How ad frequency drives response

I just lived a textbook example of how advertising works. After finishing an article on Al Gore in Newsweek, I turned the page and an alien promoting caught my eye. What struck me was that I had already seen this full page ad four or five times in the Industry Standard, never fully reading it, never fully grasping its product or even caring to. But suddenly I felt compelled to take a closer look at what this friendly-looking alien had to offer. I read the headline. I carefully read the copy. Then something clicked. “Oh, I get it! This sounds useful,” I thought as I proceeded to go to as the ad instructed.

This experience demonstrates the critical role played by “frequency” in the impact and success of any advertising campaign. Frequency, or frequency of exposure, refers to the number of times an ad is shown to a prospect. In practical terms, it’s the number of times an ad appears in the same magazine or newspaper or on a single TV or radio show in a given time period. Dozens of consumer behavior studies reveal that many prospects take action immediately after seeing your ad for the sixth or seventh time!

Until that sixth or seventh ad is seen, there may be little response. You may feel your campaign is a bust. Be persistent. Take advantage of the lessons learned from millions of dollars of consumer behavior research and advertise with frequency. Running an ad only once in a print publication or in any media, will often garner some response, but run your ad six, seven or eight times over a few weeks or months and see response and recognition soar. By advertising with frequency, you may also earn price discounts.

Oh, and I just finished registering at, a site I probably would not have heard of if they did not commit to advertising with frequency. And if had developed a stronger ad in the first place, I might have responded more quickly. 

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Paul Entin’s Marketing In Real Life explores every facet of marketing from advertising, PR and lead generation to content marketing, direct response and the latest in marketing automation – and more. Paul Entin’s Marketing In Real Life provides real-life insight into the relationship among sales, marketing, and customer service – and the customer – plus quick commentary from epr founder, Paul Entin.