5 Things to Know about Scaling Advertising Reach Efficiently
As a mainstay of campaign performance metrics, reach is generally defined as the percentage of targets who are exposed to your media at least once during a given time window. Having sufficient reach is integral to both your brand’s success and its basic survival. Without at least 50% reach, your brand is likely to end up dead in the water and true success may require reach far beyond that threshold. This reality can make the prospect of planning out an approach for scaling up your reach seem very intimidating, which is why we’ve laid it out for you step-by-step.
Step 1: Know The Difference
Before jumping into anything, it is crucial to understand the distinction between reach and frequency – reach tells you how many of your desired targets were reached by a campaign, frequency tells you how many times each of those targets were exposed to your campaign on average. The challenging part of frequency is figuring out what the most effective frequency for your campaign is, a process called ‘frequency value planning’.
We all want to be exposed to a viewer more than once however with a frequency that is too high, your campaign may start to become an irritation to your customer. There are situations where high-frequency ‘shock and awe’ campaigns can be used to dominate perception and overwhelm competitors.
Step 2: KPIs – Identifying Campaign Needs
Secondly, when contemplating scaling solutions, always be mindful of the specific needs of your campaign in regard to reach and frequency and what kind of campaign you’re supporting. When launching a brand new product or a fundamental change to an existing product, reach should be made a priority – you need a lot of eyes on the product as you work to generate interest and refine your target. Conversely, if you are operating in an extremely competitive industry, it is important to combine high frequency with a well-defined target niche to cut through the competition and establish yourself as a major player in your space.
Radio is an archetypal frequency medium – flip it on during your morning commute and see how many advertisements you hear for the same handful of local car dealerships. There is no broad consensus on how to balance reach versus frequency. Your decision will largely depend on what key performance indicators (KPIs) have been identified before the start of the campaign.
Step 3: Be Efficient by Understanding Efficiency
The third critical idea is that of reach efficiency, a concept developed by Nielsen that measures how many unique in-target consumers a campaign is reaching for specific media partners. Just as digital media buying moved from impressions to accurate reach as a benchmark for success, so too is it evolving to now also consider delivery efficiency alongside reach to make the most intelligent decisions.
Efficiency explains how two campaigns with identical impression volume and on-target rates can have wildly different levels of reach – with an inefficient media mix, it is easy to serve a certain subset of your target repeatedly at the expense of campaigns reaching net new customers within your audience. Be careful not to always chase a high-efficiency buy – as mentioned, the best way to serve your campaign is to tailor a strategy directly to its needs. The most productive approach is to understand efficiency as a metric that allows you to make better decisions about your campaign and keep your marketing strategy flexible to your needs.
Step 4: Be Mindful
The fourth guideline is that reach scale is not always driven effectively by campaign scale. There is a diminishing return on reach as the size of a campaign increases, which is another solid reason to be mindful of your efficiency when planning a media buy. If your aim is to scale your marketing efficiently, there may be an elastic limit of impressions after which your efficiency declines dramatically, with potentially very harmful effects on your acquisition costs and ROI. Gone are the days where the biggest campaign took all – market smarter, not larger.
One of the best ways to increase efficiency and reach is to look at lessons learned from past campaigns; strategies that have generated reach efficiently in the past will likely do so again, those that did not will likely continue to underperform. When your build rate begins to slow down, you can always shift to other channels.
Step 5: Smarter, Not Larger. Targeted, Not Random.
The fifth and final word to the wise is to keep your finger on the pulse of advances in marketing technology and measurement. Recent research indicates that small businesses are under-utilizing analytics for gauging marketing performance. Reach and frequency are traditional measurements for television and print, however, these metrics still contain a level of abstraction and estimation.
One driver of the under-utilization of digital marketing and the accompanying analytics is that there is a conception of digital as simply another channel for driving conventional performance metrics, i.e. reach and frequency. However, there is a very distinct value-add that digital provides over mediums like television and print, and that is direct visibility on a consumer’s actual behavior.
This is so valuable that rather than digital becoming merely another channel for traditional marketing, marketers are putting substantial effort into being able to establish digital attribution for conventional mediums. Cross-channel campaigns are a proven way to drive reach, and one way to accomplish this is by turning television and print into additional channels for the tracking of digital metrics and behavior. Smarter, not larger. Targeted, not random.
By familiarizing yourself with these concepts, you can become equipped to make the most out of your marketing dollars. Stay attentive to the needs of your campaign while tightening your net, and contact us today to start reaping the rewards of efficiently managed reach scaling sooner rather than later.