Given that most direct response advertisers have budget limitations, it’s not always possible to run your commercial on every possible radio station. How do you spend your media dollars in the most effective way? One important consideration is in regards to reach and frequency.
Reach means you’re casting a wide net, trying to make an impression on as many unique listeners as possible.
Frequency means you’re trying to make multiple impressions on the same listeners.
There are all kinds of formulas for determining optimal reach and frequency, and they vary by medium and the objective of the advertising message. When it comes to radio direct response advertising, our experience has shown that frequency is much more important than reach.
Why is that? One reason is because radio is a companion medium. Listeners are oftentimes doing something else while they are tuned in. They may not be fully engaged to what is being said. They may hear some of your message, but not enough to respond. This is where frequency works to your benefit. If they hear your commercial a second, third or forth time, your message may finally resonate enough for them to take action.
Radio advertising needs to work hard to generate response. Don’t take a soft creative approach. You should always write your commercial with the goal of getting listeners to respond the first time they hear it.
You will have more impact by running a high frequency schedule on fewer radio stations than you will by running a low frequency schedule on multiple radio stations.
So if your budget has limits, take a laser beam approach to your radio placements. Crank up the high frequency first before you expand the reach.