Should We Reach the Same Audience Week After Week?

Or Should We Move Our Reach Periodically?

I’m working on pricing a 52-week schedule in Toronto for one of our franchisees – can you ask Roy what our frequency target in Canada is; there are a few variables that may be different than the US and I want to ensure we are chasing the right number.

1. BBM manages data in Canada vs. Arbitron in the US (Canada records information more frequently than Arbitron and I am not sure what this does to our target weekly frequency)  

2. Toronto is  a PPM market – what is the impact vs. Diary 3.0 frequency target?

3. Also how does Roy feel about locking in on stations for the duration of the buy and reaching the same 25% every week or should we move our reach periodically and if so – how often?



Answers 1 and 2: David, during the peak of the season we want a 3.0 frequency each week, but we can live with a 2.5 or even a 2.0 during the remaining weeks of the year. But please don’t skip weeks.Buy fewer stations – reduce reach – but don’t skip weeks. If we have to settle for reaching just 5 percent of Toronto with a 2.0 frequency every week for 38 weeks and then jumping it up to a 3.0 for the 14 weeks of the season, this is an okay way to begin a long-term campaign.  We can grow the budget as results increase over time. Our problem is the long purchase cycle of the product in question. 

Answer 3. The short answer is Yes, we want to keep reaching the same listener over and over, long-term. Don’t abandon one to move to another. I know it seems like common sense would tell us: “Once we’ve reached these folks, wouldn’t it make sense to move on and reach some new ones?” But people stay reached like a lawn stays mowed.  Our goal in long-term advertising isn’t just to reach a listener, but to turn that listener into an evangelist. This requires an astounding amount of repetition. To achieve our goal of becoming a household name like Starbucks, we’ve got to reach whomever we reach relentlessly.  The average person has about 250 people in their “realm of association.” We have to absolutely OWN a listener if we’re going to turn him/her into an evangelist for our brand.

Now lets’s talk about that 25% figure:  Chances are, our franchisee won’t be able to afford 25% reach right away. No problem. We can begin with as little as 5% if we have to, then increase our reach as results increase.  

The 25% figure originated with my statement that only about 25% of a city can be reached relatively cheaply and easily with a 3.0 weekly frequency. The second 25% usually costs double the price of the first 25%.

This is due to two factors:

(1.) Since we buy the best deals first, we’re buying more expensive, less efficient schedules as we add more and more stations. 

(2.) Since 92 percent of all listeners listen to multiple radio stations, every time we add a new station to the mix, a percentage of that audience was already being reached on one or more of the stations we were already on. This problem grows worse as we add more stations until finally there’s no longer any way to cost-effectively reach more listeners using radio. At that point, all we do when we add another station is increase the frequency of our message to people we were already reaching. 

In the U.S., we can reach only about 51 or 52 percent of the 18+ population of a city before we reach the point of diminishing returns. Again, the second 25 percent reach will usually cost double what we spent for the first 25 percent reach due to the problem of shared audience duplication and the fact that the less efficient schedules were the ones added last.  In Canada, we can reach about 60 percent of the 18+ population before we reach the point of diminishing returns.

MINIMUM SCHEDULE for our Franchisee:    

5% net reach 18+.

(Not 5% reach 35-64. If our buyer is targeting the older demo, 5% reach 18+ will equate to a significantly higher reach 35-64 and/or 35+.)

Something above a 2.5 frequency during the 14 weeks of peak season.

At least a 2.0 frequency the remaining 38 weeks of the year.

Our goal is automatic, involuntary recall. We want to effectively brainwash these people with relentless repetition.

You’re doing a great job, David.

By Roy H. Williams, The Wizard of Ads at  

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