©IDG Communications, Inc. Photo contributed by Matthew Mikaelian.
It is a shame that after so many years of advancement in digital media planning and buying, it is still such a pain to pull USEFUL reach and frequency-related stats from ad servers. Granted that major ad servers like DoubleClick or Atlas all feature reports that would give you reach frequency numbers in some forms. Unfortunately useful insights you can glean from their standard/free offerings can be quite limited. If the standard reports on impressions, clicks, conversions are the benchmark of what a campaign report should look like, reach frequency reports fall far short of that standard in two areas:
First of all, standard ad-server reach and frequency reporting does not always allow the kind of slicing and dicing that planners/analysts need to understand campaign performance. Rather, standard reporting in this area generally contains only campaign-level information at a canned up-to-now or weekly/monthly intervals. The truth of the matter is that measurement of campaign effectiveness for optimization purpose is an exercise that should go far beyond how the campaign has been performing on overall level at a rigid/pre-defined time interval. Good optimization practice is usually preceded by deeper understanding of how each site/placement/creative has been faring, so that intelligent decisions can be made and appropriate fine-tuning can be carried out by pulling such media levers as capping frequency level, shifting media dollars across site/placement, or throwing out non performing creative assets.