Effective Frequency

Posted in Marketing and Strategy Terms, Total Reads: 1087

Definition: Effective Frequency

Effective frequency is a media planning concept. It is the number of times a person should be exposed to any advertisement message by the advertising vehicle before he takes a response or the point of diminishing returns since the cost of media planning has to be minimized. The frequency of exposure should be sufficient enough to communicate the message to the customers.

The theory of advertising by Krugman states that any customer should be exposed to an advertisement at least three times within its purchasing cycle.

• The first time when the customer is attracted to your advertisement is a time when nothing really happens. He simply asks a question “What is it?”

• The second time when the customer tries to link with the relevance of the advertisement, he asks another question “So what?”

• The third time consumer takes a decision by answering the question “Is this the time for me?” This results in either the purchase or no purchase.

A number of factors drive this advertising frequency, like what is the brand image, what is its brand equity, how well the customers relate to the brand, what is the category of the target audience, how complex the message is, what is the product category, what is the status of the market, cost structure, etc.

The above graph shows a trend of effective reach. Effective reach is nothing but the number of customers a brand is able to effectively poke.

Average frequency = Total exposure to all the customers / Reach

The objective of frequency is to promote interest and repetitive purchase. But the recall of product with time declines as shown in the figure below.


High frequency is required when: -

• Message is complex.

• Too many competitors.

• Points of differentiation are very few.

• When there is a time restriction which a sales target is to be achieved.


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