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The term REACH refers to the number of people who possibly saw your story, placed ad, or social media post. There’s a bit of extrapolation here to come up with the number and it is based on potential so the number can seem quite large.

An ad in a publication’s reach is based on the circulation number.

That can include subscribers as well as all copies that are sold in retail outlets. Reach can be larger than the circulation considering people share magazines and other periodicals. Outdoor advertising is based on the traffic that drives by that particular billboard and for broadcast advertising it is obviously based on viewership.

When it comes to social media, the reach can be enormous.

For instance, your first circle of available viewers are your likes and followers. For every share, you add the likes and followers of those people. There could be multiple layers of sharing until it seems everyone is familiar with the story. At that point we say it is VIRAL.

As you calculate the reach of your website …

… you want to examine the number of visitors. In the early days of the Internet people went by “hits.” This was misleading because clicking on photos registered as hits and photos did not all have the same number of hits.

Back in the 80s when I was in college we learned the concept of reach communicated as “AVAILS,” meaning the number of people available to see it. In terms of advertising like a commercial, you want the viewer to see it more than once to make a lasting impression. Not surprisingly, this is called IMPRESSIONS. I learned the magic number of impressions is between five and nine times. In an advertising media plan, you gauge your ad purchases by the number of people seeing the ad or watching shows that meet your demographic profile. Primetime shows having the highest viewership have the most expensive ads. With the current wide variety of viewing options an advertiser has myriad ways of reaching its intended audience. Keep in mind, you need to reach your target market or the numbers won’t matter.

Consider that almost everyone in the United States watches the Super Bowl and you can easily understand how that saturation drives up the price of the advertising. Its reach is, well, super!

Leslie A.M. Smith founded McCormick L.A. in 1994 offering public relations and marketing consulting to nonprofits and businesses of all shapes and sizes. Sign-up on her website today to receive helpful insights like this one in your inbox.  See how easy your efforts can be here

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