Selecting Media: Exposure, Clutter and Tracking

Length of Exposure

Some products require customers be exposed to just a little bit of information in order to build customer interest. For example, the features and benefits of a new snack food can be explained in a short period of time using television or radio commercials. However, complicated products need to present more information for customers to fully understand the product. Consequently, advertisers of these products will seek media formats that allot more time to deliver the message.

Media outlets vary in how much exposure they offer to their audience. Magazines and other publications provide opportunities for longer exposure times since these media types can be retained by the audience (i.e., keep old print magazines) or are otherwise accessible (i.e., access previous issues online) by the audience, while exposure on television and radio are generally limited to the time the ad was broadcast.

Advertising Clutter

In order to increase revenue, media outlets often include a large number of ads within a certain time, space, or location. For instance, television programs may contain many ads inserted during the scheduled run-time of a program, including many presented as 15-second or shorter commercials. A large number of advertisements delivered through a growing number of different media outlets (e.g., smartphones, electronic billboards, etc.) create an environment of advertising clutter, which makes it difficult for those in the targeted market to recognize and remember particular advertisements.

To break through the clutter advertisers may be required to increase the frequency of their advertising efforts (i.e., run more ads). Yet greater advertising frequency increases advertising expense. Alternatively, advertisers may seek opportunities that offer less clutter, where an ad has a better chance of standing out from others. This can be seen with certain news and information websites where online videos are provided. The videos may feature a five-minute story but contain only a single 30-second advertisement. Additionally, some marketers also address clutter by placing ads in venues where placement has not been common, including such public spaces as school buses, parking meters and public restrooms.

Response Tracking

As we noted in the Advertising Tutorial, marketers are embracing new technologies that make it easier to track audience response to advertisements. Newer media developed using internet and mobile network technologies offer effective methods for tracking audience response compared to traditional media. But newer media are not alone in providing response tracking. Other advertising outlets, such as advertising by mail and television infomercial programming (i.e., long-form commercials), also provide useful measures of audience reaction.