Reach and frequency

What is reach and frequency?

Reach, which can also be called coverage, is the percentage of your target audience who have been exposed to your ad at least once. Aiming for the biggest possible reach is a good option for most campaigns as growing penetration is a sure-fire way of growing your brand.

Frequency is the number of times viewers see your ad. It is usually expressed as 1+, 2+, 3+ etc. as in they saw it at least once, twice, three times and so on. The optimum frequency will depend on a variety of factors such as:

  • Whether your campaign is about brand building or activation
  • How appealing is the proposition
  • The time length of your ad
  • The buying cycle of your product

Reach and frequency are important as they are a key way to measure the impact of your campaign. Did enough people see the ad the right number of times?

How to maximise reach and frequency

If you want to maximise reach, you will want to use a broad range of TV channels and programmes and to vary the times of day that your spots go out. 

If you want to maximise frequency, you need to advertise in the same programme multiple times or in the same types of programme.

There is a mathematical relationship between reach, frequency and TVRs, so the job of a TV buyer is to get the right balance between these three elements.

Total video planning

In order to maximise reach, it’s important to reach lighter viewers. One easy way to do this is by adding BVOD to your linear schedule. BVOD viewers tend to be lighter linear viewers as you can see from this chart. 65% of BVOD viewing is generated by the lightest half of linear TV viewers so if you want to reach lighter linear viewers, BVOD is a fantastic way of doing this.


Young people in particular watch a lot of BVOD so if you are targeting a young audience, say 16 to 34 year old adults, then using BVOD makes sense. This chart demonstrates the benefits of thinking about total TV when planning a campaign. The reach you are able to achieve with 60% of your budget on linear TV and 40% of your budget on BVOD is significantly higher than if you used linear TV on its own.


The proportion of your budget that you should allocate to BVOD will vary depending on your target audience.

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