Reach Optimization

The art of media planning involves creating the best possible combination of all possible media to achieve a brand’s marketing objectives. While creating a media plan, multiple elements need to be factored in. With a pre-defined media budget at hand, we first look at the brand’s marketing objectives and understand what is it that the brand will want to achieve at the end of the campaign. Based on these marketing objectives, a media strategy is created that explores different mediums on which the brand can advertise and achieve a good ROI.

In order to achieve a brand’s objectives, different media strategies and techniques are analyzed & evaluated while creating a media plan. The purpose of evaluating so many different techniques is to create a media plan for your brand’s communication that will reach a greater share of your target audience.

But what really is this coveted ‘reach’ that is ever so important in formulating a media plan?


In media planning, we calculate reach as a function of GRPs that we get with respect to the number of spots planned. While a medium or channel may reach a greater share of the total universe, reach within your TG is what ultimately matters. Say for example, if the universe is 100, but only 40 of those are exposed to the medium of your choice, the maximum possible reach that you can achieve is 40%. However, this isn’t the number you should be after. This needs to be broken down further by the number of people who fall in your TG group.
Very simply put, ‘reach’ is the total number of unique people who are exposed to your brand’s communication via a particular medium during a pre-defined period. The purpose of analyzing reach as a measure to plan media strategies is to ensure optimal exposure of your brand communication.

But, measuring reach alone isn’t enough to plan a media strategy.

A media plan is made up of correlated elements that together form the media objective. Your media plan’s efficiency is measured in line with both, reach & frequency, i.e. the number of people exposed to your communication and the number of times they were exposed to it. While this may sound complex, it is a fairly simple concept.

Just like a combustible object would need to be heated to a certain temperature for it to catch fire, a viewer needs to be exposed to your brand communication a atleast minimum number of times for them to absorb your message and react to it.

The ideal scenario for any media plan will be one that reaches that percentage of audience that you plan for, exactly the number of times that is required for a viewer to absorb the message. This scenario is called achieving “effective reach”.

Reach & frequency are 2 important factors in media planning. While reach determines the number of people your communication should reach, exposure to your communication at a frequency level lets your audience reach to your message.

Wondering why people perceive media planning to be complicated? That’s because creating a reach and frequency combination is not as simple as it sounds!


Like any other economic variable, reach & frequency too go by the law of diminishing returns. To understand reach better, let’s look at what the law of diminishing returns is. This law states that continuously adding more of one factor of production in any process will at some point yield a lower per unit return. And the same principle applies to reach in media planning too.

For any advertising campaign, on any medium, ‘reach’ builds in a consistent pattern. At the first airing, the entire audience is unduplicated, i.e. all our viewers are new. In the second airing, there will be viewers who would have seen your brand’s message before. At this stage, the message attains a combination of reach & frequency.

Continuing to increase exposures in a medium without optimizing it, your brand communication will be likely to reach a state of negative returns, where the amount spent on reaching new people generates a higher cost per contact. This gets your advertising to a point where the media spend is substantially more than the ROI generated.

But, just because the CPC is high, should your brand stop advertising? Well, no.

Even though we can’t escape or change the law of diminishing returns while creating a media strategy for you, we sure can find a way to tame the problem for you!


Foolish’s media planning ideology essentially stems from the concentrated media planning approach. Having looked at & understood a brand’s marketing objectives, we create a media strategy around the minimum number of primary mediums only.

A brand’s communication is exposed on this one medium till the time it does not reach the highest peak on the curve, i.e., attain effective reach. Our concentrated media planning approach goes by the ‘choose, use, exhaust & switch’ principle. Let’s look at how this can optimize your brand’s reach.

Making note of the highest point on the reach – frequency curve is important also because not only have you achieved what you intended to via your marketing campaign, but the law of diminishing returns has also started to set in. And, this, is where reach optimization comes into play.


The process of reach optimization is started by looking at where a tactic is on its diminishing return curve. If the tactic is on the upward track of the curve, we continue using that tactic for to advertise. However, if the medium is approaching or already is on the flat part of the growth curve, we recognize this as the time to shift your advertising monies to another medium and reach the next set of your target consumer base.

These mediums are selected based on your brand’s message and objectives. The exhaust and switch approach works for brands who aim at continually reaching an increased share of their TG with their communication.

While there is no fixed time band or formula to calculate when your brand communication will exhaust a medium, we at Foolish, are always on top of how your brand is performing in the media universe. Agreed, being present on all mediums at the same time (even though budgets are limited) is the dream for every brand, but spreading yourself too thin doesn’t always deliver.

While many may think media strategy creation is a one off activity, we, at Foolish appreciate the market’s dynamic nature. Once planned, we keep monitoring our media strategy to evaluate results and deliveries. In the process of continuing to evolve, we keep looking of ways to identify how your communication can reach more people. When it comes to planning media, Foolish suggests your brand strategies that may not shine like gold on the outside, but they sure do get your closer to achieving your objectives.