How many times do you need to say the same thing to get heard? 

publication date: Jul 31, 2018
author/source: Noel Draper

I once distributed 40,000 copies of my new crisp looking advertising flyer in one week. Then, I braced myself for the phone to ring off the hook. It did ring, but only a trickle. Eight new customers signed up, just enough to cover the cost of the flyer. I later learned that it is better to send the same flyer to 5,000 people four to six times than it is to send the flyer once to 100,000 people.

The principle, I discovered the hard way, is:

  • Increased exposure to the same advertisement multiple times leads to
  • greater brand awareness and
  • intent to purchase.

The year was 1994, and although the first clickable web-ad banner was launched the year before, digital marketing was unheard of.

I share this story to help people learn from my mistake. You can’t expect people who see your advertisement for the first time to immediately make a purchase. You need frequency to build trust. Multiple touches to the same audience will pay off. What I find interesting is that the principle remains after 23 years, particularly with digital ads.

According to a report by Nielsen  "exposure to digital advertising five - nine times is the optimal range to improve the overall brand lift of the campaign - increasing the resonance by 51% on average.”

Since this repetition is true for brand marketing, charities also need to take note. Too often, a charity sends out one piece of communication expecting an immediate response in terms of donations. With the exception of a plea for immediate help in response to a widespread natural disaster, the one-time appeal does not work for charities who are seeking to develop long term relationships with donors. For this type of fundraising, charities must develop video campaigns that contain enough repetition to develop awareness, resonance, and trust.

Noel Draper, CFRE, created Yellow Can Media to help charities use short films to inspire people to take action by engaging their emotions and intellect through persuasive storytelling. He is Director of Advancement for CURE International Canada. Connect with him on LinkedIn


About the research: "The report was based on Nielsen Digital Brand Effect data for online advertising campaigns delivered to consumers in Australia."

Thanks to MarketingProfs for bringing this to my attention.

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