Reach and frequency overview


Reach and frequency are important metrics that marketers can use to understand how effectively a campaign will deliver against a target audience.

  • Reach: The number of unique individuals exposed to your campaign messaging
  • Frequency: The average number of times each of those individuals are exposed

Vistar has created a fully integrated solution for reach and frequency that can be accessed on any plan in the Vistar DSP. 

How to leverage reach and frequency on a plan 

After creating a plan and applying your desired targeting, you can view the projected reach and frequency for the plan as metrics in the table. You can look at metrics for the whole plan or break down your plan into different dimensions (e.g. venue types, geographic) and view reach and frequency for each grouping. This gives you the ability to optimize your budget allocation and targeting in order to meet your desired campaign goals. Note: reach is provided as both a number (projected number of unique individuals exposed) and a percentage (percentage of allocated impressions that are unique). 

Use cases for reach and frequency

There are a variety of use cases for reach and frequency that depend on the goals of the brand. Below are some examples of ways in which reach and frequency may be leveraged to achieve specific campaign goals.

  • A campaign seeking to drive awareness amongst as large a group of people as possible could shift budget allocation toward line items (grouped by different dimensions) that have higher reach relative to other line items.
  • A campaign seeking to increase likelihood-to-purchase for an existing product could shift budget allocation toward line items with higher frequency relative to other line items to more efficiently reach the target audience a higher number of times.


In order to determine how many people are exposed to an advertisement and how often, it’s essential that we understand visitation patterns to DOOH venues. 

Some venue types are locations that people often visit multiple times within a short timespan (such as an office building), whereas some are locations that people tend to only visit once within a given time period (for example, an airport or the DMV.) We analyze large volumes of GPS data to calculate a unique visitation score for every venue. This score allows us to understand how quickly the visitors to a venue tend to repeat. For example, an office building elevator may see the same people multiple times a week, so the unique visitation score will be low, whereas an airport score will be high as it takes a longer period of time for visitors to return. 

The unique visitation scores are then used to calculate reach based on a plan’s targeting rules and budget. Once reach is calculated, frequency is simply (allocated impressions) / (reach).


What data are you using to produce reach and frequency?

Vistar is using impression data, flight length, and qualifying inventory for each plan as well as geospatial data to calculate unique visitation scores for each venue to produce reach and frequency.

I’m leveraging your device ID passback solution. Should I expect to receive the same number of device IDs I’m projected to reach?

No, reach is not an indicator of the number of device IDs you will receive during or post-campaign. Our reach and frequency methodology is device ID based, but uses advanced modeling techniques to provide accurate pre-campaign projections.

How is reach different from impressions?

Impressions are the currency indicating how many views a particular advertisement will have; reach is the number of unique individuals that will see that advertisement.

I use audience targeting on my campaign. How does that impact reach and frequency?

Using audiences or any data-based targeting doesn’t impact the way that we calculate reach and frequency, but it may impact the reach and frequency we provide. By layering an audience onto your plan, you’re restricting the available inventory based on how your audience moves. This in turn impacts the calculated reach based on the qualifying inventory.

Are you using a static frequency?

No, Vistar’s methodology calculates projected reach pre-campaign based on campaign parameters and uses that number to calculate frequency. The standard formula to calculate frequency is [impressions (allocated)] / [reach].


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