Reach ≠ Reach

Have you noticed? All those Black Friday campaigns? The discounts are dazzling around, on TV, in social media and in newspapers. Who isn't sensitive to that?  

But all those ads, does it lead to success? As a media addict, I have often been asked: How much reach do we need to achieve in order to generate maximum reach with a multimedia campaign? The second question was: how many exposures are needed on TV, on Facebook and YouTube, in newspaper, etc.? Every smart planner knows that you can't just add up your reach and that the medium contact of TV has a different value than an impression in the storyline of Facebook. Although the impact of creativity is the most decisive of all variables on the effectiveness of advertising (see our recent blog about How To Improve Media ROI, one shouldn't underestimate the impact of channel on effectiveness. As some media channels are way more impactful than others. 

So, when testing creations and advertising campaigns, one should put it in the broader context of channel choice.  

Beta factor offers a solution 

A few decades ago, the Belgian mathematician Morgenzstern understood the recall by different media type too well. He developed the well-known β-coefficient. 'His' Beta-coefficient is used to analyze the relationship between the number of exposures and the degree of memorization (i.e. the percentage of the target group that remembers the ad), taking into account the medium used. Each exposure is supposed to make a constant percentage (β) of consumers who previously could not remember the message of a campaign actually remember the message. Provided that the β-factor of each medium is known, with this method the advertiser knows how often the message has to be repeated before sufficient number of customers memorize the message, and before the marginal effect of an additional exposures becomes too small. 

Schematically, it looks like this: 

Morgenzstern's research led to the following results:

More studies on the impact of media 

The β-coefficient is therefore an important part of determining the actual reach of a campaign. It was Lumen Ebiquity who published a fascinating report (The Challenge of Attention) in mid-2021 about the attention paid to advertising. It is striking that the media impact values of Ebiquity/Lumen correspond to the beta factor as we use it in our tooling such as the Brand Media Optimizer. This research confirmed that the β factor is still valid and useful. 


First of all, know the power of your creation. Have you pretested it? Secondly, reach is not reach, one is obliged to break it down to every channel you use for your branding and promotions. We will help you to reach the most effective campaign. 

by Paul van der Veer, Research & client consultant