Topic Progress:

Maximizing net reach as starting point is multiple interpretable. When indeed can we talk about our aim to reach as many potential customers as we can?

In short:

  1. Per individual media type and – with some effort – in cross media campaigns;
  2. Long term growth, influencing base line sales;
  3. Mid- and short term growth, aimed at volume results;


(1) Using media types and titles to reach the market

Not surprisingly (and very important to understand) is that in media usage the ‘purchase curves’ apply too. Media have few heavy users and many light users and the curves have the same shape as with other products and services.

  • In mass media this means we need to focus at channels and time slots in which we reach the most net (unique) media users by one placement (ad served). This is what we call prime time for TV and daytime for Radio. Higher cost per placement indeed, but much lower cost per effect;
  • In online media this means that frequency capping helps out to limit contact distribution and we are able to look for id’s we have not yet reached;
  • However, most advertisers apply crossmedia campaigns in order to realize their goals. That’s when issues arise. Every mass medium has its own reach currency, not comparable to each other. Online has closed networks and heaps of inventory and no sufficient means to actually follow real people in their complete online behaviour – set aside all bots dand alleged fraud.

In short, building net reach over multiple media types can only be done by best guesses, sometimes supported by special studies that are frank and honest about their own biases.


(2,3) Using media types and titles to achieve behavioural change

Most advertisers aim to influence behaviour of groups of people, short and long term. Every marketer knows we defined a funnel and rates for the number of people that convert from one stage to the next (conversion rates).

The hierarchy of effects is an important concept to understand. Sponteanous brand awareness never can be higher than aided brand awareness. You can not have more people with intent than people knowing your brand. Brand effects are effected by communications and will influence conversion rates within the hierarchy of the funnel. Important is that behavioural brand effects are often the hardest to move, often placed at the end of the funnel.


Maximizing net reach can serve different goals of a campaign:

  • A long term effect of for example a continuous reach approach will be a slight lift up of baseline sales. This effect may take six months to three years to occur. Continuous net reach is expensive and often comes with light media pressure over time, i.e. a dripping strategy;
  • For the mid- and short-term we often want to reach the markets for more immediate volume driven results. Media pressure is higher, reaching the market with a higher contact frequency. Important to understand is that effects of these campaigns are not linear.


Possible effect scenarios for mid- and short-term campaigns:

  • Nothing happens. Assuming you have top advertising and creative performance..
    • Your campaign did not realize enough media pressure (reach and contacts), it has no cut through;
    • Your campaign touched the ceiling of the desired behaviour, it reached its saturation point;
  • Behaviour changes later. You expected changes to happen sooner but these happened at the end or even after the campaign – there was a substantial delay;
  • Behaviour continues. All pressure is gone and we are still going strong. Maybe we don’t need to campaign, our brand is invincible. The danger of decay, which most often happens slowly. But when the relapse kicks in, it is often too late because many customers changed routines already (often light users leave first).



A car advertiser I worked for wanted to invest in radio for continuous reach to build the brand. At the same time we were all curious what this media presence would do for driving intent and site traffic in the short term. After experimenting and calcutating for a few months we found the optimum in radio advertising for the brand to drive intent. It was related to the ‘steady’ number of potential buyers that enter the market on a weekly basis and use online in their orientation. Too much reach and contacts or too little reach and contacts both would mean ‘waste’ (resp. saturation or no cut through). In the end we estimated the optimum for radio spend for brand and intent as simultaneous effect.