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Media Guru

Guru Search Results: 194 matches were found

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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."


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, 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


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?


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.


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.


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)


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


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.


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.


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.


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 flowchart....it will be quite tedious....I am confused...please help!

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

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

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

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


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.


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.


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.


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?


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 #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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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 #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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 #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.


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

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

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

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


Wednesday, June 06, 2001 #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 #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."


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)


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.


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.


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 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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 USAdata.com 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.


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.


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.


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

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

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


Monday, 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.


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.


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.


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."


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


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

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


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.


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

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

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

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

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

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

The bottom line is that

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


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.


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.


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 .


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, 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.


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.


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, 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 #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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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%.


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.


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.


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. .

Abstract:

    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, 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.


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?


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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?


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.


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


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)


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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