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The Power of Repetition: Frequency Counts in Media Buying

concept for blog about the power of repetition


When you tell your kids to do something like clean their room or do the dishes, do you find you have to repeat yourself several times until it sinks in? Well, the same applies to media buying—the more times your message is heard, the better. Effective advertising is about the power of repetition and with media buying, that means finding the sweet spot when it comes to reach and frequency.

The average person is exposed to over 30,000 daily messages. This may seem ridiculously high but think about all the brands you encounter from the moment you wake up. You check your phone and see messages and ads, open the refrigerator and are greeted by your favorite OJ brand, brush your teeth with your chosen toothpaste, turn on the news while you have your coffee, listen to the radio on your way to work…you’ve barely started your day and have already been bombarded with branding. The rule of thumb says that a person needs to see or hear an advertisement at least seven times for it to make a lasting impression. This means spending your budget wisely to reach as many people as many times as possible to bring in new customers.

Frequency, Reach and Gross Rating Points (GRP)

Here’s what we pay attention to when we put together a media plan for clients:

  • Reach is the number of potential customers who will be exposed to a message.
  • Frequency refers to the number of times those people will be exposed to the message.
  • Gross Rating Point (GRP) measures the overall impact. You can calculate the GRP by multiplying the percent of the target market reached by the frequency. For example, if an advertisement airs five times reaching 50% of its target audience, it delivers 250 GRPs.

The goal is to have the highest GRP delivery possible, but two campaigns with the same GRP are not always equal. Take different versions of a 100 GRP campaign for example:

  • A one-time 30 second commercial during a big event that would reach 100% of the target audience.
  • Two advertisements in slots with a reach of 50% of the audience.
  • 10 commercials reaching 10% of the target audience.

All these examples have a GRP of 100, but which one is best? Option C will likely be the most effective as it allows for repetition of your message, with the likelihood your target audience will see the advertisement more than once. This helps solidify a lasting recall in a consumer’s mind that can only happen when the frequency of the message is high. That’s the power of repetition.

But Wait; There’s More

Media buying is both an art and a science. In addition to the information above, it’s important to understand how the formulas are calculated. Nielsen Media Research has been the trusted source for the “ratings”. That is, how a radio or TV station rates amongst target audiences. In order to use this data, it’s important to understand it, or partner with a firm that subscribes to the service, so you know you are receiving accurate information. At Market Mentors, we not only subscribe to Nielsen Television and Nielsen Audio data but rely on its methodologies to help guide our recommendations.

Understanding all these metrics—and combining them with our wealth of experience and local media buying clout—is why having an experienced media buyer like Market Mentors is the best way for you to get the biggest return on your advertising investment.

Creating an effective and compelling ad is only half the battle (and we can handle that for you as well). Effectively getting your message in front of your potential customers is the other half.

Our pros work will create a media buying strategy that works for your business, giving you peace of mind as we handle all the negotiations, trafficking and reconciliations on your behalf. Contact us today to see how we can harness the power of repetition to make the most of your ad dollars.