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  • Writer's pictureHearst Pittsburgh

Reaching Beyond: A Quick Guide to Incremental Reach Ad Strategies

As advertisers, we wake up each morning to a media landscape that has become incrementally more complex in the time since we went to sleep the night before. And more media options mean more ways to segment your audience by media consumption habits.

The exponential fragmentation that has characterized the last 15 years of mass media has led to some serious conversations about the future of viewing habits and in some cases, wild conjecture and anecdotal exaggeration.

Yes, "no one watches TV anymore" people, we're talking about you.

Let's get something straight: research continues to show that television is the undisputed champion of our attention. Television has a unique place in our hearts and homes. For goodness sake, it's a magical box that brings news, entertainment, and sports directly to us.

Still, we'll come right out and address the elephant in the room: the moderate but steady decline in PUTs (People Using TV).

This might sound like cause for concern, but hold on – there's no need to hit the panic button if you're a TV advertiser. There are still plenty of PUTs in the sea, and this trend presents a significant opportunity to reimagine your advertising strategy and tap into new opportunities.

Enter the intriguing concept of incremental reach in advertising – a game-changer that can supercharge your campaigns.

In this blog post, we'll explore what incremental reach is, and then dive into a the essential components of a great incremental reach strategy, and even explore which mediums can complement TV to deliver a more comprehensive multiscreen advertising plan.

TV's Dominance in Our Lives

According to recent surveys, the average American spends approximately 4 hours per day watching TV. That's more time than most of us spend cooking, exercising, or doing any single activity. In fact, TV remains the undisputed heavyweight champion when it comes to time spent with media:

While the digital realm has made significant inroads into our daily lives, TV's enduring appeal lies in its ability to create a shared experience. From binge-watching gripping dramas to gathering around for live events, television transcends individual screens to bring people together in a way that's uniquely impactful.

All that to say, TV is powerful. But, it's not ubiquitous. There are people who simply don't watch TV. To broad your campaign and grow your brand to this audience, you'll need an incremental reach strategy.

Understanding Incremental Reach

At its core, incremental reach in advertising refers to the additional audience you can reach by adding a new medium to your campaign. It's about expanding your advertising footprint beyond TV to connect with viewers who might not be reachable through television alone.

There are segments of your target audience that won't be reached through traditional TV. These might be the cord-cutters, the streaming enthusiasts, or the Instagram addicts who rarely glance at their TV screens. Incremental reach steps in to bridge the gap.

A well-design incremental reach campaign works by identifying those segments that are outside the reach of your TV campaign and strategically deploying additional advertising channels to connect with them.

In other words, incremental reach is the secret sauce that helps advertisers tap into new demographics, expand brand awareness, and maximize the impact of their campaigns by synergizing different media channels.

Crafting Your Incremental Reach Game Plan

As the boundaries of traditional television blur, advertisers are embracing the dynamic concept of incremental reach to stay ahead of the curve. In this section, we'll dive into the nuts and bolts of how to make an incremental reach strategy that will allow you to reach different demographics, interests, and behaviors.

Here's the basic tool kit you'll need to get started:

1. Clearly Defined Audience Segments

Start by understanding your target audience inside out. Identify the demographics, behaviors, and preferences of your ideal customers. Once you have a clear picture, segment your audience into different groups. This segmentation will help you tailor your messages for each group and determine which channels will be most effective in reaching them.

2. Consistent Branding

Consistency is key in incremental reach. Ensure that your brand message, imagery, and tone remain cohesive across all platforms. This consistency builds brand trust and recognition, making it more likely for your audience to engage with your content and take desired actions.

3. A System for Measurement and Optimization

Lastly, don't forget to measure the performance of each channel meticulously. Utilize analytics and data-driven insights to track how each platform is contributing to your campaign's success. Adjust your strategy as needed to optimize reach and ROI continuously.

Multi-Screen Powerhouse Players of Incremental Reach

When these diverse channels work in harmony with your TV campaign and the impact multiplies. Get to know our favorite complementary channels:

1. Digital Advertising

Digital advertising, with its vast array of tools and platforms, is a formidable ally in the quest for incremental reach. In fact, research shows that combining TV with digital advertising can increase incremental reach by up to 32%.

Social media and in-video ads, along with programmatic advertising, offer precision targeting capabilities that can be finely tuned to reach specific demographics.

These digital channels work in tandem with TV to create a synchronized marketing strategy that leaves a lasting impression.

2. Streaming Services

Reconnect with the cord-cutters! As ad-supported streaming services continue to grow in popularity, they present a unique opportunity for advertisers to tap into incremental reach.

These platforms provide a wealth of data on viewers' preferences and behaviors, allowing for highly personalized and effective ad targeting. With the right approach, streaming services can complement TV advertising seamlessly, ensuring your message reaches a broad and engaged audience.

3. Influencer Marketing

In the age of social media, influencer marketing has emerged as a potent force for incremental reach. Collaborating with influencers whose followers align with your target audience can extend your brand's reach significantly.

In fact, a well-executed influencer campaign can deliver a whopping 11 times the return on investment (ROI) compared to traditional advertising. Integrating influencer marketing with TV can create a dynamic synergy that captivates viewers across multiple screens.

3. A Dark Horse Contender: Broadcast Websites

Broadcasting websites, like, serve as a vital resource for individuals who may not be in the habit of tuning into traditional news programs but still want and need to be informed about their local community. A platform like this offers on-demand access to local news stories, weather updates, sports commentary, and more.

Research shows that broadcast websites can add substantial incremental reach to broadcast TV campaigns, outperforming cable or streaming options:

By leveraging broadcast websites, advertisers can connect with an audience that craves local information, expanding their reach even further.

The Bottom Line

In a world where attention spans are fleeting and media choices are multiplying, incremental reach in advertising is the key to unlocking untapped potential. By combining TV's undeniable dominance with complementary mediums like digital advertising, streaming services, and influencer marketing, you can create multi-screen campaigns that captivate, engage, and convert your target audience.

So, as you embark on your advertising journey, remember that the power of incremental reach lies in your ability to blend the old and the new, the traditional and the digital, to create a harmonious symphony of brand visibility that resonates with viewers wherever they are. TV may be the reigning champion, but when it teams up with all of the screens your audience is using, the real magic happens.


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