How often do I need to run an ad?

arrows-1617376_640Advertising professionals often use “reach” and “frequency” to determine the best media schedule. Reach is the number of people or households that receive your advertising message in a period of time and frequency is the number of times they receive it. You must balance reach and frequency within the confines of your advertising budget. And remember to only measure reach and frequency of your target audience, not the total circulation or viewership. If you can’t afford to reach 70% of your target audience at 6+ frequency, then consider a different medium. This is just a guideline. Your product, audience, brand, and other factors impact how often you need to run an ad. If you have a new product/brand, a small market share, or a lot of competition, then your ad should run more. Established brands, simple messages and consistent schedules can get by with less. Here are few additional rules of thumb: maximize your dominance with one medium (or publication/station) before adding others; be in at least 33% of the available issues-more often if it is your primary vehicle; if you are tempted to run an ad once in a “special issue,” don’t; finally, remember your media rep’s job is to sell space/time, not to be your advertising agency.


John Lonsbury is a marketing consultant with over 30 years of experience. His clients have included start-up businesses and Fortune 500 companies.

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