Category Archives: Advertising Metrics

What is Reach?

It is rare for an advertising plan to only include a single order, or even several orders all of the same media type. Media Link places a high priority on evaluating a wide spread of options for our clients, so we can offer them more savings. One of the most important (but far from only) metrics we use to evaluate these options is called reach. In this article, we will cover some of the basics of just what this term means and why it is useful in analyzing a campaign.

Reach represents the group of people who have been, or are projected to be, exposed to an advertising campaign. It may be expressed as a raw number (ex: 176,000 people) or as a percentage (ex: 40% reach). Reach is distinct from another valuable metric called Gross Impressions, because each person can be reached multiple times.

Reach statistics exist in context. No advertising campaign has ever been directed at everyone, everywhere. Therefore, reach for businesses reflects information about only those people who would be the most likely to purchase their product or service. This group of people are often referred to as the target audience.  This target audience can include an age range, gender, geographic and psychographic characteristics.

It is more common to see reach reflected as a percentage with traditional media (i.e. radio, television, publications, outdoor). The reach is calculated based on the rating or the percentage of people experiencing an ad at a given time. We will go deeper into the specifics of the math in a future blog.

In the digital space it is more common to see reach reported as a number, because it is calculated within an environment where nothing can be done until after targeting has been established.

Why do we care?

Reach can be translated across different media types.  Media Link usually combines reach with a percentage. We believe this metric offers a clearer picture of progress toward our goals.  Reach does an excellent job of telling us how close we are toward building awareness of our message for a particular campaign.

However, if everyone were to see something only once it would not be effective at generating recall. This is why we must find a balance between reach and frequency. In our next blog, we will discuss what is frequency and how it is a useful tool when combined with reach for evaluating advertising budgets.