What Is an Effective Reach?

G. Wiesen

An effective reach is a value that indicates the percentage or number of people who view or read an advertisement. This term is often used in a number of industries and for different types of media, so that television commercials, magazine advertisements, and Internet sites can all be compared regarding their “reach.” These values can be expressed with regard to the entire population who may view an advertisement, or a more specific segment or target audience. An effective reach for an advertisement is important for gauging the success of a campaign, as is the frequency with which a particular audience segment views that advertisement.

Effective reach refers to a value that indicates the number of people who view an advertisement.
Effective reach refers to a value that indicates the number of people who view an advertisement.

The basic idea behind the “effective reach” of an advertising campaign is based on the attempt by marketers to have their ads reach as many people as possible. This often depends on the number of people who are viewing a particular medium in which advertising can be conveyed. A television program, for example, is watched by a limited number of people, and the greater the audience for a show, the larger the effective reach of advertisements aired during that program. This explains why shows with higher ratings, which indicate the number of viewers, often can charge companies more for advertising time, since the reach of those commercials is effectively greater.

Different metrics can be used to evaluate and consider the effective reach of an ad campaign, often depending on the type of media being used. Magazines and newspapers, for example, are typically gauged according to subscription rates and the number of issues sold beyond them. Internet sites can have an effective reach based on the number of unique hits the site gets on a daily basis, which indicates people who see the site each day. Much like television advertising, higher numbers of subscribers or visitors indicate a greater reach value, and so advertisers are often willing to pay more money to advertise with these services.

While effective reach is an important indicator of how well an ad campaign may perform, the frequency of viewed advertisements is also crucial. Studies have shown that three viewings of a single commercial or ad can be required for a lasting impression to be made on a potential consumer. This means that many companies look for the effective reach within a certain demographic, as well as the frequency with which this reach is achieved. An advertisement that reaches one million people a single time may ultimately be less effective than one that reaches 500,000 people on three occasions. Though there are exceptions to this general rule, and advertisers still pay a great deal of money to reach a massive audience.

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