February 03, 2012

Frequency and Reach

By Delynn Ho, VP Sales

We hear two common complaints from ad agencies, brand planners and media buyers who say they do not want to advertise on a 'blind network' like BuzzCity:

1. “We only place media on premium sites, like CNN or MTV, where we know exactly where the banner will appear.”

2. “We only place ads on sites where we can use precise demographic targeting to reach our exact audience.”

Media Landscape

Over the past year, internet advertising, mobile advertising and e-commerce have exploded. Social media turns us into publishers as well as consumers of content. Google CEO Eric Schmidt says that every two days, we now create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003. Plus clients often want to be part of the latest fad: live video, social networking, iPhone apps, etc. So the media landscape is changing and it's perhaps understandable that media planners and strategists have lost their bearings.

It's time to go back to fundamentals and design media plans that have clear goals and metrics for success. Think back to your textbooks: whether you are looking at traditional media or mobile, there are two basic measurements for any campaign - frequency and reach.


Frequency is the measure of how many times a person views or hears your ad.

Reach is a measure of how many people view an ad. The easiest ways to increase an ad's reach are to buy additional media that reaches fresh audiences.

Issues and Implementation

Every advertiser faces a budget constraint. So the question becomes, “how do we reach our goals with x dollars?”.

1. Frequency. An advertisement that is only seen once simply will not be effective. Consumers need multiple exposure to an ad in order to recall its message and to build trust with a brand. Newer brands require more frequent exposure. More established brands that have strong market share generally require less frequent ads, unless they have a product launch or new promotion.

2. Reach. The best way to increase reach and frequency is to advertise more. But placing more ads on premium sites will bust your budget without necessarily seeing the desired jump in viewership.

What to do?

Every campaign needs the right media mix, a combination of 'quality' and 'volume'.

A solid media plan includes search ads, social networks, network ads and premium websites. To hit the desired numbers in your plan, advertisers will mix highly specific niche sites with wide-reaching media.

Blind networks like BuzzCity are a crucial element of this mix because they provide the depth of penetration and sheer numbers needed to achieve your frequency and reach targets at a reasonable cost.

Meanwhile, for more information about advertising on premium websites, please take a look at my article on BuzzCity's Premium Channel.