Why Frequency matters when it comes to advertising

August 3, 2015
Posted in marketing
August 3, 2015 APRS

By Nicky Stanley, Advertising Executive of the Australian Hospital and Healthcare Bulletin 

Repeat, repeat, repeat. Frequency is essential in the success of any advertising campaign.

Frequency is the average number of times that a person within your target audience has the opportunity to see an advertisement over the campaign period. Effective frequency, on the other hand, is the minimum number of times a communication must be exposed to a potential customer in order to positively impact that consumer’s buying behaviour.

The concept of effective frequency was developed by Lever’s Michael Naples. He claims that effective frequency for any product communication is three times. The first time is to get the consumer’s attention, the second is for them to recognise the communication, and the third is for acceptance or familiarity.

But in reality it’s not that simple. The magic frequency number that will get people to buy depends on the campaign, the message and the target audience. Sometimes three might be the perfect number, other times it might take one more.

We need to focus on the importance of frequency itself – the power of repetition.  As consumers, we know that the more times we hear or see something, the more likely we are to remember it. Often small business owners will try something once, expect immediate results, and draw the conclusion after a couple days that it was or wasn’t effective. Building a brand and strong reputation takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight.

Advertising can be costly, however you can still choose a cost-effective marketing plan and get the frequency you need without breaking the bank. You need to create multiple touch points so your message reaches your target audience from a combination of mediums – Print, Social Media, Websites, e-Newsletters.

For example, you have a special offer to promote. Your target market might first receive a teaser via Facebook.  Later that week, they receive a copy of a magazine they subscribe to and notice your promotion that you posted on Facebook earlier.  This advertisement may have more information or a link to a website.  They then decide to use ‘Google Magic’ and see your leaderboard advertisement with the same promotion, reminding them that the offer is still available. The next time they are in your area, they notice a new sign in front of your store or restaurant and decide to walk in to check it out. It doesn’t matter which one of these touch points is the final push to getting them to buy – the result is a combination touch points, directing them to the promotion.

You must also understand the importance of proper targeting and relevance in your marketing. This way, you avoid marketing fatigue. Consumers face a barrage of advertising messages on a daily basis. The best way to avoid marketing fatigue is avoid sending constant promotions that are irrelevant to your consumers needs.  Know your market before starting a campaign. Relevant offers don’t fatigue consumers, so target your potential customers well.

Your message and positioning also need to be compelling, you need an attractive call to action, and timing is key to the success of a marketing campaign. But this all works over time. Repeat, repeat, repeat and your message will stick and be top of mind at the time of need.