Reach: Are we getting what we’re paying for?

No. The answer is no.

I’ve been up in arms about mindlessly optimising for reach lately😁

Rest assured, my obsession with it isn’t entirely pointless.

Reaching everyone in the target audience is THEE most important thing a campaign needs to do.

Reach has an effect on brand growth and our budgets.

It deserves to be fussed over.

And while we’re convinced that with all this data lying around we can reach everyone and their cat…

The reality is different.

Effective Advertising doesn’t stop at buying Reach.

It’s just the start.

Here’s why:

Even Facebook, with its whole business model built on selling cheap reach, says that:

Balancing between Reach and Frequency is a tradeoff.

It’s obvious why an ad needs to be seen to be effective. But we also have numbers that quantify that effect.

Move from maximising reach to building Effective Reach.

Effective Reach is the number of people in your target audience who saw your ad enough times to have taken notice.

There are three factors that influence the quality of your reach aka Effective Reach.

  1. The balance between reach and frequency.
  2. The possibility that your ad will be seen (OTS).
  3. The attention paid to your ads given the format and channel.

Frequency and Reach are directly related to how much money we spend. But we can get more attention depending on how and where we spend it.

Thanks to eye-tracking technology becoming cheaper and more accessible we can see that attention varies by both ad format and where it is viewed.

For a savvy planner, this is great news.

Now we can compare how one channel mix is different from another based on how much effective reach each delivers.

I know this isn’t an exact science yet and, as a brand marketer, you may not have the data needed to model effective reach.

But your media partners do.

I think as an industry we’re that much closer to having the tools for optimising media plans based on how much attention we can buy.

In case, you’re still not convinced if fussing over Reach is worth the time, consider this:

The bottom line

You want your ads to be seen.

And you want people to pay attention to them.

Otherwise, even with all this data, we’re still shooting in the dark and hoping for the best.