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Unduplicated reach is the ability to reach an intended audience across various platforms and channels, with the intelligence to know you are not reaching the same person with more than the intended frequency.

It’s becoming more and more difficult for marketers to know what their target audience is watching, which devices they’re watching on, and how best to reach them. There’s so much content available across viewing platforms to streaming services that it can be hard to keep track of it as a consumer, let alone as a marketer.

One study found a single consumer uses almost 5 TV sources, many of them being on-demand. A single viewer can start the day watching news on her phone, stream a reality show on her desktop during a work break, and curl up in her living room to see a sitcom on a broadcast network in the evening. Appointment TV just doesn’t exist in the same way as it once did.

Eric Schmitt, senior director analyst at Gartner, compared navigating this sprawling and fragmented media environment to “working on a 1,000-piece puzzle upside down, with half the pieces missing.”

What’s the worst that can happen?

All marketers want to reach the most relevant audiences for their products and services, and they want to do it at effective intervals and frequencies. But why would it matter if someone sees a spot just slightly too often? 

First of all, once a consumer decides to respond to an ad, additional exposure is just a waste of campaign dollars. Even worse, however, repeated exposure can lead quickly to ad fatigue, and once that boredom (or even annoyance) sets in, the effectiveness and ROI of the campaign is going to suffer.

What are the challenges in maximizing unduplicated reach?

The first challenge is the same one that faces every advertiser at the start of a campaign: identifying the target audience in a granular way, from age and gender to more sophisticated attributes like purchase behaviors or attitudes. 

Once that’s done, however, comes the admittedly difficult task of establishing effective cross-channel coordination, since running multiple campaigns on different platforms and networks can make sorting out ROI seem like an impossible task. 

What can a marketer do?

Take an integrated, holistic approach to your media plan. For the sake of efficiency, budgeting, scheduling, buying, and measuring should be coordinated across broadcast, streaming, and digital. 

Don’t abandon traditional techniques like geotargeting—just apply them consistently across all channels. And standardize audience segments whenever possible, align your goals, and formulate your plans using all the data at your disposal.  

Advertisers obviously need to understand how their reach and frequency affect their bottom line. That can be hard: data technology is still evolving, and the industry is still adapting to previously unimagined planning and measurement needs. The Media Ratings Council’s Cross-Media Audience Measurement Standards, drafted in finalized form in late 2019, are an important step forward, but certainly not an all-encompassing solution. 

Balancing frequency and reach

Another key aspect of unduplicated reach is reaching your whole audience – not just the segment watching TV via their linear cable feed or only those streaming via an app on a smart TV. 

Finding the careful balance between frequency and reach is important. TURF Analysis, or Total Unduplicated Reach and Frequency, is a tried-and-true technique that lets marketers assess which combination of ad campaigns allows them to appeal to the greatest number of customers possible, according to the IAB. Running analyses like these can help marketers get a better handle on who they’re reaching and how frequently they should be reaching certain segments of their audience. 

Maximizing reach is always going to be a basic goal of any marketer, but that’s just one part of an increasingly complicated, multi-platform equation. Luckily, in a world of multi-touch attribution and opaque conversion models, the right tech partner can help.

Learn more about Cadent Viewer Graph.