Key trends in marketing efficiency present a veritable recipe for diminishing media returns by increasing the risk of pummeling the same consumers too often with the same message. Major marketers have been looking to cut so-called nonworking creative costs by making fewer ads, using the savings to buy more media, targeting those media buys to heavy buyers and increasing spending on mobile to reach them.
A study from The ARF released earlier this year found that once a digital banner ad reaches the same person 40 times or more in a month, sales can actually decline. The value of each additional impression starts to decline well before entering that negative territory, of course. This overkill actually rendered about a quarter of the viewable impressions in the study entirely worthless or counterproductive.
It’s often cheaper to reach that level of overkill on mobile and digital media, but it’s not impossible to do it on TV, either, with narrowly focused cable TV or other low-rated buys that can end up serving lots of impressions to the same people.