The concept of effective frequency rests on the assumption that for an advertisement or campaign to achieve an appreciable effect, it must attain a certain number of exposures to an individual within the specified time period. Specifically, effective frequency is defined as the number of times a certain advertisement must be exposed to a particular individual in a given period to produce a desired response.
The purpose of the “effective frequency” metric is to determine optimal exposure levels for an advertisement or campaign, trading the risk of overspending against the risk of failing to achieve the desired impact.
Many marketers believe their messages require repetition to “sink in.” Advertisers, like parents and politicians, repeat themselves, but this repetition must be monitored for effectiveness. To do this, marketers apply the concepts of effective frequency and effective reach. These concepts assume that the first few times people are exposed to an ad, it may have little effect. Only when more exposures are achieved does the message begin to influence the audience.
In planning and executing a campaign, an advertiser must determine the number of times that a message must be repeated in order to be useful. This number is the effective frequency.
Effective frequency (#) = Number of times an individual must see an ad in order to register the message.
A campaign’s effective frequency will depend on many factors, including market circumstances, media used, type of ad, and campaign. As a rule of thumb, however, an estimate of three exposures per purchase cycle is used surprisingly often.
- ^ Farris, Paul W.; Neil T. Bendle; Phillip E. Pfeifer; and David J. Reibstein (2010). Marketing Metrics: The Definitive Guide to Measuring Marketing Performance (Second Edition). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.