By: Severine Arneodo Simon, Sr. Manager, Marketing Operations, Valassis
Published Monday, Feb 12, 2018
For most marketers, reaching your target audience is the first step in a successful advertising campaign. Frequency (or repeat exposure) of the message is the second. But before making a decision, you might consider the following:
Once your campaign’s target audience is defined and the media mix is chosen, it’s time to think about frequency. In the context of advertising, frequency can be defined as the number of times a person is exposed to an advertisement or the number of times an advertisement is repeated through a specific medium over a specific time period.¹
The key to deciding on frequency within shared mail or newspaper advertising rests in the following:
The role of frequency is to drive curiosity, recognition, and decision. For decades, marketers have relied on the belief that a frequency of three is all that is needed to get to the decision. But is it really that simple? This belief is based on the definition, by Herbert E. Krugman2, of consumer’s reactions to each exposure, in an essay about effective frequency. Krugman never actually stated that a 3x frequency is required in media advertising. Rather he spoke of a 3x exposure in terms of psychological response:
The third and subsequent exposures act as a reminder of the “What is it?” and “What of it?” It will position the consumer as being able to quickly react when the time comes to make a decision.
Marketers should also remember that exposure is not equal to frequency. Frequency is the number of times a message/advertisement is paid to be placed in a medium. Exposure, however, only occurs when the message is read, viewed, or heard by the consumer. Due to today’s crowded media landscape, consumers’ evolving media habits, and scattered media engagement, an ad may need more than three times and via a variety of media to expose a consumer to a message and move them through the psychological response laid out by Krugman.
Following are several reasons for increasing frequency:
Your campaign’s target audience is defined, the media mix chosen; now it’s time to think about frequency.
Frequency is the necessary tactic to drive customers’ exposure to a message, product, or service. Repeat exposure leads to a decision, which in turn, leads to action. Ultimately, frequency is essential to achieving your advertising campaign goal: driving consumers to action.