Media Decisions


Expenditure on media is the single biggest expense of the marketing department.

The media decisions a manager makes can have a big impact on the success of a campaign, the growth of a brand and company profitability.

Key Findings

  • Once is enough – even one gentle reminder message can have a marked effect on brand purchase propensity.
  • The sales response of advertising is a convex, diminishing response curve; there is no wear-in period or S-shaped sales response to advertising.
  • Advertising is most effective closest to purchase. Ads generally do their work immediately, and don’t need to be seen several times to have an effect or to be understood.
  • Advertising effects last beyond 28 days

Best Practice

  • Target the market – Media investment should aim to reach all category buyers, from the very heaviest to the very lightest
  • Where to advertise? Think big. Look first to media that deliver large audiences. Then add complimentary media.
  • Look for unique, unduplicated reach. The total media campaign should aim to maximise unique reach (i.e. reaching a higher proportion of all category buyers once) and minimise frequency.
  • Be wary of media that claims low wastage and tight targeting
  • Avoid ‘niche’ media – they’re usually just small and take time to cumulate reach
  • Avoid program sponsorship unless a substantial discount is offered
  • Be wary of paying a premium to air an ad in a very low clutter environment as paying double to halve clutter does not produce double the effectiveness. Very new brands, though, may benefit from low clutter environments.
  • Spread out advertising, don’t burst. A key metric is the length of the gap between exposure and purchase, aim to reduce the gap for all buyers.
  • Total reach of category buyers is a key media evaluation metric for brands that are interested in maintenance and growth.
  • Whatever your budget, ask your media agency to minimise weekly frequency, and maximise (a) weekly reach and (b) cumulative reach from week to week. This rule can be applied to each medium chosen for the media mix.  Or better still, for the combined media mix. Then consider: “for what sort of exposures” you want i.e. video, text, radio.
  • Search for media options that deliver the highest reach of all category buyers per dollar.
  • Use 15 second ads
  • Spend more when more buyers are buying. Advertising is more effective closer in time to the point of purchase so reach as many buyers as possible in the period right before they purchase.
  • Consider the value of high reach media: expensive media can be good value
  • Continuous Reach Planning approach favours big media such as TV and print since these media deliver high reach quickly and cost-efficiently— they are vast and fast. However, there may be value in adding other media to the campaign (such as online or radio), even if it isn’t as cost effective in CPM. The important consideration is not just about CPM, but whether it can lift cumulative reach across weeks.
  • Television, where possible, should be the foundation media for any multi-platform campaign. However, using TV alone has limits.
  • Complementing TV, particularly with online and/or outdoor advertising can potentially maximize reach amongst the light viewers without excessive frequency amongst the heavier viewers.
  • To maintain sales brands need a share-of-voice appropriate for their market share; calculate costs from the bottom up for the task required of the advertising; look to spend about 10% of gross profits on advertising