Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Media Spike # 41 – Are You Lost In Translation?
Welcome back.

Does the media campaign sometimes get lost in translation?

Perhaps you’ve been the recipient of or the deliverer of a proposal that goes a lot like this:

Dear Client,

This campaign will launch with a 4 week radio flight at a weekly 200 GRP’s weight with a target objective of 40% reach at a five time frequency.

This will come to a 65% reach at a 12.3 times frequency.  It will be skewed to affluent females aged 25-54 living in  urban centres with HHI of $75Kplus, and who are the principal grocery shopper!

Usually after this slide a timid hand is raised with an almost sheepish question of.. Ahem…excuse me sir, but what did you say?


Every industry has it’s own language that allows you to communicate quickly and efficiently with colleagues in your business. But to someone on the outside, a simple paragraph like the above may as well be Greek (or my personal nemesis - Calculus).

Technical Speak. There are a multitude of abbreviations, acronyms, and short forms in media that could make phone texting read like Shakespeare by comparison. In a recent Media Spike (#37), we noted a number of media abbreviations and definitions for your reference.

We have reiterated a few of them here and show them in practical application.

A few prominent terms occur regularly in ad planning and to help you get a better idea of what’s going on, here are some explanations:


This is a measurement of the cumulative unduplicated target audience potentially exposed one or more times to a particular program, station or publication in a given time frame. (How many different people in your defined target group could see your ad.)

Reach is usually expressed as a percentage of the target population in a defined area, or the impact your campaign will have against a defined audience.

IE: We expect to reach 33% of men aged 18-24 with this campaign. This is also expressed as 33 ratings as each rating is 1% point of the defined audience.


This is a means of measuring the number of times your ‘reached’ audience will be exposed to the commercial in a stated period of time.

IE: Through the life of this one week campaign, our target group will hear our spot an average of 3.1 Times.  Thus a 3.1 frequency.

GRP’s: Gross Rating Points:

This is the total of ratings achieved by a given schedule against a
pre-determined target group.

    This is calculated by multiplying your reach times your frequency.

    We just said we had a campaign, which ‘reached’ 33% of men 18-24,
    and we reached them with a 3.1X frequency.

Therefore our campaign delivered: 33 X 3.1 = 102.3 GRP’s (Gross Rating Points) (as a benchmark, a 100 GRP radio campaign is not uncommon.)

There are numerous permutations and combinations of media, and within each media, which can be used to help you create that lasting impression.


So what did I say in the earlier paragraph?  Anyone care to translate?
  • Our intention is to run a 4 week radio campaign in urban centres.
  • Each week, we want to have reached 40% of our affluent female grocery shopper fives times.
  • At the end of four weeks, we hope that 65% of our audience have heard the message 12.3 times.
  • A good media person should be able to walk you through the language they work in, and express it in terms you can understand.
Please bear in mind the above are just a few samples of the terminology you can expect to hear in many media presentations. Do not EVER hesitate to ask for clarification. Most of us media people are bursting to give you every answer we can to help the education and improve your confidence in us.

Stay tuned

Dennis Kelly

"Like to learn more? Nine Secrets of How To Improve Your Advertising and How To Actually Make Your Ads Outperform Your Competition  is not for everyone.  It’s for smart marketers who want proven tips to make their ads work harder and smarter.

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About Me
Dennis Kelly
A professional to his fingertips, Dennis Kelly of First Impressions Media brings a deft touch as your media magician. Extracting incremental media value for you from suppliers is second nature for Dennis. His versatility in all media is bred of 3 decades of hands-on media planning & buying experience in the media trenches. As a steward of your media budget, Dennis excels in delivering smart, efficient, creative and targeted campaigns to showcase your creative to the right audience.

Dennis is the author of “ 9 Secrets of How To Improve Your Advertising” and is available to Masthead Reader for $197 through a special offer at this link
Most Recent Blog Comment
Dennis Kelly says:
Thank you Gloria. What a perfectly apropos link. Thank you for sharing that. You are quite correct. ...
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