The Art of Leveraging Reach and Frequency in Media Planning

February 15, 2023

The Art Of Leveraging Reach And Frequency In Media Planning

Reach is the number of people or households exposed to a particular ad, which should have a balanced relationship with frequency, the number of times a particular ad is flighted. 

Establishing the correct reach and frequency objectives, involves the artful integration of factors such as the objective, the budget, the target audience and the duration of the campaign. 

Media agencies typically use reach and frequency planning tools to increase the brand awareness amongst the target audiences while at the same time, trying to maximize the impact of the budget. Having access to the right planning tools is only one part of the media planning process.  The other important part is determining whether to prioritize reach or frequency. 


Reach vs. Frequency: Know Your Brand 

While it’s crucial to take reach and frequency into consideration, how it’s prioritized in your media planning process, depends on a number of factors. While it’s important to consider seasonality, competitor activity, target audiences and the overall objectives of the campaign, the two that are probably most influential are the lifestage of the brand and the type of category. 


For example,  typically consumers who are in the market for a new car will pay more attention to automotive advertising and will also spend a lot more time researching their car purchase.  Add to that the large investment required to purchase a car and you have a high interest category.

Compare this to, for example, hair care.  The low purchase price, the recurring frequency with which these products are purchased, and market saturation require a completely different approach.  This results in a low attention or low interest category.

Is the brand established or is it new? If the brand is established, there is likely an existing baseline of awareness, however, if the brand is new to the market, a lot more media investment is needed in order to establish that baseline awareness. 

Clearly identifying the goals of an advertising campaign means fully understanding the factors above and how to plan across multiple media channels and dayparts to achieve successful reach and frequency objectives. 


Maximizing Reach Across Channels

Today’s audiences are media savvy and adept at navigating the constant influx of advertising efforts that fill their smartphones, computers, televisions, radios, and surrounding environments. Understanding the importance of audience behavior can be leveraged and maximized in the media planning process. 

The more media channels and varied dayparts that are incorporated into the media plan,  the higher the reach will be.  But, be aware, more media channels results in  more creative executions, which generally translates into less media budget and therefore less ‘weeks-on-air’ for a brand.


Reinforcing the Message with Frequency

Frequency focuses on getting consumers’ attention and reinforcing a message again and again and again. Typically used for low interest categories and new brands, high frequency focuses on cutting through other advertising noise so that the brand makes an impression, becomes familiar, or compels a call to action. 

Advertising campaigns that leverage high frequency typically include fewer media channels and daypart mixes but with a much higher number of ads across the selected channel.

Frequency must engage audiences enough times for the messaging to connect, inform and hopefully have a positive impact. But, as we know, too much frequency leads to ad fatigue and annoyance, resulting in a negative impact on the brand. 


The Numbers Behind Reach and Frequency

Understanding the objectives of a campaign combined with advanced audience and media planning solutions is essential in keeping up with the pace of evolving audience interests and consumption habits.  Setting specific reach and frequency parameters when developing the media plan, and integrating predictive modeling engines and algorithms, are necessary for an effective and successful media campaign.  

Telmar has a number of media planning solutions that show the combined reach and frequency effect of using multi-channel media mixes, as well as tools that demonstrate how reach builds across the campaign with modeled frequency distribution as well as data visualizations.  

In markets or for agencies that do not have access to syndicated industry data, Telmar has a solution that mixes any on-and-offline (traditional and digital) media channels to assess the total reach and frequency results for the campaign.

Telmar’s Media Intelligence solutions empower brands, media agencies and sales houses to achieve total reach and frequency results across multiple media channels, ensuring the most successful media campaigns. If you would like to learn more, book a tour with us today.

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