The effect of recency of ad exposure on purchasing across categories and media

Date of publication: June 1, 2008


The best time to reach a potential buyer of your product with your brand's advertising is immediately before they make their choice. There is a wide literature advising the media planner to do just that. While the theory of recency planning is well known, practitioners still plan schedules that do not follow the principles of this theory. These other scheduling options have arisen for two reasons; (1) because there is considerable confusion amongst media planners as to how to best reach large numbers of potential buyers close to their purchase; and (2) because alternative theories have been proposed that suggest it is not only important to reach potential buyers, but also to advertise to them with some level of frequency (i.e. effective frequency). In this paper we conduct a simple test of 'recency planning theory' to demonstrate that continuity scheduling should still be the default for media planners. We compare the purchasing distributions of groups of buyers who were exposed to brand advertisements within days and weeks of buying those brands. We find that these groups buy differently. Project Apollo's legacy is a sneak peak at the empirical evidence to demonstrate that media schedules vary in their effectiveness.

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