Media Buying and Inbound Marketing Blog

Media Buying 101-Reach & Frequency

By Jane Peters on March 4, 2017 |


The mainstay of the media buyer for the last 30 years has been the standard measurement of gross rating points or GRPs.  MMS media consulting

Gross rating points (GRPs) is a term used in advertising to measure the size of an audience reached by a specific media vehicle or schedule. It is the product of the percentage of the target audience reached by an advertisement, times the frequency of their exposure during the schedule.

For example, a TV commercial that is aired 4 times reaching 40% of the target audience, would have 160 (GRP = 4 × 40%) i.e., GRPs = frequency × % reach.

The formula for estimating total gross rating points is simple. Just add the individual ratings for each media vehicle you are using. You can also calculate GRP by dividing your "gross impressions" by the population base and multiplying the answer by 100.

GRPs are used by broadcasters to sell their ad inventory to potential customers. A related metric is TRP, or target rating point.  This is a measure of the rating points representing a specific target such as Men 18-49 years old. 

One of the most important aspects of any media buy is "reach" and "frequency" attained by the media schedule. 

The two elements are intertwined.  Reaching broad numbers of the target without enough frequency to have an effect on the target audience's behavior is ineffective.  But reaching too few people with a lot of frequency may not produce the desired result either.

Radio was always considered a frequency medium.  Listeners needed lots of exposure to have any effect on consumer behavior. But with the proliferation of cable networks and channel surfing with remotes, the need for increased frequency on TV is essential.

When buying media, it is imperative to understand the relationship between reach and frequency for a successful campaign.

If you would like to know more about buying media, download our FREE Media Buying Terms from A to Z.  They will give you a better understanding of the terminology when dealing with station representatives. 

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