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Testing Is Key to Finding Right Frequency

2017 07 18   Peter Feinstein   Advertising    

There are many theories about how much frequency is enough, or too much, to activate a consumer’s interest and move them to action on an advertising message. The answer, much like everything else in advertising, cannot be boiled down to a browse through data.

I read daily what ostensibly intelligent people have to say on any number of topics, such as technology, advertising, the Internet of Things and data, and most day’s I am dismayed by the lack of humility expressed by those kind folks. I truly believe they mean well, and sometimes they express their beliefs quite eloquently, if not with just a tad too much jargon. But absent in most cases is the humility contained in the notion that: “I might be mistaken; this may be bigger than me, so let’s test, watch and see what happens.” It’s an easy line to take, requiring fewer than 20 words. But it’s a very difficult concept to find.

What I like about Jerome Samson’s article “Could Excessive Ad Frequency Be Good For Your Brand?” (MediaPost, July 13) is that he offers us some insights and then gives us some options of what to believe. Yet, even in the throes of a well-written and often-wise article, there’s a critical element missing – creative messaging as an integral factor. Yes, Sampson offers us two examples of the impact of frequency – brand vs. short-term sale – but they say nothing about the power of the messaging itself. That factor is so critical that exceptional copy writing never misses to follow the oft-unwritten rules applying to internal frequency of messaging within a commercial.

In the end, there is no single answer, no correct view and no single path you can afford to follow for determining the proper frequency to elicit response without alienating your target audience. That’s why we test, test, test – to see what works, and how, without burning out the consumer.