Advertising Frequency: How Many Times Is It Effective?

So how many times does a consumer need to see your advertisements before he/she will remember, respond and then buy from you? Marketers call this effective advertising frequency.
Well, it really varies depending on whether it is push or pull advertising.

Push advertising – most traditional offline advertising such as magazine, newspaper, TV as well as online banner ads and emails are push marketing.

Pull advertising – Examples are search engine advertising ( adwords, search marketing), directory listings, yellow page ads etc.

I would say push advertising will take many more times than pull advertising to take effect.

Some says around 3 to 5 times; others say the magic 7; while Thomas Smith, a nineteenth century London businessman (1885) says it is the 20th time.

The first of many is known as the 3+ frequency. Research has shown that consumers need to see an advertisement around 3 plus times before it becomes effective (can recall product and brand).

The second is known as the seven times factor. A cardinal rule of thumb in advertising is: potential customers usually need to see the name of a product seven times or more before they’re motivated enough to even think about making a purchase.

Finally, Thomas Smith says that it can take up to 20 times!!

The first time people look at any given ad, they don’t even see it.
The second time, they don’t notice it.
The third time, they are aware that it is there.
The fourth time, they have a fleeting sense that they’ve seen it somewhere before.
The fifth time, they actually read the ad.
The sixth time they thumb their nose at it.
The seventh time, they start to get a little irritated with it.
The eight time, they start to think, “Here’s that counfounded ad again.”
The ninth time, they start to wonder if they’re missing out on something.
The tenth time, they ask their friends and neighbors if they’ve tried it.
The eleventh time, they wonder how the company is paying for all these ads.
The twelfth time, they start to think that it must be a good product.
The thirteenth time, they start to feel the product has value.
The fourteenth time, they start to remember wanting a product exactly like this for a long time.
The fifteenth time, they start to year for it because they can’t afford to buy it.
The sixteenth time, they accept the fact that they will buy it sometime in the future.
The seventeenth time, they make a note to buy the product.
The eighteenth time, they curse their poverty for not allowing them to buy this terrific product.
The nineteenth time, they count their money very carefully.
The twentieth time prospects see the ad, they buy what is offering.

With all this research and theory shown, does that mean that people will automatically buy your product if they see your ad 3, 7 or the 20th time? Well not really, if you ad is not relevant to what they need, want or searching for. Even if they see your ad a thousand times, they will still not buy a damn thing from you. However, it is still important to know the more places your ad is available to be seen, the greater your chance at making that sale.

Now question time, do you know what is your effective advertising frequency? On average, how many times does your customer see your ads before they buy from you? This is a tough question especially you are advertising offline. However, in the online environment, your web analytics should be able to give you these stats.

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