He subscribes to the theory of catfish level buying which doesn't seem to be working that well any more. Thanks for your input.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, February 22, 2008 ):
Wow, "fluff" and "catfish," two unfamiliar but sufficiently picturesque terms! As to your question, about "shouldn't the buyer be willing. . . ," maybe so or maybe not.

Buyers don't independently make the rules about how much efficiency to pursue, that should come from the plan and its buying platform.

Some buyers arbitrarily pursue efficiency or reach as if they were an absolute "good" instead of other qualitative values like consistent delivery levels or program mix or other metrics that should have been established in the plan. The plan must guide the buyer as to what is desired. You cannot blame the buyer for using his own judgment instead of that of someone else who didn't communicate in a timely fashion. And while that someone is at it, let him also state the standard for "not working that well any more."

Friday, February 01, 2008 #7491
Hello Guru, Hope all is well. Is it acceptable to enter into a reach model "1" for an ad in both a newspaper and a magazine if they share the ride, or should it be counted as two separate insertions, one for the newspaper and one for the magazine? The geographical base is the same for both.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, February 02, 2008 ):
First, consider what you really want to know, and then what are the actual facts and their impact on measuring your media plan.

Ultimately, you really want to know how many different people see the ads and how often.

On the "actual facts" side, the Guru believes you are saying you are advertising in a Sunday newspaper and its magazine supplement, like the Sunday NY Times (ROP) and the NY Times Sunday Magazine.

At some levels, this is equivalent to advertising in two different sections of the the same day's newspaper edition. You would not add to the reach, but you would double the GRP's.

In the ROP + magazine situation, the Guru expects that there is a somewhat better chance that the duplication is less than the 2 ROP ad scenario.

However, syndicated research resources do separately measure the newspaper and magazine, and the newspaper itself may have specifically researched your scenario. Get access to these resources and then apply your best judgment as to what use of the reach model best reflects reality.

If you are instead considering a newspaper and the local edition of a national supplement that may have some additional circulation, there may be a slight difference.

Monday, January 14, 2008 #7474
TRP levels change from one market to another and countries. With the globalization, US clients many times don't understand that what works in the US not necesarly works in other countries. My question? Do you have a comparison between effective TRP levels in the US vs other countries? Thank you.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, January 14, 2008 ):
Even within the U.S., TRP levels' effectiveness vary across market segments like Hispanic vs Black consumer vs B2B vs general market. E.g. the reach/ frequency results of the same radio GRP can be quite different in Black of Hispanic radio than general market radio.

Even other countries have significant ethnic submarkets, for example Boers in South Africa, English in China, etc. Media types is another kink.

Your question would have 1000+ answers if it even made senst to attempt it.

Thursday, December 27, 2007 #7461
Media Guru, we are currently having a research about the level of awareness and attitudes towards a certain radion and television program of some local executives. Do you know some research conducted in relation with our topic?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, December 27, 2007 ):
For research examples, see The Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter. For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230. ARF materials will also be available through American Association of Advertising Agencies and Association of National Advertisers.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007 #7441
I want to test high profile TV & Cable in 3 mid sized markets. What are good A35-54 GRP levels just in Prime? What kind of R/F will that deliver?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, November 09, 2007 ):
"Good GRP levels" is a nebulous term.

100 per week is a nice round number. That might deliver 78 reach in 4 weeks. Short term promotions call for higher levels, continuous maintenance needs lower levels.

What are you really testing? Something versus nothing? or TV / cable versus alternate media?

Monday, November 05, 2007 #7440
Is there an industry standard or formula I can use to estimate length of time it would take to brand a new company in small regional areas from a media standpoint. Is there a goal to set for GRPs or impressions? I understandn the short answer is probably "no" with so many variables to take into consideration but I am hoping for maybe some parameters and goals to shoot for. thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, November 05, 2007 ):
You are right that there are many elements here beyond duration of media exposure.

Your biggest issue in looking for formulas is quantifying your terms.

First off, how do you quantify "to brand?" What factors define a "branded" company?

  • There must be awareness, certainly (how much?)
  • The awareness must be positive and relate to the brand character desired.
The latter depends on creative as much if not more than media. The creative must say something positive about the company, it must say something that supports the branding message and it must be memorable.

From a media perspective, awareness correlates strongly with reach and frequency. Ad awareness will never be greater than the reach level achieved, and will not equal that level without sufficient frequency. This is why some planners look only at reach at 3+ frequency or some other frequency level judged effective.

Using the best media, whether described in terms of environment, "engagement" or other impact descriptors, is important.

Budget is also a controlling factor. Time-wise, "branding" would be likely to be achieved sooner if higher GRP levels were used.

Sunday, October 07, 2007 #7425
What ACV distribution level should be met by a new product introduction in order to warrant national media support? 50% ACV? 60% ACV? Higher?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, October 08, 2007 ):
This is not simply a media decison. But, from a media perspective, it depends on the geography contributing to the percentage of volume. Your question makes it seem like you are looking at markets which would contain the specifed ACV%, rather than distribution channels for the ACV%.

In this case, if your markets were the top 25 by population to get 60% ACV, then it might well make sense to use spot media and concentrate all efforts where sales are. If the markets in question were a scattered 100+ small markets, national media might be more efficient in covering them. A specific cost analysis is necessary.

If, however, you have distribution everywhere geographically, but in stores which only account for 50 or 60% ACV, this is not a media question, but turns on other marketing issues.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007 #7396
We run National broadcast 4 times per year. Generic spots that cover our current National offer. When making placement on a local level, we are instructed that the individual location cannot/should not have a customized spot including his tag. Understanding that this feeds into the national brand message doesn't it take away from local response? Why would offering tag customization to a handful of local locations take away from the national brand message???

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, July 29, 2007 ):
First of all, this is a matter of branding policy or marketing strategy, not a media issue.

But from a media point of view, a key question is whether we are talking about a national brand message, e.g. Ford automobiles, or a dealer message e.g. Local Ford dealer associations. In other words is the issue brand values or distribution / availability? IS it a co-op campaign, where local independent dealers or franchisees contribute? Is the national schedule a marketing tool to drive dealer sell-in?

Monday, July 23, 2007 #7394
Thanks for answering my previous question. In my previous question " forecast" means forecast. I would like to know if there is any way to find out future GRP figures for channel on the basis of channel share or reach figure. i.e if we have 100 grp for 'x' channel in this schedule now when i am planning for the same brand and this month on the basis of channel share or reach figures can i calculate have actual GRP figures. example if 100 GRP are planned for 'X' channel then what will actual number of GRP I will have in next month or next two month... Thanks in advance

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, July 29, 2007 ):
The usual process is to estimate ("project") rating for each program in the schedule, typically using latest program share and usage levels of the time period for the season, tweaked with judgement.

Reach will not come into it.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007 #7391
Hello Guru: Might you able to provide or direct me to online revenue model mathematical formulas/calculations etc? so I can figure out how much revenue my site will bring in and how much to budget for doing a campaign to launch my site So for example, what is the formula/calculation for "benner ads", "Query Based Paid Placements", "content targeted advertising" etc.? As far as CPM's go what is the hierarchy of CPM's from broadcast television through to websites? Thanks so much for your help.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, July 21, 2007 ):
As far as formulas for revenue go, the simple factors are price of unit, expressed as CPM; number of impressions available to sell and number of units (placements) available. CPM X impressions X number of units gives a ball-park estimate of revenue potential, assuming you can sell all your inventory. You would want to separate the calculations for the various units with different CPM pricing.

Online CPMs can vary from under $5 to over $200, depending on the narrowness of site targeting (audience rarity) and the type of ad unit; simple button gifs are lower priced and large, complex animated materials like Eyeblaster full video is at a premium.

Generally, Television CPMs are relatively high, Trade magazines, next, general magazines next, radio and newspapers next and outdoor relatively low. General online averages might come in around the radio and newspaper level.

Thursday, July 12, 2007 #7387
We want to test spot tv for a seasonal product (Nov-Feb) to see if it is cost-effective to roll out to additional markets. We want to find out how many trps to run during a 12-week period. We have already determined that we need a 3.4x frequency over each purchase cycle. If the purchase cycle is 15.7 days, would it be correct that we need to achieve a 18.36 frequency? Are there guidelines for test market tv levels? Thank you!

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, July 14, 2007 ):
For the sake of discussion, let's think about two weeks. So if you need a 3.4 frequency in 15.7 days do you need 3.0 in 14 days. Not exactly, frequency does not grow linearly. But this will be close enough. Just plan for the 3.0 to 3.4 every two weeks and let 12 weeks fall out as it may.

By the way, this kind of analysis is a good starting point for setting test market levels.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007 #7369
Adding onto a previous question: If you start from 0 awareness for a supermarket item, is there a formula for achieving a specified awareness level over a specified time? eg: 1000 GRPs yields 25% awareness in 6 months

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, June 21, 2007 ):
No specific formula, because awareness depends on much more than media weight, including media mix and creative. Click here to see past Guru responses about awareness.

Thursday, June 14, 2007 #7368
Hi MG - Is there a relationship between year to year PUTs and market cume share? I am having a difficult time rationalizing forecasted media plans if my PUT levels have increased, but my overall market cume share has decreased significantly. Any insight you may have would help. Thanks!

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, June 17, 2007 ):
Firstly, Share = rating ÷ PUT.

However, the Guru does not understand your reference to "market cume share"

Thursday, June 14, 2007 #7367
Again Guru, I have been asking questions out of much curiosity as im studying and need to get such answers to increase my knowledge base, So to ask you again, I know the calculation of GRP's but I dont understand its relevance, A rating point is reaching one percent of the universe, GRP is sum of all the rating points. My query considering this formula is, what would a 100 GRP per week plan mean ? This obviously does not mean reaching 100% population as the duplication is not considered. But what does a certain level GRP plan mean? How is the efficiency of a medium being recognised on the basis of GRP ? Thanks again

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, June 17, 2007 ):
Let us agree that the definiton of a rating point is "a number of impressions equal to 1% of the population" and never use the word "reach" in defining rating point or GRP, because this can carry misleading implications.

So a 100 GRP per week plan would have a weekly gross number of impressions equal to 100% of the population.

GRP only describes weight. The reach will vary depending on the media mix included.

"Efficiency" is defined as either cost of a GRP ("CPP") or the cost of 1000 impressions ("CPM").

Wednesday, June 06, 2007 #7359
I am trying to determine GRP levels for buying TV. I have a budget. Where do I go from there?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, June 10, 2007 ):
Find cost per GRP (CPP) from a source like SQAD

Wednesday, June 06, 2007 #7357
Hi guru, What is the bench mark with respect to reach and frequency in a television plan for a grand opening of the retail store. What would be the ideal GRP or Reach and Frequency we need to acheive for such a plan,It would be great if you can ans similarly for other mediums as well i.e outdoor, radio and internet Thanks Again

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, June 10, 2007 ):
For a retail opening, more is better. 90+ reach at 3+ frequency is great if you can afford it.

Simply aiming for those numbers, they will be cheaper in outdoor, depending on how you define your coverage area. Radio can reach those levels, and internet cannot (only 146 million U.S. active home users in April '07, according to Neilsen//Netratings). Reaching even 90% of those on line is unlikely and potentially ruinously expensive.

Monday, May 21, 2007 #7335
Is there a benchmark or thumbrule for buying Television media like there the universal belief about 100 GRP's a week for Radio is sufficient ? This is for the Retail category (casual apparels). Please advice.

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, May 22, 2007 ):
100 GRP per week is just as valid (or invalid) for TV. Retail promotions typically operate at higher levels, than maintenance schedules for stores.

Friday, March 30, 2007 #7304
Media Guru, You recently answered a question in regards to 'As it Falls' and 'Little America'. Can you discuss the differences between the two and further address the reasons to use one over the other?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, April 02, 2007 ):
In Little America, a test market is treated as if it was the full country; if there would be 100 GRP of prime time network TV in the national plan being tested, then 100 GRP of Prime is bought in the test market. The same process may be applied to radio, online, etc. If spot media are part of the national plan, then the test market may be designated as one of those earning spot media or not and scheduled accordingly. This is probably the oldest test scenario.

In As-it-Falls, the tester has realized that when he eventually runs the national media, any given market may experience weight that varies substantially from the national averages (American Idol may generate 50 - 100% higher ratings in Birmingham or Little Rock than it does in NY or LA). Therefore, a market should be tested at the levels that the hypothetical national plan would put into the market to read the effects of such a plan in given market situations. Usually, there would be a group of test and control markets, to allow implementing a range of these local delivery scenarios.

As-it-Falls would be preferred if media more subject to variation, such as broadcast, were more important in the plan or if market reaction to product category were more variable, for instance. Little America is simpler to implement.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007 #7301
Hello Guro. I am struggling with the following: What is the residual effect of TV advertising? Meaning, if you are on for 6 weeks at a certain point level, and you go off, people will remember your message for x number of weeks later. I always thought it was about 2-3 weeks, but finding anything to support that is posing a challenge. Also, are people enerally claiming that advertising doesn’t affect them. Are they discrediting it? I feel like the answer is obvious, but finding any supporting documents is proving to be a difficult task. Any direction you could offer would be much appreciated. Thanks for all you do!

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, March 17, 2007 ):
The residual effects of advertising taper off. One very simple rule of thumb is that each week of no activity leads to a decrease of about 10% from the previous week's awareness. I.e. if awareness was 90% after a perios of advertsing, it will be 81% after a week's hiatus and 72.9% after another week's inactivity, etc.

It has long been a fashionable posture of sophistication to claim to be unaffected by advertising. Yet the people who make this claim are just as likely to use Brand name (advertised) products as other people. Correlating the market shares of brand names with ad budgets is one way to document this. Or consider brand name market shares vs generics or store brands.

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

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

Monday, January 15, 2007 #7273
Dear Guru, Is there a minimum benchmark for GRP-Reach-and Freq when buying spot TV or Cable in one DMA? For example, I have been using a goal of 150 GRP with a 40% reach at least 3.0 times toward the target demo over a four week period when consulting clients on the miniumum amount they need to spend in a certain DMA. This means if the most recent avg CPP in that DMA is $35.00, I would recomend they spend a minimum of $5250 (150GRP X 35CPP per month. Is this calculation correct or should I be using a different formula when reccomending a budget per DMA?? Thanks!!

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, January 16, 2007 ):
The calculation is correct if you have validated your 150 GRP / 40 reach for 4 weeks. 150 seems much too low to generate 40 reach at 3+ frequency in four weeks. A level closer to 250 is probably needed.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006 #7241
Network and National Cable Post Buy Timing: Is there a standard turn around time for an agency to do Q'ly postbuys for these? How about reconcilliations? How difficult is it for a network to be held to delivering the Monthly desired points within the period - is that a buying guideline element? I have been hearing a wide range of answers! Thx

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, December 10, 2006 ):
The post buy can be done as sson as the ratings are available. You have to determine how long a work cyucle is required to deliver the report. Ten days to two weeks after ratings are available seems reasonable to the Guru.

HOlding networks to monthly levels is a negotiations point. But what do you do if the result is under, other than getting a make-good the following month. Agreed consequences will control the standards you set.

Friday, December 01, 2006 #7239
How do you increase frequency without necessarily increasing reach? Which media forms provide for the greatest frequency?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, December 03, 2006 ):
In any given medium, frequency increases without reach increase by placing additional ad units in the same vehicle, such as multiple ads in a single print issue or single TV program episode.

The medium that is typically bought at the highest average frequncy level is out of home, where a standard "100 showing" four week schedule will have 95% reach, and 29.5 frequency (100 showing is equivalent to 100 GRP per day).

Friday, November 03, 2006 #7221
Hi GR- I am working on an annual TV buy for a client and I have a few questions for you? What are good levels of GRPs, Frequency and Reach % to go by as guidelines/benchmarks? The client's target is basically everyone (A 25-54) in this market. This year (2006) he had light spot TV schedules on every major network in the market as well as some infomercial spots-all year, with no hiatus weeks. I feel like he can't be on every station with the given budget and make a impact. Please help me if you can--I just need some guidelines to consider. I have bought much more radio than TV and the TV I have bought has been very limited (small % of spot and majority cable). So this is somewhat new to me and I am beginning to panic because I am not sure I can make my budget work if I use the levels I think I need to make an impact. My client is somewhat well branded in this market but last year he pulled budget dollars from his primary market and put it in outer markets so he lost his awareness in this market. In 07 he wants to build his primary market back up, what levels do you recommend I try to work towards to refresh his awareness in this market? He also wants to break into a few new markets-what levels of GRPs do we need to break into a new market. Thank you advance for all your help.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, November 05, 2006 ):
  • In radio, people listen to stations; in TV people watch programs, so don't use the radio share of voice = impact approach to allocation of TV stations.
  • Start by thinking about what reach level you want to achieve. Reach does not neccessarily = awareness, but ad awareness will never exceed reach.
  • Put some frequency behind your reach to make sure the message is digested. How much depends on whether you have a point-in-time need for impact or you have a constant-purchase product where recency outweighs other factors.
  • Infomercials are aimed at immediate response so leave those out of your reach thinking.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006 #7209
When you consider reach and frequency levels, what are considered the upper and lower levels for reach and frequency?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, October 29, 2006 ):
In recency theory, 30 reach weekly, on a continuing basis is considered a minimum by some pratitioners. 95 is the highest many will consider reporting.

Obvioulsy 1 is the irreducible minimum frequency. Some practitioners like a minimum of three (these are not the "recency" theorists). Upper limits are not really to worry about unless one is considering copy wear-out.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006 #7201
How do you calculate GRP's on the internet? I work on several co-ops for a national fast food company and they have determined that 10 GRP's/wk is a good level for a maintenance schedule on the internet. Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, October 11, 2006 ):
GRP's are always impressions ÷ universe and expressed in percentage. That is, if the impressions = 100% of the universe, it's 100 GRP.

In internet planning, you have the choice of whether to consider the entire population in your univerese or only the only portion of the population. The Guru usually works with the total population so that online GRP will beare comaparable to those of other media.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006 #7198
We have a health care client that has specfically asked for Quantative data to back up our planned reach and frequency for a buy. We have used Ostrow's model and have determined a 4.4 frequency. Is that a weekly frequency? or the standard 4 week frequency? Over how long do we sustain that level? It's a fairly new brand in a highly competitive market where we are clearly #2. The client has asked for specific examples of R/F levels used by other advertisers (especially in our category). He is concerned about message wearout and consumers being innundated with his healthcare message along with all other healthcare messaging (competition, pharmaceuticals...).

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, September 23, 2006 ):
You are working with a four week frequency.

Sustaining period depends on issue like budget, and seasonality as well as competitve pressure.

Many healthcare categories are very heavily advertised and others less so, so the media climate is a valid consideration. Consideration of the overall pharmaceutical messaging is less so, in the Guru's opinion. Yeast infection remedies' messaging most likely pass relatively undigested by potential prostate problem patients.

Thursday, September 07, 2006 #7192
Hi Media Guru. I have a question that I'm looking for a general answer (I know that there are many different situations that would allow for many different answers- but please try!) If I am building a media plan using TV as part of a media mix (including radio and print) can you give me a very general answer as to how many points per week over how many weeks would be a MINIMUM. Target is Men 35-64. The client is only interested in news dayparts. I'm having a hard time wrapping my hands around this. I'm saying for a maintenance type schedule, we could run a minimum of 75 points per week because the dayparts are so concentrated and news viwership is loyal. the client is insistent that they've been told by their old agency they need 120 GRPS per week. I'm thinking they would be correct if the dayparts were more open. We're getting additional reach through radio and print. Any thoughts? Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, September 10, 2006 ):
You're saying 75 for "maintenance," but what's the rationale for the 120?

These issues always come down to what the communications goals are. Is it a reach level or a frequencey level or an effective frequency level? You can't argue against someone else's unsupported recommendation any more than you can support your own without goals and rationales. Your 75 seems reasonable to the Guru in a multimedia, "maintenance plan."

Friday, August 25, 2006 #7186
Dear media Guru- I am intersted in purchasing in a Conde Nast publication but would like to buy space locally or regionally (I know that MNI allows you to purchase Time Inc. magazine space in local markets). Is there a company that sells Conde Nast space on a local or regional level?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, August 25, 2006 ):
MNI has much more than Time, Inc titles, including several from Condé Nast. Take a look at the MNI Luxury package, for example.

Thursday, July 13, 2006 #7162
I am planning a TV buy for a client who willbe running two campaigns at once - one targeted to A65+, the other A25-54. The messages are completely different but both communicate the overriding brand message. How can I determine how to weight them since there will be some mutual impact? Treat as two independent campaigns or together? I don't want to short-change either one... Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, July 16, 2006 ):
Typically, a campaign is planned for its target, more or less ignoring the fact of its exposure to those outside the target who will be exposed anyway. Treat them as independent and weight according to the relative value of each group. If the "value" is simply reflected by the group's size, then running the same GRP level in each weights them equally. If one group is a 20% better prospect, then 20% higher GRPs is appropriate. Of course, the weighting might also be done according to spending rather than weight.

Thursday, June 22, 2006 #7152
Hi Guru, I have two questions that are more marketing than planning based. The first is regarding setting targets. I have been responsible for setting global marketing/brand objectives for the past couple of years and I have used a competitive comparison model to zero in on a stretch to achieve a comparative top 3-4 level of awareness in each region (in general we significantly lagged behind peers). While it has worked to date, it feels pretty squishy. Our executive board has asked for a review of our marketing spend next month and I can imagine them asking, "How much awareness does a financial services brand like ours need to be successful?" Any thoughts? The second question is more about marketing mix. At a global level we typically use TV, print, outdoor, sponsorship and events/conferences. Are there any general rules or benchmarks for the mix share of these kinds of vehicles? For instance, Sponsorship shouldn’t typically be more than 25% of your total comms budget…. Your ideas are very much appreciated, and if you have any additional sources I could try that too would be great. Thanks much.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, June 29, 2006 ):
  1. Regarding "How much awareness?" the Guru thinks you need to build a simple model based on a correlation of the awareness various competitors have to the "success" they have, however you define that.
  2. As to mix, there are no hard and fast general rules, Certainly any such would depend in part on the marketing climate of the country and industry.
Visit our parent company's planning tools site for some helpful ideas.

Monday, June 05, 2006 #7145
how do i calculate ROI on ad spend?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, June 06, 2006 ):
The key issue is defining your "return" metric; you know the spend.

Are you looking for sales, or awarenss growth or change in intent to purchase?

Then set a base level: what would sales or awareness, etc. be without the advertising?

This might come from sales trends or a pre-campaign survey of awareness.

Then you can show that the net change in sales or awareness is attributable to the advertising and is the Return On Investment.

Thursday, April 06, 2006 #7126
We handle 3 co-op's for a major fast food chain. We want to intergrate internet into our annual plan. Is there a source that will tell which web sites best reach our demo? Also, if those website be purchased on a DMA or more local basis? I have had some experience with internet, but it was in the tourism industry and I know at one time there was a source, but it was more on a national basis. Thanks for your help...again!

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, April 06, 2006 ):
@plan can give you site demographic details, but not at the DMA level. Many of the the biggest traffic sites do sell by DMA, but you need to inquire.

Thursday, March 30, 2006 #7125
Hi MG ,This may be a stupid question ,but could you please tell me how to decide on which will be my lead medium for a given product category, Given the media reach levels and clutter. In many cases it seems like TV and Print are giving almost equal reach where as advertisers prefer a particular medium only .I belive there comes the qualitative factors such as the perception and execution ,however what all parameters I can take to decide on the lead medium.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, April 01, 2006 ):
It's certainly correct to consider qualitative factors.

Your objectives and strategies should be built to guide you to the proper priority.

Is reach the number one priority or is it something else, where adverrtising environment takes precedence over absolute reach or reach efficiency?

If reach alone were the overriding goal everytime, outdoor would be everyone's lead medium.

Thursday, March 09, 2006 #7108
I'm starting 24/7 automotive channel on the internet, who can help with media and selling of advertising for us?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, March 12, 2006 ):
MediaPost's Online Adnetworks page is a good starting point.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006 #7107
When category share of voice is known, is there a formula that can be applied to a television flight plan to determine the level of exposure necessary to increase brand awareness by x%?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, March 08, 2006 ):
There are many other factors you haven't considered, including:
  • Current brand awareness
  • Ad awareness
  • Media mix
  • Competitors' media mix
  • Schedule duration
In short, the Guru does not envision a usable formula based on the facts you posit. Nor, for that matter does he have one to offer even with all the other facts. A multibrand advertiser could concievably develop a model which works for its category based on all the experience of all its brands over some extended period of time.

Friday, January 13, 2006 #7075
What is the average fall-off of awareness during subsequent TV hiatus weeks? Is there a standard weekly decline, such as 33% or 50%?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, January 13, 2006 ):
Formulas the Guru has seen showed (to oversimplify) 9 to 10% fall-off from previous weeks once hiatus began, but
  • this was from long ago when Network TV was so dominant
  • depended on how high awareness was and
  • how high advertising levels had been

Sunday, November 20, 2005 #7053
Hi.I was the one who raised question about correlation between awareness and share of voice last Nov 18. I wish to have deeper understanding about the underlying principles and how-to-dos of ideentifying relationship between share of voice to awareness level. Would appreciate if you have both theoretical explanations and concrete examples. Best regards.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, November 23, 2005 ):
Theoretically, more advertising or a greater share of the advertsing in a category will increase ad awareness at least, and of brand awareness as well.

The correlation is demonstrated by observing the measures of these two factors or the change in the measures at various points in time and performaing a statistical correlation analysis. This analysis is readily performed in MS Excel, for example.

Friday, October 21, 2005 #7031
Dear Guru, I would like to ask you something about print campaigne for the one client/deodorant/.The ad will be published in female magazines.Is it better short time campaigne with large frequency during one month than long time campaigne with small frequency during two or three months? Thank you in advance.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, October 22, 2005 ):
As with all media decisions, it depends on the marketing goals.

If you are introducing a new product and want a relatively quick consumer reaction before deciding how to proceed, a brief, heavy campaign might suit your needs best.

If you are sustaining an established product which sells continuously and benefits from "being there" (recency) whenever a consumer is making a purchase decision, a lower level of extended presence might be best.

Careful review of the product's market position and goals should lead you to the right answer to your question.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005 #6992
Media Guru, We have a client who in the past has typically purchased one tv station in each market that they advertise. We have recently taken over their advertising and are willing to work with one station in the new markets they are expanding into. However, here is where the problem lies. Their budgets are limited. If they're going to advertise with one station, we recommend that they at least heavy up their campaign and run 50-75 TRPs per week for the first weeks preceeding and proceeding their arrival into the market. They however are asking us to consider a plan in which they run as little as 10 TRPs per week so that they can be on the entire year. Obviously, we do not agree with this and are formulating are answers accordingly. What I was wondering is if you are aware of any research or can point us in the direction of something that may even further help our cause. Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, August 13, 2005 ):
There can be considerable value in continuity for appropriate, constant-purchase products and services, but some minimal level of activity is best. Failing that, as your client seems determined to do, flighting or using other media is probably more effective.

See Erwin Ephron on "recency" or The Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter. For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230. ARF materials will also be available through American Association of Advertising Agencies and Association of National Advertisers.

Friday, July 15, 2005 #6976
Dear Guru, i am a media planner with mediaReach OMD Nigeria. I would like to know what levels of GRP is desirable particularly for developing markets like Nigeria, we have clients that are asking. Secondly, should GRP's be calcuated nationally or reginally or by key market/locations in the country?Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, July 17, 2005 ):
Appropriate weight levels and their audience impact are different in every country and culture with its own media; the Guru has no expertise in Nigeria. National or reegional or local depends upon the marketing scenario.

Click here for past Guru responses about levels.

Thursday, July 14, 2005 #6973
What is the difference between TVR and Reach and How do benchmark effective levels of reach?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, July 17, 2005 ):
TVR is rating. The audience size of a single program or commercial announcement, as a percentage of the populaiton universe under consideration,

TVR is equivalent to the reach of this single instance.

Reach is the net accumulation of unduplicated audience, the number of different member of the population exposed to the entire set of programs or advertsing schedule.

Click here for past Guru responses about levels.

Monday, May 30, 2005 #6942
What the standard sustaining, maintenance and saturation GRP levels for a media buy? For what time period are these levels: one week, four weeks etc. And finally, what is your source for this information.... is it an "industry standard" or found in a textbook? Assume the client is an automobile dealer.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, May 30, 2005 ):
There is no generally accepted standard. For maintenance, some like 100 GRP, probably because it's a large, round number.

It makes more sense to think in Reach and Frequency terms, i.e how much of the target gets how many messages; then the logic comes through. It makes some sort of sense to say that in maintenance, you want to reach at lease half of your target in an average four weeks (four weeks is the standard period in which to measure R&F). Ephron has said that cency theory calls for 30 reach every week for products continuously purchased. COmpetitvew pressure migh raise these figures or call for a specified minimum level of frequency. Attaining these levels can call for very different GRP levels depending on medium and daypart selection. All this too depends on what the budget will afford.

So, clearly, GRP levels are a great oversimplification.

Monday, May 30, 2005 #6941
benefits of centralized media buying? plz suggest

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, June 05, 2005 ):
For the advertiser, the supposed benefits are primarily better schedules and pricing based on more clout behind a more concentrated organization. For the agency, there is saving on overhead and administration, with higher level managers closer to front-lines buying.

The Guru believes the agencies' benefits are more real than the advertisers'.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 #6937
Thank you for your answer about internet grps(#6936). Another question would be, can we calculate reach for internet? and how about reach for a hispanic target

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, May 25, 2005 ):
Calculating reach is ususally done in one of two ways:
Using a respondent level audience measurement such as Nielsen//Netratings or comScore-MediaMetrix, one tracks the actual use by the relevant demographic within the sample against the schedule run.

More practically, one obtains a series of such measurements and builds a model, so that one can then genralize from schedules run in the future, using variable such as # of impressions, number of sites in the mix, share of page loads on the sites, etc.

The issues are what portion of the sites' reach does your schedule get and what is the duplication between sites' audiences.

For example, Yahoo might reach 40% of all those online in a month, but your buy will probably appear in less than 0.1% of all Yahoo page loads. And how many of the persons exposed to your Yahoo buy will also be exposed to your buy on

Since Hispanic audience is measure by both services, the Hispanic issues are no more difficult in this scenario.

As a ballpark sort of estimate, most major sites ought to be able to tell you the number of unique visitors exposed to your schedule. This number, divided by the relevant universe will give you an estimate of reach on that site. You can combine sites' reaches by random probability unless you can get site duplication estimates from the sites.

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

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

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

Monday, May 16, 2005 #6924
Great site Guru (Abby?) I'm new to the media biz. I'm working with a technology company that has developed a unique method of allowing websites to identify the location of origin of page requests (no cookies or spyware, this is all done at the server level). Thus it will now be possible to know where a page request originates (down to zip code/postal code level). More interestingly, it will be possible for online advertisers to customize ad delivery by city (and even zip code/postal code). Online advertisers will finally be able to reliably segment online viewers by city. No more wasted cpms on eyeballs well outside the target market. My question to you: Do you have any suggestions on the percentage increase in cpm rate that such targeting would allow? What is the value of this one dimension of the cpm (geographic segmentation)? Ideally I'd like to use an analogy from other media as a reference – keepin’ it real.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, May 22, 2005 ):
Some sites already serve impressions on a similarly narrowly targeted basis. These tend to be larger, lower cpm sites. CPM premiums for this type of serving may be $5 or about one-third of the base price, in the Guru's experience. There are many ways of narrowing targeting including site registration data.

The Guru believes that this technology may have a better application as a third-party ad server, allowing advertisers to narrow their focus within sites that can't offer the same service, although it leaves the problem of what to do with the less desirable impressions. 3rd party ad servers' base pricing is in the 25 cents to 75 cents cpm range.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, April 26, 2005 #6906
Re: Spot Radio Do you have any studies or opininons on minimum spots/daypart/station/week? I have a buyer who insists that its ok to buy only 1-2 spots/daypart/station week as long as they reach 12 spots/station/week. This theory seems to be based on the fact that radio listeners listen to multiple dayparts on a particular station and thus frequeny is gained throughout the day. I believe that daypart minimums should be a priority and that its better to buy 4-5 spots/week on a station for one daypart than avoid a station entirely just because 12x/week cannot be achieved. I believe that people tend to be loyal to stations by daypart (i.e. listen to the same drive-time show every day but not to that station at any other times) so we need to build frequency throughout the week on that daypart and that to buy only 1-2 spots/week/daypart (even if you achieve 12x/week) is a waste of money.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, April 29, 2005 ):
Some radio professionals, especially on the sales side, insist on the 12x/week minimum, some flex as low as 10. The Guru has not previously encountered a "4-5 spots in one daypart" as a total schedule theory.

Media theory is best built around the consumer effects. The consumer needs to get a certain frequency of exposure through a medium, and the plan needs to reach a certain minimum portion of the target. The consumer is notr likely to be aware nor affected by the portion of that frequncy which comes from any daypart nor from any one station.

As with any medium, radio should be used until the building of desired communications impact (generally reach) begins to taper off. At the micro level, this may mean 12 or 18 spots on the best station (however judged) before adding another station. Four or five spots seems to be a no-impact minimum, unless your target is specifically only listeners to that daypart and that station. The same thinking says consider station specifics. In some cases, paticularly among Hispanic or Black consumer markets, top stations can generate target ratings in the 5.0-10.0 range, rather than the 2.0 range typical of top general market staions and targets, meaniing these multicultural stations can extend reach beyond ordinary radio levels.

Monday, April 11, 2005 #6891
We need to quickly learn how to plan & buy TV in Barcelona Spain. Can you provide a good source?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, April 17, 2005 ):
If you have NO idea at present, how can you expect to learn quickly? You need the help of someone "on the ground" in Barcelona. What is your starting point? Do you know Spain in general but not Barcelona? Do you know Europe but not Spain? Each country has its quirks and cities differ in terms of competitive climate at least. If you know nothing beyond US practices, the only quick solution is an advisor: a few tips might lead to a quick and dirty solution but not professional level work. There will be different standards, cume patterns, reach models.

Thursday, April 07, 2005 #6886
Hi Guru, We get asked often by clients to plan a radio campaign with sufficient budget to achieve a minimum threshold required to sustain market share. Is there any scientific method of analysing this "minimum threshold" or do we use our own insight? Thanks very much!

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, April 10, 2005 ):
You seem to imply that radio is the only advertising at play here.

If you assume that the only influence on share maintenance is advertising weight (which is dangerous, of course), then considerations might be:

  • What is the current share? Obviously it will take more weight to maintain an 80% share than a 10% share.
  • What is the current awareness level?
  • What is the historical share of voice?
  • What are competitors likely to do; is it a stable category or are there new entries?

In the absence of better factors, the Guru would keep reach at the current aweareness level and share of voice at the current share of market level.

Saturday, March 05, 2005 #6839
When estimating a Q3 buy - is it correct to look at the yr to yr July books only using the tp average, or should other issues be taken into account? I've been taught that we aren't to use the other books when negotiating Q3 buys... AND In a metered market, are reps ok to use current HH trends to justify a higher rating when negotiating an annual? What index would you use to apply that to past shares/ratings?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, March 06, 2005 ):
The classic approach, at its simplest, is to look at TP total usage levels from same quarter a year ago and then apply most recent program shares.

Obviously, if a program or staion TP had a rating of 10 a year ago and a rating of 2 most recently -- in other words, only 20 percent of the former share, you can't begin from a presumption that the year-ago 10 is still relevant, while the seasonal usage of TV is a vaild factor.

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

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

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

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

Monday, February 28, 2005 #6815
Guru, My client has asked me to provide him with an in-depth daypart analysis...not just ratings and attentiveness levels. Specifically, he is questioning way we use/recommend one daypart over another. I haven't been able to find studies on this anywhere (including the Television Audit Bureau). Help!!!!

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, March 01, 2005 ):
The Guru supposes that you have a system of sorts in you mind, since you apparently are recommending specific dayparts.

You probably know various other characteristics of the dayparts, such as

  • Age/gender composition
  • Product user / usage composition, and
  • Reach potential
All these, as well as ratings attentiveness, efficiency need to be evaluated against the specific goals of the plan. For example if reach is the overriding goal of the plan, then you would use the first daypart you select up to the point where its reach curve flattens and then select your next daypart based not just on the above characteristics, but also based on which one best adds reach to the first.

You probably have a model of sorts in your head, it's now a matter of writing it out as a set of steps and considerations

Tuesday, February 22, 2005 #6806
I have been asked to evaluate spending money on a transit program versus adding GRPs and/or weeks to our existing radio campaign with the same amount of budget. The problem is that comparing GRPs for one versus the other, transit clearly has higher levels and extremely high frequency if you believe the numbers they provide. Any additional thoughts?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, February 23, 2005 ):
Transit GRP are real, but they are based on traffic with an opportunity to see the poster. The real distinction of out of home is the limited message as compared to radio.

If your message can be simple, and reach/frequency are your top communications goals, then transit can be a powerful addition and probably more effective than adding more to an already adequate schedule in your main medium.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005 #6798
is is ever possible to reach 100% of your target audience?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, February 20, 2005 ):
n theory, yes it is. No single medium reaches 100%, so at minimum, a multimedia plan is needed. The potential of media types is only truly measured on medium at a time so there is no usable respondent level data to demonstrate this. MAny planners will, as a matter of principal, not report a rach above "95+" or even "98+."

Tuesday, January 18, 2005 #6750
Which would the media guru recommend for a weekly newspaper campaign: Smaller ads with higher frequency or larger ads with less frequency? Is there research to support retention levels of one vs. the other?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, January 25, 2005 ):
A campaign in weekly newspapers or a campaign for a weekly newspaper? In a weekly newspaper, the Guru believes more frequency wins, assuming the same total amount of space is used and ads are not too small. E.g three consecutive one-third page right hand ads will outperform a single full page. In some categories there could be exceptions,m of course. Try Starch AdNorms for research.

Monday, January 17, 2005 #6743
Dear Guru, Do you think that the use of electronic media has affected the political arena by creating a level playing field, for example its effectiveness in the recent US presidential elections as compared to traditional media usage?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, January 17, 2005 ):
The last thing reliance on electronic media has done is level the playing field. It has made money (donations) all the more important in buying elections. Or perhaps by "electronic media" you mean online (TV and radio are electroninc media). Online has leveled the playing field somewhat, but not to the extent other media would indicate by their rabid reporting of bloggers.

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

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

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

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

Saturday, January 01, 2005 #6731
I am currently dong an assignment in which we have to critically analyse a companies media strategy and come up with a new one. I am using a childrens hospital charity and was wondering if you could tell me which media theory charities tend to use when constructing thier media plan?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, January 02, 2005 ):
Charities have varying goals, as do commercial marketers. Since many below the AdCouncil-supported level rely on pro-bono sevices, media strategy is probably a generally neglected area.

The Guru's observation is that, for basic fund-raising solicitation, direct mail is most often the simple solution. More ambitious image building programs and those promoting specific events may rely on free time and space donated by the media more than they try to execute a true plan based on budget allocation and considering all media.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004 #6718
Hi, Can you tell me who invented the systems (schedule makers/optimizers) like Telmar and about what year were they developed? (Yes, some clown in my office claims he did it). Thanks and hope all is well!

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, December 15, 2004 ):
Overall, Telmar histroy dates to .Otimizers, have been in use for 30+ years in print and TV. Telmar's date back to the 70's. The currently "hot" optimizer is based on Nielsen beginning to offer respondent level data in the 80's. Telmar "Xpert" ans "SuperMidas" were among the earliest. What changed in optimizers was the detail level of the data, not the analytical poprcess.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004 #6701
My question is two-fold. We are trying to project the number of responses from a print campaign in trade publications. Realize that there are many variables to consider (offer, response mechanism, size of ad) but are there any rules of thumb on response rate. Would the response rate be applied to gross impressions, net impressions, of net effective impressions (e.g., % reach at 3+ level). Thank you, in advance, for your thoughtful consideration.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, November 24, 2004 ):
The Guru does not know of any specific rules of thumb here. The various publications may have some parameters. Generally, the Guru is used to seeing rates applied to gross or net impressions.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004 #6675
Hi, I would like to explain me in the meaning of media typology: why I should use for ex. 3+ or 2+ reach level, or even 1+. How I can know what the right planning measure is?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, November 10, 2004 ):
The classic approach is represented by the Ostrow Model

Tuesday, November 09, 2004 #6674
what is advertising? why is advertising used? how is advertising used? when is advertising used?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, November 10, 2004 ):
Advertising is marketing communications through purchased (or occasionally, donated) media. It's purpose it to influence the target's attitudes or behavior. The questions otherwise seem to be at a level of simplicity outside the Guru's scope.

Thursday, November 04, 2004 #6670
Dear Guru, I have several clients that like to say they want to place a media campaign with the main objective being to "raise awareness." Even if they give me an actual set percentage to measure from, say increase awareness by 20%, how do I know what GRP's to plan to? Besides the old rule of thumb of a min. of 3 frequency, are there any set "standards" in the industry of a min. reach and GRP goal to have an effective awareness campaign (I know that sounds very broad...that's why I need help!)

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, November 04, 2004 ):
We are discussing ad awareness, of course:

Consider the current level first. For a newly advertised product, growing awareness from 10% to 30% might be relatively easy as comarey to grwoing awareness of a product with 70% awareness to 90%.

The Guru would posit that the first step in growing awareness is by assuring reach is at least at the desired level of awareness; i.e. you won't attain 80% awareness without reaching 80% of the target.. . You will likely need to reach them 3 or more times. However, if advertising is contiuous, you may consider frequency over longer period of time.

Thursday, November 04, 2004 #6668
How do you feel PVR's are going to affect the television advertising industry?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, November 04, 2004 ):
PVR's make skipping ads easier. VCR zipping never became a great problem, but by the time that PVR penetration reaches 50% of VCR levels, commerical viewing measurement of recorded material will be an industry-wide demand.

Friday, October 08, 2004 #6626
In your opinion what effect does the increase or decrease of HUT levels from year to year have on a market?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, October 09, 2004 ):
The question is not entirely clear. But by way of example however, the constant decrease in national HUT lead to increase in CPP. A decrease in HUT is a decrease in supply of GRP.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004 #6562
Can you please clarify the differences between objectives, strategies and tactics within marketing and/or media planning?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, August 06, 2004 ):
It's forest versus trees:

Objectives are the broad statements of what is to be accomplished, such as "increase awareness," "grow share," etc.

Strategies are the general ways in which the objectives will be persued, such as "build reach at high levels of frequency via network television."

Tactics are very specific approaches to eexcuting strategies, such as "select most efficient programming to extend budgets and build highest reach," or "select programming which enhances product image to build awareness in the most favorable light."

Wednesday, July 07, 2004 #6530
Hi Guru. i am willing to take a master degree related directly to media planning. I was wondering if there is any University offering such gradute programs. if yes, i kindly ask u to advise me on the best accredited and worldwide known university (not necessarily in the states) and whether i can do it by correspondance or at least fly there to sut for the exams only. i have checked many websites and frankly speaking couldnt make any decission. appreciate ur help

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, July 12, 2004 ):
The Guru has not encountered a masters level media program and would not be influenced in hiring media staff by seeing one on a resume, paticularly on of the sort you describe. Media skill is about experience, far more than academic fact.

Monday, June 28, 2004 #6522
M.G., what do you consider to be a "sustaining" level of GRPs in a mid-size local TV market for a major auto dealership? Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, July 02, 2004 ):
If you ignore any competitve activity or seasonality or promotional calendar an auto dealership might have, a shedule sufficent to reach 30% of target weekly would be "sustaining."

Thursday, June 17, 2004 #6514
Hi Guru. I have been given the task of planning and buying some spot TV in 5 DMAs to promote a live event in one of those DMAs. There will also be follow-up spots right after the event. On rare occasions in the past when we've bought TV spots, it was on a cost per spot basis. I've been told to do it on a CPP basis this time. I understand what a CPP is and how SQAD works, but how do I determine how many points I need to buy in order to effectively reach my target audience? I don't have my budget for this yet, and anticipate them asking me how much $ I would need to do this right. Can you help me?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, June 20, 2004 ):
The essence of your needs is in determining what portion of your target audience you need to reach, how often, and over how long a period of time. Reaching the majority of the target (at least 50%) at least three times is a starting point.

Then, you need reach calculation software to see what level of GRP gets you there. The Guru's favorite software, naturally, is our own eTelmar.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004 #6505
Hi Guru, I'm placing a buy for a client...the buy is only a 2.5 week buy. This is basically the only time in the year that they advertise, but on a very large national level. How can I post this? Most of the reps/companies I've worked with, make me use my makegoods within that quarter. So, if the ratings fall short, it is too late - my client's campaign is over. Is there some other standard in the industry for cases like this one?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, June 06, 2004 ):
If you are buying with guarantees, then you need to get credits / refunds instead of makegoods.

If by "national," you mean "network" then you can post or "rerate" daily from the overnights and get makegoods on that basis. "Recaps" or extra sposts scheduled but cancellable by the vendor if not needed, is a hedge against this problem.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004 #6501
I work on a automotive account on the retail level. The national plan is provided by a different agency, but teh DMA plans are done by us. A retailer has just stated he does not get his "fair share" of the National TV plan. We have no control over what the National plan is, but have been asked to provide something that would prove he gets his fair share. I am uncertain of what he considers fair, and don't no anyway I can analyze the national buy in a local level other thatn explaining the way national TV works. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, May 25, 2004 ):
The Guru wonders why it becomes your job to provide this, since if there is a fault it's in the national plan, not the one you work on. Perhaps you're expected to makle the local plan balance inequities in the national?

Whichever, we must first understand the complaint: Does the complainer believe the DMA as a whole doesn't get its fair share of national? Or that the portion which is his particular trading area is short-changed?

In either case there must be some assessment from the dealers to compare against a "share." In the DMA case, if the DMA receives 5% of the national impressions and the group of dealers in the DMA is assessed 5% of the national dealers' allocation of contribution to the budget, then that would seem fair. If the assessment is based simply on DMA population or sales or something unrelated to media delivery, then that could be unfair. To consider fairness against smaller geographies will depend in part on whether there is a measurement of that geography. Nielsen provides various tools that measure network program delivery by DMA or by county with which to address the issue. Other than counties or metro areas, that is less likely to occur. There are some geodemographic systems which can estimate narrower geographic delivery of broadcast media, but balancing problems at this geographic level with local TV is only sometimes possible.

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

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

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

Saturday, April 24, 2004 #6470
Dear Media Guru, I would like to know what are the various techniques used for identifying/ arriving at what operating levels/ media weights should a brand operate on? Is there any site which would be provide information in this regard? Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, April 25, 2004 ):
Click here to see Guru discussion of setting levels. Also see Erwin Ephron's site.

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

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

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

Wednesday, April 07, 2004 #6455
I have heard of a 4 wk TV flighting strategy of 50% of the total TRPs week one, followed by a week off followed by 25% of the total TRPs for the last 2 weeks. Supposedly the TV spot recognition is way higher. Have you heard of this? What do you think?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, April 11, 2004 ):
The idea here is that enough frequency is built earlier in the campaign so that consumer response begins earlier and the later exposures penetrate better.

This is more relevant in higher level campaigns with more continuity.

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, March 22, 2004 #6427
Dear MG, In respose to Q.No. 3965 Dated Nov 13, 2000 you said that reach is devided into 5 quintiles of 20% each. Then we have to look at highest viewing qintile and lowest viewing one. I want to know from how do you find the highest and lowest viewing quintile. Our Media Analysis Software gives data in terms of reach, frequency and GRP for a given schedule in addition to reach at 1+, 2+, 3+ etc exposures.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, March 22, 2004 ):

It's a fairly simply bit of arithmetic:

Imagine you have the following frequency distribution for a schedule of 31 Reach, 95.9 GRP and 3.1 average frequency:


Reached exactly (%)

Reached at least (%)

That is, 31.0% reached at least once (1+) and 11.6% reached exactly once. To convert to quintiles, the steps are as follows:


  1. Divide the reach into 5 equal groups to set the percent reached in each quintile. This will be 6.2% reach (see table below)
  2. Beginnning with the "1" frequency level in your frequency distribution, put GRPs into your quintile table. That is, if 11.6% were reached exactly once, then the lightest 6.2 percent must have been reached once, so you can fill in the "lightest" row at 1.0 average frequency and 6.2 GRP.
  3. This will leave
  4. 5.4% reached 1 time to begin building the "next lightest" quintile (11.6 - 6.2 + 5.4)
  5. Now you need to take 0.8 reach from the reached 2 times group to finish building this "Next lightest" quintile (5.4 left + 0.8 from the 2 frequency = 6.2)
  6. This quintile now has 5.4 GRPs ( 5.4 reach @ 1 frequency) plus 1.6 GRPs (0.8 reach @ 2 frequency) for a total of 7.0 GRP. By division we determin the average freqeuncy for this quinntile is 1.1 (7.0 ÷ 6.2 =1.1)
  7. Continuing the same way, the middle quintile is made up of the remaining 5.2% reached 2 times and another 1% reach from the 3 frequency group, so it has 13.4 GRP and 2,2 average frequency
  8. "Next Highest" has the remaining 2.7 from the 3 frequency level, the 2.6 from the 4 level and 0.9 from the 5 level, to make 23.0 GRP and 3.7 frequency
  9. Finally, the "Highest" quintile has the remaining 46.3 GRP (95.9 - 46.3 accounted for in the four lower quintiles) or conitinue working the arithmetic for each frequency in the distribution.


Next Highest
Next Lowest

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

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

Tuesday, March 09, 2004 #6409
Is there a standard for Reach/Frequency for TV over one week and over four weeks? How many TRPS should be bought per week on TV? This is most likely to differ by product category and media mix, but are there any studies that can be quoted to defend a certain level of TRPs bought per week?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, March 14, 2004 ):
No one standard. Click here to see past Guru responses regarding levels

Tuesday, February 17, 2004 #6386
Guru: I have a spot TV plan to pull together for a client in Atlanta. Since this is a high ADS market, the question has been asked if one can buy ADS advertising on a local level. I'm receiving mixed responses. Can you tell me this is possible and who to turn to for cost info? Thanks!

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, February 20, 2004 ):
The Guru will assume that by "ADS" you mean satellite, such as DirecTV and DishNetwork. These systems deliver signals from an orbiting satellite to a footprint much larger than one DMA, probably closer to a broadcast network's regional feed. There is no analog to cable's local system operator who can send commercials down a relatively narrow pipe, generally covering an area smaller than a DMA.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004 #6375
Media Guru: Is there a correct % of sales that a retail client should spend on advertising for a G.O.B. campaign? If so, what is it?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, February 08, 2004 ):
The Guru doesn't think there's any "right" %. It would depend on selling prices and the need to clear merchandise at any cost versus maintain some level of profit.

Friday, January 23, 2004 #6354
Dear Guru: I have been studying the STAS index data which J.P.Jones analyzed from the 1995 Nielsen studies and which served as a foundation to recency. I am puzzled by one thing: out of 78 brands analyzed the sales of 16 brands stayed on the same level and the sales of another 15 brands dropped! This makes it 40% (forty!) where advertising had no effect at all! And no explanations. How can any strategy be based on such a poor foundation and still be taken seriously? R.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, January 23, 2004 ):
If 60% support the theory, that is worth considering. As to those that fell, how did that directionally track with advertising levels?

Wednesday, January 21, 2004 #6351
Hello there. I have this list of dayparts. I am trying to come up with a CPP ranking order from cheapest to most expensive. Do you believe, that on a national level, I am close enough to use for directional analysis purposes? Or, would you switch something around? Thanks in advance for your point of view! 1. 10a-4:30p 2. 1a-6a 3. 4:30p-6p 4. 6p-7p 5. 6a-10a 6. 11p-1a 7. 7p-11p

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, January 23, 2004 ):
Generally this looks OK, but 1a-6a should probably be cheapest. Of course this all depends on the demographic and exactly what medium we are considering, is it broadcast network? It seems silly to generalize. . . you work at a large agency and specific data should be readily available to you.

Monday, January 19, 2004 #6344
Is it better to advertise in the same medium as your competitors or somewhere completely seperate, what factors would effect your decision?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, January 19, 2004 ):
  1. Is the medium in question the only one -- or one of the few -- that reaches your target or reaches it effectively? For some niche consumer targets or B2B targets choices are very limited.
  2. If choices are more open, then consider relative levels; you probably do not want to be a small advertiser where competitors will overwhelm you in weight or "quality" such as units size/coloration or subjective copy quality.
  3. Regardless of the first two points, can you somehow stand out; with break-through advertising, positioning or support from secondary media?

Sunday, December 14, 2003 #6309
Dear Guru How does one decide the Minimum cost of entry for each media category compared with available funds

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, December 14, 2003 ):
1. Decide what is an effective level. Click here to see Guru discussion of setting levels.

2. Decide the period of time and geographic are you need to cover.

3. Now, what can you afford to do effectively?

Thursday, November 27, 2003 #6280
Hello Guru, I'm trying to determine the ideal OTH level for radio campaigns. For instance, do you need 3,4,5 or 6 OTH by week to have a good radio campaign? And is there a relation between OTH and spotlength? Thanks for your answer. S.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, November 28, 2003 ):
Click here to see past Guru responses about levels

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

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

Click here to see past Guru responses about levels.

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.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003 #6149
In regards to buying spot tv and spot cable tv - At what point is it more efficient to plan in network buys to either replace or compliment spot buying? Is it the number of markets client has locations? Our client who places spot buys in 55 DMA's, cannot grasp the benefit of a more efficient buy on network and is stuck on having, what he calls "waste" in markets with no locations. Please help!! You have a GREAT site!!

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, September 11, 2003 ):
Assuming you have the same weight goal (GRPs) in all markets, when the combined cost of your selected markets exceeds the cost of that weight level in network, network is more efficent. On this basis, "the waste" just becomes free advertising that does not matter. It is not a matter of the number of markets. One advertiser might have a budget for 55 small markets that wouldn't cover 10 large markets. If there are no locations in the other markets, ill will might be a problem, especially in consideration of future growth. Efficiency is simply not the only consideration.

Tuesday, September 02, 2003 #6142
I am planning to start up a magazine in Hong Kong. How do I decided the no of pages; ad versus editoral ratio; the current trends on what people want to read; Any help on other factors you think i need to include in my plan?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, September 06, 2003 ):
This is somewhat outside the Guru's province, but here is his simplified version:

It costs some amount to produce the magazine, depending on paper stock, printing methods, staff needs, etc.

You can charge some price for an ad page, depending on audience size, audience "quality," and marketplace competitive pricing and volume discounts you will need to offer.

From these data you can determine how many ad pages support how many editorioal pages. Deciding to invest while the primary considerations find their own levels is common.

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

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

Friday, July 25, 2003 #6094
Dear Guru, I'm preparing an analysis of "going dark" aka taking a hiatus for an entire quarter for an insurance client who is typically on air 4 quarters/year. Can you site some sources (besides the ARF) that have data on taking a hiatus of this length and it's effect on awareness levels?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, July 27, 2003 ):
Try TV Bureau of Advertising, The Magazine Publishers' Association, The Newspaper Advertising Association and The Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB)

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.

Tuesday, July 08, 2003 #6067
When you ask a TV station for programs and rating, they always say what rating book do you want, or which books to use. Is there a standard on which books to use?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, July 14, 2003 ):
Usually, you want the latest information. You might also want to look at the same season as the one for whch you are planning, to account for seasonal variation in viewing levels, that might have last occurred when different programming was available

Monday, June 30, 2003 #6052
At what penetraiton level of the US will buying Network Cable be effecient?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, July 07, 2003 ):
"Efficient" in this context means most cost-effective, in other words, when the accumulated cost of local buys equals or approaches the cost-per-point of network. With the 45 or so rated networks, at greatly differing efficiencies (most of which are likely not to be rated in most markets) and even more others, this is a tough call to generalize.

Even with ratings, the answer will depend on what demographic you target and whether you buy from the top down, based on size. SO in large part it's a matter of deciding what you would choose to buy locally and seeing how many markets deep you could make that buy before approaching the national cost. With the usual, relatively great inefficiency of local cable, the Guru would imagine the typical answer will be that about 25 markets deep bought locally will generally bring you to preferring network.

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.

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.

Monday, June 09, 2003 #6002
Where can I find models which measure/monitor/predict seasonality in ratings (HUT levels decline after daylight savings for some dayparts by xx%)?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, June 09, 2003 ):
It is simply a matter of looking at history, i.e. past Nielsen ratings.

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

Monday, June 02, 2003 #5990
Media Guru: What is the carryover of awareness from one flight to the next? (with relatively little time between) How does the first flight affect the level of support necessary for the second flight? For instance, if the first flight achieves a target reach of 80%, I assume that your second flight could acheive the same reach at a lighter media level. Do you have any research on this? Please help! Thank you, Brooke

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, June 07, 2003 ):
The reach of a flight relates to the GRP and program dispersion. Given the same schedule, the same reach is achieved.

Awareness is not the same as reach, but of course there is a relationship; only those reached will have ad awareness.

Once a level of awareness is established, less weight may be necessary to maintain that awareness. One rule of thumb is a 10% decline in awareness in each week without advertising. From this, levels of added support can be planned. Much depends on the levels achieved and desired.

Monday, June 02, 2003 #5988
Question wrote at Wednesday, May 21, 2003 #5979: We’ve done an AdAwareness modeling and planning for 8 markets. And we require to do projection for other dozens of markets. The objective is to define the budget setting of each market based on our models. What’s the best approach we should look at? The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, May 24, 2003 ): It is not clear what the result of your "Awareness modeling" is. Does your model give you the weight to deliver by medium? In that case, you just need access to media costs by market. If not, your query needs clarification. The Awareness Modeling gave us the response function and we can do prediction based on the parameters we found (short/long term effect, decay, etc.) Up to now the awareness planning will help us to identify how much weight we need to get certain level of adawareness, and vice versa, how much adawareness we can get with our media weight. We're still consentrating in the aided TV adawareness modeling. The question is, how can we apply our modeling (8 markets) to any other market. As far as we understand, the response function and awareness modeling itself are applied only for the tracked Market respectively. Is there any successful case study for applying awareness modeling into other market which has no historical awareness data?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, June 02, 2003 ):
If you define your model as not applicable to other markets, you leave yourself with no options.

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

Thursday, May 29, 2003 #5983
what is the formula or how can we calculate the recall impact or residual impact after a TV campaign

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, May 31, 2003 ):
Recall is not a factor of media so much as an artifact of the power of the creative. In general, some formulae show a loss of approximately 10% of the preceding week's ad awareness level for each week with no new activity.

Tuesday, May 06, 2003 #5959
Can you please define the terms small, medium and heavy weight media campaigns?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, May 06, 2003 ):
Generally these terms are merely relative to the advertser's usual activity levels.

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

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

Wednesday, April 09, 2003 #5928
I am looking for articles appropriate for a high school class doing a promotional media project that will either present thought provoking or challenging ideas about promotional media. would such articles exist at their level?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, April 13, 2003 ):
It is not clear to the Guru what you mean by "promotional" media. If you mean what he would call advertising media, any of the industry trade publications like MediaWeek or Media ought to be readable by high school students. Articles written outside the trade are generally inaccurate or sensationalized.

Friday, March 21, 2003 #5892
Hi Media Guru, Please introduce me some websites on knowledge about media planning : strategies, level of effectiveness.... Thanks a lot for your help.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, March 21, 2003 ):
Go to the Guru Archives Search Engine.

Sunday, March 16, 2003 #5883
I am planning a radio campaign for a tourism client. I am planning a six week radio campaign and am trying to determine the grp levels. I need to provide a strong rationale. Do you have any studies on how you determine grp levels? For example, at what level do you need to intro a new product vs. branding a product and etc. Any help would be appreciated.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, March 20, 2003 ):
As a loyal Guru regular, you should be familiar with the Guru archives. Click here to see past Guru responses about levels

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 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.

Thursday, February 27, 2003 #5860
Dear Media Guru - My client has asked me to propose a media market test scenario. How should I go about selecting a test market and what is an acceptable heavy-up for media in the test market, assuming we would test the effectiveness of higher weight levels? What other factors should I consider? Is there any literature out there I should look at? Thanks! .d. Media Planner, Dallas, Texas

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, March 02, 2003 ):
Test markets traditionally reject the largest ands smallest 10 or som markets, because they are more atypical, and of courxe, the largest are more expensive to test. Nielsen and Standard Rate and Data Service (SRDS) have market guides. You will want to decide which factors matter. Is the market typical in presence of the media types you will use, such as # of tv or radio or cable or newspaper outlets? Is the age or econimic or ethnic mix typical of the US or your eventual marketing area?

The Guru recommends a one-third increment heavy-up as the minimum for testing.

There is extensive literature, try The Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter. For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230. and Newsweek Media Research Index

Sunday, February 23, 2003 #5851
I have been asked to comment on the agency's performance on media buying and planning for their year end review. Can you provide hints on what I should look for or comment on for each discipline Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, March 02, 2003 ):
Are you commenting as a client or as an agency manager, it might change the questions or priorities? For buying, the issue is delivering the goals specified and measured. I.e.
  • GRP levels specified
  • Media mix specified
  • Pricing
. Media buying performance is driven by planning and the planners' ability to clearly convey goals. That is, don't fault your buyers if someone else claims to get better prices. Perhaps the planners specifications called for some schedule qualities that require higher-priced choices, or budgets were released to the buyers without enough time to negotiate or after the 'good stuff' was sold out.

In other words, look at the whole picture. Evaluate planners ability to translate advertising goals into specific media goals / strategies / tactics. The look at how this was translated into buying goals to assure the buyers delivered what was needed. If prices seem high, did the planners insist on / help buyers' estimating best prices.

If you are agency management, you may also be interested in how the planning and buying interfaces with account management, traffic and production.

Wednesday, February 12, 2003 #5830
My freelance media planner/buyer wants to charge my client a full 15% commission and pocket the entire commission for himself. It's a small account. Only about 200K of commissionable media. On top of that, I charge an hourly rate for my creative services. Does 15% sound excessive? What are the going rates for media planning/buying services these days, esoecially in the midwest?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, February 17, 2003 ):
Yes, in general 15% is excessive for media services only at this billing level. The "traditional" 15% covered media placement, marketing support and creative development. Many agencies now negotiate higher fees for such small accounts, but $30,000 to place $200,000 in media is excessive. Some media are more complex and labor intensive than others, but these fees would cover possible 200-300 hours of meida work. If the media is palnning and buying dozens of small weekly newspapers and radio stations, which change every week for a year, this might be a reasonable fee.

Friday, February 07, 2003 #5813
Dear Guru, I am currently working in the consulting business with focus in various industries from media, telecomms, resources, etc.; however, want to get out of this business and back into sales/marketing (where I belong--worked in telecomms/hotel/media) business, but now want to focus more on media. Interesting position I saw: Associate Media Director, that I know I can do, but need more training/etc. in Media biz. I'm doing an MBA, have approx. 8 years sales/consulting (International) experience. Where/What can I do to get good knowledge-base in Media that will get me in the door?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, February 08, 2003 ):
"Associate Media Director" is a position managing other media professionals, calling for experienced leadership, knowledge of the profession and ability to train younger professionals in the job. You need to get a couple of years at a lower media department level to turn your other experience into a background for this job.

Friday, February 07, 2003 #5812
My client's primary target is 15-24 years old with household income of 1k & above. I have been given task to recommend a "secondary target audience" for campaign measurement. Question : How do I create the logic for defining the "secondary target audience" (2)what are the decisive factors I need to rationalise in defining the age bracket for the secondary audience? ie 25 to 35 years; 25-39 years or 25 and above? Thank-you.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, February 08, 2003 ):
Secondary targets are typically of two or three types:
  1. A more important subset within the primary, or
  2. A second, separate group of some importance, which might
  3. partially intersect with the primary
. For example,
  1. 21-24 in the same income group might be your secondary if they were notably more valuable than your already designated 15-24 group
  2. 35-49 at a higher income level is the second type, and
  3. 21-35 car owners is an example of the third type
. So in summary, it it simply another group needing attention for reasons of usage, potential or other consumer evaluation.

Sunday, February 02, 2003 #5796
Dear Guru: A Recency question. Suppose I have 1 competitor. Suppose both of us use Recency for the advertising strategy at approximately the same level of, say, 35% weekly reach. What do you think is the effect of such strategy on the market? What if there are not 2 but 4 or 5 competitors using the same strategy? Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, February 03, 2003 ):
Recency is just a communications strategy. Competitive environment is a separate issue. Recency theory may set a threshhold value of 35 reach, but the essence is in the continuity, not low levels. Competitive pressure may dictate a higher level.

Saturday, February 01, 2003 #5790
Where can I find a source that will list # of households with children on a market level?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, February 01, 2003 ):
Nielsen's DMAs or Arbitron's Metros? Nielsen deals in households, Arbitron with people 12+.

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.

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 18, 2002 #5695
When developing a cable schedule, how is it possible that the cable companies are providing reach number of 70 - 80%. With so much fragmentation and with cable still in only about 70% of households, how can they deliever that kind of reach?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, December 19, 2002 ):
First, cable companies' figures are typically based on a cable-homes universe, so they are talking about reaching 70-80% of the 70-80% that are in cable homes. The fragmentation does make one question that any one cable net can reach that level, but there will be Nielsen data to suport or disprove the claim.

Wednesday, December 18, 2002 #5693
Dear Guru: When estimating GRPs for a media plan, what is considered an acceptable error level (10%, 15% or more)? Thanks, R.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, December 19, 2002 ):
The Guru presumes you actually mean the ratio of post buy delivery to plan, since plan specifications are prescriptions, rather than estimates. In any case, it is a judgement, but 10% is a common tolerance.

Sunday, November 24, 2002 #5640
for the recency planning we need to set a certain Reach level per week. Are we going to use the same week programs selected over the whole year or are we going to have alternative programs each week with the same Reach result??? The target Reach that we set for the Recency planning is it by TV station or a mix of TV stations??? are we going to use different TV station each week??? Thank you...

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, November 25, 2002 ):
Recency theorists would use 30 as a minimum base weekly reach. There is nothing specific about which schedule to use. It's about total schedule. It seems logical to extend cume reach by varying programming week-to-week. In this way your 30 weekly reach will grow to 90+ over time. Repeating the exact schedule every week will yeild a very low cume. The essential idea behind recency is that purchasers are in the market all the time, even though only a portion of the target is purchasers. With a w18-49 target, for example, you don't know what portion of your 30 reach overlaps the purchase prospect in any given week.

Sunday, November 17, 2002 #5623
How can I get my foot in the door with an advertising firm when I have less than two years previous experience and no connections to the industry. I do have a a recent college degree and experience in advertising, marketing, and management, but none of the companies want entry level employee's. The future of the company is the youth with fresh and innovative concepts, but it seems we are overlooked at times??

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, November 17, 2002 ):
With some experience you're not entry level, just keep trying. Fish where the fish are: New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, etc.

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

Monday, October 21, 2002 #5573
im a student at BCCC, and we reciently made up a media team where i am the media planner. our product is an exam given to employees to test their efficiency at work. as a staffing-tool, im finding it difficult to come up with a solid media medium? what do you suggest to help me out of this jam?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, October 27, 2002 ):
You should have begin by figuring out your target, who is likely to be human resources managers or top level company managers.

Try the magazines Human Resources, Human Resource Executive, Training, eLearning and their web sites. Also the leading business magazines, such as Forbes, Fortune, Business Week, and Wall Street Journal

Monday, October 07, 2002 #5550
I am launching a new polish language 24 hrs ethnic channel in USA, Which pricing method for the airtime ratecard would be the most appriopriate (assuming that such a channel of 50-100.000 subscribers would not be "visible" in any audience measurement panel?). What level of CPM is used when pricing ethnic communities??

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, October 13, 2002 ):
Generally, ethnic broadcast cpms are a bit lower than general market cpms for the same media type, using Hispanic as model. This holds true even in cases where Spanish language stations are tops in their time periods, which sometimes occurs in LA, NY and Miami.

You will need to begin prices based on covering your costs. If, as you say, you will not have any audience measurements, discussion of cpm is irrelevant, anyway. With 100,000 subscribers, it will not be uncommon to have only 1000 viewing most of the time. If $20 cpm is what others get, that means $20 is a high price for you spots on a cpm basis. Your best pricing model might be the International Channel.

Monday, October 07, 2002 #5549
I am an advertising major at Penn State University. I would like to know what my options will be once I have received a degree? (What possible jobs I could get within the field)

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, October 07, 2002 ):
Seems late in the game to think about this question. Advertising agency jobs generally fall into three areas: Media, Account services, and creative. Media is the one adressed by the Guru. Entry level buying and planning positions exist, though the economy is not creating a lot of these currently.

Tuesday, September 17, 2002 #5520
Dear Media Guru, 1) We represent a home services marketer that has a budget of $700,000 per year ($55K/month) and the goal is to raise BRAND AWARENESS in the US and Canada. What media would you recommend to obtain the greatest impact on a national level with this budget? The target is upscale working women 35-64, Household income $100,000+. 2) How do we go about securing partners for co-branding ... is there an agency that specializes in this, or a directory you know of? 3) Where can I find someone to help get this service placed in a tv show or movie? 4) What do you know about advertising in hotels, in their electronic on-screen check-out process? 5) Any other non-traditional avenues I might look in to? Thank you very much.

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, September 17, 2002 ):
  1. Understand that $700,000 is a VERY LOW budget for a national campaign. It is the not even a strong budget for a major market. The Guru would begin with network radio and national cable for the target and brand you mention. The Guru would probably recommend not even being national, but selecting a few markets where the budget would have an impact.
  2. Co-branding is not a media issue
  3. Click here to see past Guru responses about in-film product placemnt
  4. Contact the hotel chains for their in-system ads
  5. Consider Welcome Wagon and Telephone company new customer packages.

Monday, September 16, 2002 #5517
mr. guru i am taking a class on advertising and i have to do research on a media planner...i have a coulple of questions i would love for you to answer for my research. a. what are some of the resposibilities and duties of a media planner. b. requirement you must meet to be employed in the chosen job (education, portfolio, etc.?) c. what is the salary range for this job? d. are jobs available? employment opportunites. e. level of difficulty in performing you job duties. if you could answer all or some of these questions would help me in my could e-mail me at with the answers or i will check the website for answers

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, September 17, 2002 ):
Click here to see past Guru responses about the planner's role .

Click here to see past Guru responses about qualifications for a planner.

Jobs are available. Difficulty is in relation to your ability.

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.

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 #5463
I would like to know if there is a general rule of thumb for R/F goals on political/issue advertising for local markets. Also, the politcal strategist running the campaign for which we are buying media has stipulated that we must place 1000 TRPs against each television spot. What are your thoughts on that?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, August 14, 2002 ):
No general rules. levels should depend on competition, and other specific factors. Budget not least of all. Without knowing the rationale for the 1000 TRP, it is difficult to comment. 1000 does not seem at all excessive.

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.

Thursday, August 08, 2002 #5458
Dear Guru, I am the marketing director for an 80 unit restaurant chain with locations in 9 DMA's (2 being top 20.) For us to advertise promotions at point levels that increase sales and are within our budget, we have been forced to use a tiering strategy in our media purchases. By this I mean that we determine what type, weight and number of weeks of media each market will receive based on dividing the cost by market by the number of locations. Are there any other formulas or tools we should use to help us with this proces??

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, August 10, 2002 ):
Your current method assumes that every restaurant is equal in generating sales or profits. You could allocate according to market sales. Or you could account for efficiency: If market A has half the population of market B and each has 10 restaurants, but the cpp is double in B, do you adjust for this, i.e. spend where the dollars give more action?

Wednesday, August 07, 2002 #5453
what are the duties of a media planner. (This is for an entry level position.)

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, August 07, 2002 ):
The duties vary in different agencies and circumstances. Click here to see past Guru discussion of the planners' role .

Tuesday, July 23, 2002 #5430
Is there any research information available that explores a break-even analysis for local vs. national media (i.e. television). Evaluating how many local markets you could purchase before reaching a national CPP. Please explain why this type of analysis would be completed.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, July 27, 2002 ):
This is not so much "research" as a market place analysis. The answer changes over time, depending on economy, demographic, daypart and market rankings. It's a matter of comparing the specific costs you face. See past Guru responses.

Why do the analysis? If you are planning to buy advertising in a ranked list of markets for a national brand, and the do not need to vary levels by market, or need a given base level across markets, cost per rating point will eventually mount to a point where a network rating point is less expensive than the rating point purchased through the local media. At that point, you get the rest of the country "free" if you switch to network,

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.

Monday, June 17, 2002 #5354
I'm not in an ad position, but I have to do a report for our Board about placing ads about our company targeted at Company CEOs, Owners, and top management. How do I find out what these top level executives reading habits are and the best publications to target them? The Board has a very limited budget so I'm trying to sway them towards PR instead of ad placements, but need some back up on my decision. Thanks!

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, June 17, 2002 ):
Your best resource might be The Mendelsohn Media Research Affluent Study. If you are in the technology arena, Intelliquest would be helpful.

PR and advertising serve different purposes, and should probably not be regarded as simple pricing alternatives.

Monday, June 17, 2002 #5353
Most of my clients ask the simple question " Why aren't my sales increasing through advertising?"....Please help me in the models used in planning to combat this question.....

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, June 17, 2002 ):
There are innumerable reasons why advertising might not generate increased sales which might have nothing to do with media --the Guru's area -- and some that do.

Within the media arena, the reasons include

  • Advertising to the wrong target
  • Selecting media which do not support the message
  • Advertising to briefly ar at levels too low.

Some non-media reasons which might apply include

  • Wrong price
  • Wrong product
  • Bad advertising copy

Friday, May 31, 2002 #5315
Thank you for your response to question #5312 regarding local cable. I was wondering if other risks that might apply to buying local cable vs. national might include: 1) Where the ad appears within the program 2)Are enough ratings information available to do post-analysis on local cable buys? Thanks again for your help!

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, May 31, 2002 ):
There is the risk of being shown among a group of "cheaper looking" strictly local commercials.

The Guru is not aware of cable-system-specific ratings being generally available. Local market ratings of specific cable programs are available when their audiences rise to reportable levels according to the ratings service's standards. Many local cable channels do not meet this standard most of the time.

Thursday, May 30, 2002 #5312
Our agency has suggested moving away from a national cable buy and buying local cable instead. Our brand has franchises throughout the country, although there are certainly heavier pockets in some areas of the country - we are nationwide. The thought behind the switch is that we would be able to afford higher GRP levels if advertising is concentrated in top markets by franchisee. The agency believes that buying spot still engages a lot of waste, which is why they are recommending a time consuming, potentially more costly buy. They believe that matching cable systems to specific franchisees will produce better results. What, in your opinion, are the disadvantages to buying local cable? I know that we would lose rating guarantees, and sponsorships, but are there other issues as well? Thank you for assistance.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, May 31, 2002 ):
The chief disadvantage which the Guru sees, in addition to those you have mentioned, is inefficiency. Local cable bought system by system is probably the least efficient form of TV.

It's a matter of ratios, though, and probably should be considered market by market. For example:

  • In one market, perhaps you would only buy cable sytem "A," which covers 25% of the total DMA.
  • $10,000 buys you 100 GRP within that system
  • But $10,000 would buy you 150 GRP in the entire DMA (and equally within the system).
  • So even if 75% of the DMA-wide buy is "waste," it still delivers 50% more weight where it counts.

These are theoretical numbers and you have to look at the actual numbers for your market areas, including the comparison of a national buy to local cable. The Guru expects that local cable will be neither the most efficient nor lowest-cost choice.

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.

Monday, May 20, 2002 #5293
I'm trying to convert a local media test campaign (TV, Cable and Radio) to national weight levels. Is there a conversion formula to follow for each medium?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, May 21, 2002 ):
The apparently logical formula, based on population percents simply doesn't work because of efficiencies of scale. The relative efficiencies vary from one medium to another. If you don't have some actual costs in each national medium to index against to your local costs, you will have to get them.

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.

Tuesday, May 14, 2002 #5282
what is the importance of advertising and public relations to a business?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, May 18, 2002 ):
Two key elements in business success are that the potential customer be aware of your service or product and that the potential customer believes your service or product answers a need or conveys a benefit.

At the pushcart-on-the-street level, these processes may be completed by a sign on an umbrella, and the look or smell of the merchandise. Most businesses have larger aspirations.

Thursday, May 02, 2002 #5265
What are the most scientific ways of measuring media inflation. How do we isolate impact of fragmentation and cost inflation in an exercise of this nature. Can u illustrate this with an example for a developing country with low levels of tv penetration

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, May 05, 2002 ):
The Guru suspects that you mean something other than "scientific." Media inflation is simply the increase in cost per unit audience (cpm or cpp) over time. There are just the two, hard-number elements, audience (e.g. rating) and cost.

One may track the two elements separately, graphing change in average rating (largely due to fragmentation), and change in cost per unit. The difference in slope of these two lines isolates the factors. The Guru does not have readily at hand a multi year track of these two factors for any developing country. In a developing country, the growth in media usage might offset fragmentation for several early years.

Wednesday, April 10, 2002 #5216
Is it the same advertising in two totally different places? Where everything is different (culture, media, number of people etc.). Does the consumer react the same whoever he is?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, April 15, 2002 ):
Definitiely not. Take a simple example, such as US Hispanic advertising.

It is well established that advertising can not simply be translated and used otherwise unchanged. The cultural cues, and context, including everything from the look of sets and actors through how products are used, past consumer experience with the products, and flavor/scent prefernces make too many differences.

On the media side, reach levels of the various media are different, for instance Spanish TV has a four week potential below 70% of Hispanics for any reasonable schedule, radio has a higher potential, and magazines are not a strong medium at all, generally (with one or two exeptions) having circulation coverage only 10-25% as deep as the US general. market. Newspapers compare similarly, with 10% HH coverage of a market being almost unheard-of.

Taking advertising from country to country raises even more problems.

Friday, March 29, 2002 #5181
I am looking for adjustment factors so that I can adjust the impression delivery of a program - reflecting the various ad sizes and positioning and so forth for the various sponsorship levels involved

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, March 30, 2002 ):
Such factors range from the simple arithmetic ratios for length of commercial to highly subjective judgments, for the value of billboards, signage, product placement, etc. Judgment is just that: judgment.

Thursday, March 21, 2002 #5165
I'm familiar with Spot TV and Spot Radio, but is there such a thing as Spot Interactive?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, March 21, 2002 ):
Spot TV and Spot radio refer to these media at a local versus national level. Some web sites can segment local geographies and some target only local areas, but the comparison to spot broadcast media is tenuous.

Thursday, March 21, 2002 #5164
A recent survey measured internet use among "C-level executives". Where does this term come from, and how is it defined? Thanks. SSmith

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, March 21, 2002 ):
This refers to executives with one of those three letter titles beginning with "C:" CEO, COO, CFO, CTO, etc.

Unfortunately, this kind of title has becomne so prevalent, the "C level" qualification doesn't mean much more than Senior VP once did.

Tuesday, March 12, 2002 #5145
Hi Guru, I am doing research on the correlation of Ad Response by DMA (as derived from marketing mix models) to traditional sales measures (BDI/CDI/Growth Trends) and have some interesting findings. My question relates to spot buying tactics and if the list below is exhaustive: 1) Opportunistic--Strong CDI Weak BDI 2) Share Defense--Basically opposite of above 3) Spend to Business--more of an allocation strategy as opposed to a market selection 4) Impression weighting--Like number 3 but takes into account viewership Am I leaving anything off (especially sales based metrics) or not characterizing it correctly. Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, March 17, 2002 ):
All of your tactics are presumably based on total market delivery, that is accounting for national media weight and bringing the market in line with a goal based on one of your ways of setting market levels.

Other possibilities include looking at spot on its own and at the other extreme, taking into account a complete media mix. One tactic more in line with your probable intent of allocation or level setting strategies might be Share of voice or other tactics based on competitive activity.

Tuesday, February 26, 2002 #5121
If an advertiser cuts their typical TV schedule in half for three months, can we guage any residual effect in the following three months even if they return to normal levels.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, February 27, 2002 ):
One old rule of thumb was that about 10% of the previous week's awareness is lost each week without advertising. A collateral rule was that about 10% of the GRPs were added back to reach if some advertisng ran.

So, if awareness was 80% and you had been running 100 GRP per week, after one week without advertisng, awareness would fall to 72%. But if you ran 50 GRP instead of nothing, you could gain back 5 points.

Obviously, this scenario will always show an awareness loss in any week with less than 100 GRP, no mattere the ratio to prior weeks GRPs. It is overly simplistic, but may be directionally useful.

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.

Sunday, February 24, 2002 #5111
What is the most effective advertising to reach a Senior Target - Adults 55 and over with Income under $17,000/yr. The product is apartments, the market is Greenville County, South Carolina. The budget is only $10,000. What do you recommend other than Sunday Real Estate Newspaper Ads that will be efficient and effective?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, February 25, 2002 ):
Even assuming that your prospects are all local, the budget doesn't seem serious. You might afford 200 GRP of radio or a similalry indeaquate local cable scehdule. If your prospects might be northerners looking for retirement homes, which seems unlikely at that income level, small space national magazine ads in smaller, senior-oriented magazines might be effective.

Bottom line, you need a real budget, or you're stuck in the real estate section and maybe pennysavers.

Wednesday, February 20, 2002 #5101
I plan & buy all forms of media for a small agency with mostly local clients. We buy TV & Radio only in our state at this point. Do you think it is worth getting media buying software or is relying on reps at this level sufficient. If you think software is the way to go, which would you recommend for a very small agency?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, February 21, 2002 ):
You can always get audience data from reps. You need to consider whether they will manipulate the data the way you want it, and what to do when they aren't fast enough for an urgent need, if you have such.

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.

Friday, February 08, 2002 #5071
What is 4 week buildup

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, February 10, 2002 ):
This would seem to refer to a campaign statring four weeks before some event, or growing in levels over the four weeks.

Thursday, February 07, 2002 #5066
Mr. Guru...I am curious about the level of knowledge companies like Predictive Networks will have about the interactive tv viewer. Can one assume that every single remote click is trackable? For instance, will these tracking companies know exactly when you "skipped" a commercial or changed from one show to the next?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, February 10, 2002 ):
The Guru supposes technology will vary and change, but channel changes are the minimum that will be tracked.

Tuesday, February 05, 2002 #5053
I am looking to step into the Direct Response TV world with an Infomercial. I have a 100K budget. A few companies have said that they can pull off a good production for me along with a decent amount of airrings on that budget. My question is what type of sales results can I expect. None of these companies will give me any kind of projections. Is that normal? Should I be able to get projections and if so what levels of sales? Thanks in advance.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, February 10, 2002 ):
The variables of your product's appeal and pricing are just as important as the production. Nevertheless, the company you work with should be able to give you their history, in terms of the sales success of others by category and price, as a guideline.

Monday, January 21, 2002 #5020
Is there a general benchmark for cable wearout levels?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, January 31, 2002 ):
Wearout shouldn't be format-specific. It's about a piece of copy, whether it runs in broadcast network or local cable channels.

Click here to see past Guru comment on wear out.

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 10, 2002 #4991
Is it a standard practice, that radio is not to be purcchased against the summer book due to variances?. Is this statement correct?. Is so, why even measure it if no one uses it.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, January 14, 2002 ):
The Guru doesn't know why the "summer variance" myth will not go away. Except within the 12-24 demographic, there is almost no change in overall listening levels in summer. Even among 12-24, the variance is only about 5 - 6%.

Of course, if it wasn't measured, we wouldn't know this.

For details, see Arbitron's Radio Today.

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

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

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

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

Saturday, December 22, 2001 #4962
We use CMR for print and broadcast Ad Expenditures for pharmaceutical products. Is there a source for pharmaceutical spend levels to doctors?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, December 22, 2001 ):
You may find medical journal spending in CMR's Business 1200

Sunday, November 18, 2001 #4897
i want to make my career in advertising because of my creative and good business aptitude,but have no formal degree in can i do it.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, November 18, 2001 ):
Generally speaking, media jobs have no specific demands in terms of educational background. Seek out entry-level jobs and sell yourself.

Thursday, November 15, 2001 #4894
Will you please explain the math and rationale for equivalizing :15s in broadcast tv? I keep hearing the term, but my buyer couldn't clearly explain it. She also said she didn't believe in doing it. Do you? Thanks as always!

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, November 15, 2001 ):
Buyers and planners look at this process differently. In actual fact, a :15 and a :30 in the same program have the same audience, but different costs.

To planners the audience is more important, in its relationship to reach, etc.

Buyers, however are more cost and efficiency focused at the program level. They will simplify avails by assignninig everything the :30 price and using a factored audience to reflect the :15 efficiency.

Tuesday, October 30, 2001 #4853
Dear Guru, Could you tell me what would be the advantages and disadvantages of having the mediaspace bought centralised by one media group through out f.e. Europe. On the other hand, what would be the advantage / disadvantages of buying by a local center. Knowing that one media center could be good in one country but bad in an other. Kind regards

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, November 01, 2001 ):
Those that do each have their justifications. Typically,
    centralization is presented as giving more clout, which may be growing in importance as media ownership and cross-media ownership consolidates.
  • Centralization also allows closer administration by top level management
  • Local buying is said to provide better relationships with local media and marketplace knowledge
The Guru believes either one can work if done properly. Local buying is more likley to be window-dressing than centralized buying. Clients of a centralized company may benefit from cost efficiencies of the buying process.

Monday, October 29, 2001 #4844
I am doing a comparison study of two local weekly print vehicles in Cleveland and am looking for some assistance in reading The Media Audit reports that both have provided me - mainly cume rating vs. index. Let's take for example a comparison on the following target audience: Attended Past 12 Months - Rock/Pop Music Concert. The percent of the target audience as a factor of the whole audience is 23.7% or 376,300 people. Paper A reaches 154,900 (41.2% rating) while Paper B reaches 140,100 (37.2% rating). Therefore, Paper A has the larger rating or "total eyeballs" per say. However, when we switch gears and look at the Index, we see that Paper B has an index of 208 (49.4% composition) while Paper A only has an index of 168 (39.5% composition). We've been trying to talk this situation out all day to determine which number is more important in deciding who to go with -- since we can only choose one for next year's plans. can you help me to understand in plain english the difference between the 2?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, October 30, 2001 ):
Composition is the portion of the readers of a publication who fit within your target.

Reach / rating is the portion of your target who are within the audience of the publication.

Compostition, therefore is an indicator of the degree of focus on your target while rating is popularity among your target.

Playboy or Maximum PC will have a very high audience composition who are Men 18-34, but People Weekly has more readers in that demographic group.

If two publications have more or less comparable content, as daily newspapers would prefer rating to composition, but cost efficient should also be considered. If overall reach is a goal, including both has merit.

Friday, October 26, 2001 #4833
Dear Guru, We are working with a client to launch a financial services product and our initial assignment was to develop a three month launch test plan. They have now asked us to develop the five year plan to better understand the longer term impact of marketing on their business. Is there a magic number to apply to the annualized launch plan to project out media spend over five years? Thanks in advance.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, October 26, 2001 ):
No magic numbers here. The Guru would be conservative. Ask vendors in each media category type what they forsee. Why would you use a "launch" level plan to project 5 years?

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.

Saturday, October 13, 2001 #4791
I have been trying to find a clear, easy-to-understand way of explaining to account services why Nielsen isn't an absolute, exact science, but see it for the base measurement tool that it is. Any way you could sum it up for me? I have pointed out many of the flaws and error measurements to the methodology but they can't seem to grasp why it isn't black and white.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, October 13, 2001 ):
One would devoutly hope that an account professional would have some experience with survey research, like attitude and usage studies, but then again, many of them believe you can project porduct usage from a couple of focus groups of ten people.

Nielsen is like any other research based on sampling, it is subject to sampling error. Projecting behavior of an entire population based on a large sample is a well established scientific procedure, and Nilesen has a good overview on their site. The short answer is, when well conducted research is based on a random sample, results are at best within a certain +/- range. When you hear that a national political poll regarding two candidates is '+/- 3 points' that really means that a 50% projection is between 47 and 53% at a certain confidence level like 95%. Or, that id the poll was redone the same way 100 times, 95 times the results for that question would be from 47 to 50%. But 50% has the largest possible sample portion behind it ( if the answer was 75%, it also means that 25% said the opposite and both must be equally reliable.

TV ratings are more often numbers like 2% or 7% because there are so many viewing choices and non-viewer as well. With the same sample as the political poll above, the 2% answer (or rating) is subject to much less absolute error than the 50% answer, perhaps 0.4 points rather than 3 points, But as a relative error that is very big, 20% of the audeince reported. Over time, if a show' real rating is 2.0 and rthe aduience doesn't change, there will be some weeks that get a 2.4 rating and others with a 1.6. They'll average out to the 2.0, but depending on how you read Nielsen, you need to account for that. If you by a weekly program expecting the 2.0, and happen to be in a 1.6 week, you hope (realistically) that some other program you bought has an 'up' week. Over a whole quarterly schedule, with a lot of announcements, if the GRPs are far from expectation, look elsewhere than Nielsen for blame.

Saturday, October 13, 2001 #4790
Is there one clear, absolute way to go about projecting CPP (television) for an upcoming year? What methods do you find to be most accurate?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, October 15, 2001 ):
No one clear method. If there were, certain people wouldn'rt be 'pulling down the big bucks.'

There are two unrelated processes here: predicting ratings and predicting costs per announcement. Both can dcepend on changes in the national state of mind as well as external economic factors and highly unpredictable viewing preference changes.

The core of ratings prediction is an assumption that overall viewing levels are stable, and allowing for seasonal changes. Predictign share is more of a crap-shoot, starting from the latest results and making increasingly complex judgnemts about the appeal of future programming.

Tuesday, October 09, 2001 #4763
What's your opinion on Recency planning (Low weekly GRP levels) in a market with no People Meter data only diary data (1 week survey twice a year). Having in mind that Diary data usually overestimates TV ratings. Are 80 to 100 Weekly TV GRP to low in Diary data market?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, October 09, 2001 ):
Recency is about maintaining minimal continuous reach levels, not 'low GRP levels'. 30 is about right for weekly reach. If you have a reach model keyed to diary measurement, that's your guide.

Friday, October 05, 2001 #4756
my client (a bicycle manufacturer) wants to change their regular campaign of brochures and :25 radio commercials to brochures and :5 radio commercials, involving just the jingle. their goal is to increase awareness. their current awareness level is 40%. we would like to advise them to stick with the longer commercials, as we believe you need to inform the consumer to build brand awareness, image, purchase intent etc. the jingle alone, we think, will only produce short term effects. do you know of any research that supports this? thank you!

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, October 05, 2001 ):
The Guru agrees with you overall and presumes you are now running :25s with a :05 dealer tag. Also that you mean to swaitch to putting a :05 tag on a dealer commercial you are buying on behalf of the dealers. Surely no one will sell you stand alone :05s. It seems wasteful and lacking in brand sell to do this :05 thing.

Try The Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) for research.

Monday, October 01, 2001 #4744
My boss and I are at odds regarding strategy and print selection. ( I am an AMD, she is a group director) It is making work very difficult. We come from very very different backgrounds and schools of thought. I firmly believe in my strategy (and have research to support it) and think it is the best thing for the brand. I believe in using optimizers and advanced technology to support the recommendation. She likes to go by gut. However, this isn't limited to just an isolated incident regarding print strategy. She is constantly undermining me to the junior level people in the group, and at this point they do not want to do the work I give them unless she agrees first. Can you give me some guidance? Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, October 02, 2001 ):
A seasoned media executive is distinguished by the ability to make decisions based on 'gut feeling' when there is no useful research or factual basis for the decision.

However, going against existing valid research when one has no factual basis is simply unprofessional. The Guru has encountered this attitude from people who don't understand research, or have grown up in specilaized arenas with no research availble and are covering their weaknesses. If this person is undercutting you with your staff because of this shortcoming, you have an untenable position.

Tuesday, September 18, 2001 #4722
Hi guru, I suddenly find myself in a position to free-lance in media planning and buying. I've been asked to provide a rate structure i.e., MY hourly rates for planning, buying, stewardship and attending client meetings (different rate levels are assumed for each of these tasks). Can you give me any guidance?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, September 19, 2001 ):
This depends on what the traffic will bear and how much you contribute to the process or how well you present yourself. A person with 5 years of planner/buyer experience will command a different rate than a media director of 25+ years experience. Depending on the project and experience as well as all the above, rates from $25 to $200 per hour are conceivable.

Wednesday, September 12, 2001 #4710
How would you define 'Media Planning'? What si the best way of defining what Media Planners do?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, September 12, 2001 ):
A media planner evaluates advertising goals to determine media objectives and strategies. These may include market specifics, media environments and communication levels. Then the planner recommends specific vehicles and schedules to best execute these strategies.

Friday, September 07, 2001 #4702
I am looking for info on awareness decline to defend continuity scheduling. I have found in the archives your reference to 5-10% decline per week of no advertising and would like a bit more meat than the rule of thumb. Can you tell me more about it? And how does the 5-10% decline come off of the awareness: 60% *.95 or .9 = 54-57% or 60% -5 or 10% = 50-55%? I'm also referencing recency. These questions are to help me build a model of some sort. Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, September 07, 2001 ):
The meaning is 60*.95 or *.9. This way it's asymtotic, like reach. The other way, no awareness would remain from any starting level after 10 to 20 weeks.

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.

Tuesday, September 04, 2001 #4693
I have a fairly new client who needs to be educated on television post analysis. Recently, one of the markets we buy for this client posted at 85% due primarily to a drop in PUT levels. We requested make-up weight from all the station and got it. I would also like to note that my client's sales are up in this market. My client is upset because their last agency "always posted." It sounds like some numbers massaging to me. Are there any white papers on television post analysis? I would like to use this as a teaching moment for my client as they keep bringing it up. Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, September 04, 2001 ):
There are so-called "push button" posts where every spot is rated according to the tiome period bought in the books closest to air date. There are posts with adjustments reflecting specific programming and situations. Agencies are quick to challenge buying services for adjusting posts, treating "push button" as somehow more honest. But just as an example, if you bought time in the World Series (October) should it be rated according to the July book, the November book, or some intelligent estimate of true audience? Some buying services or the TV Bureau of Advertising might have a white paper published.

Friday, August 31, 2001 #4689
I have a client who will only advertise to the vertical audience about specific products. We believe that they should be advertising the breadth of products to CEOs and Wall Street because they are limiting their potential. Are there any resources/articles out there that demonstrate the advantage of marketing to a broader audience on a company level vs. targeted marketing to vertical (technical) people on specific products?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, September 04, 2001 ):
A good resource is Cahners Business Information, or try The Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter. For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230.

Tuesday, August 21, 2001 #4669
Is there a magazine called Cleveland Life?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, August 26, 2001 ):
Try PubList.

Monday, August 13, 2001 #4654
Dear Guru, If you only had 5M to spend for a national campaign for a comsumer product introduction, which media vehicles would recommend (it's a household product aimed at Women 25-54)

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, August 14, 2001 ):
The Guru would probably not consider national media at that budget. In national network, you might only be able to afford 5 or 6 weeks. National print might be just as weak.

A lot more than target and budget go into selecting media, such as competition, message type, etc, but the Guru would begin with local media in a geography where your budget might buy effective levels of communication.

Wednesday, August 08, 2001 #4641
Is there any research comparing the level of reader involvement of controlled (non-paid) circ magazines v. subscription/newstand? Are readers who pay for they magazines more involved than readers who receive the pub of free.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, August 08, 2001 ):
Keep in mind that "controlled" is not synonymous with "free." Controlled circulation goes to persons who somehow qualify to receive the publication and make a request to receive it. This indicates more interest and involvement than readers who simply pick up a free magazine from a free stack somewhere.

Given that, one would presume, that all else being equal, that is comnparing magazine with similar content and similar target, the paid title might have an edge.

A good resource is Cahners Business Information.

Friday, August 03, 2001 #4630
Have you seen a top 200 list by DMA and MSA by Adults -African American- Hispanic- Asian 18+ with Census 2000 data?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, August 03, 2001 ):
The Census doesn't issue any data on a DMA basis. Nielsen, which establishes the DMA definition, will not issue market populations for Hispanic for a month or so; Census data has not yet become available at the necessary level of geographic detail. Even then some data will be modeled, pending Census detail. Nielsen will also do African American DMA populations, but probably not Asian-American. On a metro basis, all three segments' total populations have been posted on the Census site.

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.


  • 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


  • 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.

Thursday, July 19, 2001 #4593
Guru, is there a way one can measure fatigue levels of online advertising typically banners i.e.. in terms of number of impressions and no. of clicks , please help thanx

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, July 19, 2001 ):
There have been various studies. Visit The Internet Advertising Bureau

Monday, July 16, 2001 #4583
Dear Media Guru, I am working on a presentation and need direction on justifying media expenditures beyond media effectiveness. Help!

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, July 17, 2001 ):
Click here to see Guru discussion of setting levels.

Monday, July 16, 2001 #4582
What level of media spending is enough? Is there a threshold level?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, July 17, 2001 ):
Although Brand Managers may insist on seeing it that way, it's not about the spending, it's about the communication levels. It's about short term promotions versus continuous purchase patterns. It's about target geography - spending where your money will be effective versus spreading money all over at ineffective levels.

Click here to see Guru discussion of setting levels.

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

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

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

Monday, July 09, 2001 #4563
Increasing Budget and Web Response: Is there research showing that if I double (triple, whatever) an overall promotion budget to drive click-throughs on a Web site, I'll double--or more than double -- the rate? Is there a formula that can be presented to the client. Thanks!

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, July 11, 2001 ):
Like the reach curve, "response" functions are typically curvilinear, that is, once they reach a threshold level, each added dollar adds less return than the prior efforts.

As far as research that might yield a formula, try The Internet Advertising Bureau or The Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter. For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230.

Monday, July 09, 2001 #4562
Dear Guru, Our client has asked me to produce a "payout scenario" that they would be able to expect in sales based on a national plan that I have done for them. I don't know what the creative will look like because it is done in house. How can I calculate the sales potential of a media plan? Thanks again.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, July 11, 2001 ):
Except in direct reposnse scenarios with considerable past history, this can only be very approximate. Try the following steps:
  • What percent of the target will buy the product over the period of the plan if there is no plan?
  • What percent of persons will you reach at effective levels during the plan?
  • What percent of non-target persons will buy the product over the period of the plan if there is no plan?
  • What percent of non-target persons will you reach at effective levels during the plan?
  • Can you assume that current non-users will be moved to purchase by exposure to the plan?

Of course a lot depends on whether the advertising is aimed at new-user trial, increasing use among currentusers, using up, etc.

Once you have all these assumptions organized, then comparing the value of projected added sales to the cost of advertising leads to payout estimates.

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.

Wednesday, June 27, 2001 #4525
What is a Media Buyer, and what does a Media buyer do? What type of degree or level of education do you need to become one? What is a SQAD report?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, June 27, 2001 ):
A media buyer is a negotiator, employed by an advertiser or its agency, acting on behalf of the advertiser to secure media space or time from media vendors, such as publishers and station owners.

There are no specific educational requirements, but most have a bacelor's degree if hired at entry level.

SQAD provides media cost-per-rating-point and cost-per-thousand audience estimates, as a guide for media planning and buying.

Monday, June 25, 2001 #4518
Hello, please explain to me in details the levels of market support - BDIs and CDIs - what do they mean and how could be measured, weighted??

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, June 25, 2001 ):
Click here to see Guru discussion of BDI / CDI .

Monday, June 25, 2001 #4515
Dear Guru, I have found out that media plans made by planners was not based on what we have learn about the concept of Marketing, and that is planning based on specific target market/segment that their clients wanted to reach. For example, a client wants to reach woman 20-45, and children 5-10 middle to upper (Social Economic Status Classification A, B). What planners will do is running ACNielsen's software combining those demographic caracteristics all together : Woman/Children/AB/5-10/20-40 to find the best media/program that would reach the highest rating and reach instead of running it separately : 1. Woman 20-40, A 2. Woman 20-39, B 3. Children 5-10, A 4. Children 5-10, B My proffesional opinion on the way planners plan, was wrong! They would end up with : 1. Combination of reach (Woman, AB 20-40, Children 5-10, AB) 2. Not knowing the exact result of how the product reach at Woman A, an B, also at Children ; not to mention the age yet! 3. A reach that is actually low for each segments, because of insufficient media selectivity. I understant that planners will not like this fact, because they would have put more effort in the future. But tell me your opinion on this ? (theoretically & proffesionally)

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, June 25, 2001 ):
First, as the Guru sees it, you are not thinking about a media plan, you are talking about determining the schedule of a media buy, resulting from a plan.

Once a target is determined, how to best reach that taget withing the media selected can be approached in various ways. Here you are talking about two compleletly separate targets, not levels of specificity; a group of children and a group of adult women.

One would not expect there to be programs with appeal to both groups. But if single televison homes were common in your country there could well be programs watched by mothers and children together.

Nevertheless, it should be far more effective to buy the best programs for the adult woman group and the best for the kid group than to try for programs getting both audiences. If the software to which you refer is an optimizer it would theoretically examine various programs to find the best schedule, not judge each program on its owm. The key to optimizers is especially to consider what each Added program contributes to buying goals, not each program in a vacuum. Recenf articles in the U.S. indicate that optimizers are used much more as conceptual new business-getting tools than in actual buying situations.

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.

Wednesday, June 13, 2001 #4482
what is a media planner?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, June 17, 2001 ):
A media planner evaluates advertising goals to determine media objectives and strategies. These may include market specifics, media environments and communication levels. Then the planner recommends specific vehicles and schedules to best execute these strategies.

Tuesday, June 12, 2001 #4479
I'm confused about the difference between buying Network vs. spot television. Is there a rule of thumb that says "past a certain number of markets, it's less expensive to run nationally vs. spot". Also, I've been told by a Network that certain programming is "controlled nationally" and that I can't buy some programming on a spot market basis. How can this be? Thanks for this service it's great. Any insight is greatly appreciated.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, June 13, 2001 ):
1. The rule of thumb can't be based on the number of markets. For different dayparts and demographic groups, the costs or cost per point of spot will mount up differently. Usually the break even comes between 35 and 50% of U.S., buying from the top down.

2. Like broadcast, cable networks' advertising is sold either at the national level or by local cable systems, often consolidated into market-wide "interconnects" by spot cable reps. Just as with broadcast networks, the national sellers have nothing to do with the local sales and may therefore not encourage you to think in that direction. The Guru does not know of any ad-supported cable networks that don't allow breaks for local sale.

Monday, June 11, 2001 #4471
Where would I find overall, all dayparts, CPP and CPM for network stations in a specific DMA?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, June 16, 2001 ):
For that level of specifics contact station reps.

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.

Friday, June 08, 2001 #4467
I can't beleive what an incredible benefit this site is. You make media planning just a little more manageable. Thank you !! My questions: I am planning a targeted media campaign for an upscale apartment hihgrise. Their current targets is men with upper incomes (100K+) that travel for business and Celebrities (movie and music) because it is very private and exclusive. How do I target these people??? Men - I have looked at the travel and luxury pubs, and the executives reads, WSJ. I need to target just LA & NewYork. Can you make any other reccs?? What do you think of Direct mail, internet?? Celebrities - that's a tough one, Variety, Hollywood Reporter, maybe target agents??? What do you think? I am kind of stumped on this one.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, June 09, 2001 ):
Thank you.

The Guru's thoughts:

$100K isn't very discriminating for such a "luxury" building that might appeal to security conscious "celebrities."

There are super-exclusive, high income, city based magazines, like Avenue and media targeted to high-income heavy travelers like American Express Platinum or Centurion card holders and platinum-level frequent fliers club members. Direct mail and bill-inserts to these latter people would be good.

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 .

Monday, June 04, 2001 #4454
Dear Guru, How is a national theoretical plan translated to a test market?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, June 04, 2001 ):
There three ways, in general

  • Little U.S., where the test market runs the same schedule as the national plan
  • As it Falls, where the test market runs the schedule it would have experienced had the national plan been running, and
  • Correct increment, which is similar to "as it falls," but accounts for predicted variation in media costs and budgets between test dates and anticipated roll-out dates
  • The key difference between Little U.S. and "As-it-Falls" is in recognizing that the rating level of nationhal media varies from one market to the next. Translating network or cable TV as-it-falls is fairly simple, magazines can be trickier.,

    Also see a guide to test market posted by MediaLife Magazine

Monday, June 04, 2001 #4453
dear guru i am looking for a researchqor any information that refering to the reach levels needed by advertising in newspapers to diffrent categories of brands like fmcg, convenience goods, and so on , i am intresting especialy at the real estate market. thank you

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, June 04, 2001 ):
Visit The Newspaper Advertising Association and The Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter. For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230.

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.

Tuesday, May 08, 2001 #4379
Dear Media Guru: Are there any "magic" formulas regarding advertising levels/weights and retail traffic pull through? Please advise. Thank you.

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, May 08, 2001 ):
There is no general magic. Individual experience will tell how it works in specific advertisers cases. There may be some ability to generalize within categories, as broad as "upscale restaurant in the NY metro area."

Friday, May 04, 2001 #4365
What is the minimum TRP level ONE creative execution should have allocated for a campaign? For example, if I have 3,000 TRP's total (NATIONAL) for different products, shouldn't there be a limit on the number of commercials we run, in effect because none of the spots would have enough weight attributed to it? Thank you so much!!

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, May 05, 2001 ):
These decisions should be based on communications goal for each product, not numbers of commercials.

3000 GRP per year is about 60 per week. This is an adequate sustaining level for a brand, especially within recency concepts. If you are allocating this to products which have mutually exclusive selling periods of one month each, you could support 12 products comfortably.

Competitive climate should also be considered.

Friday, May 04, 2001 #4364
When planning network television versus spot, why are the TRP's planned per week typically so much lower?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, May 05, 2001 ):
This may be true in some circumstances, but not as a general rule. If you look at network TV plans where TV is part of a larger media mix versus spot TV plans where TV stands alone, this might be true.

If you look at plans where there are multiple national media and spot TV is the one local medium, used to bring markets up to heavy-up or "ideal" weights, this might be true.

If you look at national plans, which are more often for package goods or other national consumer products, where reach and continuity are emphasized, vesus retail or promotional local plans where totla noise level over specific periods is more valued, then again you might find the situation you describe.

Thursday, May 03, 2001 #4359
I am buying some media for a nutrition center in my area. He is doing this for just his three stores. There are 13 in the market. He has had a lot of success with my strategy so far, but I would like to look into what his company does on a national level. I know they do some tv nationally, but how do I find out more about what they do without going thru the client?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, May 05, 2001 ):
See CMR (Competitive Media Reports)

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.

Monday, April 30, 2001 #4348
Have a client that questioned the use of Recency planning for a packaged goods product launch in spot market television. I've read all questions/answers from 2000 in the archives and found it curious that no one questioned the fact that the levels used for standard recency planning of 60-80 TRPs per week refer to MEDIUM EXPOSURE not ADVERTISING EXPOSURE. Considering that probably only 40% of the commercial message will even register, aren't these levels low (clutter factor), even if they are spread across multiple weeks (in this case 9)?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, May 01, 2001 ):
A: Medium exposure is the readily available planning metric.

B: Recency has been keyed to measured results from media exposure levels.

C: The media exposure levels referenced in Recency are -- and this is important -- REACH, not GRP. The reach threshhold is thought to be about 30 - 35, which might tie to various GRP levels, depending on media mix.

D: If best sales success is tied to sustained reach minima of 35, then that is the metric to connect with. The fact that the less readily available ad exposure or attentiveness-weighted GRPs are some other number is an artifact of the process, not a contradiction to the theory.

Friday, April 27, 2001 #4347
What incremental level of brand awareness can feasibly be generated by a TV and Internet buy as opposed to a TV only buy?. i.e. will adding an online component to media buy help to build better brand awareness?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, April 29, 2001 ):
It depends, among other things,
  • On the current level of brand awareness
  • On the level of awareness among internet users
  • On the levels of the media used
  • On the reach obtained in each medium

In short, this question needs to be very much more specific to answer usefully. But key facts are that TV has reach potential better than 95% and internet only about 50%. Thus with no budget limits, TV could add enough awareness so that any added benefit of internet might well be immeasurable. At some budgets, internet contribution could be significant.

Monday, April 23, 2001 #4338
Dear Guru, we will be introducing a consumer product on a national level. I need to find competitive information like media mix, markets, spending levels, etc. Can you give me a list of research sources that are applicable? Thanks for your help.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, April 23, 2001 ):
See CMR (Competitive Media Reports)

Friday, April 06, 2001 #4316
Is there a source that reports advertising spending by market? If so, do they distinguish between "national" and "local/regional" ad spending on a market level?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, April 09, 2001 ):
CMR (Competitive Media Reports) local media reports distinguish between advertising placed with the stations from advertising running on the network.

But if you mean local placement distinguishing money controlled by a national agency vs a regional marketing office, that isn't likely unless there is a difference in copy.

Wednesday, April 04, 2001 #4309
Hie l am so glad that this site exists for us media planners. Its my first time to visit it and l was have so many things that l would to ask you but firstly l needed to know how best you can describe timing/phasing of campaign when preparing for a presentation. Thank you so much.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, April 04, 2001 ):
In words, we have
  • continuous, when activity occurs every week
  • flighting, when activite weeks are separated by inactive weeks, and the periods of activity / inactivity are equal.
  • waves describe unequal periods of actitivity / inactivity
  • Pulsing is very short cycle flighting, such as one or two weeks flights.

  • Introduction refers to heavier levels at the beginning of a campaign or for new copy
  • Sustaining or maintanance refers to the lower levels used when a campaign has been established
. There are as many other terms as there are ways of determining weekly weight. Click here to see discussion of "Recency", another approach to setting levels.

If you are thinking of how to graphically present the levels, a media flowchart, like the sample below, which is an industry version of the Gantt diagram, is most useful.

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, February 21, 2001 #4201
Dilemma: marketing to the super affluent segment but have a feeling that the super rich actually are low users of the Internet, i.e. someone else does it for them. Do you have any data to support the later and any advise on how to build websites and then market/draw the super rich to them?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, February 22, 2001 ):
You need to define "super affluent." If you mean merely a certain income level, why would you suppose someone "does it for them?" The internet is an experience / entertainment medium as well as an info source. Does being rich lead a person to have someone watch tv for them?

If you are building a financial information site, you may well find data being collected on behalf of the investor or a CEO.

If you are marketing luxury goods, why wouldn't the affluent be available on the right site?

Check outThe Mendelsohn Media Research Affluent Study.

Monday, February 12, 2001 #4174
Dear Guru. I was wondering who I should build up frequncy and reach, for a company in the financial sector, were the target is both, individuals and businesses. Should I plan for a week, or a month? What would be the minimum GRP needed..or maximum? Is TV the primary media?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, February 14, 2001 ):
Not enough information given to say TV should be primary. Generally, TV will not be efficient for a business target. Some financial cable may be efficient but won't meet the entire reach goal.

There are numerous considerations in setting levels. Click here to see past Guru responses about establishing levels.

Thursday, February 08, 2001 #4172
Hello Guru:A national client of ours was asked by his regional counterpart how much money he should allocate for advertising spending in his region of No.California. How do I begin the process of figuring this out? Thanks in advance for any information you can provide.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, February 11, 2001 ):
Begin with these considerations:
  • Is the regional a schedule to run on top of national?
  • What is the competitive advertising level in the category?
  • What share of "voice," adding together nartional and regional activity, is desired by the regional person?

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to see past Guru discussion about establishing levels.

Monday, January 29, 2001 #4133
I have been a media buyer for almost three years now. I am just starting to plan media. Can you tell me what are efficient GRP levels for tv and radio buying? I am in the entertainment industry and our audience is A25-54 and 55+. Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, January 30, 2001 ):
Effective levels depend on what you are trying to accomplish:
maintenance of regular purchases, building awarenss of a new product or driving immediate attendance to a short term event.

The plan is all about working through these goals, and making decisions about levels within available budget and communications strategy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, January 11, 2001 #4090
I am working on a new product introduction and was wondering if any information is available that would allow me to see the GRP levels used by some major companies as well as unknown companies as they launched new products. What I am trying to do is benchmark reasonable GRP levels for successful product launches in order to gauge the appropriateness of our current media plan. Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, January 11, 2001 ):
The Guru does not believe that there is any such public listing. Nor would these facts generalize well across different categories. There will be anecdotal reports at The Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter. For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230.

Tuesday, January 09, 2001 #4088
Guru- do you know of any websites/publications that are targeting B2B Wireless or Mobile top C-level audience. I am looking for the top 10 in the industry. I have used SRDS and it does not have many resources listed. Please advise.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, January 11, 2001 ):
The Guru would suggest visiting the wireless service providers to get the lists of sites they promote to potential customers.

For example, The Verizon Wireless list of 'Wireless Web Content Partners'.

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.

Wednesday, December 13, 2000 #4038
what parameters exist for determining how much to spend in advertising (dollars)--or what is an effective weight level (GRP's) for a given brand/marketing situation?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, December 17, 2000 ):
There are many. Click here to see past Guru responses about setting levels.

Thursday, December 07, 2000 #4022
Dear Guru, Do you know where I could find information about the level of attentiveness to different genres of advertising during any genres of TV programs. In addition where I could find information on the "Quad Analysis" study, and generally on qualitative Rating. Thank you in advance.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, December 07, 2000 ):
The Guru is not familiar with any studies of attentiveness within advertising genre within programming genre. If such exists, The Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter will probably have cataloged it.

"Quad Analysis" is from Nielsen. Qualitative ratings, in the sense of audience size adjusted by attentiveness or interest etc, seems to be an abandoned concept as far as syndicated studies. A company called TAA tried it in the 80's. Again, the best reference source will be the Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter. For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to see past Guru responses about awareness and levels

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

Monday, November 27, 2000 #3990
Hi, is there any trend data regarding the length of TV commercials? Are they generally getting longer or shorter?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, November 29, 2000 ):
In the US, over the long term, TV commercials have become shorter, but for many years there has been no movement beyond a certain level of :15's. Radio has seen a return to more :60's as the pricing of :30's has become the same as :60's.

Monday, November 27, 2000 #3989
Is there an international trends that the durations of TV commercials are becoming longer or shorter or no specific trend ?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, November 29, 2000 ):
In the US, over the long term, TV commercials have become shorter, but for many years there has been no movement beyond a certain level of :15's. Radio has seen a return to more :60's as the pricing of :30's has become the same as :60's.

In other countries your milage may vary.

Saturday, November 18, 2000 #3975
How can we reason for the phenomenon that usually longer campaign period(e.g. 3 weeks) could build a better reach for a certain effective freq. level, say 3+, as compared to a short campaign period like 1 week??

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, November 19, 2000 ):
Over a longer period of time, more people become available to be reached, whether once or three times. The reach potential or people who have actually watched TV, over a three week period is greater than the potential in one week.

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.

Tuesday, November 14, 2000 #3968
Breakup of the Expatriate Population in the US

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, November 16, 2000 ):
Assuming by "expatriate" you mean foreign born and not some sub-set of that group, as of 1997, the latest country-level Census data available about the foreign born, there were 26 million foreign born in the U.S.:
  • Persons born in Central America, South America or the Caribbean were 51% of the foreign born,
  • Asians were 27%, and
  • Europeans 17%
  • 35% of the foreign born were naturalized citizens
Among the 13.1 million foreign born Latin Americans were
  • 7 million Mexicans
  • 913,000 Cubans
  • 607,000 Salvadorans and
  • 632,000 Dominicans

Among the 6.8 million Asian foreign born, were

  • 1.13 million Filipinos
  • 1.1 million Chinese
  • 770,000 Vietnamese
  • 748,000 Indians, and
  • 591,000 Koreans

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.

Friday, October 27, 2000 #3922
Can you clarify the difference between a pulsing strategy and a burst stratgey? And are either one contradictory to or in support of the recency theory?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, October 30, 2000 ):
As the Guru sees it, "pulsing" refers to alternating, short and equal flights of advertising and periods of hitaus. Burst refers to sporadic higher levels, with no particular flight vs hiatus rhtym, nor equality of levels.

Pulsing is clearly contrary to recency. Bursts, if they are sporadic higher levels within lower level, continuous activity are not totally at odds with recency.

Tuesday, October 17, 2000 #3891
We have a client who wants an internet media plan, but will be using a buying service to place the buys. They have a monthly budget of $40k. Do you have any suggestions on how to price a media plan when not being involved on receiving agency discounts from the buys? Also, are there any average commission levels agencies use when purchasing internet buys? Thanks for any help you can offer.

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, October 17, 2000 ):
The starting point, of course, is that the whole agency process is worth 15% of gross.

Many cases allocate 5% to media and 10% to the rest of the agency thinking work; creative, account service, etc.

In the internet, as in magazines, "planning" is very specific, down to number of uses per title, and on-line even more so, with pages, sections, units all part of the plan. This leaves the buying service with not much more to do than order processing. All this says planning might be worth 3 or 4% and buying 1 or 2%. If the buying service is pre-negotiating and providing you with prices on all the placement possibilites your plan will consider, then that tilts toward the 3/2 split. If it's purely order taking to your specifications, then 4/1.

Thursday, October 12, 2000 #3886
How do you determine the level of GRP's/week needed in radio or TV to establish an acceptable level for "Brand Positioning"?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, October 14, 2000 ):
Brand positioning is a process, not a goal. Positioning as what, against what, in what competitive situation are the issues which will determine GRP per week.

A new brand entering the market with a totally unique positoning has different needs than an established brand trying on a new marketing position.

Analyze the marketing situation first.

Thursday, October 12, 2000 #3885
I've seen this question asked before and have gone adage and mediaweek but they don't have the current entry-level/salaries/per region; specifically media planning and Buying. Is there another website or publication that you can refer this soon-to-be Business/Marketing graduate. R. G. A.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, October 14, 2000 ):
There are two sources other than the trade media you mentioned. Current classified ads in the regions you want to consider or headhunters serving these regions.

Monday, October 02, 2000 #3857
What methods can be used to measure television viewing? i.e. Respondant level Data, and Personal Probablity Model. Can you provide information about each?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, October 08, 2000 ):
You seem to be speaking of ways to use measurements, not methods of measurement.

Best to consult a compilation of such applicatiosn such as Journal of Advertising Research

Wednesday, September 27, 2000 #3844
Dear Media Guru, Off the top of your head, what would you say are consumer "target groups" that are the most difficult to reach through television advertising. In other words, what are "target groups" that marketers of consumer packaged goods companies would like to more effectively reach?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, September 28, 2000 ):
"Off the top of the Guru's head" the most difficult targets to reach are not neccessarily the targets for consumer package goods. The toughest ones are probably young men and male teens.

Thinking more broadly, there is the Hispanic market, which is highly desirable to package goods marketers, and not reached effectively by general market TV nor at high reach levels in Spanish language TV.

Friday, September 15, 2000 #3801
I'm interviewing for my first entry level media planning position in a couple of days. I'm very nervous. Can you give me any tips? Any and all information will be greatly appreciated. Thanks Media Guru.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, September 18, 2000 ):
Stay calm, display common sense and communication skills.

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

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

Wednesday, September 06, 2000 #3779
Kaun Banega Crorepati is the Indian version of the game show Who Wants to be a Millionaire. It is a runaway success in India just as it has been elsewhere. I have three questions for the Media Guru: 1. What has the experience of Who Wants to be... been in markets like the US and UK in terms of viewer fatigue? Did fatigue set in after 30 or 60 or 90 episodes...did the network have to refresh programme format or add new elements to keep interest levels high? 2. How has it impacted the performance of other programmes on the same channel/network airing the game show? did viewership of other programmes on the network too go up? 3.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, September 09, 2000 ):
In the U.S., after a year, running multiple episodes per week, "Millionaire" is still often the #1, #2 and #3 rated program of the week, with no significant changes.

The program has helped its network and been used as a deadly weapon competitively.

The NY Times Sunday Magazine recently published an article comparing the imitators around the world, including Kaun Banega Crorepati.

Wednesday, August 30, 2000 #3768
M.G. - please advise how to perform an analysis of TV HUT levels using MRI syndicated research tools? We want to evaluate HUT levels in our market in order to confirm that our daypart mix will be effective (to influence a purchasing action when our target is home using television). Thank you.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, September 01, 2000 ):
does not compute.You really can't and shouldn't anyway.

"HUT" is Homes Using Televison. That is, the percentage of all Television-owning homes which have the set turned on at a point in time.

MRI does not report data about households and does not report point-in-time data about TV, but rather data which might be interpreted as cumes.

The analysis you propose, that judging effectiveness based on the portion of the audience which is using television in the dayparts which you purchase, is off the mark. A simple reach evaluation is much more sensible. You can reach 95% of the people in prime time, which has the highest HUT level or 95% of the people with the same GRPs dispersed though several, more efficient dayparts. Or you might reach more perple in dayparts with a lower HUT but efficient enough to afford lots more weight.

Use tools intended for TV, such as Nielsen, and reach ansd frquency tools like Telmar's

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

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

You should think about:

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

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

Tuesday, August 29, 2000 #3760
Hi Guru, I have a client looking to open a new office somewhere in the US and am conducting research to find the best possible area to set up shop. We do not have MRI and only have 10 Scarborough markets in house. I have found can pull across Scarborough's 64 markets for certain qualifiers we are looking for but am wondering if you know of anywhere else I could obtain this information, specifically HHI, Housing Prices, and educational levels across the largest markets in the US (for free would be a plus)?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, September 01, 2000 ):
For free, the Census offers some of that. Other housing data m,ight be found through FedStats. None of that will be on a DMA basis, though. For a little money, Standard Rate and Data Service (SRDS) Lifestyles Analyst or Sales and Marketing Management Magazines annual market analysis.

Sunday, August 27, 2000 #3754
Dear Guru, I am new here, after long time of searching i found this site & it looks that this is a great site i still have more to check in. I just would appreciate it, if you could tell me how can i become a professional Media Planner? in our country we have a lack of books related to Strategic Media Planning or else. I have a BA. degree in Psychology but never studied Advertising or Business Mang. I have good knowledege of Adv. field. And i am working as a Media Planner for 2 years. I read books, but still feel this isn't enough, i tried to search on the internet in Distance learning, and others but no luck I just need to know what i can do to become a Professional Media Planner. Can you help me. Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, August 30, 2000 ):
In the U.S. it is not difficult to get an entry level media planning job in the major advertising cities like New York or Chicago, if you have a B.A.

You say you are working as a media planner now, so the Guru is somewhat unclear.

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 16, 2000 #3710
I run a educational website with variable traffice (about 150,000 page views per month in July; about 500,000 in February). My ad rep is Burst! (, and right now (first two weeks of Aug.) Burst is serving 90% default (non-paying) banners. Burst says this is due to market conditions. Are they right? Will it get better? Should I be looking for another ad rep.?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, August 16, 2000 ):
August is a traditional slow period in advertising. Also, for the same reason that your traffic lags in August, so might the activity level of advertisers who target teachers or specific types of students or school-related anything. If your rep was doing well for you in February, this might be the case. But there is no harm in having a converation with another rep or two.

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.

Thursday, August 10, 2000 #3692
Dear Guru, What levels of commission are paid to third party agencies selling advertising inventory on behalf of websites?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, August 11, 2000 ):
The Guru has seen figures from 30 to 85%. Naturally, the biggest sites get better deals.

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 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.

Tuesday, July 11, 2000 #3613
Hi Guru. I am working for software company. We are developing applications for analyzing data for advertising agencies. Basically, we are working in Germany and processing following sources of data: respondent level TV viewing data from GFK, spot level AdEx Data from A.C. Nielsen Germany, spot level data from TV-Spotcontrol, print media data, Internet data and so on. We intend to adapt our software for American advertising market. Can anyone advise some American companies or institutes, which publish any advertising data for demo targets? I am new to this list, so my apology if this has come up before. Thanks for your participation. Vladimir Titov,

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, July 11, 2000 ):
Nielsen, Arbitron, Scarborough, Simmons, MRI, The Mendelsohn Media Research Affluent Study, MediaMetrix and Nielsen//Netratings are major, general sources. There are others, specialized in specific industries, such as technology buyers.

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, July 06, 2000 #3604
I've mostly handled print and DM advertising and am trying to master radio. If a client is saying that their optimum TRP level is 175, what does that mean?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, July 10, 2000 ):
Click here for a definition of TRP .

Presumably, the client would be speaking of the TRP level which has produced nest results for the budget.

Wednesday, July 05, 2000 #3598
lets assume that a company has been running a branding and image campaign for 12 months at 800points a month. If the company goes completely dark for 6 months what are the expected effects on awareness and branding. The negative effects of going dark at then end of a branding campaign have been taught to me during several courses I cannot remember nor find a formula or case study which proves this point. Where can I go to find statistics or case studies to support your answer. Thank you again for you help.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, July 05, 2000 ):
The Guru can consider this in terms of ad awareness, since brand awareness is subject to so many more outside factors.

Whatever the level of advertising, awareness can never be more than 100%. One very simple formula the Guru has seen predicts awareness as a high percentage the previous week's awareness plus a small percentage of the current week's GRPs.

As will be obvious, this formula predicts that a brand running low GRP per week loses awarness. A brand with no activity loses 5-10% of the previous week's awareness each week.

Of course this is all general. One classic case is the old Certs "two, two, two mints in one" copy which had good awareness as a "current commercial" ten years after it last aired.

Monday, July 03, 2000 #3590
What are the average commission levels charged from web publishers by ad networks like DoubleClick, Flycast, 24/7 Media etc.?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, July 03, 2000 ):
The Guru has seen commission levels from 15% to 85%. These larger reps, who handles larger sites, are probably at the lower end of the scale, 20% or so.

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.

Monday, June 05, 2000 #3532
At what market penetration level does buying TV on a national level become more efficient than spot buying on a local level? Is it the same for Radio? How about Newspaper? And secondly, is there a way to calculate this in general?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, June 11, 2000 ):
In TV the variables are demographic and daypart. Some demographics have a greater differential in spot vs network CPP. One daypart / demographic scenario may become more efficient in network after 25 markets, another one at 75.

For example, in one recent cost guide which the Guru has on hand, the daytime HH CPP for network was equivalent to daytime spot CPP for the the top 68 markets. In Prime, the Network HH CPP was equal to top 22 markets' spot.

For other demographics and other media the breakeven will be different still. There is no rule of thumb beyond experience. You need to compile spot costs and determine where they break even versus national.

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.

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?

Sunday, May 14, 2000 #3470
Question: Would you please advise how audience accumulation builds over time? For: (A) Weekly Consumer Magazine (B) Monthly Consumer Magazine (C) Business Publications (D) Out of Home Media. I suppose that based upon the type of media -- daily newspaper versus monthly magazine, that audience accumulation will vary quite differently. But from the standpoint of audience accumulation over the course of time from Week 1 to Week 2 to Week 3, etc., because of duplication, the accumulation figure will decrease --- with reach maxing out. Could you please provide a run down by media type (A, B, C, D) as to how accumulation figures build over time?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, May 14, 2000 ):
To really evaluate this you need the specific respondent-level data from individual media, such as that provided by MRI or Simmons.

Generally, in any print medium, the audience builds quickly at first, within the medium's cycle. For instance, a weekly builds the vast majority of its audience within the week following issue, and virtually all of its reach within 3 weeks. A monthly has a similar shape to its "reach curve" over time, but the 3 week time line extends to perhaps 2 months. Business publications would probably compare similarly for weekly versus monthly.

Out-of-home media are quite a different story. Since they are not media with content, and are incicentally encountered in life as opposed to the audeince seeking it out, there is no aging content to affect readership. Because out-of-home, at least in the case of outdoor posters, is bought at enormous GRP levels ( usually 25 to 100 GRP per day), reach accumulates very quickly, reaching 85 to 95% of an audience in the first month. The medium itself does not get measured, the campaign does.

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.

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 #3402
Dear Media Guru: Where can I find the Media Spending/Rating levels by Daypart(TV) and Magzines(Print) for the BP Amoco Account over the past two years. (This is for United States only.) Is there any site that would show their recent commercials as well? I am researching a media position for this account and would like to understand their overall Marketing and Media Strategy to see if it would be a productive match.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, April 17, 2000 ):
The data you want is available through CMR (Competitive Media Reports) and Nielsen.

Some may be online. All will have a cost of access.

Thursday, March 30, 2000 #3360
Please explain the use of BDI/ CDI and MOI in relation to the media strategy, whether media activity should be aggresive, maintenance etc.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, March 31, 2000 ):
Indices like these, (though "MOI" is not familiar, possibly Market Opportunity Index?) are used to compare geographic markets media weight/spending levels. Typically, one, geographically flexible, element of the media plan, such as spot TV is adjusted up or down in DMAs or regions, to give each area the appropriate activity based on relative sales, or sales potential index. It's not exactly a question of "aggressive" versus "maintenance."

Click here to see past Guru comment on BDI and CDI

Thursday, March 23, 2000 #3336
Is there any type of resource on the Internet where I can go and side-by-side compare third party ad servers as well as companies like Nielsen-Net Ratings and AdRelevance? Just like CNET does for comparing hardware?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, March 24, 2000 ):
When CNet compares hardware, there is a potential of hundreds of thousands or millions of interested buyers. WWW audience tools are likely to be bought only by the biggest sites.

However, at these levels, the individual vendors may be expected to provide detailed comparisons of their offereings versus the competition's. But be sure to get the comparison from more than one.

Tuesday, March 21, 2000 #3332
I was wondering if you could help. Our agency is in the process of reviewing media buying and planning job salaries and it would be most helpful if we have a national benchmark. We are looking for entry, mid- and senior level ranges. If it is at all possible, could you e-mail this information to me? Thank you! Laurie Hughes

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, March 21, 2000 ):
See the salary surveys in Ad Age.

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.

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.

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

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

Wednesday, February 23, 2000 #3236
Guru- Are there any standard formats for online competitive analysis? I am putting together my first one, and I have nothing to work from. I put together an outline, but I always like to get your input so ensure I don't miss anything. Thanks Guru!

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, February 23, 2000 ):
The Guru sees no reason why an online competitive should be formatted differently than a traditional media competitive report.

Advertiser, spending by vehicle (if that level of detail is required) or site type, and in total, by month, quarter and or year, should be the basics. Analysis of media weight may also be included.

Monday, February 14, 2000 #3211
Hi Guru, Could you please provide me with some sources where I might find recent Internet market penetration levels on a metro-by-metro basis? Thanks!!

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, February 14, 2000 ):
Try Scarborough and Standard Rate and Data Service (SRDS)' Lifestyle Market Analyst

Monday, February 07, 2000 #3196
Dear Guru: Do you have an information on 'buget cutting'. I have a client that plans to cut l/2 of his original budget. What happens when infufficient funds are appropriated for media use (we have 5 new products to launch). Is it the planners job to tell the client that this remaining budget in not adequate? Any suggestions? Many thanks, as always.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, February 07, 2000 ):
Yes, sometimes low levels of spending will be completely inadequate to accomplish even a proportionate piece of the goals.

It is certainly a planner's responsibiltiy to advise the appropriate parties of the problem and to recommend alternatives in the form of new goals for which the budget is adequate.

These might include:

  • Reducing the geographic coverage
  • Reducing the advertising activity period, especially if early success could generate new funds
  • Reducing the number of products to be supported at any point in time.

Thursday, February 03, 2000 #3188
My company sells publicy accessable internet kiosks we would like to generate additional revenue streams by selling the advertising available on the kiosks. I would like to know about any available resources that would pertain to demographic / psychographic information. For example: In a geographic are, say a zip code. What % in that area have health insurance, what % go to a pharmacist and how often, also income levels, etc.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, February 03, 2000 ):
Resources you might use include Scarborough or Standard Rate and Data Service's (SRDS) Lifestyle Market Analyst

Monday, January 31, 2000 #3175
Guru: I have been an Assistant Media Planner/Buyer for about 4 months. At my six month review I will be asking for a raise because I am convinced my current salary is well below the industry standard for entry level, even for the low cost-of-living in the market where I am employed. However, the only entry level salary survey I can find to back me up is a 1997 salary survey from Advertising Age. Can you clue me in to current salaries in the industry or web sites that have this current information?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, January 31, 2000 ):
The best starting point would be the current employment classified in the Sunday New York Times (print version), which should be available in a local library. Your market's salary ranges may be different.

In the Guru's opinion, "industry standard salary level" is a poor argument for a raise, especially for a new, lightly experienced assistant. This is at best a back-up argument when a it is agreed a raise is merited. Achievement and contribution are always most persuasive.

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. (#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

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.

Tuesday, January 18, 2000 #3129
What is media planning, and how does it differ from media buying?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, January 21, 2000 ):
To put it very simply:

Media planning is the process of determining which media best meet the advertiser's objectives and strategies, as well as which geography merits what share of budget. levels of spending and weight by medium and daypart or vehicle are also a planning responsibilty.

When these determinations have been made, Media buying identifies best locations of individual advertisements and negotiates their price.

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 #3097
Dear Guru Please can you tell me how I know when x% reach is enough? From going through the archives it seems as if your answer will be "that this is a judgement call" but surely there must be something more scientific than that?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, January 05, 2000 ):
Yes, the Guru has often answered such questions with that phrase, but went on to list the considerations to review in making the judgement.

You need to build toward a reach goal, not pull it out of your hat. There is no piece of science that makes one specific reach number correct as an abstraction.

If some level of ad awareness is your real goal, the reach must be at least as high as the awareness level desired: people must see an ad before they can become aware of it. If you believe that it takes three exposures to a campaign before the consumer is consciously aware of the campaign then the awarenes level becomes the 3+ reach level, and a total (1+) reach level may be inferred from that.

If you follow recency theory, you will evaluate the continuous levels of reach delivery affordable in possible media options.

So "enough" is not simply "enough," it must be enough to accomplish a specifed goal of awareness, sales, image change, etc.

Friday, December 31, 1999 #3083
Can you help me out in the following areas: 1. How can an online agency offer an advertiser pre campaign creative testing of ad banners? What are the variables involved and can you suggest links to sites that do offer such solutions? 2. Can you provide an online plan for any hypothetical advertiser? What is the step by step approach taken? I know one will have to proceed looking at marketing objectives, setting impression levels and then buying impressions based on the campaign objective and target audience. Do you have a ready framework for a full online plan that you could share with us?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, January 01, 2000 ):
1. There are companies which do such testing, including IPSOS. C.A.S.I.E. (The Coalition for Advertising Supported Interactive Entertainment) will have a list of such vendors.

2.There are no standards for how an on-line plan should look, other than those for any media plan. Because the focus will be on selecting specific sites, the overall style will probably resemble a magazine plan more than any other specific type. One plan might focus on advertisng envorinment more than another which is more aimed at raw impresions, and both may differ greatly from a third based on click-rates or revenue generation. Analysis might focus on cpm or reach or availability of relevant pages or keywords. Creativity is more the rule than following a format.

Wednesday, December 29, 1999 #3079
How would you identify and reach “gatekeepers” in charge of web development for fortune 5000 businesses? I’m assuming most of these would be CIO or upper-level IT Personnel.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, December 29, 1999 ):
The Guru would rather hope that such a key marketing function would be managed by marketing management. You want to distinguis control of content and function from control of process and infrastructure. Not everything that relies on computers belongs in the control of computer operators. In any case, The Standard Directories of Advertising Agencies and Advertisers ('The Redbook') can generate lists of people by title/by comapny category.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 20, 1999 #3061
Dear Media Guru, we are currently in the process of conducting a dip stick media survey to be integrated in a media reviews presentation for an FMCG. Based on your experience and references what would be the minimum acceptable sample size to use in order to insure the research findings are viable and reliable ? Note that the total population in our market is close to eighteen million, and the specified target group is about ten million. Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, December 20, 1999 ):
The population is not really relevant to determining the reliability of a sample.

The key consideration really is: what size are the answers you expect and what potential error can you stand in your decision making?

The formula to calculate one standard error (68% confidence) is:
The square root of ((P times Q)divided by N),

  • P is the percentage of the sample offering the response to test (treated as a decimal fraction)
  • Q is the remaining percentage of the sample, and
  • N is the sample size
For 90% confidence, the above formula is multiplied by 1.645.

When you hear that results of a political poll are +/- 3%, this is the range of error around a 50% answer, usually at "90% confidence," meaning that if the poll was repeated with the same sample size, 90 times out of 100 the same question would have a response between 47 and 53%.

"+/-3%" on an answer of 50% means 6% relative error.

A sample size of 750 would bring you +/- 3% on a 50% answer:

100% - 50% = 50%

P=0.50, Q=0.50 and N= 750

0.50 x 0.50 = 0.25

0.25 / 750 = 0.000333333

Square root of 0.000333333 = 1.8275

1.8275 x 1.645 = 3.003

That's fine for political polls, where responses tend to hover around 50%. But in media studies, 1% or 2% may be exposed to a given ad placement. The same 750 sample would give reliability of +/- 0.84 on a 2% response, which is a relative error of 42%.

So, use this formula with your anticipated answer sizes and the level of relative error with which you can comfortably make decisions to determine a suitable sample size.

Wednesday, December 08, 1999 #3037
What is considered an average level of annual advertising revenue for a consumer website? What is considered a low level, and what is considered a high level of revenue?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, December 09, 1999 ):
Stated this broadly, this question is like "How high is up?" With millions of web sites and hundreds of thousands of serious, commmercial web sites, no one could possibly have the data to make an intelligent average.

However, CPMs (cost per thousand advertising impressions) and numbers of impressions available to sell can be dealt with.

The giant sites, like Yahoo and AOL may have 25 billion impressions to sell anually, and sell them at $30 CPM. That would equate to revenue of abouot $750 million per year if they can sell all their impressions. It could be even more, based on premium offerings, like keywords and section sponsorships.

By the time you come down to the 50th largest site, there may be only 150 million ad impressions to sell annually. And by the time you're looking at the 100,000th, perhaps only 5 million. Very small sites may be very specifically targeted and able to sell at a premium CPM of $50 or more. Smaller, general audience sites may sell at a CPM of $5 or less.

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.

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.


  • 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


  • 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.

Sunday, November 14, 1999 #2968
When launching a new product, brand managers usually compare the launch build (cases shipped, consumer off-take, distribution build)of the number one brand in the category. Were can I get comparative information on the launches of web sites (visits, hits by day and mth, etc.)?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, November 21, 1999 ):
Unfortunately, this level of detail is only captured by the syndicated sources like MediaMetrix and Nielsen//Netratings once a site is successful enough to appear on their "radar." Information about a site's early days will only be in the proprietary server log information, unless the site is so unique, like Amazon or CD Now to have been the subject of trade articles.

Ad Age, MediaWeek, and The Industry Standard might have such details.

Friday, November 05, 1999 #2939
Dear Guru: I am trying to find a way to reach CEOs/Presidents and other top-level management at computer companies, such as Gateway, Dell, Compaq, and Apple. The "computer" and "business" sections of SRDS have so many listings --is there an easy way to go through anis information? Is any syndicated research available to provide direction for reaching this type of audience? Is there a better way to narrow my focus other than SRDS? I know the standard business titles (e.g., Business Week, Fortune, Forbes) may reach this audience, but will also deliver many more who are not in my audience. Your help is greatly appreciated!

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, November 10, 1999 ):
The major business books may have demographic editions for the computer andinformation industries.

The computer books may have demographic editions for CEOs etc.

Either one or other sources might sell a mailing list of computer industry yop executives.

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, 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, November 02, 1999 #2926
Hi Guru. We are about to launch an innovative new e-intelligence service that provides timely, ongoing, personalized information to users in a number of categories. We will have a high level of returning users to our site for ongoing info & very high profiling due to user activity in each category. We would like to go with a sponsorship model whereby we offer advertisers categories and/or subcategories to offer a consistent brand message targeted to users. Are there any standards for online sponsorships developing, particularly for categories? Any suggestions how a site like ours can obtain advertising commitments prior to launch & large registered user base? Thanks in advance.

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, November 02, 1999 ):
An advertiser or sponsor needs an audience. Perhaps by comparison to other similar sites you can credibly project an audience. A sponsor buying in on-the-come might be persuaded by a guarantee of traffic against a refund or free advertising.

Secondarily, you can model the audience quality, again with a guarantee.

It seems as if you are going to have a paid admissions site. These are not known for large registered user bases unless connected to established data sources, like the Walll Sttreet Journal, etc.

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 04, 1999 #2843
Guru - I have been put in the situation of planning, negotiating and buying online advertising. I'm having difficulty in determining the appropriate number of impressions to purchase for a two week flight of an entertainment property. I understand every site is different, but is there a benchmark to follow? Someone once said that the minimum level of impressions to be effective is 10% of the site's available impressions. This seems high. Also, is there a syndicated source that lists the total number of impressions available per month? Can online impressions be purchased against a specific demo (i.e. Men 25-54)? Thank you for your help.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, October 04, 1999 ):
There are many buying-minimum rules of thumb that seem arbitrary on first consideration, like '12x per week per station' in radio, but have a logic if someone clearly explains it.

However, this "10% of the available impression" idea is certainly not one of these. It's not only arbitrary, but relatively ridiculous.

Consider a site like Yahoo, which may generate well over 1 billion monthly impressions. 10% of that is 100 million. If you bought that weight at a $30 CPM, that would be $3,000,000 per month. Are there many advertisers spending at that rate? And, if you think about other top sites, it becomes even more fantastic.

According to Nielsen//Netratings, top, deep-pockets, online advertisers like Microsoft, AOL and Yahoo each ran about 200 to 600 million impressions in August. And of course, they didn't do that on just a few sites.

What would a 10% rule achieve? Identification with a specific site? Perhaps some very targeted sites which fit your campaign creative very well are worth sponsoring at this level. Or do you think each person exposed is aware of how many other people are seeing other banners on the same site?

By the way, the Guru would be interested to hear anyone's justification of a '10% of available impressions' rule and will post here any that make sense.

It's also worth noting another point here: Bigness is of questionable value in selecting on-line media vehicles. Exposure isn't figured in the same way as for other media: In a magazine, each ad page is treated as if it had the average audience of the issue; within some tolerance, this is realistic. But in a popular web site with potentially hundreds of pages, neither the home page nor those within the site get all the monthly impressions the site accrues. Any one page might get less than one percent of the total, and a rotating banner might get less than one percent of the page where it's shown. One million impressions can be bought from a site with one billion to sell or with just two million. If the targeting is controlled, there is equal value.

Sometimes page or section content will allow targeting to be assumed. On some sites, registration data, or 'cookies', or IP tracking can allow ads to be served to specified categories of visitors.

Friday, October 01, 1999 #2839
We work with a client who is a franchise of a larger hospitality company. In previous years, their plans have consisted of heavy spot TV schedules in their various markets. In 2000, they are making a large jump into network, leaving minimal dollars for supplemental spot buys. They are not achieving total TRP levels of previous years, and want to know the trade off of heavy spot vs. lighter, higher quality network. Besides anecdotal info, I'm at a loss. Please help! Thanks in advance.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, October 01, 1999 ):
The key consideration is how close to national your client is. How much waste are you buying when you use national media versus media falling only within target areas?

You are using an assumption of "quality" here that the Guru couldn't justify. What is your definition of quality, rating size? First run versus rerun? The Guru doesn't believe those factors contribute much to sales. In either case, whether in spot or in national, you can chose your programs, air in prime-time, first run programs, etc.

If there are large parts of the country where advertising weight is waste, and if you must short-change good prospects in order to be national, what's the benefit? If your coverage area had been close enough national, you would have found economies of scale in moving from spot to network.

Wednesday, September 29, 1999 #2833
What is the number of adults reached if the rating is 8.7 on a national level? What does one rating point represent in numbers of people reached?

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, September 29, 1999 ):
One rating point equals one percent of the specified population. The U.S. adult population is roughly 203 million so an 8.7 Adult rating equals 17.7 million persons.

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.

Sunday, September 26, 1999 #2826
Our market is the Hispanic population in the Midwest. Research conducted at a national level reveals details of how consumers purchasing behavior. However, the Midwest affects the consumers purchasing decision based on climate and other elements. Should there be a research that demonstrates the diference of Hispanics in the Midwest compare to the national data? Is there one already available? Thank you. Adriana

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, September 26, 1999 ):
It isn't clear how you define "midwest." Chicago, the top midwestern Hispanic market, is one of the top five U.S. Hispanic DMA's, but only contains 4% of all U.S. Hispanics.

If we consider the midwest to be these states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, then Chicago holds over half of the Midwest's Hispanics. Chicago is an available market in Hispanic Simmons, and other research, and might readily be used as an analog of the midwest Hispanic. The way marketing typically works, there will be little interest in the other individual DMA's from national advertisers.

Should there be research on the midwest's Hispanics? If you are selling a medium which covers this area or have a product which is distributed primarily in the midwest and has an opportunity in the HIspanic market, it would serve your interests to do so, but but the Guru recommneds you don't count on industry support.

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 #2796
I am looking for a list of smaller sites (100K to 200K per month). I've seen Media Metrix top 500, but they are all way over my focus group. Any thoughts?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, September 14, 1999 ):
Sites in this range of which ( AMIC ) is one, are fairly common. This level of trafiic traffic might cover 50,000 sites ranked # 50,000 to #100,000.

Alexa might have a list for this size site.

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 07, 1999 #2770
is there a industry giude to minimum TRP level during each week of a radio flight?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, September 07, 1999 ):
The minimum standard is twelve spots per week per station. Otherwise TRPs must relate to communications goals. It is likely that few buys of less than 50 TRP per week are made, except when something other than communications is the purpose, e.g. trade support, special promotions, etc.

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.

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 30, 1999 #2750
Let me elaborate further on the question posed by Ajay (Question sent from India , which was answered on 8d August). In India, the data collection and hence reporting of the peoplemeter data is on a weekly basis, unlike the daily collection and reporting in most other markets. Since we follow a weekly collection, the sample is determined for each of the seven days. (after rejecting viewing which does not satisfy the threshold levels of various criteria that the viewing data is supposed to fulfill). As is obvious, this effective sample could be different across the days. Hence, we actually could end up having 7 different samples for each of the seven days. The question now arises as to which of these seven figures to use for projection to the universe. This is the part where the difference in the reach and rating calculations occur. A rating figure is calculated based on the sample for each day. Hence , on Monday, if the effective sample is 95, then this 95 is projected to the universe figures. On Tuesday, the effective sample could be 96 - then this 96 is projected to the universe figures. And so on. Hence the actual weights attached to the sample could vary, though the universe figures remain the same. Once the sample figures have been projected, the ratings are calculated. These rating figures can then be averaged across days , if desired, since a rating figure can be averaged across time periods. On the other hand, a reach figure cannot be averaged. Hence, if the sample is different across each of the days, the dilemma is as to which of the effective sample to use for the projection purpose. Hence they designate one day as REFERENCE DAY. The effective sample on the reference day is the one which is used for projection purposes and hence for all further calculations for reach figures. The reference day changes depending on the period chosen. In India, the research agency has fixed the reference day to be the last day of the period chosen. So, if I vary my period of analysis, the reference day changes and hence my reach figures change. This is where the confusion occurs ! Since a rating calculation does not have a reference day, the ratings don't change, irrespective of the period chosen. So please let us know if this is the norm followed across countries ? Is the concept of reference day valid ? How do other countries deal with this ?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, September 02, 1999 ):
The Guru is not aware of this method in use elsewhere. It does not seem that it would have significant effect unless there are substantial daily variations .

Wednesday, August 25, 1999 #2740
Dear Guru; following your answer on Aug 11 recency / chocolate snack bar, and since chocolate snacks are eaten on impulse and out of the house, should we use more long term outdoor than TV ? Thank you

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, August 28, 1999 ):
If one continues to reduce "recency" to its most basic level, out-of-home media would always be the first and best option, since they are perfectly continuous. But, all the other elements of media consideration must still be applied to the equation.

Tuesday, August 24, 1999 #2738
Is there a difference in Reach for the same level of GRPs if they are run in one week versus four weeks? It seems like there should be, but most media planning tools don't allow for a difference. They give the same reach result regardless of the length of time the GRPs are running. I'm interested in your perspective. Thanks!

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, August 24, 1999 ):
Yes, one week reach is higher than four week reach from the same number of GRPs, particularly in radio. The reason is that, while the weekly cume of stations or of the medium, does not vary much from the four week potential, your chances of capturing more of this potential is greater when GRPs are run, well dispersed, in a single week.

In TV the enormous dispersion of program options and audience fragmentation makes this less of an issue. In radio, where buys are typically on just a handful of top-ranked stations, based on the target demo, the difference can be felt.

Telmar's radio planning tools allow you to set the number of weeks in reach calculations and see the difference.

Thursday, August 19, 1999 #2731
Do you know of any media planning courses/classes/ or bootcamps that a novice can attend?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, August 21, 1999 ):
The Guru doesn't believe that these courses are of much use to media professionals; they may be helpful for others involved in advertising. Media skills are best learned in entry level media positions. In any case, the Media School and the Media Buying Academy, conduct such seminars, and advertise them in ad trade publications like Ad Age.

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.

Monday, August 16, 1999 #2721
How do you plan your media buy using the "recency" philosophy when advertising products with a long cycle re-purchase period such as an automobile?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, August 16, 1999 ):
The central concept of recency is that the message received closest to a purchase decision is the most effective message. Continuous advertising will reach more people at any given time and is best for products purchased all the time, no matter how long the purchase cycle. That is, no matter whether it's 4 weeks or four years. So the only question is whether there are always people in the market for cars. This doesn't mean you shouldn't vary levels at peak selling times.

Sunday, August 08, 1999 #2700
Hi Media Guru, Do you know what is the perfect level of prime time in a new campaign or in maintenens.? what is the relation betwin awerness and high/low prime time level ?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, August 08, 1999 ):
These are not issues which have answers apart form other aspects of plans. Click here to see past Guru responses about levels.

Friday, August 06, 1999 #2697
Where can i find research on the effectiveness levels of a :30 TV spot vs. a :60 TV spot (general and direct)?

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, August 08, 1999 ):
You need the resources of Standard Rate and Data Service (SRDS) and International Media Guide.

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 #2678
Hi. Are there any clear rules for calculating the level of spending increase needed to achieve an X% increase in brand awareness? Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, August 05, 1999 ):
Certainly, no "clear" rules. For one thing, it changes depending on the current level. I.e. a 100% increase in awarenes, from 10% to 20% requires a different spending change than a 50% increase from 60% to 90%.

The choice of added media and base media are also key factors.

The Guru speculates that the closest you can get, to calculating a percent increase in awareness through advertising spending is to calculate the cost of making the same increase in reach, sustained over a time frame comaprable to the base period.

Thursday, July 29, 1999 #2672
Could you refer me to any studies on: 1) on-line usage by demographic by time of day; and 2) on-line usage by DMA?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, July 31, 1999 ):
This level of detail would be available only from "user- centric" metered measurements like those from MediaMetrix.

Monday, July 19, 1999 #2646
how do you think internet media agencies should be organized? do you think that new media agencies should be organized differently than that of traditional agencies? reasons? also, in your experience, what sort of structure have you seen as the most efficient for a media dept?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, July 23, 1999 ):
1) Media-only agencies whether they work in new media or traditional media are, of course, organized differently than full service agencies (no creative, or production staff, smaller account services staff, etc).

Otherwise, they need planners, buyers, researchers and accounting, like any media firm. What might be different is the need for strategists, or futurists or some such title, because the internet is making its own rules as it goes along. At one point the new-media firm that created revenue-based advertising placements for CD-Now made a big breakthrough. Now the press is talking about the passing of on-line advertising as we know it, in favor of e-commerce and other direct revenue business models.

2)When the Guru entered the ad business, media department structure was quite different. Beginners ideally started in media research, to learn the basics. Otherwise, the starting positions was assistant buyer, then buyer, Buyers were "promoted" to assistant planner, planner, supervisor and so on. Buying was the junior work, planning the heavy thinking. This all changed when media services began in 1969. To compete with specialized buying services, agencies made buying a separate, specialist group. Was this more efficient? Probably not, it was a response to competitive pressure. In the Guru's opinion, buying became better, from a standpoint of value, through buying services' appearance, though within agencies, buyers became less answerable to planners and therefore, further from advertising goals.

What's the most efficient organization of a media department? From a get-the-job-done perspective, a pyramidal, hierarchical structure, with as little top echelon as possible, and respect for the workers. Clear lines of responsibility and authority.

From a client service perspective, the opposite; all senior level staff in all tasks.

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.

Friday, July 16, 1999 #2640
In recent years, more companies have been using Direct Response TV buys to maximize cost efficiencies. However, one drawback to this type of buying is the low clearance level of spots selected. Are there any statistics or research on predicting clearance levels for DRTV buys during the year (e.g., quantifiable factors for seasonality)? Thank you.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, July 23, 1999 ):
The inventory pressure logically follows the cpm indices, which are widely available, but in any given week, surprises may occur. Since, in theory, DR advertiing pays for itself, you merely need to find a level to order that is sure to be more than the clearance will be. Whatever runs, runs, If more runs than you anticipated, it should pay off in added orders.

Wednesday, July 14, 1999 #2632
What are GRP's and what do they stand for in a media buy? I am an Account Manager and don't have the Media background but need to explain the GRP levels to my Product Managers. Please help.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, July 15, 1999 ):
GRPs are gross rating points, the pounds and ounces of media buying and selling. The target audience of an advertisement divided by the population of the target group is the ad's rating. The sum of the ratings of the ads is the Gross Rating Points. Plans specify how many GRPs of each medium to buy. For print, specifications are more often numbers of insertions in specific titles, but the GRPs can be calculated the same way and one plan compared to another.

Allowance must be made for :15 versus :30 GRP or half page versus full page. A given program or magazine has the same rating (GRP) whatever the ad size/length, but obviously there is more benefit from 100 GRP of :30s or pages than from 100 GRPs of :15s or half pages.

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.

Monday, July 12, 1999 #2624
I own and run a small podiatrist clinic. I have a modest advertising budget of $3000-5000 a quarter. I have placed ads in free local newspapers, but my best returns are from referrals and from my ad in Yellow Pages. May be I am doing something wrong. What strategy would you suggest to increase the effectiveness of my advertising?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, July 12, 1999 ):
Keeping in mind that the Guru gives media advice, the first thing that occurs to the Guru is that location is likely the first consideration of anyone choosing a podiatrist from an ad. So keep your ad placements nearby. Many areas have more than one "Yellow Pages," a neighborhood one and a city or county one. At each geographic level ther may be one from the regional Bell operating company, another from a national publisher like Yellow Book and in some areas Hispanic Yellow pages, women's yellow pages, etc. Cover all the bases.

Free papers are often considered less effective in certain advertising categories, and medicine may be one. Try an ad in the daily paid paper.

Monday, July 12, 1999 #2623
Reciently I have read a couple of documents that explain that you may estimate wearout using an equation(applying quintyl analysis). I would like to know if there is any equation to estimate hoe many grp's per version you need to generate awareness. As always thansk in advance.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, July 12, 1999 ):
Any number of GRPs generate some awareness. So the question is how much aweareness do you want to achieve. Reach may tie more closely to awareness generation, but GRPs are easier to work with.

Also, consider whether you really care about awarness of individual commercial versions as opposed to advertising overall.

Formulas the Guru has seen generally assume some beginning level of awareness and a fall-off in any week with less than100 GRP.

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 #2612
We are in the process of putting together a 5-year plan for our Media Dept. and I am wondering if you have any sources to help us complete it. We are interested in profitablity levels, percentage of "billable" hours, dept. budget parameters for new resources and anything else necessary for this plan. I know this is a vague question, but we haven't found any references to assist us so far.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, July 07, 1999 ):
These questions imply you are putting together an ala carte, stand alone media service.

The American Association of Advertising Agencies and probably the other, smaller agency organizations have compiled media department cost averages.

Tuesday, June 15, 1999 #2576
I'll launch a new 20" copy with a minimum Grp's level (70 Reach A4W) during 13 weeks. The creative team is recommending a 10" lift for the fifth week. This, of course will give us more weight or more weeks on air (I must pay 15" instead of 10" because of the TV Network policies). In cuantitative basis I will win using shorter copies but I would like to know how to evaluate the qualitative part to make the best recommendation. Thanks in advance.

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, June 15, 1999 ):
If 10" costs the same as 15", why use 10's instead of 15's? 15's must have advantages over 10's.

The important factor is the relationship to the cost of a 20". Years ago, when 30's had become the accepted U.S. standard, 15's were introduced and extensively evaluated. The general finding was that 15's had roughly 75% of the value of a 30' at half the cost, so they were a very good buy

Defining "value" is the trick; is it recall, consumer motivation, sales effect? The archives of that old U.S. research will be available in the Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230.

However, since you are writing from Mexico, it must be kept in mind that consumer reactions might differ, depending on what typical advertising units and exposure are for your consumers.

Friday, June 11, 1999 #2572
Is there any way to equate GRP levels to a brand attribute awareness? Everything I have researched tells me that a planner can translate GRPs into a desired awareness level, but I don't know how to take it to the next step. And aren't there many other factors that contribute to the brand attribute awareness that aren't advertisind-related? Help!

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, June 16, 1999 ):
Yes, consumer experience, word of mouth, in store exposure all contribute to attribute awareness. And GRP to awareness translation is far from perfect.

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.

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 25, 1999 #2532
Can you tell me where I can find research showing how internet usage is effecting prime time viewinglevels especially with the Adult 18-49 demo?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, May 25, 1999 ):
There have been some studies, which showed that heavier internet users were lighter TV viewers, anyway. Try DoubleClick, NUA Internet Surveys and the Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230.

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

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

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

This is the essence of the "recency theory."

Click here to see past Guru responses about recency

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, May 10, 1999 #2499
How do you calculate reach "in-market", and are you to combine that with the national numbers? How is this done? Thanks. We are trying to show total "in-market" delivery. Also, back to the average 4 week dilemma, is it only relevant when looking at sustaining levels of a continuity plan? Or would you show average four week even in a launch, retail, or promotional type heavy-up situation? Thanks as always.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, May 10, 1999 ):
Suppose you had national media with a reach of 40% and a local media plan delivering 50%.

You would combine the national reach of 40% with the local 50%. If you care to go the extra step, you could analyze local variation in delivery of the national plan and adjust the local delivery of the national media before combining with the local. Or if you run only national media you can look at the locally delivered weight to caculate the in-market reach resulting from national media, as if it were local spot media.

Four weeks is a traditional standard measurement period. This standard goes back to the days of the dominance of monthly magazines as an advertising medium. There are numerous ways this rule of thumb is used. Some look at "4-weeks-when-in" and examine four weeks worth of average activity no matter ho many active weeks a plan has. This focuses on the rate of advertising rather than the quantity. Other focus on cume of whatever number of weeks. One has to make a judgement of what tells the story best. The judgement can be made differently when you are comparing possible plans and when you are trying to quantify potential effects on awareness, sales, etc.

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).

Monday, April 26, 1999 #2472
Dear Guru, Over the one year that I have been following the queries and discussions on this web sites, what strikes me is that while discussing a Media Plan,there is no mention of involvement as a factor when the consumer is watching television. Do media planners not take into account the involvement levels of the audiences while planning ? Why is it that we talk of Reach/Frequencies etc and not about Involvement? Are there any publicly available studies on the same ? If not, is it legitimate to assume that agencies.. 1. Do not look at Involvement while planning 2. If they do, they do so based on certain assumptions and not on hard data. Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, April 26, 1999 ):
In the early '80's, a service called TAA (Target Audience Assessment?) offered audience involvment ratings. The service didn't last long.

Long before that and since then, factors like audience attentiveness have been used to judgementally adjust media audiences in media planning.

The new "Optimizers" allow easy overlaying of these factors and other involvement indicators like audience loyalty, in planning and buying.

However, the Guru imagines that more plans (though perhaps not more money) ignore these factors than use them. They are abstractions of unproven value in judging the sales power of media.

The most likely publicly available source of such data would be Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter For details about the InfoCenter, call 212-751-5656, extension 230.

AMIC's Rates, Dates and Data area provides some of these attentivenss factors.

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

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

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

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

Friday, April 16, 1999 #2454
What would you say are the three keys to determing timing and selecting geography, when developing a media plan?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, April 16, 1999 ):
  • Seasonality: Is there a time when the product is more likly to sell?
  • Is the purchase cycle of the product such that low level continuity is more likly to deliver the exposure closes to purchase decision?
  • Determine the level of media weight needed to be effective, however you have defined effective.
  • Rank markets by opportunity to sell -- this can be merely size or based on development index, efficiency indexed to size, etc.
Build up the coverage area geography from the top of your opportunity list down, as far as you can afford the media weight you have set, within the timing you have set.

Tuesday, April 13, 1999 #2441
Dear Guru, WHile I do have the numbers and quantitative arguements on the Net and its popularity ,,,is there any way I can get to know on why the Net is so popular and is the fastest growing medium ? What I am specifically looking at is the psychology behind the success of the Web ? Why do so many people get hooked on ? What is the reason for their interaction with the Net ? I know this is not a 'media' quesiton but this kind of information will really help me get a grip on the medium . Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, April 13, 1999 ):
Allow the Guru to take a cynical approach here.

The "net" is the fastest growing because it is smaller than other media. . .it has room to grow. At some early point in the lifecycle of all media, they are the fastest growing. Radio in the 20's, TV in the 50's, Cable in the 80's, etc.

There is a lot more hype than reality in the net's popularity. It's popular with the people who are in favored target groups, media people and advertising people. New applications are being created constantly so there is a lot of press.

The Guru believes the net is leveling off in the U.S. while the less developed remainder of the world grows on.

The Guru believes the "hook" of the net is interactivity and the enormous wealth of content.

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

Thursday, April 01, 1999 #2426
What are the appropriate rating point levels for introducing a new grocery product into the New York Metro?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, April 01, 1999 ):
The Guru has discussed this kind of question frequently.
Click here to see past Guru responses about advertising levels

Wednesday, March 24, 1999 #2405
I am doing research on television advertising. I was wondering what is the method for companies to verify that the ads they paid for were shown at the proper time. Is there currently a system for verifying the level of accuracy in terms of broadcast quality as compared to the original content.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, March 24, 1999 ):
Most typically, advertisers rely on affadavits of performance. Stations render an invoice for a schedule which specifies which commercial ran at what day and time. An "affidavit" is simply an invoice which has been signed by a designated person at the station to swear to the content and then notarized.

However, some advertisers also want verification by a third party, whether regarding how the spots were scheduled or whether they had technical (broadcast quality) difficulties or ran too close to competing advertising. Services like CMR's BVS (Broadcast Verification Service) perform this kind of verification.

Tuesday, March 23, 1999 #2403
I have been researching these questions for a number of days now and have been unsatisfied with the answers I have been receiving. I am a new member and new to this field, any direction would be most helpful. Thank you in advance... 1) What is the difference between Rate Base (a number guaranteed by publishers and audited by ABC) and Readership (a number provided by, say, MRI) levels for magazine publications? 2) Which number (above) is most often used to calculate CPM (I believe this calculation is ad_page_rate/readership)? 3) Is 'readership' really a composite number (perhaps a result of some other formula)? If so, does Page Exposure Rates factor into 'readership'?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, March 23, 1999 ):
If you went to AMIC's Rates, Dates and Data area and clicked the link
"Audience data from MRI is available for
Fall 1998 for Total Audience, Circulation and Readers Per Copy
" you would see the table from which this image is taken:

The following discussion will use this table as a visual aid.

"Rate base" refers to circulation, the actual number of copies of a publication printed and sold for the average issue over a specified period of time. In the table, "Circulation" is the middle column of data.

"Readership" is the number of readers of the average issue. It includes "passalong" readers, who may not be the buyers / subscribers but read some else's copy. In almost every case, total readership will be greater than circulation. The first three columns of the MRI table we are looking at are readership numbers.

CPM can be calculated based on either circulation or readership. The circulation CPM (Cost Per Thousand) calculation is: divide ad cost by the number of copies in circulation.

The readership cpm calculation is: Divide ad cost by number of readers of an average issue. Often readers within a specified demographic the advertiser is targeting are the divisor in this second calculation. As a planning tool, the readership CPM is more common than the circulation CPM, especially for categories of print that use readership research, such as MRI.

Many people misinterpret the common reporting of "readers per copy." The last three columns of the MRI data are readers per copy figures. What audience research actually measures is readership. A random sample of consumers is interviewed and asked about their magazine reading to determine how many readers there are for an average issue of a magazine. Readers per copy is a calculation done after the fact, dividing the readers measured by the circulation. It is a handy factor used to compare magazine pass-alongs or to calculate other audience elements.

Saturday, March 13, 1999 #2388
Dear Guru: My company has recently launched our web-site and I need to format a site demo, I am wonrdering what length of demo it should be? with reel audio? or? and if there is any research on site demos. We are a niche business in the new home construction arena and are ahead (so far) of the competition, so I have nothing to compare with? What an opportunity! Thanks Kellee

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, March 14, 1999 ):
What would be the application of a "site demo?" Is this something to use to sell ads on your site to advertisers or media buyers? Is it a brief site overview shown on the site to encourage full exploration by visitors?

In either case, brevity is better, though in the former, if you are presenting on your own computer, five minutes might be tolerable, in the latter, probably only 30 seconds of attention is feasible on the web itself.

Your question about "Real Audio" seem to imply you mean to offer this demo on the web site. And Real Audio can delay loading and display as well as being uneven or unusable for visitors who don't have pretty good equipment and connections. The Guru would imagine that your vistors, interested in home contruction, are not as likely to have fast links and higher level equipment as are people in the ad or computer industries, for example.

But the Guru isn't really sure what you have in mind, and why a home construction business needs a site demo.

The best source for web research is C.A.S.I.E. (The Coalition for Advertising Supported Interactive Entertainment), and the Advertising Research Foundation InfoCenter is good, too.

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

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

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

Thursday, March 04, 1999 #2372
Dear Media Guru, Can you help me find case studies that support the argument that, with the right creative, increased spend levels may lead to increased share when launching a new product in a parity category?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, March 04, 1999 ):
Best source would be Advertising Research Foundation library.

Wednesday, March 03, 1999 #2367
Guru - How do Arbitron ratings for commercial radio stations differ from those of public broadcast stations? Our local PBS station is claiming that they're the 4th most listened to station in the 25-45 demo, which doesn't seem realistic. Thanks!

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, March 03, 1999 ):
Arbitron does not publish ratings for non-commercial stations in the printed reports. These stations ratings are in the respondent level data, e.g. Maximiser runs.

The reporting standards are otherwise the same. It seems unusual for a non-commercial station to be so highly ranked, but it isn't impossible. If they are Arbitron subscribers they should be able to document the claim. If not, a competing station with which you do business would probably be happy to do the necessary Maximiser analysis.

Tuesday, February 23, 1999 #2354
I am a student working on a media plan for a new product in the fast food industry. The restaurant is well established and my target is 18-34 males. I am in the Lexington, KY market and wondering what would be a good reach estimate.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, February 25, 1999 ):
This question lacks most of the necessary information. First, the Guru must assume that you want to know what would be a suitable reach Goal. Establishing communication goals in a scenario like the one you describe will depend mostly on the competitive climate: what levels are being acheived by the other advertisers seeking the same target for similar products?

At times the standard can be based upon levels that the same advertiser has found to be successful in prior launches, but that too should depend on judging whether the competitive climate this launch faces is comparable to what was faced by the prior successful launch.

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.

Wednesday, February 17, 1999 #2346
Could you please provide the basics on how to read a crosstab? Also, the definitions of the terms %col, row, composition, coverage, index - what do all of these mean? This would be very help to folks who are new to media planning and research, so that they could explain crosstab results to others. Thank you!

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, February 17, 1999 ):
Crosstabs, those typical computer analyses of data from MRI, Simmons, The Mendelsohn Media Research Affluent Study and other respondent databases, are an essential tool of media planning, used for target selection, media selection, etc.

Here is a section of a typical "crosstab," taken from The Mendelsohn Media Research Affluent Study Reflecting Households with Income of $70,000 plus . It concerns Cosmetics users, persons who visited the Caribbean and Vodka drinkers:

To the left, first the description of each row appears. The top "row," which consists of five lines of data, describes the total population. The next "row" of five lines of data describes readers of Money Magazine, etc.

The next sets of text to the right describe the data content of each of the five lines making up the data rows. "Projection" is the total number of persons the research estimates to be in each category (in thousands, in the total adult universe, which is specified at the top left of the table. This is sometimes labeled "[000]"). Often the term "Audience" appears instead of Projection, especially, though not exclusively, when magazine audience is being analyzed).

The column headings, such as "Total," "Cosmetics," " Drink Vodkas" etc, describe the data in the columns below each heading.

So, at the #1 mark, we learn that 24,855,000 Total affluent adults used Cosmetics in the past year.

At the #2 mark, we see that the number of respondents (persons in the sample) whose educational level is college graduate or better and who use Cosmetics is 3469. In other words, the overall study found 3467 members of its sample who fit both descriptions as to education and cosmetics use. It is important to note this is a whole number and not in thousands. The number 12295 above this indicates that, from this sample, the study projects there are 12,295,000 college (or better) educated cosmetics users.

At the #3 mark we see 12.4 on the %Column line. This means that 12.4% of the column definition (Vodka Drinkers) also fit the row description (Money Magazine readers), that is, 12.4% of Vodka Drinkers read Money. Another way we refer to this is to say that Money's coverage of Vodka Drinkers is 12.4%

At the #4 mark, "%Row" is 16.0, so we learn that 16.0% of the Row definiton (Money readers) drink Vodka. Or, we can say that Money's Vodka Drinker composition is 16.0%

Finally, at the #5 mark, we have an index of 131.3. This is also called "index of selectivity," indicating how much more likely, as compared to the average affluent adult, the persons in the row are to also be in the column. (Traditionally indices are used with no decimal places, so, in application, one would refer to this in future use as a "131 index.")
In this case, the index tells us that a person in a Household which has $100,000 or higher income is 31.3% more likely to have taken a Caribbean trip than the average affluent adult. The index can be calculated either dividing the %Column under Caribbean visit by the %Column under total:
in the Caribbean visit column, dividing the %Row in HHI $100,000+ by the %Row in the "Total" row:

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

Tuesday, February 09, 1999 #2315
Do you have an opinion on the media weight required to revitalize an ailing brand (a former success story which has been performing poorly of late). Should we stick to conventional weights, or heavier weight to try to make more powerful impact?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, February 09, 1999 ):
Questions like this come up so often, and lead the Guru to ask more questions:
  • How sure are you that the Brand's troubles stem from the advertising weight rather than the advertising copy or product attributes or competitive pricing or competitive quality?
  • What levels are competitors using?
  • What media are competitors using?
  • What media will you use?
  • etc.

A simple answer, when you believe advertising weight or exposure of a new message is the core issue, is that you must deliver more impressions than the competition, by a noticable margin, say 20%.

Friday, January 22, 1999 #2285
Dear Guru, This is a bit of a theoritical problem.I am currently working on a shaving cream brand which has been on decline for a few years now. Currently it has a market share of 3.9% and is ranked 7th.The markets where it is doing relatively better are actually the smallest markets, but here too, it is not better than 5th on market shares. It has a media budget which is about 1/5th of the biggest spender, which incidentally is not the market leader. My dilemma is - in the given scenario, for a relaunch, where should media focus be - on the overall smaller markets but where the brand is but marginally stronger or on the bigger markets for the category, where a greater potential lies ? The distribution strength is the same in all markets and no directions have been provided by the marketing team on priority markets. Thank you Guru. My name is Abu Huzaifa and i am media planner in Bombay, India.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, January 22, 1999 ):
Firstly, these are really marketing issues, not media issues, but to try to look at it from a purely media perspective, consider:

Think beyond the "bigger opportunity of the larger markets," because the impact you can deliver in a market is important. In other words, do you get more consumer response to 100 GRPs against 2 million people or 200 GRPs against 1 million people?

For example:

1. Assume that every impression delivered, no matter the market size, has the same potential to generate sales and / or share growth - where will your budget buy the greatest number of impressions?

2. Assume that the ability of the impressions to generate sales growth is influenced by current share of market. Estimate the value of this effect, plus or minus. Apply this weighting to the impressions you can buy and recalculate sales potential, according to paragraph 1.

3. Or assume that every exposure after the third one (or a level of your choosing) is some degree more effective. How many "effective impressions" can you deliver to each market set?

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.

Thursday, January 14, 1999 #2261
The Media Guru response of Dec. 4/98 was that "common products . . . bought recently" are best candidates for recency planning, as opposed to products involving "considered purchase," such as automobiles. Not every- body buys even "considered purchase" items on the same day, so does it not make sense to spread impressions over entire year, perhaps on basis of % sales by month? My experience in grocery packaged goods designing Test vs. Control experiments on different ways to execute "recency" supports Erwin Ephron's work. Same approach should apply to even automobiles, it seems to me -- unless someone has conducted experiments proving the contrary. Have you seen such evidence, or are you speculating. There are many myths about recency. My experience is in Canada, where I am a consultant specializing in recency.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, January 15, 1999 ):
That Guru response combined readings of Erwin's published work on recency, conversations with Erwin, and some of the Guru's own thinking.

Your excerpt is inaccurate, however. The Guru referred there to "common products bought regularly."

In that response, the Guru also stated that recency does not require even levels of continuity, but that seasonal sales peaks can certainly be reflected in plan levels. This would likely fit the automotive situation.

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.

Monday, December 14, 1998 #2219
Dear Guru, How would you define the role of a media buyer? And what would you say are their principal tools and techniques?

Have you any suggestions as to where I can obtain information on media buying from a complete novice angle? How closely are media planners and buyers related if at all?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, December 19, 1998 ):
Generally, a media buyer's role is to negotiate the purchase of broadcast time or print space in accordance with the goals established in the media plan. More often, people with the buyer's job are broadcast specialists and print is often negotiated by the planners. There are more and more print specialists. This differs from country to country and according to agency size. Smaller agencies in the U.S., for example, often use planner / buyers.

Tools are the research to evaluate the value and appropriateness to fulfilling goals of the media possibilities. The techniques use various calculations and evaluative processes to compare media and negotiating techniques applicable to any form of negotiation.

The media planner's job is to determine which media will meet the advertising goals of an advertiser, within stated marketing and creative parameters. This means selecting media, designating vehicles within the media, determining levels of media to use and timing.

For the basics, try one of the media planning texts from Amazon .com in the AMIC Bookstore.

Thursday, December 10, 1998 #2211
where does one look for entry level media, advertising and pr vacancies

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, December 10, 1998 ):
The best place is in the classified employment ads in major advertising cities like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago. London, Hong Kong, etc.

But check AMIC's Ad Jobs area, too.

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.

Thursday, December 03, 1998 #2196
Dear Guru. I am interested in the "recency" theory very much. But unfortunately it is too hard to get the complete view of this theory just investigating your previous answers and "Ad Talk & Chats". So could you provide some main statements of the "recency" theory. Thank you in advance.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, December 03, 1998 ):
The essence of the recency theory is

1- that the last ad exposure before a purchase is the most influential.

2-That this last exposure is more powerful than less recent, more frequent exposures.

3-Therefore, continuous advertising will outperform the same total weight delivered in flights, because it offers more opportunities to be present closest to a purchase.

Of course, there are many sub-points regarding seasonality, minimum threshhold levels, and spontaneity of purchases.

Tuesday, December 01, 1998 #2190
Guru- Can you please explain Gross Weekly Reach Points (also refered to as levels)? How are they determined? Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, December 02, 1998 ):
The Guru believes you mean "Gross Weekly Rating Points," a term often used to mean "levels." "Reach" is a term referring to the net, or unduplicated, audience.

Gross Rating Points are the sum of all the ratings of all the announcements or insertions of the campaign, or the sum of all the impressions of the announcements, divided by the population for the relevant target demographic.

An "impression" is created every time an audience member is exposed to one advertisement.

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.

Monday, November 09, 1998 #2142
On an interview I was recently asked the following question: "If I were a client and I told you I had a budget of $3MM, what would you tell me to do?" I find this question extremely broad, esp. considering I do not have all of the factors required in advance before making a recommendation (i.e.,marketing objectives, targets, etc.) What is the best way to answer this on an interview without giving too much information? Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, November 09, 1998 ):
Assuming that the specific job gave no clues (i.e. you weren't interviewing for a job selling a specific medium), and you were just interviewing for a job at some level in media planning at a general agency, the Guru thinks you were on the right track; your answer should have been:

"That's an extremely broad question. I would tell the client that we need to know marketing goals, advertising targets, geographic concentrations, etc, before making any recommendations regarding media investment.And then I would offer help in collecting and analyzing the information."

Of course, the danger in such a response is that the interviewer will realize you're smarter than the interviewer.

Wednesday, November 04, 1998 #2122
1) Guru, Could you please explain what is meant by implementation planning ? Where does it fit into the media planning process?

This is with reference to my question on Implementation planning.

Implementation Planning as I came across it was unexplained and there wasn't any context to it. I came across it in a curriculum vitae of a media planner. I haven't met this person whose CV it was and neither are there any chances of me seeing him.

I do understand, as you clarified that this may be a proprietary term, etc. but what does it mean in media jargon ? U see, I think it'd have to do with plans for implementing (on a monthly basis)a business plan made for the year and evolving buying strategies ? please do answer my query since I'm quite anxious to hear from you.

2) Also, When is the library of media plans that AMIC is to have, coming online?

3) Guru, one last question. The books that you reccomend from the AMIC-Amazon bookstore are for new or relatively new planners. what books would you reccomend for planners at a middle level ? Please, no Amazon - my searches on online bookstores have proved fruitless. can you reccomend a few titles, maybe I can scour a second hand bookshop, somewhere.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, November 05, 1998 ):
1) As the Guru commented in his private request for clarification, Implementation planning is notstandard media jargon. (many agencies develop their own terminology for proprietary processes or approaches to common tasks).

It could describe what some call "buying platform" which compiles all the considerations for choosing and negotiating media during the "implementation" of an approved plan.

Or it could mean the work flow / critical path for implementing an approved plan; an intermediary step between planning and buying.

Or it could be referring to a philosophical approach to creating a plan, like "recency planning."

2) The call for submissions to the Guru's AMIC Media Plans and Research Library is expected to be announced this week. (AMIC's media Guru is often asked where one might find a sample plan or research analysis to serve as a model for one's own project. As a service to our advertising professional members, AMIC is collecting a library of AMIC users' media plans and research analyses which can serve as models or starting points for your own projects.)

Registered AMIC users can expect to get details in their AMIC-News November e-mail. Have you picked out one of your own plans to submit?

3) Media planning texts are inherently basic. Beyond that, more advanced learning is best derived from

  • experience - learning from those with whom you work
  • trade publications and conferences - the two latest big issues in advanced planning: recency planning and buy optimization, have principally been documented in these forums, and
  • information, whether texts or otherwise, from related areas such as marketing.

Monday, October 26, 1998 #2114
Are there any current studies out that addresses clutter / attentiveness / dial switching due to expansion of commercial tv breaks? I.e. Threshold in number of minutes whereby at XXX break length viewer attentiveness / retention of commercial ads drops off? While I know that program content, channel availability (cable versus non-cable) remote control, demographics, and time of day affect overall attentiveness, I'd like to see if a white paper was available to address this issue. Your help is much appreciated.

The Media Guru Answers(Sunday, November 01, 1998 ):
Since all the independent variables you cite are responses to many of the other driving forces you mention other than clutter, it is difficult to concieve research that would correlate attentivenss to growing clutter. On the one hand "clutter" might be defined as expansion of commercial breaks. On the other, it is almost assured that commercials within longer breaks are more likely to suffer form lowered attentiveness and channel swithching. Nielsen audience flow studies are available to correlate channel switching with timing within break. TVB or CMR (Competitive Media Reports) reports should track trends in length and number of breaks

Generally, the Advertising Research Foundation library is the best source for published research on your broader topic. Their Journal of Advertising Research is the most prolific source. One such article is by Rober J.Kent: Competitive Clutter in Network Television Advertising: Current levels and Advertiser Responses. .


    Large differences in competitive CLUTTER exist across product 
categories, markets, dayparts, and program types. This suggests several alternative strategies are necessary to deal with growing CLUTTER.
No. 1, pp. 49-57. 1995 [351049J]

Thursday, October 15, 1998 #2099
How do you find out about the entry level creative jobs in advertising? I have tried classifieds but there is nothing. What are some good resources to find out about the industry? I have looked at every bookstore, newstand etc. for industry magazines like advertising age but no one sells tham and I can't afford to subscribe.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, October 16, 1998 ):
The newspapers are a good source. The Sunday New York Times, for example, usually lists more entry level ad jobs than Ad Age and AdWeek combined. The leading newspapers of other major advertising centers like Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, etc. will also have such ads. Not knowing where you live, the Guru also would point out that many larger libraries, even suburban ones, get Ad Age, AdWeek and the NY Times.

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, September 15, 1998 #2044
Where can I get hispanic population data by market and county?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, September 15, 1998 ):
The U.S Census site has this data, if you mean "metro" for market. County level data may be only for 1990, not updated. Updated projections at D.M.A. and counrty level are in books available from Nielsen or Strategy Research

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.

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.

Tuesday, September 08, 1998 #2030
Sorry It may not the quesion to ask here but still woulb be great if you have some answer. I would like to get some traning on tv programming and scheduling What is better way to find how it could be done Thank you

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, September 08, 1998 ):
In the Guru's opinion, the best training for this would be in an entry level position in a advertising major agency's Network TV buying department.

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.

Thursday, September 03, 1998 #2026
Both we and our client agree to the recency theory. The problem is that given the retraints of the budget, we are only able to schedule "weekly" advertising for about half the schedule while still achieving minimal weekly TRP threshold levels. Right now we are wrestling with the dilemma of how to schedule these weeks for the first half of the year while still following the principals of the recency theory: (1)12 weeks straight through then a 14-week hiatus (2)6 weeks on, 14 weeks off, 6 weeks on or (3)an alternating schedule of 4 weeks on and 4 weeks off, etc. throughout the period. Do you have any theory on what might be the best approach to maximize return?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, September 03, 1998 ):
Thinking about a "threshold level" of GRP's is instinctive, but at odds with the essence of recency theory. Review other Guru answers below about recency. Please also see a very interesting discussion of recency on our MediaPlanning e-mail list. The list archives are at Ad Talk and Chats . Why not subscribe to the list and bring your question there as well?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, August 24, 1998 #2011
We are in the process of planning for a major TV client where we have been applying the recency theory for the past year. Because of the size of the budget we have been limited to around 70TRPs weekly essentially for the entire year. In Year II our client has asked us to consider temporarily abondoning the recency theory and to move dollars (and TRPs) out of the more expensive buying months (April, May) to the relatively more more inexpensive months (January, Feb)and to increase our TRP levels accordingly. Do you have any input on which strategy should/could have more effect on brand performance assuming all other factors are equal (pricing, distribution etc.)?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, August 24, 1998 ):
First we have to assume that the basis of recency theory is accepted.

Recency theory calls for reaching as many people as possible as close to the sale as possible. Thats's why continuity is emphasized for products with little seasonality and regular purchase cycles.

One of the essential elements of recency theory is that not all impressions or GRPs are equal, even in the same programming. You are focusing on cost per point. As you are probably aware, reach developed per GRP decreases with every added GRP in a schedule. There is therefore, a declining return on investment in reach at any point in time, which is why spreading out prospects reached produces the optimal return. The first 10 GRPs bought in a week generate more reach than the last 10 GRPs.

Hence, the added impressions bought when they are cheap produce less sales than the impressions lost from the more expensive times.

So now you have to evaluate what might be produced. Assuming you are lowering -- not eliminating --activity in higher priced periods how many more impressions, and how much more reach can you achieve in low priced times. If you cut back 10 reach points per week in July but buy 20 added reach points per week in March, perhaps the added reach can sell more than the lost reach, or perhaps not. The Guru would look for a 50% minimum trade up in added vs lost reach points to justify the change; i.e. if the plan goes down 10 reach points per week in one period, then it need to go up 15 reach points per week in the other.

Wednesday, August 19, 1998 #2002
When reviewing syndicated research (SRDS, Simmons, MRI)for media planning purposes, I generally use the index. When comparing two or three columns of data using an index, how can I determine if a finding is important or significant? Is there a rough rule I can use to determine this? I have heard that an index difference of +/- 10 is significant.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, August 19, 1998 ):
"Significant" is a statistical term relating to sample size, etc. You can't judge significance by the index alone.

+/- 10 is a reasonable level at which to begin paying attention for importance, but first, scan the whole array of indices.

When there are several at 200+ or under 50 index, and these have reasonable sample sizes behind them, the 110's and 90's no longer seem important. In short, it's all relative.

Tuesday, August 18, 1998 #2001
I have been using Simmons as a resource for consumer research information, my contract is up for renewal and I am evaluating Simmons vs. MRI. I have been hearing that many companies have been moving to MRI. What is the share each has of the market (simmons vs. MRI)? What are the key differences/benefits now that Simmons has changed their research methodology to the same approach as MRI with regard to magazine readership? I thought that was the key differentiator between the two. Thanks

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, August 20, 1998 ):
The differences have indeed lessened. A detailed analysis will discern small technical differences remaining in methodology. Brand lists and other aspects of measurement other than media will have differences.

Otherwise, if you have no special comfort level with your service people, or the Choices software, it will come down to which vendor offers you the better deal.

Thursday, July 30, 1998 #1979
I need to plan and buy newspapers in all markets of the U.S. (30 to 40 at a time) to drive traffic to various events. Locations change often and targeting by zip is important (e.g., people won't drive more than an hour usually). I have MapInfo Pro for planning direct mail and would like to add a database of newspaper circualation data so I can identify the most appropriate NPP for each buy (major dailies and local/community papers). I'd like circulation penetration by zip so I can determine coverage for each paper. Do you know of a database of newspaper circulation with that level of detail? Thanks for your help.

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, July 30, 1998 ):
The Newspaper Advertising Association's National Newspaper Network division is set up for just the sort of analysis you need.

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.

Friday, July 17, 1998 #1961
Can you offer me advice on how to buy remnant advertising on network and local radio? Are there any books that describe this procedure or other media buying procedures that save money? Thanks for your help.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, July 17, 1998 ):
The simplest answer, a method followed by successful remnant buyers, is just to make yourself known to the media of interest to you. Make them understand you will take any unsold time or last minute cancellations off their hands at an agreed price or discount level. Being prepared to take any is the way to assure they come to you.

The Guru can't recommend any specific title for this question, but please take a look at the AMIC Bookstore .

Friday, June 26, 1998 #1927
Are you aware of any published research that indicates at about how many GRPs recognition (or even recall) measures begin to level off?

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, June 27, 1998 ):
There may be many such studies, most likely available through the Advertising Research Foundation library or Newsweek Media Research Index. However, when such single variable sudies are published, it makes it all too easy to overlook the fact that the creative carries the greater burden for your measures. Thus the perpertual questions about how many GRP = wearout.

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

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

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

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

Thursday, June 11, 1998 #1895
A] How can a newspaper and a magazine be analysed for their advertising effectiveness on parameters such as 1. Reproduction quality 2. Clutter level 3. Editorial content B] Suppose 20 magazines and newspapers are being analysed, can each one be rated according to the above parameters? c] What is the method of rating these publications?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, June 25, 1998 ):
Any analysis of advertising effectiveness against such standards has two elements
  • an effectiveness measure and
  • a quantification of the standard

Sales tracking, purchase intent research or recall studies might be appropriate as the effectiveness measure.

As to the parameters of the media, you would probably want to develop your own scales of judgement as objectively as possible. For example, if you rate reproduction quality on a scale of 1 to 10, and compare the ratings for ads of several campaigns to their scores on your effectiveness scale, perhaps using a regression analysis in a spreadsheet program, you can see the correlation of the variables.

Tuesday, June 09, 1998 #1887
I have been assigned the task of putting together an internet plan. I haven't the first clue where to start. Let me give you a little background. My client is a local hospital that is interesedt in marketing to business owners/presidnets/ceo's/human resource director/benfits administors. The ojective is to create top of mind awareness that our hospital is the hospital of choice when selecting Health Plans. Again, this is a local client. Please can you give me some direction. Where do I start. Thanks for your help.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, June 10, 1998 ):
There is very little research available on internet audience at the micro-geographic level. There is very little available that might cover a segment as small as president / ceo / HR director. The Guru is saying "very little" while really thinking "probably nothing."

MediaMetrix or Relevant Knowledge are most likely to have some pertinent information.

  • Presidents and CEO's are generally found to be the last people in their companies to be computer users.
  • The internet is inherently a non-geographic medium since the entire nation and world have equal access to any web site, and a hospital has a relatively tiny service area

  • Some major markets do have extensive, multi-purpose local sites, and
  • some sites have the ability to serve an ad based on the location of the visitor. This is severely compromised by such problems as all AOL users appearing to be located in Virginia. Other national internet providers' customers carry the same sort of obscured location.
  • Ideally, you might find ad-bearing sites which appeal to business and HR managers which can tell you where, geographically, their visitors come from, or local interest sites which, by virtue of registration know the business role of their visitors.

Generally, the Guru does not believe that local retail advertisers with very narrow targets will find the internet to be an efficient or effective advertising vehicle, compared to traditional local business media, such as Crain's or The Network of City Business Journals

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

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

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

Thursday, May 28, 1998 #1610
1.Please, where can I find "Archives" by topic? 2.I have seen a table showing Awareness level correlat ed to Target GRPs.Could you, please, tell me how they estimate Awareness level? 3. I also have seen a table showing Audience engagement in various activities when average commercial is aired. Would you, please, tell me how the information is obtain ed? Is it from a national panel? If yes, does this panel also provide audience data? Thank you, Inocima.

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, June 02, 1998 ):
1) The Guru Archives may be accessed from their link on the Media Guru Page. In the next few days, we will be adding a search engine to allow you to find all all past Guru answers on the topics of your choice.

2) The Guru isn't familiar with the table you have seen. Since you are writing from Brazil, it could be based on research totally unfamiliar to the Guru. The proper way for such a table to have been created would use just estimates of awareness, but actual survey results. An advertiser or agency which has conducted many awareness studies and correlated them with actual GRP's of the plans running in synchronization with the studies could create such a table.

In fact, just a few actual measurements could be the basis of a table if it is assumed that the awareness / GRP relationship follows some sort of curve as does the Reach / GRP relationship. The Guru is familiar with one formula for predicting awareness based on GRP, which came from analyzing several plans and surveys. In essence, it predicted that when there was any significant starting awareness, awareness declined in any week where there were less than 100 GRP.

3) Again, Brazil's audience engagement data is not familiar to the Guru. In the U.S. such data usually comes from secondary sources such as our Simmons or MRI, which ask these questions but are primarily print audience and product usage studies.

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, May 18, 1998 #1597
how will media segmentation affect media planning ?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, May 18, 1998 ):
"Media Segmentation" is a two edged sword. Highly segmented (fragmented) media allows better targeting. But, at the same time, it works against building higher reach levels.

A clever plan will find the best compromise between these two.

The current, "recency" approach to planning can take advantage of the efficiency of reaching lower levels of target consumers on a more continuous basis.

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.

Monday, May 11, 1998 #1587
Is there a correlation between GRP levels and awareness? If so, what GRP levels are recommended to significantly effect awareness? The category I'm looking at (long term care insurance) has low consumer awareness, and a high avoidance factor.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, May 11, 1998 ):
In its simplest terms, there is a correlation. Obviously, the more GRPs delivered, the more awareness is created. Creating new awareness will take more GRPs than sustaining existing awareness.

A safe minimum guideline is to continuously reach more people than the existing level of awareness.

It is also important to remember that awareness alone doesn't make a sale. The message must be persuasive, not merely one of which the prospects are aware.

Wednesday, April 29, 1998 #1575
Do you know where I can access comparative figures with regard to newspaper circulation and readership figures (at a national level), by various countries? Also, do you know of any research into the phenomenon of 'aliteracy' - that is, people who can read, but chose not to read (magazines, books and newspapers)?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, April 30, 1998 ):
The The Newspaper Advertising Association probably has readership and circulation data by country.

The Advertising Research Foundation Library, ESOMAR , the European Survey, Opinion and Market Research organization and Newsweek Media Research Index may be sources for "aliteracy" data.

Tuesday, March 24, 1998 #1549
Dear Guru, do you have any information regarding internet usage and seasonality? For instance, do overall online visits decrease in the summer, just as TV PUT levels decrease?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, March 30, 1998 ):
The Guru suspects not.

-Heavy internet users tend to be of the same type as lighter TV viewers, anyway.

One may be able to get toplines from Media Metrix or Relevant Knowledge, the only monthly, survey measures of the web which are at least partly released to the public.

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.

Sunday, March 15, 1998 #1530
Two Questions: 1) I've been asked to prepare a presentation covering "Alternative Lifestyles Marketing". When I was given the assignment I asked for a definition of "Alternative Lifestyles", but didn't get a good answer. How might you interpret this "target"?

2) I'm seeking information on the "Optimizer" programs that have become newsworthy (in media circles) as a result of the recent mega-million P&G AOR assignment. I've heard there are two. Who are they, and can you describe briefly what they do (strengths & limitations)? thanks!

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, March 16, 1998 ):
1) "Alternative Lifestyles" generally refers to non-traditional social orientations which may become the major influence on a person's relationships, extending to product choices, entertainment choices, clothing styles, etc. Most often, "alternative" seems to be used to refer to socio-sexual distinction.

The Gay market is probably probably most familiar of the "Alternative Lifestyles" markets. Others might arguably be the singles market, the mature market, punk, rapper, etc.

2) Optimizer programs are designed to build media schedules based on detailed analysis of each possible "insertion" (print or broadcast).

Usually the programs optimize reach within budget. Therefore they will first select the most efficient (cost per rating point) single insertion. Next they consider every other single insertion, including a second use of the first selection. The pair of insertions with the greatest net reach per dollar becomes the next selection.

In some systems, each "best" choice is frozen as the base upon which to build additional schedule until the budget is exhausted. In more sophisticated systems, entire schedules are reevaluated for best mix at each incremental budget level.

In either, it is up to the planner to set constraints on which vehicles are to be considered, any weights or restrictions such as using each vehicle a minimum number of times, if used, or a maximum number of times.

Several agencies have proprietary systems. In Europe, there are commercial systems including "Supermaximizer" and "Expert."

In the U.S., the Guru believes the Telmar Optimizer is the only commercial system available allowing TV optimization with any available audience database (e.g. NTI, NSI, Cume studies, etc.)

Tuesday, March 10, 1998 #1523
What is the recommended duration to run an initial online campaign drawing traffic to a new web site. 2 months? 3 months? Will there be message wearout? Also should banners be changed weekly?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, March 10, 1998 ):
  • Since your server log will tell you how traffic is building, plan to run the campaign until a desired traffic level is reached or until the growth curve flattens.
  • The research seems to indicate that there is a sharp fall-off in response after 3 exposures to a banner. So wearout will be fairly rapid, if you place your banners on sites with a lot of repeat visitors instead of high turnover, or on related sites that get the same visitors.

Thursday, January 15, 1998 #1487
Can you explain what "mapping software" is? And, do you know about a software package called "Clarisoft" or something like that?

The Media Guru Answers(Thursday, January 15, 1998 ):
There are probably several meanings of the term, created by different software makers.

In a media context, the term usually refers to software which can draw a map colored or shaded to reflect demographic, media or product usage behavior.

For example a DMA may be drawn, and colored to indicate which zip codes have the highest circulation of the local newspaper, a national magazine, or TV show audience. It is common to separate zips or other sub areas into quintiles or tertiles, etc.

The entire US may be drawn to show sales levels of a product or BDI by DMA.

A three mile trading circle around a store location can be created to show media income of census tracts, for planning the distribution of a circular.

Claritas PRIZM, Donnelly's Cluster Plus, and other segmentation systems are typically used to analyze or model the data. There has been considerable consolidation of software vendors in this field in the last few years. Compass, Conquest, and Strategic Mapping have all folded into Compass.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, August 27, 1997 #1402
Dear Guru, I am a student for my MBA entrusted with Setting Up Media Independents in South-East Asia" I am specifically refering to Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan & Malasiya. Despite the fact that these Media independenst have set up shop in Hong Kong & Singapore , they have not been able to get the success they claim to have achieved in US & Europe. * What are the trends in the US & Europe in terms of business moving from full service agencies to media independents * What do clients look for in a Media independent * What kinds of service do these firms provide * What are their Salary & incentive structures * How are they configured(i.e. organization structure) * How do they charge- Fee or commision or both * what are the financial dynamics * what kind of staffing is required * what degree of independence do they enjoy * the level of tranparency do they have with the client * what software do they use & how useful is that * what should be ther marketing pitch for ther own services in S-E Asia These are a few questions I have been trying to gain insight into. I have already made some inroads in gathering some information & data but it is not conclusive. This kind of research has not been conducted ever in the school and it is my desire to make a good dissertation. I want to leave the school a good document so that others wanting to move into the advertising and media industry. I am sure you can help me given your extensive network. Please let me know of any other people that you think can help me get more info as well as opinion. Guru, I understand that I am asking for too much & I am getting too demanding, but I have no other place to look for data articles and the experience that you have in the industry. Thanking you, with warm regards, Vivek Mehta e-mail: Tel: 00-63-2-8181629 (home- after 10:00 Manila time) 00-63-2-8924011 to 25 (school)

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, September 01, 1997 ):
You need to do a literature review of Ad Age and comparable Eurpoean publications, such as Campaign

Friday, August 22, 1997 #1400
Where could I find information regarding how automotive companies (i.e. Toyota, Oldsmobile, & Cadillac), handle their media planning and buying on a local/regional level?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, August 22, 1997 ):
Contacting the radio and TV stations or reps in the regions in which you are interested should tell you who is buying for each auto company in a given area. Only two or three calls to the major reps, should produce all the information.

The planning techniques may well be closely-guarded proprietary information.

Whether A/S style budgeting, investment spending, share gap, etc., etc. is used. Whether computer models and optimizations are used or not. Whether regions have freedom or just participate in nationally-based plans.

Whether agency leads in media selection or the advertiser.

Whether media types are purely based on creative considerations or media effectiveness and targeting ability.

Thursday, August 21, 1997 #1397
Where could I find information regarding how automotive companies (i.e. Toyota, Oldsmobile, & Cadillac), handle their media planning and buying on a local/regional level?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, August 22, 1997 ):
Contacting the radio and TV stations or reps in the regions in which you are interested should tell you who is buying for each auto comapny in a given are. Only two or three calls to the major reps, should produce all the information.

The planning techniques may well be closely guarded proprietary information, whether A/S style budgeting, investment spending, share gap, etc., etc. is used. Whether computer models and optimizations are used or not. Whether regions have freedom or just participate in nationally-based plans. Whether agency leads in media selection or the advertiser. Whether media types are pruley based on creative considerations or media effectiveness and targeting ability.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The complexity or simplicity of the message

The number of commercial in the pool

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

The balance of :30 to :15

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

a similar exercise can also set effective frequency thresholds

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

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

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

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

Nevertheless, here are some considerations:

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, May 12, 1997 #1343
Is there any model that relates advertisign awareness or brand awareness with media weight level? If there is no measurable coverage of the media, say computer magazine, what can we base our judgement on.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, May 12, 1997 ):
When there are published studies of this sort, the Guru can usually find them in the Advertising Research Foundation Library or in the Newsweek Media Research Index

There is, no doubt, a great volume of studies which are held proprietarily by advertisers.

There was a model the Guru once used, based on certain Agencies' many tests, which roughly assumed ad awareness would equal 91% of the existing awareness plus 3% of the previous week's GRPs (gross audience coverage).

It should be obvious that this model works best for brands with little or no going-in awareness and also dictates that anything less than 100 GRP per week leads to declining awareness for brands with awareness above 35%

Media coverage can be estimated for print media: circulation is usually known; readers-per-copy and composition can be approximated by comparison to similar publications.

It should also be kept in mind that awareness is not a factor of media alone, but depends, to great extent on creative.

Monday, May 05, 1997 #1338
test marketing, specifically media weight tests.Using sales as the criteria--what % of these tests produce readable results; what, if any,are the minimum weight levels recommended for testing and any other insights you can offer.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, May 05, 1997 ):
Different players have different rules-of-thumb. Since these tests are inherently proprietary, there will not be a large scale data base from which to generalize.

Large, testing-oriented companies, like P&G will have better informed "rules-of-thumb."

What per cent produce readable results is a somewhat vague question: "What percent produce positive results", or "What percent of tests are run for the full duration" are more practical questions. It is the Guru's understanding that, in either case, the answer is less than half.

Whole books exist to consider the variables which can blur the simple concept of weight test, such as mix, copy pool, number of stations or programs or magazine titles or continuity, which would likely change in execution of a greatly different weight.

What, after all, is the likelihood that more of the same advertising would not sell more than did a lesser quantity of advertising? In the Guru's experience, 1/3 has been the minimum considered testable, with 50% preferable. The Guru suggests the many articles on the subject published by the Advertising Research Foundation's Journal of Advertising Research.

Monday, February 24, 1997 #1033
I have a small sportsmarketing company the looks for sponsors for teamsthroughout the US. I am looking for a listing, if itexists, that would rate the media markets of Charlotte NCagainst New York City as regards its relative media value.That is, the value of an advertising buy in a given market.Obviously, NTC is one of the top media markets in the country,ranking 1st or 2nd. How and where on the list does Charlotteplace? Thats what I need to find. I have a customer list(professional sports teams from major league level down tominor league baseball) in 216 markets. DMA or Metro Areas maymeet my needs as long as all areas of the country areincluded.

As you can no doubt tell, I have limited background inthis area but a business opportunity forces me to learnquickly.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, February 26, 1997 ):
You can find some industry standard costs, which will give exactly the ranking you need, right here on AMIC. They arein "Rates, Dates and Data" in the SQAD.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, January 15, 1997 #1077
Wow, who knew?
there was someone like you
the great media guru!

My question...Where can I get more information on the retention of advertising within a commerical cluster...specifically radio advertising. I've heard the first and last commercial have the highest retention levels, but I can't prove it. Any suggestions?Thanks.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, January 15, 1997 ):
The Guru would first try The Radio Advertising Bureau ( RAB) and also The Newsweek Media Research Index.

Friday, January 10, 1997 #1080
Dear Guru: Where do I look for information about the ethnic market?I am trying to establish average income levels, viewing habits,etc..

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, January 13, 1997 ):
Which ethnic market? If you mean African-American, Hispanic and Asian, the three largest commonly considered "ethnic markets" the Census Bureau's site is full of income and other info.

Tv viewing is reported by Nielsen Media Research or in broader strokes by studies like MRI or Simmons which has a specific Hispanic study.

Many other links may be found, on AMIC, at Abbott Wool's Market Segment Resource Locator

Friday, December 20, 1996 #1090
Media Guru:
What can you tell me about standard error? Specifically, I have three questions:
1. What goes into standard error? If not the actual calculations, can you tell me what affects standard error: it's not just sample size, is it?
2. What is the maximum standard error that is considered acceptable to the media -- specifically, the advertising -- industry?
3. Related to the previous question, do you happen to know recent standard error levels for suppliers such as Nielsen (National), Simmons or MRI?
Thank you for your attention to this humble query.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, December 21, 1996 ):
As the adjacent answer to your previous Guru inquiry details, standard error considers sample size and the size of the specific response. Standard error is smallest for a 50% response in a specific way. 10% or 90% answers have the same standard error. When you hear that a study, like a presidential poll is "+/- 3% that is usually the standard error for a 50% response.

It is interesting to note that the size of the sample is the key and not the relationship of the size of the sample to the universe. In other words, when a broadcast rating service uses a larger sample for New York than for Klamath Falls it does so because of the cost of larger samples being more affordable by larger market's media who sponsor the research, not because a bigger market "needs' a bigger sample. Also note that because of the square root aspect of the calculation, a sample must grow by a factor of 4 to reduce error by half.

"Minimum acceptable error" is quite situational. While an error of +/- 2 on a rating of 10 seems small, it becomes important when a buyer need to decide between programs rated 8,9,10,11 and 12 which might all have identical audiences yet seem to vary by 50%.

As stated above, sample size and response control standard error. Neilsen Simmons and MRI each give the information with their reports to calculate error appropriate to the individual report and findings. Most software used to generate reports has the option to display the error witheach cell of data reported. (You may have noticed single and double asterisks on tabulations of Simmons or MRI data, these are indicators of standard error ranges)

Monday, December 02, 1996 #1101
Is there a standard industry statistic on using a 1-800 number in tv and radio spots and what the response levelpercentage is? If it is a percentage, is it a percentageof the number of times the spot ran or a percentage relatedto the target audience?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, December 03, 1996 ):
There are a number ov variables in this kind of direct response, several of which are more important than the ones youmention.

Is the 800 number purely informational or a sales responsevehicle?

What is the product, how unique, how interesting?

What is the product's price?

How good is the commercial?

The Guru believes there are almost mystical aspects to Direct response. Sometimes spots with smaller audience seem toproduce more response than others with larger audience, whenthere are no apparent difference in target composition orprogramming "fit".

Sometimes one station seems to outperform a similar station whenimpressions, spots and programming appear identical.

Overall, 2% of people reached, is generally considered anoutstanding response rate.

Sunday, October 27, 1996 #1118
I am looking for a way to use prizm, is there a way to do this, or is there another way to find the same kind of information?I am researching two magazines for a class and need to know about their consumers.

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, October 28, 1996 ):
PRIZM is a product of Claritas. Various waysto use PRIZM are described on the Web site. You would need to use PRIZM in conjunction with a magazine audience study such as Simmons or MRI for the project you mention. Claritas' own COMPASS computer system can do this at a highly detailed level, but the broader strokes you might need can be accomplished through most data tabbing systems for MRI or Simmons data such as Telmar's TNT CrossTab. The user must have the "rights" to access magzine and PRIZM data. The magazines themselves could help you, if they were willing to support student projects (doubtful).

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.

Tuesday, October 08, 1996 #1133
I wonder if you could enlighten me on your thoughts onthe following: currently, within our market, we lookat cost per point (CPP) for TV. This has been the casefor a number of years now. Recently, however, certainTV stations have been trying to encourage the use ofcost per thousand (CPT). Is there any right or wrongway of looking at a cost measurement for TV?My thinking is that CPT does not prove to be stablewhen measured across a time period, simply becauseuniverse sizes change over time (thousands do increasebut not necessariily the penetration into a market).Therefore CPT could be used when measuring off the sameuniverse size, but is not feasible in showing trendsover different years using different universe sizes.CPT works to the advantage of the media owners as it isseen as much less of an amount than a CPP is (at themoment)???Please help.

The Media Guru Answers(Wednesday, October 09, 1996 ):
The issues you raise with the use of CPT as against CPP are real, particularly in that when you have people meter data and the universes are changing they will affect the 'thousands' calculated conceivably more than the change in the audience itself.

In people meter panels the universe can vary if it does not form part of the weighting cells.

In addition as a rating using people meter data is a time weighted average it is not strictly speaking possible to convert them into whole 'people'.

Selling or buying TV based on CPT derived from respondent level people meter data would be fraught with hidden difficulties for both the users and the TV stations.

Note that this question was posed about the South African market.

Friday, September 20, 1996 #1143
Can you access competitive information that may be proprietary?For example; can I find out what dayparts & spending levelsa competitor did for 1995?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, September 23, 1996 ):
You can't get the proprietary version, but CMR (Competitive Media Reporting) is in the business or monitroing and compiling such information, now including Internet advertising.

Sunday, September 15, 1996 #1148
What is the most rapidly growing advertising medium?

The Media Guru Answers(Monday, September 16, 1996 ):
According to a recent Ad Age report, the web, though still the smallest, grew about 50% from first quarter to second quarter this year. That surely is fastest. In the not too distant future, some sort of stable level will surely be reached, and growth will be merely inflationary as with most other media. On the other hand, technology being what it is, there may be a new internet or other similar breakthrough before that happens. Who would have predicted today's WWW importance just two years ago?

Friday, August 30, 1996 #1157
Dear Guru,We are planning a campaign in the market, where no consistent media research data is available. What we have at the moment is following:1. 2 heavy competitors (one is our client)2. The competitor is running a campaign in the key city of the region using 3 local channels with a combined monthly reach of 93% of the city and the surrounding area, which equals 12.5% of the regions' population. The competitor is spending ca. USD 90K per month.3. We have the objective of running a regional rather than local campaign and, at the same time, outvoice the competitor by 30%.4. To our choice are 3 regional channels with a combined reach of 40.7% in the regionQuestion: what budgert should we be looking at on a monthly basis, given that the average ratio of the local rate card to regional one is 1:1.5?

Sorry for asking for a piece of alchemy and thank you in advance,

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, August 30, 1996 ):
The simplest conceptual answer is to spend 30% more than the competitor in the key city: USD117 This way you outspend him where he's active and meet the 30%+ goal. Otherwise, assuming the regional buy includes the key city, your budget is still 117, with some in regional media and some in the more efficient key city media, so that you have at least a 10% edge in key city impressions.

If the rate card is telling you that a $150 spot buys thewhole region at the same rating that $100 buys the key city's 12.5% of the region (if the Guru followed your data correctly), then 1.3 x 1.5 x 90, or 175.5 is the budget to deliver 30% more impressions in the key city and an equal level across the region.

Friday, August 16, 1996 #1166
Are any of the multi-level marketing plans that are everywhere on the internet any good?

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, August 20, 1996 ):
Though your question has absolutely nothing to do with media, the Guru is confident in saying "no."No selling business which is dependent, for its revenue, on recruiting more sellers rather than on selling whatever is its product or service, can perform as promised. If you do the arithmetic on a typical MLM's promises, you usually find that within 6 months, everyone in the world would have to be a selling for the company. And you've antagonized your friends and family, who you sucked in as your first level downline.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A very simple example:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, March 29, 1996 #1252
Has anyone published information regarding web access, web usage and web demographic profiles of consumers by DMA on the Web? Furthermore, is this information freely accessed? I am specifically interested in th Mpls/St. Paul DMA.

The Media Guru Answers(Saturday, March 30, 1996 ):
In the Guru's opinion, there are not even good answers to those questions at the national level. If you look down below, at a March 7 question, you'll see a link to a compilation of Web demographics info. There is also a listing of other studies and Web providers at bxi, and Nielsen has done a large scale study. It's possible that the Nielsen or O'Reilly (see bxi) web-use studies had big enough samples that they can break out Minneapolis, but that data would not likely be free, if available.

Wednesday, March 20, 1996 #1259
I am buying a radio schedule (100 GRPs/wk for A25-54) in a market that is approximately 28% black. The urban station in this market is relatively efficient, but is by no means a "must buy". In fact, there are about 10 stations with 9/10 of a rating point of each other (AQH rtg, M-F 6a-7p). This urban station claims that I must have at least one urban station on every buy or I will miss 28% of the market. I disagree. When buying so few points a week, I do not have the budget to buy as many stations as I like. A better use of the money would be to cover the various age cells in this broad demo and try to balance the male/female reach. My question is, What is your opinion on this subject? Is an urban station a "must buy" in this market any more than a country, rock, or news/talk station?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, March 22, 1996 ):
There are several levels at which this question can be considered:

The essence is determining the true value of that station: "should you buy it", not "must you buy it"

- If you ignored the fact that this is an urban station would you buy it, based on the general parameters of the buy? Rating/efficiency/rank, etc?

Are you having a negative reaction to being told you must do it?

Do you really miss 28% of the market just by not buying that station? To what reach level are you buying? At 100 GRP / week you're not likely to reach more than 72% of the target in a typical 4 weeks, anyway. So if the station is the onlyone reaching its market segment, how much does it matter if that segementis the 28% you miss rather than any ther 28% of the market.

Is that station is the only one reaching its segment? It is likely that several other stations in a market with that high penetration of Black population also reach that audience, but perhaps with a lower audience composition. Check the schedule you will buy to see how its African-American audience reach compares to its general market reach. Perhaps it's comparable even without that station.

On the other hand, if that segemnt is important, reaching it in a culturally relevant program environment can substantially enhance selling opportunity.

Examine the product usage data about your client according to Simmons/MRI/Scarborough/MMR, etc. Perhaps the African-American consumer is far more valuable to your client as a prospective customer than is the general market, and that Urban station, with its good efficiency, is the first one you should buy, even if it does sell aggressively.

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, January 25, 1996 #1774
I have a total universe of 9500 people and I would like to know how big a sample I would need for as good study. This is for a phone interview.

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, February 02, 1996 ):
The population size is a relatively insignificant factor in calculating reliability of a sample; 500 respondents is just about as reliable in surveying a small town as for the United States as a whole.

To plan a "good study," you need to consider the size of the typical answer you will get.

If your typical response will be 50% of respondents said "yes" then a far smaller sample could be suitable than if answers are "10% use brand B."

You also need to decide what level of reliabilty you require, or how much swing, +/-, is acceptable and to what tolerance.

For example:

If your sample size is 500, a 50% answer is actually reliable +/- 4.4 percentage points, 95% of the time and +/- 3.7 points 90% of the time.

If the sample size is 125, a 50% answer is reliable +/- 8.8 points, 95% of the time. This is double the relative error of the 500 sample (rule of thumb, 4x as much sample reduces error by half).

If the answers anticipated were 10%, then for the 125 sample it varies +/- 5.2 points, or over 50% relative error.

A 10% answer from a 500 total sample yields +/- 2.6% points at 95% tolerance or 26% relative error, which is possibly acceptable for your need.

To examine other possibilities, the formula for 95% tolerance is:

1.96 x squareroot of ((PxQ)/N)


P = the answer size expressed as a decimal fraction
Q = the remaing fraction of the sample
N = the total sample size

To examine 90% tolerance, substitute 1.645 for 1.96

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.

Monday, January 08, 1996 #1796
At what point does the efficiency of buying local cable diminish so that national cable is a more effective option?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, February 02, 1996 ):
On an efficiency basis, local cable is almost never superior to national. The decision point is more likely to be out of pocket cost, though the Guru has seen instances of the same cable :30's priced at $50 nationally versus $250 in New York.

The analysis also depends on how large an area is useful to the marketer. If the whole country is geographically acceptable as potential consumers, then the only question might be how far will the budget stretch in delivering "acceptable" levels of weight. If only certain geographies are within the distribution of the advertiser, an analysis of the useful audience within the national cable coverage is needed before the efficiency comparison can be made.

There is no %US "rule of thumb". Local cable is variable enough in its cpm ranges that there often is no relationship of market size to cost.

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.

Friday, December 22, 1995 #1805
How can I measure the media effects and isolate them from total advertising effects that comes as a result from advertising tracking?

The Media Guru Answers(Friday, February 02, 1996 ):
The more need for isolating test elements, the more need for controls. You need test scenarios that vary from each other *only* in the media used. Obviously advertising can't be tested with no media at all, so a separate test is necessary for each mdia mix or weight level. In some cases, laboratory testing versus field testing is possible.

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

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

Tuesday, September 26, 1995 #1839
I'm trying to find out how many auto and real estate traders exist and how great the revenues are in each category. If possible, I am also curious of the $ on the sub-category level (ie rentals, used cars, etc.).

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, September 26, 1995 ):
The ARF library, which is for members only, is the foremost collection of such material. AAAA and ANA members can access the ARF library through those organizations. The Newsweek Media Research Index, online at is a possible source as well as is any library's index of AdAge articles.

Tuesday, April 04, 1995 #1859
I recently heard that Mendelsohn Affluent Study has increase the household income level from $60,000 to $70,000+, if so when will it happen?? Fall '95 or Spring '96?? Why the change??

The Media Guru Answers(Tuesday, April 04, 1995 ):
Over time, average incomes rise, thereby calling for a different definition of "affluence." This is not the first time Mendelsohn has adjusted its definition.

You may want to contact Mendelsohn for more detailed information about when they plan to make the change.