Generally advertising frequency does make a a difference. In most cases it makes a big difference! There are a number of factors that must be considered in putting together your advertising program. What media mix are you considering? Can one media give you more exposure than the other? What are your advertising goals? Finally, who are you trying to reach (what is your target demographic profile) ? What is your advertising budget?
In order to answer the first question, does advertising frequency make a difference, all of the other questions must be addressed? There are a number of factors to consider when you are putting together an advertising plan. Ultimately you must decide where you will place the bulk or the lions share of your advertising budget?
Today the choices are numerous and fragmentation is the norm. Fragmentation is when there are so many choices that there is no guarantee that your ad will be seen by your target audience at any given time. A good example is cable television. There are so many specialized cable stations that you can choose a station that will suit your demographic profile. For instance if you are targeting women the Lifetime Channel appears to be a good option. So one would get out their credit card and place as many high frequency ads as possible on the Lifetime Channel in order to reach your target audience. After all the station targets your demographic. Right? Wrong!!
What about radio? WHFA (W-High Frequency Ads) radio, reaches your exact target demographic, is the pitch that you hear. In drive time you can run three, 30 second spots during morning and evening drive time. This is a can’t miss buy, sure to be heard by nearly everyone in town! On paper these two buys seem logical cable; radio…….. On paper that is, but in reality it is not.
The reality is, though both mediums reach the desired target audience, and high frequency ads placed on both should insure it, the truth is you are reaching less than 2% of your target audience. No matter how many ads you place on the selected media you will never reach the entire percentage of the demographic that makes up your target market. Why? Because radio and cable combined reach on average less than 4% of your target audience.
A staunch advertising rule is that frequency pays. Yes it does, but only if you select the medium that can reach more or a higher percentage of your target audience quickly and efficiently. This cannot be achieved with cable television. It cannot be achieved with billboards; you only reach as many people driving by in cars as possible. It cannot be achieved through television; there are hundreds of television stations available, so you will not get 100% reach of your target audience, but you will get 100% fragmentation, which destroys your advertising program!
There is an age old advertising concept called the “thin market”, There are only a certain number of people in the market to purchase your product or service at any given time. An example that I like to use is if you’re thinking about painting your home during the dead of winter, you’re excited about spring arriving so that you can plan how and when you will paint your home. You begin to start thinking about it. What type of paint will you need? How much will it cost? The company that will get your business will be the one that advertises early and often when the consumer is ready to purchase the paint product, guess who gets the business? In a thin market it is the company that runs the same ad most frequently, early and often.