The Theory of Effective Frequency:
The Rule of 3
Effective marketing campaigns all work to maximize impact of their message. They consider how many times a customer needs to hear or see information before they take action. In the 1960’s Herbert Krugman studied consumer behavior and developed the Theory of Effective Frequency which still holds true today. He determined that a message required 3 touches to get results.
We recommend that you follow that rule when you think about your social media marketing. A recent post by 3 to 5 Marketing simply explains Krugman’s theory (link to full article below).
- “The first time someone is exposed to your ad, you attract their attention, but nothing is really taken in, thus “What is it?”.
- The second time is when the consumer begins to engage with the relevance of the ad, and asks “So what?”
- And the third exposure to the ad is when the viewer decides whether “This is for me”, or whether they will choose to forget it.”
Repetition increases impact. Since this initial study, subsequent research indicates that point at which a consumer takes action may be 3 to 5 exposures. Nielsen reports that with social media it could take up to 10 exposures.
It doesn’t cost more to add social media posts. If you were to run ads in the newspaper, radio or tv, you would buy them in a block. The more times you ran the ad, the more impact you would have…but it would also cost you more money. If you were to run direct mail campaigns, your cost would also increase with each mailing. With social media posts, you can increase your frequency, but not increase costs, since it costs nothing to add more social media posts.
Content matters. While repetition will increase your impact, there is no substitute for quality content. If you have a message that is not well-crafted, is visually unappealing, or is missing vital information, you won’t get the results you want. It is worth investing the time and energy to make sure your messages have great content.
Consider timing. With social media, timing matters. Publishing a tweet at 3am, won’t get you the same impact as publishing that same tweet at 4pm. Just like in television and radio advertising, a commercial at 3am will be less effective than one run during prime time.
Ask an expert. To get the most of your marketing and social media efforts, work with someone who stays informed about the trends and best practices on online marketing. While some things never change…like repetition, content and timing…it’s important to be aware of online marketing’s unique advantages.
Contact the experts at CareLink to make the most of your online efforts. We can help you develop and implement a successful strategy for your business.
Read more about the Theory of Effective Frequency on the 3 to 5 Marketing Blog: Advertising Your Brand: the 3 to 5 Rule